Thinking About VoIP?

Voice over IP (VoIP) is a set of technologies that allows you to make and receive telephone calls over a broadband connection. You don't need a dedicated phone line to do this, but you do need a good broadband connection.

VoIP works with the major broadband networks in the UK like BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk and so on. If you're using a more unusual solution you might have some problems. For example, if you're on satellite broadband, you'll probably experience a time delay in your phone calls - just like calling internationally back in the day, because your call is being beamed way up into space and back. For this reason, we wouldn't generally recommend using VoIP in conjunction with satellite broadband.

When you travel overseas, VoIP should work in most places with a decent broadband connection. Be aware that a few countries block all VoIP traffic so their telephone companies can carry on charging whopping rates for international calls. Also, if your connection speed is very slow, you might notice a degradation of voice quality: although VoIP doesn't use much bandwidth it doesn't like being pushed around by other traffic competing for a small amount of broadband capacity. If you're connected to corporate LAN and having problems, have a word with the systems administrator to see if they can help you.

It is possible, but unlikely unless you are on the phone for hours on end and have a broadband package with a very low usage allowance.

As a rough guide, assume that each minute of conversation results in 2 Megabytes of data transfer. Thus, even if your monthly allowance was only 5 Gigabytes, that would equate to 2,500 minutes of telephone calls!

First of all, check that your broadband connection is working OK by opening a new web page. Try something other than your normal home page, because this might be cached in your browser and come up OK even when your connection is down. If your broadband is down, contact your broadband provider or your LAN administrator, but check you've got all the cables plugged into the right places first (if you're using cables).

Assuming you're broadband is working OK, check the home page of your VoIP provider - if there are any major service outage problems they will hopefully post information about them there.

Next, check your emails to see if your VoIP provider has sent you a message, for example about your credit levels, any planned maintenance or unusual activity on your account.

Nothing in your inbox (or junkmail) from your VoIP provider? OK, if you are using a SIP phone (an IP telephone handset), check that it's working OK. Have a look at the manual for the handset if you're in doubt about how to do this. You can try the sophisticated engineering solution: turn it off and on again. It's surprising how often this works.

If you're using a softphone (that is, a VoIP app on your computer or mobile phone) or a fax app, try restarting the app, and if that doesn't work, re-start your computer or mobile phone just to be sure.

If you have access to the broadband router on your premises, try re-booting that too. But don't get into trouble for doing that without the permission of the administrator, if you have one.

Right....if none of that works, it's time to get in touch with your VoIP provider and ask them to try to figure it out. Please be sure to tell them about anything out of the ordinary that you may have done or noticed before the problems occurred.

VoIP won't carry on working if there is a power cut to your premises unless you have a backup power supply for all the electronic equipment needed by the VoIP service - i.e. for your handset/adaptor/computer, plus any broadband routers on your premises.

If your credit runs out, you won't be able to make or receive phone calls. However, it's generally very easy to top up your credit online, and that should get you back up and running in a jiffy. If you like, ask your VoIP provider to email you when your credit gets low, or to automatically top up your account if it gets low.

If you bought your handset from your VoIP provider, they should send you detailed and simple instructions on how to get the handset working with them and/or you might well be able to view the necessary information in your customer portal. If you're using your own handset, check to see whether it's one your VoIP provider sells, and if so, check to see if you can download/view the guide for that handset from your provider's website. If it's not one they sell, then try the web site of the manufacturer or supplier.

If you're using a softphone or fax app check to see whether it's one your VoIP provider has tested. If it is, they may well have a guide to using it that you can download/view again from your customer portal.

Please send us an email and we will do what we can to provide you with the answer. If we think the answer will also be useful to others, then we will add it to our FAQs on this page.

Miso Communications

Miso Communications provides Voice over IP solutions to both businesses and consumers. Whatever your needs, or indeed questions, visit our web site for more information. Or send us an email - we'd love to hear from you!