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VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, has become a standard part of many business phone systems and has fair usage in people 鈥檚 homes as well, its main strengths being its cost and versatility. The costing for VoIP tends to be much cheaper than traditional charging methods due to the method in which it is charged, which is by the amount or number of packets of data. Since the amount of data used by an audio conversation is typically fairly low, charging by length of time on the phone normally results in larger call costs. On top of this, packet data connections aren 鈥檛 bound by location. As soon as something enters the World Wide Web, its location becomes irrelevant; so long distance calls typically cost exactly the same as short distance calls. This provides a major advantage for multinational businesses which may require cross country or even cross continent phone calls to be made on a daily basis. The versatility of VoIP is significant because of its potential to work with such a wide variety of equipment. All that is required in essence is a computer and a headset, though VoIP systems can be as complex as required. Additional services, which may cost extra in standard phone systems, can also be much cheaper in VoIP services since the configuration is normally completely cloud based, and as such upgrades normally only require a software update rather than a hardware update. This can be especially useful setting up special features which may otherwise require significant investment, such as a single phone number for multiple offices or call centres; potentially a monumental task for some phone systems, but quite easily set up 鈥渋 n the cloud 鈥?for VoIP PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems. Another advantage is its use of the internet, which is something most modern companies have access to. Since VoIP software can often be set up on existing hardware, which may already be owned by a given company, it is possible in many situations to completely avoid capital cost when installing a VoIP service, although due to extra bandwidth requirements, monthly costs for the internet may have to be increased. VoIP services have not always been so perfect, however. VoIP has taken a long time coming to the point it is at now, the largest concern being the reliance on packet data transfer. If a VoIP system is run over an existing, non dedicated internet connection, it is common to suffer with latency issues which can cause inaudible conversations and as with all digital media, due to the packet organisation of the data there is the risk of 鈥渏 itter 鈥? On top of this, VoIP is typically wholly dependent on mains electricity to run, so an outage of power or internet services may render the whole communication network unusable. There are currently many advantages to VoIP technology, and it is getting better as the internet infrastructure becomes more and more defined. It is definitely worth your consideration. Just be careful to avoid cowboy operations who may provide systems still plagued with yesteryear 鈥檚 problems. The author works for a VoIP service provider who provide business telephone systems with VOIP Services.