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Getting Started With VoIP

Welcome to Accidental IT, a series of technical how-tos for people whose job descriptions don't necessarily include tech support but who often find themselves doing just that for their co-workers.

One year ago it was necessary to fully explain just what VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) was. Today Internet-based phone calls are common advertising subjects aimed primarily at consumers. But what about business use of VoIP?

Questionable call quality has all but disappeared, and VoIP has been gaining popularity for business use for several reasons, but the most prominent one is reduced overall cost. Cost reductions can come from reduced phone carrier charges as well as through reduced wiring costs. Bypassing long distance, and even local phone charges is something consumer phone customers now expect because these services use their existing high speed Internet connections, and the services typically allow calls to be placed anywhere within the United States and Canada at no charge.

For businesses, all these benefits hold true and more. But you need to be careful about choosing a service that is more appropriate for business than for consumer needs. Here's a primer to get you up to speed on VoIP right away.

Types of service

VoIP service plans span a wide range of offerings, some of which are appropriate for the corporate environment, and some more suited to the SOHO and consumer market.

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