Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Internet Phone Service

Internet phone serviceThere are three generic types of Internet phone technologies as far as the end user is concerned, and they revolved around the device (often called an endpoint) that the user will use: transparent, software-based, and dedicated hardware.  Each of these systems has its own inherent weaknesses and strengths that should be compared before any purchasing decision is made.  This article is dedicated to exploring these pros and cons on a fundamental way, but you should always be sure to measure these for yourself and ensure that you reach the same conclusions as this article before you make any purchasing decisions.

Basic VoIP/Internet Phone Service Strengths

All Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Internet phone systems share some basic core strengths, including incredible value, great reliability, and unparalleled audio quality when properly configured.  These strengths all comes from the use of the Internet, the world’s largest toll-free general purpose network that breaks down borders that were previous toll gates on the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) network used by traditional telephone systems.  With that said, let’s explore the relative pros and cons of the different types of Internet phone services as well as defining them more clearly.

Defining Transparent Internet Phone Service Technology

Transparent Internet phone service technology is defined as a situation where users really do not even know that they are using a more advanced network because they are using the same devices in the same way.  That is to say that users with traditional POTS-designed telephones plug them into the same sockets, but that the conversion from POTS to VoIP happens transparently through a device that the user is generally not aware of.

Pros for Transparent Internet Phone Service Technology

The major advantage of transparent Internet phone service is that users do not usually require new hardware.  They can receive most of the advantages of VoIP pricing and reliability without having to spend additional money on new hardware.

Cons for Transparent Internet Phone Service Technology

The downside to transparent Internet phone service technology is that telephones and even the internal wiring of a property designed to work with POTS networks may not offer the crystal clear audio quality that Internet phone services are fully capable of.  As time marches on and the Internet grows in performance, this disparity is only likely to increase.

Defining Software-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

Hardware-based Internet phone service technology is defined as a situation where users will need to have special software programs that emulate phones to communicate over a VoIP network.  These programs may run on everything from PCs to smartphones and tablets, and are generally free with service.

Pros for Software-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

As previously mentioned, the key advantage to software programs that handle Internet phone systems is that the programs are generally free.  In fact, some of the programs such as Skype use the same underlying technologies to communicate from one user to another user regardless of whether or not both or either user even have a phone number!  The integration of video is also a relative strength, and it is clearly where communication is heading.  Most computers, tablets, and smartphones already have better speakers and microphones than traditional telephones, making audio quality a                            f cx strength as well in most cases.

Cons for Software-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

The downside to software based Internet service is that it relies on a computer or other device.  This can be expensive, and if your power is cut during a storm, you may be unable to call for help.  Of course, computers do consume a great deal of electricity compared to telephones or hardware endpoints.

Defining Hardware-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

Hardware-based Internet phone service technology is defined as a situation where users will need to have special hardware phones to communicate over a VoIP network.

Pros for Hardware-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

Hardware systems specifically designed to serve as Internet phone service endpoints generally have superior audio quality and consume far less electricity than a computer or laptop.

Cons for Hardware-Based Internet Phone Service Technology

The downside of hardware endpoints for Internet phone service systems is that they generally require a purchase or the signing of a contract for long-term service.  Still, this is a minor complaint compared to what hardware endpoints bring to the table.