Unless you have had your head in the sand lately you will have heard of VOIP. Everyone seems to be talking about VOIP, but you can be forgiven for probably not knowing much about it. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and if you believe the media hype this new phone service is about to revolutionise the telecommunications market. As with a lot of new technological developments there are a few causes for concerns that you probably will not hear the marketing campaigns talk about.

What is it?

Just to give you a bit of background lets take a look at how VOIP works for those of you that are unsure. You will need to have a broadband Internet connection and to then open an account with one of the many new VOIP providers. By having an account with a VOIP provider you will be able to make a telephone call through your computer and its Internet connection. Many VOIP providers will allow you to call another user on their system for free or phone a standard telephone number for a low cost. Without getting too technical, VOIP works by converting your voice into lots of small packets of data. These data packets are then routed through the Internet to your VOIP provider's servers, and then onto the person you are calling. The reason people are raving about this new service is the cost. It is much cheaper than a standard fixed line telephone and you will also get all the same services.

Is there a downside?

Now we do not want to put you off setting up a VOIP service, but we think you should know a couple of things before you do. Obviously low cost telephone calls is a very attractive offer, but there are drawbacks to VOIP. One a major issue you need to be aware of is that a VOIP service requires you to have a power supply, as it requires your computer to be on. This means should your electricity be out you will not be able to use your phone. In some circumstances this could just be a minor inconvenience, but in an emergency situation it may be much more serious. In heavy storms and natural disasters electricity power is often lost first. Would you really want to be without a phone?

Should your PC decide to stop working for whatever reason, you'll be left without a phone. Computers are prone to crashing and should this happen, you will not be able to make any phone calls. A concern of a different issue, is one of security. Because your phone calls will be transported as data via the Internet, you will be opening up the possibility of having your phone system hacked into. A scary thought, especially for business users.

As we said previously, it is not our intention to put you off VOIP. We actually think it is a great service with so much going for it. It is something that you should look into setting up, and you can find out the most current developments from our website (link below). We just want to give you the full picture though so you can make an informed choice.

Take a look at VOIP Basics top ten things you need to know.

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.

VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is a new way for you to make a telephone call.

You will need to get yourself a broadband internet connection in order to set up a VOIP service.

There are more and more companies setting up VOIP services. Skype is probably the most known.

VOIP works by converting the sound of your voice into tiny packets of data and then transmitting these via the internet.

Your PC needs to be on in order to use a VOIP service, which could be a drawback should your electricity be off.

VOIP services provide extremely cheap calls.

Think about the possible security issues as your internet connection could be hacked.

Should your PC get a virus this could stop you using the phone if you are on a VOIP service.

Many VOIP providers will allow you to call another of there users for free anywhere in the world.

Seymour Brown writes articles for http://www.voip-basics.com