One of the great things about VoIP is the large number of value added features available to the user. Many are free and for some advanced features you may have to pay a small amount. The range of features and whether they are fee-based or free depends on the VoIP service provider.
Here are some of the general features that most VoIP services provide. Some you may be familiar with from your phone company, but even here the additional functions are many.
Call blocking: You can specify numbers you do not want to receive calls from and these will be blocked.
Caller ID with name: Both the number and the name of the person calling you is displayed.
Call forwarding: When you are going out calls can be forwarded to another number or to a voice mailbox.
Voice mail: If you can’t accept a call for any reason, the caller is diverted to a voice mail box where he can leave a message for you to be retrieved later.
Call waiting: When you are on a call and someone is trying to phone you, you get an indication and can choose whether to stay with the existing call or switch to the new one.
Three-way calling: You can talk to two different people at the same time either by accepting a call waiting incoming call or initiating a second call while the first is active.
Last number re-dial: One button is all you need to press to dial the last number called.
Number portability: Most service providers will allow you to transfer your old phone number to your VoIP phone.
Anonymous call blocking: This is a blessing to those pestered by anonymous calls. You can block any call that does not have an originating number. Since genuine callers do not conceal their identity, you will not miss any important calls.
Telemarketer blocking: Telemarketers use hardware that causes a pause of a few seconds before the connection is completed. With this feature you can block calls that have this pause.
Area code choice: You can choose an area code that meets your needs. For example, a person moving away from home can choose to retain the home area code so that when the family calls, it will be a local call and not long distance.
Multi-ring: Incoming calls can set to ring on multiple phones – cell phone, landline, office phone, etc. – either all at once or sequentially. When one phone answers, the others stop ringing. This way you can be available at multiple locations with one VoIP phone number.
No national long distance charges: There are no long distance charges for VoIP calls – anywhere in the country is included in your flat fee; and overseas calls are typically assessed at a low per-minute fee.
A fixed monthly bill: Most service provider’s offer fixed monthly plans with unlimited calls so you can plan your budget easily.
Distinctive ring tones: Different ring tones can be assigned to different numbers so the ring itself tells you who is calling.
Number unavailable forwarding: If your broadband connection is down, all incoming calls are automatically routed to a pre-assigned number so you will not miss calls due to internet non availability.