Disadvantages of VoIP
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is changing the way many consumers are communicating with each other particularly over long distances, but also within the UK and many other countries. With the huge competition between telecommunication companies there are many advantages of VOIP, but with new technology there must also be some disadvantages.
For the average consumer these disadvantages tend to be nothing more than a minor glitch and are mainly related to the delay experienced in hearing the other person. Normal phone calls experience a delay of no more than 10 milliseconds, whereas VOIP callers can receive delays of up to 400 milliseconds, which means it can be difficult to carry out a normal conversation. The result of this can be either they hear themselves speaking or they talk-over the other person because they assumed that the other person was not replying to their comment. The reason for this delay is due to the compression, transmission, and uncompression that occurs with every VOIP transmission.
Potential users of VOIP should not be put off by this delay as it does not always occur and can be bearable if the cost of the call is free. However, once you start talking about business use of VOIP and many users calling over networks this delay can become more of a problem. Also, as all communications (internet, email, video conferencing, phone calls) are all using the same communication channel it is extremely difficult for a prospective user of VOIP to accurately judge the bandwidth they will require - they may significantly underestimate or over-estimate their usage, possibly making VOIP more expensive than it need be.
Firewalls can also cause a problem - remember the incoming calls are coming via the internet.
Other disadvantages include:
- VoIP may not work during power cuts.
- Free Software VoIP services obviously rely on you having your computer on and often the person you are calling having the same software, and their computer on.
- Hardware costs for businesses can be large depending on how many phones/internet connections they require.
Overall for the average consumer the disadvantages of VOIP can be dealt with and are nothing but niggles. Remember though that you may not be paying for your phone call so these problems should be taken in context. Business users may have more of a problem, but the cost savings should easily outweigh the disadvantages. We can probably safely assume that technology will improve and these problems will diminish.