VoIP Australia - Voice Over Internet Protocol

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VoIP phones in Australia have been rapidly growing and more business and families are turning to VoIP to reduce their phone bill.

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) utilizes the Internet to carry voice calls to any telephone worldwide.

This service is not designed to replace your traditional telephone connection but its meant to supply you cheaper call rates by taken advantage of Internet technology. You traditional telephone line will still be necessary if you connect to the internet via your telephone like ADSL. It is also necessary incase of an Australian emergency call for example 000. Since all called are made from a Internet server the operator is unable to locate where you are making the call from, so in an emergency call you must tell the operator your location.

How does VoIP work ?

Use VoIP like you use any telephone - you pick up the phone, hear the dial tone and dial the telephone number of your choice. There are no extra numbers to dial and no special routines to follow. You don't have to be a tech wizard to use our service, only someone who wants a great price and great features from their phone company every day.

And if you'd like to surf the web and use your VoIP service at the same time, the phone adapter can share your Broadband Internet connection with your computer. Talk on the phone and surf the net with ease. (Depending on your home network setup, this may require additional equipment.)

Free calls to Australian landline and mobile phones?

Currently no VoIP company will give you free calls to Australian landline and mobile phones. Most VoIP phone companies offer user to user free talk because it over their own network and cost almost nothing.

Some companies offer limited time free calls to Australian landline and mobile phones just as a promotion to get new customer but I’ve never seen any company offer it long term.

What Service Standards / quality can I expect ?

Normally VoIP call quality can be as good as a PSTN or mobile call, but at times it's less perfect due to deteriorated network conditions.

Internet protocols are designed to be fault-tolerant - if a particular path is unavailable or overly congested, packets may find another path. When "surfing" this can result in pages taking longer than usual to display - but still displaying.  However voice conversation is time-critical, and any delay may result in some packets arriving too late, and so being dropped from audio being played at the other end.

Note that all Internet access is provided on a "best effort" basis. No one person, company or organisation owns or operates the Internet - instead the Internet is made up of a lot of privately owned networks which are interlinked. While each provider does their best, sometimes faults do occur, and these can have a ripple affect causing congestion on other routes.

Quality of Service (QoS) support is desirable, because this can give your VoIP packets priority over other data packets, and so minimises the effects of data congestion on your VoIP service.

What kind of quality can I expect from VoIP?

Generally you can expect the same quality as a conventional telephone or cell phone call; though this depends on available bandwidth and the devices used at the endpoints.

All but the slowest Broadband speeds offer sufficient bandwidth to support high quality VoIP telephone calls. Coupled with the appropriate interface devices, these calls are indistinguishable from a traditional telephone call.

To get good quality voice the telecom carriers that the VoIP Providers uses shoud be within Australia.

What are the limitations of VoIP?

  • Emergency 000 calls : VoIP service providers are unable to pass your street address details to emergency services at this point in time..
  • Some VoIP provider do not support calls to Australian 1800, 1900 or 13 numbers.
  • Power failure at your location will almost certainly render your Internet modem and VoIP device inoperable. Some VoIP devices (e.g. DrayTek 2100 and 2500) can make PSTN calls during power failure.
  • Network outages: As mentioned above, there is no guarantee of availability or 100% quality, due to communication outages or congestion beyond VoIP's control.

How does VoIP provide access?

You need to enter correct configuration details of your account and device, so VoIP server accepts your registration and assign access to you.  These details include: your VoIP number, your password, the VoIP server URL (sip.VoIP.com), the port numbers (TCP 5060, RTP/UDP 10050 – 10500) or STUN server (e.g., stun.voip.net).

With some Australian VoIP Providers you cannot to call Australian 1800, 1900 or 13 numbers; or toll-free numbers in other countries.

Is it safe to enter my credit card details online?

if the VoIP website is run from a secure web service then yes, you should notice the lock symbol in the browsers status bar, and that https: protocol is used. 

Why should I look for in a VoIP provider?

There are many VoIP providers, and more starting each week. Factors which you should consider include:

  • What type of calls do you expect to make ? On-net, Local, National and International ? Compare call costs, for the destinations you frequently call.
  • Which features do you require ? E.g. VoiceMail, PSTN gateway (for outgoing calls), DID (local PSTN phone number), Caller ID. 

    VoIP has been providing low cost National and International PSTN calls since it started.  We have recently (Dec'05) added Voicemail, and DID is planned for January '06.
  • Cost of calls ? The providers association with Australian's major Telecom carriers (Optus, AAPT, Telstra and any other they may use) means they can pass the benefits of huge buying power on to their customers in the form of everyday low call rates.
  • To get good quality voice the telecom carriers that the VoIP Providers uses shoud be within Australia.
  • Quality of calls ?  On-net calls travel directly between your VoIP phone and the callee's VoIP device, so are outside VoIP's direct control.  For calls to PSTN numbers, VoIP uses premium-grade connections through Optus, AAPT and Telstra. 

VoIP uses the SIP standard, so should work with all VoIP hardware and softphones.  Note however that some VoIP providers “lock” the devices they sell to prevent you from changing to another provider.

Remember that the usefulness of any phone is directly related to the number of people you can call with it. For instance there's not much point having a phone connected to an on-net-only provider (e.g. IPTel.org) if you don't know anyone else who is an IPTel.org member. Similarly if many of your contacts are already using Skype, then Skype must be a strong contender, even if Skype doesn't provide Australian local calls.

Can I connect to several VoIP Providers?

Some SIP devices allow for simultaneous connection to multiple VoIP providers; unfortunately most do not. Another method would be to use an IP PBX, such as an Asterisk server.

But with one provider with low call rates and high call quality, is another VoIP provider really required?


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