Category Archives: Physical Layer

568A and 568B Wiring Standards

What is 568A and 568B?

568A and 568B are wiring standards used to arrange the array of pins in 8P8C (sometimes erroneously referred to as RJ-45) connectors. These connectors in turn switched to the UTP or Unshielded Twisted Pair wire scheme. The number 568 indicates the arrangement of individual wires inside a CAT 5 cable. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Electronics Industry Association (EIA) developed these 568 standards. The American National Standard Institutes (ANSI) then approved it. Most of the organizations in the world adopted these standards.

Difference between 568A and 568B

Cables used for eight-position 8P8C modular plugs generally consist of 8 wires twisted together in four pairs, wherein the pairs are identified by a primary color. These pairs of wires carry a signal to a destination and back.

The 568A wiring standard is the ideal wiring prototype for standard use because it allows reverse compatibility to both one and two pairs Universal Service Order Codes (USOC) wiring. Regulations in the United States require the use of the 568A standard for wiring installations under federal contracts.

However, the 568B is the most commonly used wiring system in the industry today as it goes with the AT&T 258A color scheme. This allows one pair for backward compatibility with the USOC wiring method.

One way to physically identify the difference between the two wiring standards is through their green and orange wires, as these are interchanged.

568A Wiring Color Codes

The table below illustrates the pairing of the wires to an 8P8C jack:

Color Pair Jack Pin Plug Pin
white-green 3 – TIP 1 8
green 3 – Ring 2 7
white-orange 2 – TIP 3 6
blue 1 – Ring 4 5
white-blue 1 – TIP 5 4
orange 2 – Ring 6 3
white-brown 4 – TIP 7 2
brown 4 – Ring 8 1

568B Wiring Color Codes

The table below illustrates the order in which wire pairs are connected to an RJ-45 jack:

Color Pair Jack Pin Plug Pin
white-orange 2 – TIP 1 8
orange 2 – Ring 2 7
white-green 3 – TIP 3 6
blue 1 – Ring 4 5
white-blue 1 – TIP 5 4
green 3 – Ring 6 3
white-brown 4 – TIP 7 2
brown 4 – Ring 8 1

Fiber Optic SC Connector and Propagation Modes

What is an optical fiber connector?

An optical fiber connector is a mechanical device that is attached to the end of an optical fiber cable, and allows for quicker connection and disconnection than splicing. These devices mechanically couple and align the fibers to allow light to pass through effectively. In addition, a connector physically marks the area where signal power can be lost in the premises.

What is an SC connector?

The SC in its name stands for “subscriber connector”, which is a multi-purpose push/pull style connector with a locking tab developed by NTT. These connectors are often used for newer network applications that utilize single-mode and multimode fiber optic cables. It provides for accurate alignment through its ceramic ferrules. Common matched SC connectors are rated with 1000 mating cycles with an insertion loss of 0.25 dB.

What is mode of propagation?

There are generally two propagation modes for fiber optic cables, namely single-mode and multimode. Each mode functions differently in terms of attenuation and time dispersion. These can be further subdivided into multimode step index, single-mode step index, single-mode dual-step index, and multimode graded index. The type of mode exhibited by a fiber optic cable depends on the cable dimension and the indices of refraction.

  1. Multimode Step Index
  2. A fiber optic cable that demonstrates multimode propagation with step index profile is distinguished by greater time dispersion and higher attenuation. It is the least expensive amongst the propagation modes and predominantly used in premises environment. This type of cable is most ideal for linked lengths of over 5 kilometers, and can be made out of glass, plastic, or PCS. A typical cable’s MMF core diameter is set at 50 or 62.5m.

  3. Single-Mode Step Index
  4. A fiber optic cable that exhibits single-mode propagation with a step index profile is distinguished by minimum time dispersion and attenuation. As it is the most expensive type of cable that is used in premises environment, it is most often used with metropolitan- and wide-area networks. Local area networks have also been using single mode fiber optic cables with a step index profile since it has been continuously extending over greater distances.

    Its typical core diameter is set at an exceedingly small range of 8 microns to 10 microns, whilst its standard cladding diameter is set at 125 microns. This type of cable is often made out of silica glass.

  5. Single-Mode Dual-Step Index
  6. Fiber optic cables that exhibit single-mode propagation with a refractive index called dual-step index is characterized by extremely low macrobending losses, two zero-dispersion points, and a lower dispersion over a wider wavelength range. It is set with dual clad fiber, which is also known as depressed-clad fiber.

  7. Multimode Graded Index
  8. Fiber optic cables demonstrating a multimode propagation with a refractive index profile known as graded index is distinguished by levels of attenuation and minimum time dispersion. Fibers in this cable have a higher refractive index in the core that gradually decreases as it extends outward from the cylindrical axis. The core and the cladding are treated as a single graded unit.

    The cost of multimode cables with a graded index is between that of the other cables that exhibit the other propagation modes. They usually have core diameter set at 50, 62.5, and 85 microns, whilst its cladding diameter is often at 125 microns. This type of fiber optic cable is often used in premise data communication.

For more information on SC Connector read:

  • SC Connector
  • SC Connector
  • How to Make Ethernet Cables

    Ethernet is an indispensable component of Internet and home networks. Majority of the home networks use Ethernet cables to join either their routers to their computers, or their modem to their router. These are particularly essential for users who have not yet opted for wireless equipment.

    Ethernet cables are never cheap. Prices escalate when one buys a 20+ feet prefabricated cable from electronic retail shops. However, it is cheaper to make your own Ethernet cable.

    Supplies Needed for Making Ethernet Cables

    • Category 5 (CAT 5) Ethernet Cable – a cable without terminals on it
    • Wire Cutter/Stripper – an indispensable tool to fabricate Ethernet Cable
    • RJ45 Connectors – these are the terminals at the ends of the cable
    • RJ45 Crimping Tool – a tool used to crimp the tops of the cable
    • Network Cable Tester – a gadget that tests if cables are working properly

    Ethernet Cable Making Instructions

    1. Measure the desired length of your cable, making sure it is not too long or too short, then affix 5 inches more. These extra inches will allow you some slack and give you space to work on.
    2. Strip approximately one inch off the cable.
    3. Untwist the cables until the rubber shield is reached, exposing a little of copper which will join the RJ45 connector.
    4. Position the wire correctly.
    5. For normal ends, the order of the connection starting from the top of the connector should be white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown, and brown.
    6. For crossover cables: white-green, green, white-orange, blue, white-blue, orange, white-brown, and brown.
    7. Put the RJ45 connector on. The copper ends should touch the plates in the connector. If this is not the case, review and rearrange the wires so all of them connect.
    8. Crimp the wire using the RJ45 crimping tool. This completes the procedure for one end of the cable.
    9. Do the steps 2-8 for the next end.
    10. Connect the cable to the tester and see if all lights turn green. If all lights turn green, your cable is working properly. If they do not, cut the RJ-45 connector off and re-terminate the ends of the cable with a new one.

    Fiber Optic ST Connector and Propagation Modes

    A fiber optic connector is a mechanical device mounted at the end of an optical fiber to facilitate quicker connection and disconnection with a similar device. It mechanically couples and aligns the fibers to allow light to effectively pass through. It also indicates the area in the premises fiber optic data where there might be losses of signal power and the Ber might be affected by a mechanical link.

    What is an ST connector?

    An ST connector is a plug and socket type of connector that uses a keyed bayonet to lock it in place. This feature facilitates easier insertion and removal from a fiber optic cable. It comes in two push-in and twist type versions, namely ST and ST-II, which are keyed and spring-loaded. These types of connectors are used for both multimode and single-mode fiber optic cables.

    ST connectors are constructed with a metal housing and plated with nickel. They feature ceramic ferrules and are rated for 500 mating cycles.

    Matched ST connectors have a typical insertion loss of 0.25 dB. It is advisable to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB, the vendor recommendation for ST connectors.

    What is the mode of propagation?

    The mode of propagation can be better understood with the wave mechanics of light. Light can either be a wave phenomenon or a particle phenomenon that includes photons and solitons. When light is guided down a fiber optic cable, it exhibits different modes. These modes are essentially variations in the intensity of light over the cable cross-section and down the entire cable length. The number of modes existing on a given fiber optic cable depends on the dimension of the cable and the indices of refraction of both the cladding and the core.

    The different propagation modes are multimode step index, single-mode step index, single-mode dual-step index, and multimode graded index.

    • Multimode Step Index
    • Fiber optic cables exhibiting multimode propagation with a step index profile are characterized with higher attenuation and greater time dispersion. Cables of this type are the least inexpensive and the most widely used in premises environment. These are most ideal for linked lengths that spread over five kilometers. They may be fabricated from glass, plastic, and PCS.

      Their standard MMF core diameter is 50 or 62.5m.

    • Single-Mode Step Index
    • Fiber optic cables demonstrating single-mode propagation with a step index profile are characterized by minimum time dispersion and attenuation. As it is the most expensive propagation mode to use in premises environment, these cables are predominantly used with metropolitan- and wide-area networks. They have also been used by local area networks as they continue extending over long distances.

      Their core diameter is exceedingly small, ranging from 8 microns to 10 microns. Their standard cladding diameter is 125 microns. These types of fiber optic cables are made of silica glass.

    • Single-Mode Dual-Step Index
    • Fiber optic cables exhibiting single-mode propagation with a refractive index profile, also called dual step index, are distinguished by the advantage of having extreme low macrobending losses, two zero-dispersion points, and a lower dispersion over a wider wavelength range. These cables are set with dual clad fiber, also referred to as depressed-clad fiber.

    • Multimode Graded Index
    • Fiber optic cables exhibiting multimode propagation with a graded index profile are distinguished by levels of attenuation and limited time dispersion. The fibers in the core have a higher refractive index, which gradually decreases as they extend outward from the cylindrical axis. The core and the cladding are treated as a single graded unit.

    Cables of this propagation mode cost between the prices of the cables of other propagation modes.

    They have core diameters of 50, 62.5, and 85 microns, while their cladding diameter is usually 125 microns. They are often used in premise data applications.

    Fiber Optic LC Connector and Propagation Modes

    A fiber optic connector is a mechanical device attached to the end of a fiber optic cable to allow easier splicing and connection or disconnection to a similar device. The connectors mechanically couple and align fiber paths to allow light to pass through. A connector marks the specific location in the fiber optic data link where signal power can be lost and the Ber may be affected by a mechanical connection.

    What is an LC connector?

    An LC connector is a fiber optic connector that looks like a small SC connector. It is often used with single-mode and multimode fiber optic cables.

    LC connectors are built with a plastic housing. Their ceramic ferrules facilitate accurate alignments. This type of connector is fitted with a locking tab and is rated for 500 mating cycles.

    Matching LC connectors have a typical insertion loss of 0.25 dB. However, from a design’s point of view, a loss margin of 0.5 dB (the vendor recommendation for LC connectors) is advised.

    Propagation Modes

    Fiber optic cables generally have two propagation modes, namely single mode and multiple mode. Each mode performs differently in terms of attenuation and time dispersion.

    To have a better understanding of the difference between the two, the term “mode of propagation” should be defined first.

    Light can be viewed either as a wave phenomenon or a particle phenomenon. Particles include photons and solitons. Solitons are localized waves that demonstrate particle-like behavior. As a light wave passes down a fiber optic cable, it exhibits certain modes, which are simply variations of the light’s intensity. In any given fiber optic cable, the number of existing modes varies with the cable dimension and the variation of the indices of refraction.

    The various propagation modes include multimode step index, single-mode step index, single-mode dual-step index, and multimode graded index.

    • Multimode Step Index
    • A fiber optic cable exhibiting multimode propagation with a step index profile is distinguished by higher attenuation and greater time dispersion relative to other propagation modes. It is also the least expensive and the most widely used in premises environment. Cables exhibiting this propagation mode are most ideal for linked lengths of over five kilometers, and may be fabricated from glass, plastic, and PCS.

      Their MMF core diameter is usually 50 or 62.5m.

    • Single-Mode Step Index
    • A fiber optic cable exhibiting single-mode propagation with a step index profile is characterized by minimum attenuation and time dispersion. However, this silica-made fiber optic cable is the most expensive when used in the premises environment; thus, it is mostly used with metropolitan and wide-area networks. It is also used by local area networks as they continue to extend over greater distances.

      Its core has an extremely small diameter, which typically ranges from 8 microns to 10 microns. Its standard cladding diameter is 125 microns.

    • Single-Mode Dual-Step Index
    • A fiber optic cable exhibiting single-mode propagation with a dual-step index profile is set with dual clad fiber, also known as depressed-clad fiber. It has the advantage of extremely low macrobending losses, two zero-dispersion points, and a lower dispersion over a wider wavelength range.

    • Multimode Graded Index
    • A fiber optic cable exhibiting multimode propagation with a graded index profile is characterized with levels of attenuation and limited time dispersion. Its core fibers have a higher refractive index, which steadily diminishes as they extend outward from the cylindrical axis. The core and the cladding are treated as a single graded unit.

    The price of fiber optic cables exhibiting this propagation mode is midway between the costs of the most expensive and the least costly.

    Graded index fiber optic cables often have core diameters of 50, 62.5, and 85 microns; whereas, the cladding diameter is usually 125 microns. This type of cable is often used in premise data communications applications.

    For more information on LC Connector read:

  • LC Connector
  • LC Connector
  • Crossover Cable versus Standard Cable and How They Work

    Despite the advent of newer cable technologies, the crossover cable remains widely used for its various capacities. This is a type of cable that directs outgoing signals towards an electrical connector as it sends input signals to another connector. Using this type of cable allows two electronic devices to communicate directly.

    More commonly known as the Ethernet crossover cable, it follows the same principles of other types of cable. Two separate computers connect via the NIC, or network interface controller. Hence, you can connect two devices using the Ethernet crossover cable even when there are no networking routers, hubs, or switches available.

    The internal wiring that reverses the transmission and receives the signal differentiates the crossover cable from other Ethernet cables. While standard lines have the same order of colored wires on their end, in crossover cables, the 1st and 3rd wires (from left to right) are crossed, as well as the 2nd and 6th wires. Although standard cables have their own functionality, the Ethernet crossover cable has a different configuration of pins, so that two devices can simultaneously receive and send data.

    If you intend to purchase Ethernet crossover cable, you will also see the name “crossover” on the package and wire casing. However, you need to take note that Ethernet crossover cables can be used only for direct network connections. You might also notice that the network link fails to function if you try connecting a computer to a hub using a crossover cable. The link will function if, instead of a hub, a home broadband router is used. This is because modern routers are equipped with logic that readily detects a crossover cable and enables it to function with other Ethernet devices.

    Today, network cards can perform the same functions as those of a built in crossover cable. If two computers connect to the same network through a modem or router, crossover cables are no longer required to connect them.

    Most computer stores or computer equipment shops today have crossover cables available when you need them. However, making your own crossover cable using available materials is also possible. Keep in mind that a crossover cable configures differently from a standard cable; you need to know the right configuration to receive and send data on both devices simultaneously.

    Crossover Cable

    The crossover cable directs outgoing signals towards to an electrical connector as it sends input signals to another connector. Using this type of cable allows two electronic devices to communicate directly without the need for a hub, router, or network switch.

    How it Works

    The crossover cable, more commonly known as the Ethernet crossover cable, follows the same principles as other types of cable. Two separate computers are connected via the NICs, or network interface controllers. Hence, you can connect two devices using the Ethernet crossover cable when there are no networking routers, hubs, or switches available.

    Difference Between the Crossover and Standard Ethernet

    The internal wiring that reverses the transmission and receives the signal differentiates the crossover cable from other Ethernet cables. While standard lines have the same order of colored wires on their end, in crossover cables, the 1st and 3rd wires (from left to right) are crossed, as well as the 2nd and 6th wires. Although standard cables have their own functionality, the Ethernet crossover cable has a different configuration of pins, so that two devices can simultaneously receive and send data.

    Why Ethernet is Still Being Used

    Despite the advent of newer cable technologies, the crossover cable remains widely used for its various capacities. The ubiquity of Ethernet-based networking for local area networks guarantees that it will take a while before Ethernet is obsolete. In addition, the decreasing cost of the hardware necessary to support it, including its installation, is contributing to this.

    What to Know if you are Purchasing an Ethernet

    If you intend to purchase an Ethernet crossover cable, you will also see the name “crossover” on the package and wire casing. However, you need to take note that Ethernet crossover cables can be used only for direct network connections. You might also notice that the network link fails to function if you try connecting a computer to a hub using a crossover cable. The link will function if, instead of a hub, a home broadband router is used. This is because modern routers are equipped with logic that readily detects a crossover cable and enables it to function with other Ethernet devices.

    Devices that no Longer Need Crossover Cable

    Today, network cards can perform the same functions as those of a built in crossover cable. If two computers connect to the same network through a modem or router, crossover cables are no longer required to connect them.

    You Can Make your Own Crossover Cable

    Most computer stores or computer equipment shops today have crossover cables available when you need them. But making your own crossover cable using available materials is also possible. Keep in mind that a crossover cable configures differently from a standard cable; you need to know the right configuration to receive and send data on both devices simultaneously.

    CAT-6

    Category 6 cable (CAT-6) is a Gigabit (1000 Mbps) Ethernet cable standard, as defined by the Electronic Industries and Telecommunications Industry Association (EIA/TIA). Unlike CAT-5, this 6th generation twisted pair Ethernet cabling system contains four parts of copper wires running at a maximum recommended length of 100 meters (328 feet). The system is also backward compatible with Category 3 and 5/5E (CAT-5) cable standards.

    There are two main types of twisted-pair cable systems like CAT-6 – solid and stranded.

    Solid CAT-6 sustains longer runs, thus working optimally in fixed-wiring configurations such as those found in office buildings.

    Stranded CAT-6 is better suited for less-distance mobile cabling like “patch” cables.

    The CAT-6 cable containing four twisted pairs of copper wire is similar to previous copper cable standards. CAT-6 may be made from 23-gauge wire. The ANSI/TIA-568B.2-1 specification identifies that the cable may consist of wires from 22 to 24-gauge types as long as the specified testing standards are satisfied. As a patch cable, CAT-6 usually terminates in 8P8C modular connectors (erroneously referred to as RJ-45).

    Similar to earlier cable standards, CAT-6 has more rigorous specifications for system noise and crosstalk. Its ideal performance can go up to 250 MHz.

    The basic difference between CAT-5 and CAT-6 is the extension and transmission performance of the accessible bandwidth (100 MHz for CAT-5E and 200 MHz for CAT-6). CAT-6 has improved insertion loss, near-end cross talk, return loss, and equal level far-end crosstalk. CAT-6 also offers communications transmission beyond double the speed of CAT-5E.

    Systems employing the CAT-6 cabling will incur less error in comparison to the CAT-5E systems. The CAT-6 networked systems will be more reliable than the CAT-5E systems because there is a lower degree of re-transmission due to lost or corrupted data packets.

    Network Cable Unplugged Error

    Network Cable Unplugged is an error message in Windows. It is displayed in the desktop of a computer if the network is not functioning properly. Depending on the nature of the problem, this error message may pop up on the screen a couple of times per week or once every few minutes.

    The Network Cable Unplugged error can be fixed by executing a set of possible solutions. If the user is using a Wi-Fi home network and his computer has a built-in Ethernet adapter, the Ethernet adapter should be disabled. This is because in this instance, the adapter is not being used. To do this, the user should double-click on the Network Cable Unplugged error message and choose the option to disable the adapter.

    If the computer is using an Ethernet cable, the user should check if both ends of the cable connected to the Ethernet adapter are firmly inserted. If the error message still appears though the cable is properly attached, the user should try a different cable. If this gets rid of the problem, the user should ultimately replace the cable he is using.

    Updating the network adapter driver software is another way to fix the error. The user can visit the website of the adapter’s manufacturer and search for the appropriate updates. He should, however, know the exact name of the network adapter before searching for the said updates.

    The user should also try checking the devices to which the adapter is attached, like broadband modems and network routers. The malfunction of these devices ,ay have resulted to the computer showing the Network Cable Unplugged error message.

    UTP

    UTP, which means Unshielded Twisted Pair, is a type of cable consisting of two unshielded and twisted wires twisting around each other. It is extensively used in telephones and Local Area Network (LAN) connections. It does not offer a higher bandwidth unlike co-axial or fiber-optics, but it is easier to use and less costly.

    Network Cabling

    Networks rely on cables as the medium where information can flow from a network to another. Some networks may use only one type of cable while some may use many types for their Local Area Network (LAN). A cable chosen for a network may depend on the topology, size, or protocol of the network. It is important to know the characteristics of each cable type so the network will do well after set-up.

    The UTP Cable

    There are different grades of UTP cable and each one has different capacity from one another.

    • UTP category 1 only supports voice transmission like the telephone wire;
    • UTP category 2 supports data transmission up to 4 Mbps;
    • Category 3 supports Ethernet at 10Mbps;
    • Category 4 supports at 20 Mbps; and
    • Category 5, which is the fastest, supports 100 Mbps high-speed Ethernet.

    Thus, UTP cable can be used for telephone wires as well as for a very fast Ethernet capacity.

    Inside the Cable

    The cable has two pairs of wire within the jacket, a total of four. It works in pairs because the two wires will carry opposite and equal signals merged at the destination. Each pair of wires is twisted according to a definite number of twists so that interference from other pairs of wire and electrical devices will be avoided.

    Every inch in the length of the cable has a different twist from each other. However, tightly twisted cables are more costly than the loosely twisted ones. The principle behind is that the more-tightly twisted wires can support a higher transmission rate. Therefore, it is also more expensive.

    Cable Selection

    When selecting the best cable you need, choose the one you can afford but is still viable for new development in transmission technology. It has to fit your design specifications. Choosing Category 5 will be a good option because it provides room for improvement.

    127.0.0.1

    127.0.0.1 is an address in the special class of IP addresses known as loopback addresses. In fact, any IP address that begins with 127 is a loopback address.

    Network packets sent to this address are not transmitted over wire; rather, these are received directly by the same computer as input. For this network address, therefore, there is no hardware involved, just pure software.

    Use for Testing and Debugging

    The localhost (another name for 127.0.0.1) is used mainly for testing and debugging network software on a single computer. Furthermore, programs using inter-process communication use this address for communicating with processes on the same computer, without regard to the computer’s external IP address.

    Very often, the localhost is used for testing Web applications. A client (such as a Web browser) sends a request to a Web server residing on the same machine, which then responds to the request.

    Illegal Address for a Network Device

    No network device can have an address with a first octet of 127. Also, packets meant for the localhost should never appear on a network, nor should any interface forward any such packet. The loopback address must not appear as the source address for a packet sent outside a single node.

    Testing 127.0.0.1 Using the ping Command

    Here’s how you can test the loopback address on your computer. At the command prompt, type in “ping 127.0.0.1” and press Enter. If you get a response such as “Reply from 127.0.0.1…,” then your system’s TCP/IP software is working properly. Typing in “ping localhost” should give similar results.

    The Future – IPv6

    127.x.y.z forms the special class of loopback addresses for IPv4. For IPv6, the IP address 0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 is reserved for loopback.

    VoIP

    VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol (IP).

    What does that mean? VoIP is a way of using a high-speed Internet connection as a telephone. Instead of using telephone wires running through your home to make and receive calls, a VoIP service offers equipment to make those calls in the same way, but over your Internet connection.

    Why would someone want this? There are two primary benefits of VoIP service. First, it tends to be cheaper than traditional "landline" telephone services for both domestic and international calling.

    Second, it allows your telephone line to travel with you, or for you to set up a local number in a country where you are not physically located. For example, if you live in Chicago and travel on business or go on vacation to Rome, you can bring your VoIP adapter with you, plug it into your hotel room’s high speed Internet connection, and make and receive telephone calls just as if you were at home in Chicago. This is not only convenient for many people, it also saves you from exorbitant international and hotel long distance charges.

    Because of this, VoIP technology is replacing traditional "landline" services for many people. Others are maintaining their home phone service, but are also signing up for VoIP service to provide a second or business phone line for travel or to cut down on long distance charges.

    How does it work? Your VoIP telephone service provider will send you a simple adapter that you can plug into your high-speed Internet connection and standard home telephone. You don’t need to buy a special phone; you can use the same one you are using right now. You can even wire the system so all the phones in your home are connected to the VoIP service. (This is slightly more complicated, but it can be done.)

    In many areas, you can choose to use your existing phone number for your VoIP calls so your friends, family, or business associates do not need to update their address books. Or, if you want a new number, you can choose which area code you wouldd like it in.

    When you pick up the phone, you get a dial tone as usual. Simply dial and talk. When someone calls you, your phone rings just like it always does. Enhanced services such as voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling, call transfer, call return, and repeat dialing are available. Typically many of these features are included in your plan for free. Also available are toll-free numbers, additional phone lines, fax services, 411 information, and the ability to use your laptop as a telephone.

    Why VoIP?

    The number one reason to switch to VoIP for telephone service is cost reduction. From that base, VoIP is able to provide some compelling features which makes switching even more attractive.

    Eliminating Phone Lines

    With VoIP service, you can cancel your subscription to traditional telephone service and place all your telephone calls over your broadband Internet connection.

    For a residential customer, this will save around $40 a month. For business customers, the savings can be thousands of dollars a month.

    Eliminating Long Distance Charges

    VoIP also saves money on long-distance charges. Most residential and business telephone customers pay per-minute fees for long-distance telephone calls. VoIP can reduce or eliminate these long-distance fees. This is especially valuable for making international calls, where per-minute charges for traditional telephone calls can be very expensive.

    Number Portability

    With VoIP service, you can easily take your phone number anywhere you go. If you have a Chicago number and you move to New York, you can keep your Chicago number. This is very convenient for friends and family to keep in contact with you wherever you go.

    Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

    VoIP service providers are designing and implementing new features which implement Computer Telephony Integration (CTI).

    For example, VoIP customers may be able to receive their voice messages in email as .wav file attachments. This can make managing voice mail messages much easier and more powerful because it enables recipients to archive voice mails or forward them to anyone with an email address.

    Additional Reading on VoIP