Broadband phone service uses your broadband Internet connection to transmit voice signals via IP networks. This technology is commonly referred to as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or IP Telephony. Broadband phone service converts voice signals to digital packets which are routed to their destination and reconverted at the receiving end.
Broadband phone service appears, to the user, to operate very much like the traditional telephone networks. You can use an ATA (analogue telephone adapter) that connects to a router or modem or an IP phone that connects directly to a router or modem. The difference is that with an ATA you can use your existing phones to connect to the network. Once set up, you can use your broadband phone service to place or receive calls to or from anywhere in the world. One of the most attractive selling points of broadband phone service is the low cost of long distance and International calls.
Many IP phones service providers include extra services such as call waiting, voicemail, and caller ID at no additional cost. There are a few drawbacks that you need to be aware of if you are planning to switch to broadband phone service. You must, of course, have access to a high-speed Internet connection and if your Internet connection is down you lose your phone service until you get back on line. There are still some reliability and security issues but it's likely that these will soon be addressed as consumer and business demand for broadband phone service increases.
Gary Caskennette is the owner of VoIP Place, a news and information site about the rapidly developing technology of Voice over Internet Protocol. More information can be found at VoIP Place