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By Jaclyn Hurley

Because Internet telephony is not yet as widespread as cell phones, for example, it is less well known among people and in particular mobile operators, which compete with it by spreading myths and untruths with relish. The technology behind small business VOIP phone systems carries many advantages and has been accused of many things, which are not true, at best. This does not change the fact that phone calls over the Internet are much cheaper than any other telephony technologies in Vancouver, BC are.

The reason for the lower price is quite simple. Mobile operators had to build their expensive and expansive networks (laying wires, building transmission stations, etc.). Meanwhile, the VOIP operator uses an already existing network, called (you guessed it) "the Internet". Their costs are so much lower and therefore their prices are far cheaper.

Of course, no technology is foolproof, but with Internet telephony, the answer is simple: its reliability depends on the reliability of your Internet connection. If the quality is good (which today, with the vast majority of standard connections being ADSL or cable TV lines), outages are very rare and, moreover, usually only very short (seconds or fractions of seconds). Only in the case of obscure and low-quality Internet connections, will can be met with less reliability.

Operators that provide Internet calls, tend to approach customers fairly. Their fares are very simple, understandable and stable. They do not use the deliberately incomprehensible contracts and lengthy, unreadable General Terms of Service, with miniature printed letters. Operators that service smaller businesses are mostly small or medium companies, they run on domestic capital, unlike all mobile operators, which are owned by multinational corporations, tied to foreign capital.

To use VoIP services, it is not necessary to have a land-line or mobile phone, all you need is only a sufficiently fast connection to the Internet. This may be via an already fixed line - ADSL, mobile network - GSM, wired, Wi-Fi, or others. In recent times, even phone calls via landlines are no longer implemented via analog data transfer, so they are technically Voice Over IP as well.

Given that Wi-Fi Internet is now becoming more widespread, you can do beautiful mobile Internet calls, while you pay substantially less! Of course, if you prefer, you can do this "through a computer", for instance through the sound card, using a headset. The detractor would have you believe that when you make calls, you will get poor quality sound.

They myth about the bad quality of VOIP is also a favorite malicious lie from other, non- Internet based operators. The quality of the phone call, to the greatest extent, depends on two factors. They are the codec used and the throughput or availability of the line. The truth is that the operators use significantly, up to several times, faster codecs than mobile operators.

You may wonder what it means to digitize a voice transmission. Currently, you have primarily three ways to use Voice Over IP - Using a special phone, software, or using a client located in your cellphone. Getting started with this is neither hard, or confusing and the savings your business will make shall prove to be invaluable. Unlike most cost- saving investments, this will not on offer savings in the long- term, but right now as well.

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