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Date: 07 Apr 2005
Time: 12:06:10 -0400
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol has become fery popular lately, but many questions about performance, security, and pricing remain. Generally speaking, if it's free, it isn't a business class service, so put down the VOIP enabled instant messaging software and contact an actual service vendor like Vonage, or Verizon. Both companies offer cut rate pricing and a host of services you couldn't get without running your own PBX service. As for performance, the Internet doesn't route based on QOS (Quality of Service) header information as a general rule and the quality of your calls will vary somewhat. In my own experience with a committed information rate broadband service, call quality with Vonage is superb and delays are not noticeable. Your mileage may vary depending on your connection and Internet traffic in general. As for security, there are some concerns. Traffic can be captured and decoded fairly easily at any point where a single call might be routed, if it passes almost entirely through that router or connecting line. Laws concerning this are nearly as protective as those governing unathorized wire tapping and finding the line is much harder. The biggest threat to VOIP is from spoofing. A hacker may take your number and use it on your service. This is similar to cell phone cloning in practice, but usually with much lower resulting bills. The short answer is that VOIP offers comparable service to traditional circuit switched land lines at a reduced price and doesn't reduce security.