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Frequently Asked Questions > GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

About The Internet and VoIP Technology:

What is VOIP?

The VoIP (Voice Over IP) protocol allows you to make and receive phone calls through your broadband Internet connection using a standard touch-tone phone.

You make a call using VoIP by dialing a number on your phone, as you always have.

To receive a call using VoIP, simply pick up your phone when it rings, as you always have.

All VoIP calls are carried over the Internet until each call needs to be directed to a regular phone line. This allows you to save money on local, long distance, and international calls. When you sign up, you are also given a new phone number that others can use to call you on your new VoIP service (though you may also be able to transfer your old phone number to the VoIP service). You will then be able to keep this phone number, no matter where or how often you move.

VoIP provides the same quality as a traditional phone service, and you get more features for less money.

  • Substantial savings compared to traditional phone services
  • Regular local phone service is no longer needed
  • Ability to move anywhere and keep the same number
  • Detailed online tracking to monitor your account activity
  • Phone features not offered by traditional phone providers

What is a broadband Internet connection?

Broadband Internet access is a service that provide very fast Internet access, sufficient to carry multiple data transmissions simultaneously. There are several types of broadband connections including:

  • Cable modem
  • DSL
  • T-1
  • Fractional T-1
  • T-3

The voice quality of VoIP is dependent on the speed and quality of your internet connection. Most broadband Internet connections are fast enough to support BroadVoice service.

Note: BroadVoice service is not recommended for use with dial-up Internet access.


Do I need a computer?
Do I need to have my computer turned on to talk on the phone?

No. The BroadVoice service works independently from your computer, so you do not need a computer. Additionally, your computer does not need to be turned on when using BroadVoice. You do need to have a broadband Internet connection.


Do the people I call need a computer?

No. They only need a working phone. They will not even be aware you are calling using BroadVoice, though we hope that you let them know!


Must I speak through the computer to use your service?

No. BroadVoice does not require a computer. You speak through an ordinary touch-tone telephone connected to a BroadVoice-provided adapter.

That said, The BroadVoice service DOES support Soft Phone clients for your PC or laptop so if you want to talk through your computer, you can. A Soft Phone client is software that, once installed and executed, allows you to make calls through your computer using a microphone and speakers (for an example of softphones, see X-Ten ). The sound quality will depend upon your computer’s audio equipment.


Which VoIP codecs are supported by BroadVoice?

BroadVoice currently support the G711u codec. BroadVoice intends to support others in the future, including G726-32 at 32kbps and G729a at 8kbps.

 

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BroadVoice Basics:

What is required to use the BroadVoice service?

Please see our requirements page.


Is BroadVoice service cell phone or wireless phone service?

No. BroadVoice is not a cellular phone service provider. BroadVoice allows customers to make and receive telephone calls using their broadband Internet connections. However, you can connect wireless (cordless) telephones to a BroadVoice adaptor.


Does the person I am calling need to have BroadVoice service too?

No. You can call anyone at any phone number using the BroadVoice service. Calls to other BroadVoice numbers are always free of charge. Indeed, some BroadVoice customers have saved thousands of dollars by purchasing two BroadVoice lines, one for themselves and another for their friend, relative, or remote business office.


What types of telephones work with your service?

Virtually any touch-tone telephone can be used with the BroadVoice service. Corded and cordless telephones both work well. Chances are your current phones will work perfectly.


Can I use my answering machine with BroadVoice?

The BroadVoice service includes free voicemail. So, an answering machine is not necessary. If you prefer to use an answering machine, remember to turn off your BroadVoice voicemail feature by accessing the BroadVoice Account Portal.

The default setting for voicemail is ‘on’ when you first activate your BroadVoice service.


Can I use my fax machine with BroadVoice?

Though BroadVoice customers have experienced high success in placing and receiving fax transmissions, BroadVoice has not yet certified support for fax.


How many phone lines can I have?

As many as you would like, and you save money every month on each one. Currently, BroadVoice supports one primary line per device/account. Therefore, if you would like an additional primary number, you will need to open an additional account.

Alternate phone numbers are $1.95 per month, and you can add up to two alternate numbers to each primary line. Alternate numbers cannot be configured to different settings from the primary line. They simply ring to the primary line.

Learn more about Alternate Phone Numbers.


Is BroadVoice service Apple Macintosh compatible?

Yes. Your BroadVoice service and web account is accessible via any modern web browser, and from any Internet connection, world-wide. PC or Mac, Windows or OSX, it's your choice.


Can I use multiple phone extensions with the phone adapter?

There are four ways to plug multiple handsets into your Phone Adapter. Currently, only phone port 1 is active on BroadVoice-supplied telephone adapters.

  1. You can purchase a multi-line adapter jack, and then connect it to the phone port of the Phone Adapter. This will allow you to have multiple phones wired on a single BroadVoice line. These adapters are readily available at retail locations that sell home telephone accessories, such as RadioShack.
  2. Some BroadVoice customers use cordless phone systems that come with a base unit and extra handsets. The base station of the cordless telephone plugs directly into the Phone Adapter. Multiple handsets can be placed anywhere in the house. Cordless phone systems are available at most retail consumer electronics stores.
  3. You can purchase wireless phone jacks. The base unit connects to the Phone Adapter and the wireless jacks plug into your household electrical outlets. A telephone connects to the wireless jack. Please note that only the phone attached to the base unit will display Caller ID information. Although wireless phone jacks may accomplish multiple phone extensions, you may periodically experience dropped calls on the extension phones and an inability to talk on more than one phone at a time. Wireless phone jack equipment is available at RadioShack and other telephone accessories retailers.
  4. Some of BroadVoice customers have considered plugging the Phone Adapter directly into the existing telephone wiring in their homes, attempting to distribute BroadVoice service to all the existing phone jacks throughout their home. The manufacturer of the adapter does not recommend hooking anything to the adapter other than a telephone. BroadVoice recommends that you seek advice and direction from an electrician or someone who is familiar with internal telephone wiring on how to best connect it to your current household wiring to take advantage of multiple handsets. We would advise that you pre-check the wiring on the jacks to make sure you don't have live PSTN voltage on the jacks before connecting them to the Phone Adapter. If your home has a network interface, you may be able to unplug your wiring from the PSTN. The status of your phone wiring can be determined using a line tester, such as those that are available at RadioShack.

Any damage resulting from practices contrary to manufacturers recommendations for the Phone Adapter will not be covered by warranty.


Can I still use the Internet while making calls?

Yes. Your computer and the BroadVoice service can share your Internet Connection


Does BroadVoice provide 911 or E911 services?

Yes, but BroadVoice 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. Learn More about EMERGENCY 911 SERVICE.


Can I use your service with my home alarm system or personal emergency response services company?

You may connect any telephone communication device to your BroadVoice adaptor. However, BroadVoice recommends that you keep a simple phone line for a home alarm or personal emergency response device. Remember, the BroadVoice service depends upon your broadband Internet connection, and electric power. If the connection goes down, or if power is not available, you will not be able to make or receive calls, nor will your alarm system. Please consult with a qualified alarm system technician before connecting your alarm system to a BroadVoice line.

 

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BroadVoice and Your Internet Service Provider (ISP):

Is Internet service provided with my BroadVoice account?

No. BroadVoice is not an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and does not provide Internet service. You must already have broadband Internet service to use BroadVoice.


How fast of an Internet connection do I need to use BroadVoice?

To use the BroadVoice service, the only requirement is a high-quality broadband connection. BroadVoice recommends at least 128kbs of bandwidth (64kbs uplink and 64 kbs downlink) be available per phone line. Although 128kbs is the minimum required, we recommend 150kbs to allow for a buffer of 22kbs for Internet usage (web browser and email) while talking on the phone.


Does BroadVoice work with dial-up Internet access?

BroadVoice is not recommended for dial-up Internet connections, due to the slow speed of dial-up modems. To use BroadVoice you must have a broadband Internet service. See also: What is broadband?


Does BroadVoice work with satellite-provided Internet service?

No. At this time, BroadVoice service does not support Internet service provided by satellite.


Does BroadVoice work with America Online DSL?

No. At this time, AOL Broadband service does not support BroadVoice.


Does BroadVoice work with Windows Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)?

No. BroadVoice does not recommend ICS for Windows. The default lease time is automatically set for only 6 minutes. The Phone Adapter needs a virtually infinite lease time. Otherwise the phone adapter may reboot in the middle of a call. We recommend that you purchase a DSL/Cable web-safe router that will provide NAT and DHCP for your network.

 

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BroadVoice Features:

What Basic Features are offered by BroadVoice?

View a complete list of Basic Features.
All of our Basic calling features are included in your monthly plan at no additional charge.


What Advanced Features are offered by BroadVoice?

View a complete list of Advanced Features.
All of our Advanced calling features are included in your monthly plan at no additional charge.


What Premium Features are offered by BroadVoice?

View a complete list of Premium Features.
Premium Features add specialized optional functions to your BroadVoice number and can be added anytime your calling needs change.

 

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