VoIP phones have gotten a great deal better in the last few years. In the industry's infancy, VoIP telephones were less reliable than traditional analog telephones. Internet phone calls were simply not as clear, and consumers had few options when it came to service providers. Since then, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and consumers can now expect a much higher level of performance from VoIP equipment.

VoIP customers now have access to wireless VoIP phones, corded VoIP phones, and VoIP PBX systems, in addition to analog telephone adapters (ATAs) that work with regular phones. VoIP phones are now manufactured to a much higher standard as well. VoIP phones can either be bought outright for use with any service, or they can be included as part of a package of services.

VoIP telephony's popularity grew mostly because of incredible discounts for international and long distance calling. While these savings are still a big draw, the industry has also become more focused on providing complete telephone service. This entails offering features like caller ID, call forwarding, 3-way calling, and all of the other features consumers have come to expect from a telephone company.

Many customers now differentiate among VoIP providers based on customer service and technical support. The more complex your VoIP phone system is, the more crucial it is to have excellent technical support--so saving a few extra pennies is not always the best option for businesses. The premier carriers are also making attempts to reconcile internet telephony with the 911 emergency response system.