Some disadvantages of VOIP technology for people and companies

Companies, startups, offices and even households are using VOIP technology to communicate with others and they are enjoying its incredible list of benefits. And yes, it is impossible to deny that VOIP technology has a number of advantages that make life easier and more dynamic when it comes to communication within companies and connectivity with the globalized world. Although benefits are undeniable, there are some drawbacks that are also visible and cannot be ignored and, even though VOIP technology is amazing, they have to be mentioned and analyzed before taking the decision of switching to the technology or continue using it at the company. Here are some disadvantages to keep in mind about VOIP.

The internet connection

Of course you need an internet connection to use VoIP and if the Internet goes down, like in any other place, you lose connectivity and communication. VOIP technology needs constant internet connection which means a constant energy source and an alternative energy source in case of a power outage. In addition, VOIP systems are vulnerable to hackers and viruses and in the new digital era this is something to consider. Another drawback related to the internet connection is that VOIP calls can experience poor quality service or a delay in the conversation, latency and parts of a conversation getting missed because of excessive traffic. Also, VOIP shares bandwidth with computers in the company and that means if one is being used too much, the other will suffer and their connectivity will be affected. Since there will be multiple users, companies have no way of knowing the number of users which will be online at the same time, so it is difficult to provide an adequate bandwidth at all times. To have a stable VOIP technology in the company, the management area needs some kind of stability in Internet data transfer to guarantee a good service and very few issues with the program.

VOIP needs power to work

VOIP technology is totally dependent on wall power, just the same as any other PC. This means that if there is a blackout or a power shortage your company will be in serious problems. This could be solved with an alternative energy source but that will mean extra costs for the company. If the possibility of this energy source exists, problem solved. The “normal” phones run on phantom power that is provided over the line from the central office. In an event where energy is not available, this type of phones will still work, unless it is a cordless phone. With VoIP, no power means no connection and no communication.

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Image courtesy of Nick_Shadow at Flickr.com

Integration with other devices

Companies and households have a lot of appliances that are integrated to into the phone line. Digital video recorders, digital subscription TV services, home security, alarm and call centers use systems that are connected through the standard phone line. At the moment there isn’t any solution to integrate these products with VoIP because this type of problem is relatively new. Companies in the communication industry have a big challenge ahead to integrate both technologies.

911 calls

Many people will think that this is not an issue to consider in VOIP technology. Of course, if you have never had to call 911 before. This could be an example on how VOIP and 911 calls can affect your safety:  “In 2005, two members of a family in the US were shot and the lives of other persons in the house were in danger. The house was equipped with a VoIP phone system. One person tried calling 911 but to no avail! Fortunately, he had time to use a neighbor´s PSTN phone. Later on, he sued the VoIP service providing company” .VoIP technology has a big problem with emergency calls, and service providers have been very slow to add it to their packages. The reasons for not including emergency calls in VoIP services are technical.  It is safer to have a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) phone, because even if you have a power cut you can still make calls and communicate with the outer world. Also, there’s no way to associate a geographic location with an IP address.  If the caller is unable to tell the operator his or her location, the operator and the system are not able to identify the location and there is no way to know which call center to route the emergency call to and which EMS should respond.  Something has to be done about this and fast.

Of course VOIP protocol has more advantages than drawbacks and it is impossible not to acknowledge its benefits for companies around the world, but there are some issues that need to be addressed or at least mentioned to have a complete picture of this communication tool.

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