What are the disadvantages?

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While VoIP initially looks "too good to be true" ... there are disadvantages, but they are unlikely to be much of an impediment to the average user. Disadvantages are:




To make free SIP calls, both you and the other party have to be on-line at the same time.

This was a major concern with dial-up Internet connections; but today's broadband Internet connections are designed to be 'always on'.


The Internet is unable to guarantee service quality - so if there is significant congestion on any part of the Internet between the calling parties, the voice quality may suffer.

Today ISPs (and their service providers) generally ensure that they have ample bandwidth available, and backup upstream connections - so it is uncommon to experience this type of disruption.


If your 'upstream' bandwidth becomes congested (say by you sending a large email) during a call, some of the packets containing your voice may get delayed and not arrive in time to be played, resulting in the other party hearing 'choppy' voice.

This can be remedied by enabling QoS (Quality of Service) on your router. See comments on QoS later in this topic, or in the QoS section of these FAQs.


Often you will only be able to call other subscribers of your VoIP Provider; or PSTN numbers.

The next version of SIP may allow any SIP devices to communicate irrespective of VoIP Provider.


The limitations of VoIP: no Emergency 000 calls, subject to power failure and network outages.

Read "What are the limitations of VoIP?" below.

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