By Bob Catanzarite
What is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. VOIP allows you to use your broadband internet connection to provide the telephone service that your phone company used to supply. At the time of this writing (November 2006) VOIP plans can be had for $15/month that offers 500 minutes per month of local and domestic long distance calling. Or for $25/month you can get unlimited local and domestic long distance calling. These plans allow you the same use of all your existing phones. If you're willing to use your PC and a headset instead of a conventional phone you can get plans for free or nearly free. With this you can now call your local and long distance phone service provider and tell them go jump in a lake. This will like result in a significant savings to you and can make the cost of upgrading to high speed Internet access look more cost effective. VOIP has several advantage over conventional phone service but also has some disadvantages. I'm not going into the details of that, you'll have to research weather VOIP is right for you. Look at all your option before deciding on one because you'll see dramatic difference between suppliers and plans.
My VOIP Steup
I have added Vontage VOIP telephone service to my Structured Wiring system and have cancelled my conventional phone service. Adapting my setup to accommodate VOIP was very easy, one of the beauties of a Structured Wiring system.
Here is an updated photo of my CWP with VOIP:
On the right hand side of my CWP you can see the Vonage VOIP adapter underneath the Linksys router.
You need to make three simple wiring changes/additions to accommodate the VIOP to a Structured Wiring setup:
1- Connect the VOIP interface box's INTERNET connection to one of your Internet's ethernet connection. This usually means connecting it to one of the ethernet ports on your router, or to a switch or hub output downstream of the router.
2- Isolate your phone network wiring from the telephone companies phone wiring feed.
3- Connect the VOIP interface's phone output to your phone network wiring. The VOIP interface is now feeding your phone network wiring instead of the phone company.
See an updated wiring diagram of the Data portion of my CWP shown below:
That takes care of the wiring side of things. There still is some configuring to the VOIP Interface that needs to be done - not necessarily a trivial task like they make it sound on the TV commercials. I'll leave you to struggle through that part of things with the help of the VOIP suppliers Getting Started guide.