VoIP Checklist

Before You Migrate to VoIP: A 25-Point Checklist

So you’ve seen the ads for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). With the growing popularity of VoIP it’s hard to miss them and even harder to ignore the kind of savings they promise. But like any new technology, VoIP doesn’t come without a few kinks. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t switch to VoIP. But before you take the plunge you should make sure your experience will be a refreshing one. 

Here are a few tips and precautions to make sure your transition to VoIP doesn’t leave you wishing you hadn’t been so hasty to dump your traditional service.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Reliability
  3. Home Use
  4. Business Use
  5. Quality
  6. Security & Safety
  • Broadband Connection - The most basic element you will need in order to switch to Internet phone is a high-speed Internet connection. The quality of your VoIP experience depends on the quality of your Internet service., so choose carefully. Both DSL and cable Internet connections can provide the speed needed to make VoIP phone calls. In fact, many Internet service providers have started offering VoIP service for an additional charge, allowing you to bundle monthly service costs. While DSL connections are generally fast enough to handle VoIP calls, cable Internet has the speed advantage. Of course, faster service comes with a higher price tag and it’s up to you whether or not you need the additional speed.
  • Bandwidth - So you have a high-speed Internet connection, but is it high-speed enough? For the uninitiated, bandwidth is the ability to transfer data (such as a VoIP telephone call) from one point to another in a fixed amount of time. Essentially, the more bandwidth you have, the better quality phone calls you should be able to make. If you’re planning on having multiple phone lines on the same Internet connection you need to make sure that your bandwidth can support this, especially if you’ll be downloading from the Internet at the same time.
  • Customer Service - In an ideal world, the transfer to VoIP would be seamless. But let’s be realistic: you will probably need some assistance in installing your new services and equipment or dealing with problems. When choosing a VoIP provider, make sure you’re satisfied with the level of customer support available to help you through these problems.
  • Phone Number Portability - In most cases, you should be able to take your existing number and migrate it over to your VoIP service, avoiding the inconvenience of alerting everyone to your number change. Of course, if you get a number from your VoIP provider and later want to change to another VoIP provider or regular phone company, it isn’t so simple. VoIP providers don’t usually own their own numbers, so they aren’t theirs to give to you to take to another service. Keep that in mind if you’re the fickle type.
  • Equipment - Most VoIP services can be hooked up with a simple adapter that connects to your broadband service to your regular analog phone through your cable modem or router. If you want something a little fancier, there are phones made specifically for use over the Internet. Many VoIP providers have these phones available for a reduced rate when you sign up for their services.