During a recently radio show, an individual, considered to be an expert in economics, called in as a guest to participate in a discussion regarding Federal Reserve System Board of Governors Chair Janet Yellen’s speech. The conversation was engaging for a short time, but then the guest’s cell phone connection dropped, forcing the lone, fill-in host to awkwardly stumble until the guest returned. This occurred several times during the show. The guest’s choice to use a cell phone to call into the radio program rather than a landline disrupted the flow of the show, prompting me to switch to alternative station.
Why do cell phones lose their signals? Cell phones can sometimes drop a call when the connection is transferred from one cell tower to the next, when a person enters an area where there is no connection between cell towers, or when the materials of a building cause a cell signal to degrade. Cell phones might also lose the ability to connect to the network when the network is overwhelmed by a sudden massive increase in demand such as during a major emergency situation.
While cell phones are handy devices for people on the go, there are times when a more reliable connection is needed. A home telephone can avoid disruption issues that plague cell service and allow a user to enjoy a stable connection throughout the length of a conversation. There are many traditional telephone service providers to choose from and a variety of service bundling options available. Though any of these providers will likely offer the needed service, there is a less expensive option – Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
VoIP allows an individual to conduct voice communication through the Internet rather than a traditional telephone network. Once a person signs up for service online, the service provider sends a small device in the mail that connects to an Internet modem or a home computer. Afterward, the user plugs a standard telephone into the VoIP device to begin using the service.
VoIP subscribers must have an Internet connection to use the service, so if you don’t currently have Internet access and have no intention of obtaining it, a VoIP telephone would not be a good choice for you.
There are a number of providers who offer VoIP service, including magicJack (http://magicjack.com), Vonage (http://vonage.com), and netTALK (http://nettalk.com). Be sure to do your homework before signing up for service from a particular provider. Type “VoIP service provider” into your favorite web browser to review the options and features from different companies and find the one that’s right for you.
There are a range of pricing plans for VoIP depending on the services you need, but a basic service can cost as little as a few dollars per month plus taxes and fees. There is also a cost for the VoIP device itself, so be sure to factor that in with the other costs of service.
Beyond the reduced cost of VoIP compared to a landline, Internet-based telephony usually includes features that traditional telephone companies charge extra for such as caller ID, voicemail, and call forwarding. A VoIP company might also be able to transfer your existing telephone number to your new account for a fee.
Though many people have made the switch to cell phone service as a sole form of communication in the digital age, there are still compelling reasons for maintaining a home telephone service. Choosing a Voice over Internet Protocol service for a secondary telephone rather than a traditional landline will not only provide the service needed for a reliable connection, it can also save a considerable amount of money over time.