Here are some choices for home and business phone services (your landlines):
Traditional copper wire phone service from your local telephone company or a business or community PBX. This choice generally provides the best quality, lowest delay, and highest reliability, and is often required if you have a home security system, fax, or certain other electronic home systems that require phone service. This is generally the most expensive service available. Call waiting, 3-way calling, and caller ID are usually extra charge options.
Cable company phone service is a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service. This is generally as reliable as your internet service. If you have great internet service, your cable phone service should be great as well. Cable phone service usually supports home security systems, fax, and other systems that require phone service. Cable phone service can be slightly less expensive than traditional phone service and usually provide features like caller ID, 3-way calling, and call waiting that are additional cost options on traditional copper wire phone services. Bundling it with other cable services may make it more cost effective. You can usually port your existing phone number over to your cable phone service.
AT&T U-verse® and Verizon Fios are fiber-based Voice over IP (VoIP) phone services provided by local phone companies, and are generally reliable. These phone services support home security systems, fax, and other systems that require phone service. They usually provide features like caller ID, 3-way calling, and call waiting that are additional cost options on traditional copper wire phone services. Bundling it with other services may make it more cost effective. You can port your existing phone number over to these services.
VoIP Services. Examples of VoIP services include Ooma®, PhonePower, Vonage®, and magicJack. Because VoIP uses internet packets that travel far and wide, the quality of these services is not as consistent as cable company and fiber based phone service. Lower cost can be a major benefit, though. And these services usually allow porting in your existing phone number. VoIP services sometimes do not support or can have trouble supporting fax machines, home security systems, and other electronic systems that require phone service. Depending on how robust your internet service is, dropped calls can be a problem. Many VoIP services provide features like 3-way calling, call waiting, and caller ID at no charge.
PhonePower (www.phonepower.com) has a very nice feature that should work well with TLC Plus and Guardian Plus. You can set it up so that two landline calls (using the same phone number) can be made or received at the same time. We have no personal experience with this service, but its feature set is excellent. It costs about the same per month (with a contract) as Ooma Premier (no contract required), but you don't have to buy a phone/network interface unit; they send you one for free.
Wireless home phone service. Companies that provide wireless home phone service include Verizon, NET10, AT&T, and Walmart's Straight Talk®. These typically provide better-than-mobile-phone audio quality, but less-than-VoIP audio quality, and they don't require a home network, internet router, or internet service. This wireless service is at least if not more reliable than your mobile phone is when you use it at home. Like choice #4, these services usually allow porting in your existing phone number. Although they do not support fax machines, home security systems, and other electronic systems that require phone service, they generally only drop phone calls in fringe reception areas. These phone services usually provide call waiting, 3-way calling, and caller ID at no charge.
Choosing home and business phone services may take some time and research, as this arena is constantly changing. But you may find that there are many benefits to taking the plunge. We hope that this summary has simplified the process for you and eliminated some of the unknowns about this type of technology.
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