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How to Compare VoIP to Landlines for Free

Updated on March 22, 2011

Need for VoIP Comparisons

There are two types of VoIP adopters - business and home users. While businesses have largely understood the benefits of using VoIP business phone solutions, home owners are taking it slow and the main reason is the fear that it won't work as well in various circumstances.

VoIP has been evolving over the years and it's no longer the newbie it once was. Almost every mobile operating system has VoIP applications and companies such as Skype and Vonage are getting bigger.

But given that VoIP is less mature than PSTN systems in many ways, it makes perfect sense to want to compare the two and find out whether or not it can serve your needs. The problem is that you don't want to install new equipment or get new service simply to test something. In this article, we look at different ways of testing VoIP without having to pay anything and to see whether the quality and availability match up to your regular phone.

VoIP Test Call
VoIP Test Call

Comparing VoIP to PSTN

The best way to test run a VoIP service and see whether or not there's any difference compared to a PSTN phone is to use free Internet voice applications. Take Google's voice services for example which they rolled out as part of Gmail last year. As of now, you can make calls to any US phone for free - something which no other service offers.

So get your microphone headset, plug it in, and make a test call from Gmail's interface. Call anyone you know and chat for at least ten minutes. Take in the voice quality and see how well it compares to what you're used to. Of course, your call is still using the PSTN system if you dialled a US number and so it can't be any better than your regular phone. But when you start talking to your Gmail chat buddies, the entire call is taking place over the Internet and can provide significantly better quality than a regular phone call.

If you're like most Internet users in the US, your bandwidth is more than sufficient to meet the meager needs of VoIP - and your experience making calls with Google or Skype will reflect this. If you want, you can install a bandwidth monitor and test how much bandwidth is coming and going during a phone call - it won't be much.

Firms using a small business PBX system will also want to test the service before implementing it but it's not as simple for them since they have multiple users and many more demands on the system. In their case, providers will be happy to organize test scenarios where they can see for themselves what the VoIP experience is like.


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