laptop security

VoIP Pros and Cons for Laptop Users

Depending on the type of VoIP connection there are different issues. Let's focus here on VoIP pros and cons for laptop users. Laptop users will usually make a VoIP connection by first downloading and installing a VoIP client. After a simple registration process the laptop user can start making free calls to others who have also installed the client and have access to a broadband connection. It's simple process.

voip pros and cons

VoIP Pros

  • Simplicity.
  • Free VoIP Calls. VoIP is all about lower cost communication.
  • Feature rich: call forward, voice mail, conferencing ?
  • VoIP technology is digital at its core - this means that VoIP is easily "integrated" with other digital applications e.g. video-conferencing, file transfer, image transfer, voice mail ?
  • Mobility - VoIP services are location independent. Users can make and pick up calls from anywhere.
  • IP - by definition VoIP is voice communication across an IP network. This means that all forms of communication (voice, video, email, Web ?) can be delivered to premises via a single connection (either wired or wireless).
  • Security - as a digital application VoIP communication can be securely encrypted and / or transmitted via a secure VPN.
  • VoIP quality of service will continue to improve. As technology advances and broadband speeds increase so will sound quality and redundancy features.
  • As more laptop users sign up the greater the potential for displacing plain old telephone systems (POTS). In the case of Skype VoIP, there are now tens of millions of people who can enjoy a free international VoIP conversation or at least substantially cheaper calls using SkypeOut .
  • VoIP has eliminated dependence on traditional telecom monopolies. In general the result has been a proliferation of competitive, customer service orientated providers.

The trend is our friend and VoIP is on a run, but to be balanced we need to also look at the other side of the VoIP pros and cons argument.

VoIP Cons

  • Unlike plain old telephone systems, VoIP calls cannot be made or received unless the laptop is powered up and the client loaded; that is unless you own one of these:
  • Netgear VoIP Skype Cordless Phone SPH200D-100NAS

    Netgear VoIP Skype Cordless Phone SPH200D-100NAS

    NETGEAR's Dual-mode Cordless Phone with Skype.

  • VoIP calls via laptop depend on the availability of mains or battery power and usually both if a wireless router is involved in the network.
  • Dependence on the availability of a broadband connection.
  • There is an issue with the traceability of VoIP calls, which together with the above "Cons" make VoIP unsuitable as the only means of making emergency calls.
  • Drop outs - usually these last for seconds or minutes, but a series of events in August '07 conspired to take Skype down for some 36 hours.
  • Voice quality: it's not as good as POTS, but then it's usually adequate. It's also getting better as technology improves.
  • VoIP security: the growing popularity of VoIP makes it a target for hackers and virus publishers who want to use VoIP as a vector to either eaves drop or siphon off data from laptops. The solution is to diligently apply the usual laptop security measures including: antivirus, encryption and VPNs.

VoIP is here to stay. It's a rapidly evolving technology. Today's list of VoIP pros and cons will look substantially different in the very near future.

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