VoIP telephony is one of the major communications developments of the last few years, and it is set to grow exponentially through the coming decade and potentially become the most used form of telecommunication before long. If you haven’t already used it, then you are bound to have some questions about this system of calling, not least how it stacks up against the old familiar style – traditional, copper-wire telephony using a phone that plugs into the wall. In addition, with cell phones being so predominant in the market, there will be those who wonder where VoIP fits into this ever-changing market.
For people who have yet to experience the benefits of VoIP telephony, there are questions that will need to be answered before they can fully commit to getting on board with it. This guide is designed to take you through the issues you might have, and demonstrate what uses VoIP can have for you. It will show why VoIP is such an efficient solution for making calls and what it has over the other forms of telephony currently used, every day, in business and residential settings. Essentially, this guide will clarify what VoIP is, how it works, what forms it comes in and how it can benefit you.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP is short for “voice over internet protocol” – literally, it means that instead of using the old standard copper-wire or fiber-optic system of carrying voice signals from phone to phone, your voice is transmitted using the internet. Essentially your voice is converted into digital information and transmitted to the other end of the line where it is transmitted to the person you are speaking to. If this sounds a little confusing, bear in mind that it is little different from using an Instant Messenger system or even sending and receiving email (in a way, at least).
There are a few different ways of using a VoIP system to make your calls, and not all involve discarding your old telephone – so, if you are quite attached to it, you can keep it around and use it in a new way. If you would like to use your old phone to make new-age calls with VoIP, you simply need an Analog Telephone Adapter, or ATA for short. The ATA just needs to be hooked up to your computer and you then plug your telephone into the adapter; which will then convert the analog signals your phone sends out into digital ones which can be sent electronically. There may be some software to install on your computer to make it work, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Alternatively, you might buy an IP phone. These are phones designed to work specifically for VoIP calling and cannot be plugged into the wall socket, instead coming with an Ethernet connector which need only be connected to your computer. Other than that it is a pretty standard phone, which has all the usual components that a wall phone would have; the same buttons, handset and everything else. Like a wall phone, it can be a little more flashy or as basic as you want it to be. Less installation is required because the software is already built into the phone.
There again, you could use a system that doesn’t even require a phone as we would recognise one – which just uses the internet for every element of the call. All you will need is a little bit of equipment, most of which you will already have – like a PC, sound card and speakers. You will also need a microphone or headset, which you may need to buy, although increasingly the newer computers on the market are often packaged with a built-in microphone. Along with some downloadable software which more or less installs itself, this will permit you to start making computer-to-computer calls.
The Key Point To All Of This
The reason it’s a big deal that you can do this with VoIP, above all else, is that it means that every call you make using the system originates on the internet, and means that every call can be a local call. Rather than the old way of calling, which involved using a cable system that would need to be linked up all the way around the world if that is where you were calling, using a VoIP system means that your call is carried all the way to the nearest possible point using the internet, and if it needs to be carried by old-style telephone wire at all, it is merely from the nearest exchange. The bottom line is that this saves a lot of money.
Why Should You Trust VoIP Calling?
Although the technology involved, and even the system in principle, are not especially new, VoIP telephony on the scale we are seeing today and will see going forward is innovative and, form some points of view, largely untried. Therefore it makes sense that a lot of people would question whether it is a “here today, gone tomorrow” scientific development. Is this a fair opinion?
In order to get an impression of how VoIP is viewed at the most important level for its continued development, it is worth seeing how it is taken up by businesses and how it is being treated by the major telephony companies. After all, if they back technology which is quickly made obsolete, their companies will fall flat, something they cannot risk in any competitive market and especially in the troubled economy that we have been seeing for the last few years. What is worth noticing is that the major telephone companies are not attempting to beat the VoIP companies, but looking to join them.
An increasing level of VoIP usage at business level, particularly at intra-office level, is a sign that the service is seen as the wave of the future. What we see in the business world one day we are likely to see filter down to homes in the near future – cell phones, email and instant messenger systems were used first in the workplace before they became consumer items.
Businesses appreciate VoIP because it cuts costs – many businesses have been able to slash their outgoings on telephone bills by changing to the newer system. While budgetary decisions are all the more important in business, they still matter in the home, and for this reason VoIP should become a primary method of communication in both the home and the office within a few years.
What’s In It For You?
It is clear, then, that VoIP calling is a more affordable alternative to the standard way of doing things. Of course, people still occasionally shy away from budget options for various reasons, whether it is because they are untried or inferior. Neither of these things can be said about VoIP today, if ever they could have been. VoIP calling is more efficient than the standard way of doing things – using a system called “packet switching”, a VoIP calling system only transmits the parts of the conversation where someone is talking, meaning that information passes more quickly and taking up less memory.
Because of the nature of VoIP calling, it is possible to add a lot of features to a VoIP calling plan that are simply impossible or impractical with the older way of doing things. Many VoIP providers are now adding features which vastly increase the efficiency of your telephone system, with one of the most popular features being one which allows the system to pick up your voicemail and send it to you in email form – so even if you aren’t equipped to log into your VoIP service you can hear your messages.
VoIP is also the most versatile telephony system around at the moment, allowing you the convenience of cell phone calling with the greater stability and lower cost of standard line calling. As long as you are equipped to make your calls – and this need only entail a few portable pieces of equipment – you can call anywhere in the world, often for free, from anywhere that allows you to get a WiFi connection.
There are so many reasons why you might consider giving VoIP a try, but in the end it comes down to the fact that there is no reason not to. You can keep your old phone, you can keep your old number. It doesn’t need to cost you anything, and even if you are planning to use your phone a lot and for many different purposes, it won’t cost you a lot. This is the way things are moving for the future, and those who get on board now will be that much more switched on by the time it becomes second nature to us all; which, the way things are going, will be by the end of this decade. You’ve nothing to lose and a lot to gain by trying it out.
The Comparison Of Voip and Landline
It’s not so much the case that humans are resistant to change – just think back twenty years ago and take account of how different things are now than then (and if you’re too young for that, even ten years will do). However, what we are sometimes guilty of is assuming that the way things have always worked is the only way, or even the perfect way. A lot of people are currently skeptical about changing from their standard landline to VoIP calling, for a range of reasons. Those who have made the leap show no sign of turning back, so clearly both sides think they are right. In the final analysis, what are the reasons why you should consider changing the way you phone?
There are certain things that you need from a phone service provider, and other things that you would merely like. While the latter may persuade a few people to make a change, it is fair to say that a service will not gain traction in the wider market without having a little more to it. Does VoIP live up to requirements on both fronts? The following categories and comparisons will hopefully help people who are still making up their minds.
Voice Service: As far as any phone system is concerned, the quality of voice service is an essential; that goes without saying, as it is the very reason we use a phone at all. Something about the stability of old-fashioned telephone systems makes people feel quite certain that the level and clarity of voice calling is as good as it gets. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Not so long ago, it would have been fair to say that VoIP calling lacked in this area, but as the technology has developed that has ceased to be the case. Many people feel that the point has been reached where VoIP calls are actually clearer than the older way.
Why is this? It has to do with the way that VoIP voice signals are sent; they are converted into digital signals and sent as “packets” from one end of the call to the other. In a sense, they are condensed. At the other end they are re-converted into what the other person hears. As part of this process, the system actually “cleans” the sound somewhat; so if for example you are speaking while someone is using a vacuum cleaner in the next room that noise is less likely to be picked up by a VoIP phone call than by a standard, traditional one. On this front – presuming you use a decent supplier – VoIP has the upper hand.
Cost: There is no getting around the fact that cost is an issue in most things, for most people, these days. With fewer jobs to go round, and lower salaries in many of those jobs, belt-tightening is something that comes to almost all of us – even those in steady employment have to face the fact that profits will suffer when there is less disposable income around. Getting rid of luxuries is a start, but one also has to look at cutting the cost of necessities; this includes home amenities such as your telephone bill. Will VoIP do a better job of this than your landline phone?
A typical VoIP package will include unlimited calling at least on a local basis, and depending on how much you are prepared to pay on line rental (make no mistake, a bit more spent up front will mean less spent overall), can include unlimited calling over long distances and across borders. Depending on your needs, you can subscribe to a cheaper service too. While landline phone companies are also offering packages that allow cheaper calling, they cannot practically match the prices offered by VoIP providers. Why? Because it costs more for them to connect calls between destinations; it’s not a profit motive but a technical reality. VoIP is cheaper than landline calling.
Convenience: Having a landline phone is certainly beneficial. The thing about a landline is that it is always there; something people who gave up their landline when they got a cell phone came to realise when their cell phone charger got lost, or they couldn’t get a signal. It is clear that a cell phone is not a replacement for a landline, although it is a very nice option to have available to you. A cell phone is a worthwhile augmentation of what your landline offers. VoIP, for its part, can actually serve as a replacement for both at once; if not as a total replacement, then as the service that takes the workload while you keep the others for specific needs.
You can’t take your landline with you when you go on holiday, or are away on business, or anywhere outside of your home. Meanwhile, your cell phone can’t be your “go to” phone for important, potentially long-distance and time-intensive calls unless you want to see your bill spiral into the hundreds over the course of a month. You can take VoIP anywhere, it will cost the same wherever you are and it will still be cheaper than the landline that is attached to your home. From a point of view of convenience, and allowing for the fact that you need to be able to get an internet connection, VoIP is more convenient than any other type of calling.
Feature Set: Many people will tell you straight that the only feature they want with their phone provider is that they can make calls, and receive them. And this is all that you need, to be honest. But not everything is about what you need; if you can get a little more without having to pay over the odds for it, then it makes sense to take it where you can get it. Landline providers are steadily offering more features, such as call waiting and caller ID features. There is however the problem that a landline phone will always be limited by what it is and how it operates.
A VoIP calling service will have all the features that a landline offers and then some more on top. Indeed, the features are often a major selling point on the provider’s website. Most features are included as standard in the calling plan when you subscribe to it. There are then others that you can add on top of these, which will make your service more convenient, more dynamic, often cheaper and more useful. Because of the way that it operates, VoIP is a lot easier to add to and take away from, as its switchboard is largely virtual, and as a result, VoIP has better features than landlines.
Conclusion: Make no mistake, no-one is saying it is time to kill off landline telephony; it has its benefits and will continue to be a useful system for many years to come. However, it is time for many of us to take a look at what VoIP offers and see that going forward there are fewer and fewer reasons not to sign up, with more and more reasons to go for it. Don’t throw your cell phone in the bin and pull the phone out of its wall socket. You should, however, be looking to benefit from the financial, convenience and service advantages that you will get from turning to VoIP.
The use of VoIP calling is more prominent in business at the moment than in people’s homes, as is often the way with technological developments; they start out as business technology before they find their way into mass consumer use. That being said, there are plenty of homes that are coming around to the realisation that VoIP has its benefits for anyone who wants to use it. While we are a long way away from ditching the standard landline in our homes (and this is a good thing, for many reasons), there is soon to be a major increase in the number of people using internet telephony.
The popularity of VoIP calling at business level has a lot to do with the reduction of price in comparison with the more traditional methods. Businesses have a greater imperative to get the best deal than homes do – they have salaries to consider as well as needing to offer the best price to their customers, so their budgeting needs to be rigorous. While the same imperative does not exist in a residential setting, there is still an importance attached to making a saving particularly in times of economic difficulty. People who are budget conscious, or who need to use the phone a lot, will certainly benefit from using a residential VoIP system.
What Are The Specific Residential Benefits Of VoIP Calling?
A major benefit of having VoIP in the home is the fact that it takes very little money and no physical installation to add multiple phone lines. Though this is common practice in business, where you may have dozens of people making outgoing calls at the same time, it is a real difference maker in the home – a parent waiting for an important call from their employer needn’t be constantly reminding their kids not to call their friends during that time because both calls can be carried as long as their broadband speed is good enough.
Allied to that, given the fact that families are often spread out it is certainly beneficial to have a telephone system that does not pile on the costs when calling out of state and even outside the country. Families with children away at college, parents working abroad, and often grandparents who have retired somewhere warm will all know that the process of moving away can have emotional impact; the settling-in process is greatly aided by being able to keep in contact so that the person who has moved doesn’t feel isolated and the people left behind don’t feel abandoned. Many families still call long-distance from their standard landline, but it is very expensive to do so.
Why A Business Solution Makes Sense In The Home
Of course the major difference between a home telephony system and a business one is scale, and this seems to be the sticking point for a lot of people who are still wedded to their landline phone. Arguments such as “it’s a lot of effort” and “it will take some getting used to” are common enough, as people feel that while the financial reward for business VoIP makes it a great idea, using it at residential level won’t save enough overall to make it worth changing the way you do things and dealing with the potential teething troubles. Admittedly, adapting to a new system and dealing with its idiosyncrasies is something that will happen with VoIP, as it does with any new system.
However, there is a lot of payoff that makes the change worth making, and the little hitches along the way seem pretty small by comparison. The flexibility of the system, which can easily be redirected to a cell phone or any other number while the user is elsewhere, makes it highly valuable. Calls between two VoIP customers will be free of charge and you benefit financially from introducing friends and family to the service – so by effectively “selling” them a system that will make calling cheaper for both of you, you can make further cuts to your calling costs on top of that.
What If My Friends And Family Don’t Want To Change?
Of course, if you have family members who still prefer to use the old standard system, you will not want to be too pushy in getting them to change like you have; if they decide to stick with what they know, it doesn’t mean that you won’t still benefit from having that system in place. It will still be cheaper for you to call them even if it isn’t free. You’ll get a set number of free minutes – some providers will even give you unlimited free calls to certain areas or set numbers – and once those are exhausted, calls are still cheaper per minute than standard telephony. This isn’t fly by night stuff; most standard phone companies are already exploring VoIP services.
When it comes down to it, you can still keep your old phone. Firstly, by using an adapter you can turn it into a VoIP phone perfectly easily. Secondly, if you experience disruption to your internet service you will still have the option of using a traditional phone. What VoIP really means for residential users is increased flexibility, money saved and features that a landline phone cannot provide. You’ll lose nothing by adopting the system early, so it is worth checking out.
How VoIP Saves You Money
How And Why VoIP Will Save You Money
The current financial climate makes it absolutely essential to keep an eye on money, unless you happen to be a multi-millionaire. Even then you never know when you might lose a lot overnight, so it makes sense to be vigilant. For most of us, in any case, the avoidance of unnecessary expenditure is an essential part of life, and most of us are reflecting this in our choices with regard to food, transport, banking and other aspects of life. Communication might sometimes go under the radar – as anyone who has had to pay a teenager’s cell phone bill can tell you – but by picking a more financially sound way, you can make big savings with the right choices.
How Does VoIP Save You Money?
The short answer is that VoIP calling plans have lower costs, and many VoIP companies offer free calls to a range of destinations so you only need to pay the subscription fees. The longer answer is a tad bit more technical, but worth explaining because many people won’t trust a deal that looks too good to be true until they “see the strings”. So, here goes:
The old way, and the way that most people still use, to make a phone call involved a phone that was plugged into the wall in your home. The information involved in this call – initially the number you dial, and then the conversation that takes place – is transferred down the line to its destination. Along the way it will pass through as many telephone exchanges as it takes to get to the person you wish to speak to, at each stage literally switching circuits until it gets to its destination. Your voice, and all the other information captured by your phone, is transmitted by wire, all the way from New York to Dublin, from Toronto to Rome, or wherever else it needs to go.
VoIP calling is carried out differently; effectively your voice is encoded and transmitted in the same way that web pages are routed to a server by a system known as “packet switching”. It has taken science some time to come up with a system that can efficiently and clearly transmit voice information in this way, and to this day it requires a quite fast internet connection. But it requires less in the way of physical transfer of information, fewer wires and less work than the old way of making calls and therefore it costs less to operate. Because it costs less to operate, it means that costs can be lower for you, the caller.
How Much Can It Save Me?
The golden question that will govern most people’s decision about something like a phone service provider: What can I expect to be the difference in my bank balance at the end of the month? The answer to that question is that it depends on so many factors that an actual number would be pretty arbitrary. However, if you want to know what you will save, get a copy of your landline phone bill. Look at what you are paying for line rental; you can cut that right down, in some cases to as low as $5. What are you paying for calls? With the right plan, you can have a service that gives you unlimited free calls to anywhere you’re going to be calling often.
Even if you make calls all over the world, or exceed the free minutes’ allowance, the cost of calls outside of the free allowance is unlikely to exceed three or four cents a minute. People who are used to monthly phone bills that cost them around a hundred dollars can legitimately expect to cut that amount down to about a third of what it is now. Bonus features that either cost a lot extra, or are not available at all, with a standard landline provider are often packaged free with VoIP services, and can save you real money. It is a fact that if you pick any reputable VoIP provider you will save money on calls and line rental, and you may decimate what you were originally paying.
What About Hidden Costs?
Anyone who is watching their finances will very reasonably want to be uber-cautious when it comes to avoiding the extra costs that often pop up out of nowhere. And it is fair to say that with so many companies in the marketplace, there will likely be some who are intent on taking customers for a ride. The best advice is to ensure that you make comparison shopping a priority, looking at different providers and what they offer up front. Also consider that there are VoIP companies who run a virtual billing system, allowing you to look at your statement of costs right up to the minute; no waiting for the bill to land in your mailbox, so no nasty surprises when it does arrive.
Any good VoIP provider will run a choice of plans from which you can pick, so you can tailor your calling plan to your needs. If you make a lot of calls abroad, then there are international call plans which allow you a lot of, and sometimes unlimited, free calls to international destinations. The same applies to people or businesses who call solely within their home state. You will pay accordingly – the price of a plan that lets you have as many calls as you like to Dubai from New York will naturally be more than one that allows you the same amount of calling to Manhattan – but the key point is that it will still represent a saving on your standard landline.
It is fair to say that a large number of the innovations made in our world today, whether or not they make their way to our homes, start in the business world. There is good reason for this; while budgeting in the home is useful and important, budgeting in business is absolutely essential. Every penny has to be accounted for, and loose budgeting in business can very quickly lead to bankruptcy. As much as we like to think that innovation happens for its own sake and because it will make our lives easier, the fact is that innovation is driven by financial imperatives.
The internet, cell phones, instant messaging; all of these are innovations in communication from the last few decades, and they all have in common that they were first developed for mass use in the business sector. The companies that drive an economy need to be able to rely on a solution that gives them convenience, adaptability and ease of use; they may have a workforce of hundreds of staff, who may all need to have access to a solution like the one just described. And that wheel of innovation doesn’t just stop – there are more eventualities that need to be covered.
Where Does VoIP Come In?
VoIP is the latest development in business communication, and it addresses a need that none of the other systems to precede it have currently seen to. Put simply, voice transmission in large volumes and to diverse destinations has up to now been either impossible or too expensive for most businesses. This has meant that developing a company’s interests beyond its own shores has been impossible, and has stopped a number of companies from growing to the extent that they would wish to achieve. VoIP is the most promising solution yet and offers companies the chance to make an improvement and a saving on the communications front.
VoIP is cheaper than the standard system of calling – the one we are all familiar with, that operates from a phone plugged into a wall socket – because the voice transmission is done almost entirely online. As you will already know, the internet shrinks the world somewhat; if you are chatting on Instant Messenger or emailing someone, it doesn’t matter if they are in Cairo, Tokyo, Rome or New York, or just down the road from you. Your message will get to them at the same time, and it won’t cost you any extra. Equally, a long email or instant message will cost no more than a short one.
Why This Is A Big Deal
What VoIP does is to create a system that does for voice calling what these other ways of communication have done for their niche. It harnesses the world-shrinking power of the internet and delivers a system that levels the playing field somewhat. Now, a business doesn’t need to be listed on the Stock Exchange to be multinational. VoIP has benefits for every business from the smallest to the largest; it will allow bigger companies to cut their communications expenditure back and the smaller companies will be able to afford large volume calling to other parts of the world.
Other elements of VoIP calling have their benefits for a business, too. Among others, they include the facility for a member of staff to use the system at no extra personal cost wherever they are in the world – thus allowing people to work from home and cutting down on travel expenses. From a communications point of view, it doesn’t matter how far away from the office you are; it still works out at the same cost. Other features such as VoIP conferencing and Vanity Numbers – which sounds like a worthless add-on but allows you to choose a more memorable or attractive phone number – can really help a business too.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
It is easy to see why this system will in the fullness of time be used in the home, too, but at present VoIP is already being used very widely in business. There remains a large number of businesses who have not made the change, but there are various reasons for this, including an ignorance on the part of decision-makers of the benefits the system can have. The truth of the matter is that VoIP has its benefits for every business in the world that is already using the internet. This is not a system that will offer something to a certain type of business – every business wants to save money.
Because of the way VoIP operates, it is also open to development. Without needing to spend a lot of money on new equipment, you can add features and upgrade your system without the need for a technician to carry out the installation. All of this has to be music to the ears of business owners who want to have the best communications system but do not want to have to constantly make fundamental changes to their operating equipment. VoIP is, without doubt, the most exciting thing to happen to business communications in the last decade, and probably for much longer.
BENEFITS OF VoIP
Although people are generally willing to try out new things, it is a fact that us humans have a very strong hold on the adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Essentially, if we have something to do a job, we are in no great hurry to get something else which really does the same job. Perhaps there is a large take-up of HD TV sets, but there are just as many if not more people who haven’t got one. Why? Because they already have a TV and don’t see fit to spend a large amount of money getting a new one, no matter how good it is. It’s not filling a need, it’s making an upgrade, and so for most people it can wait.
The reason this is relevant is that it explains why some people are reluctant to try something new in an established field. Something that comes out of nowhere and does something entirely original catches our attention, but a new development that merely improves on what we already had seems to some people to be gilding the lily, and not worth the extra spending it takes to get it. Against that background, why should you sign up for VoIP? If you already have a phone, why do you need another phone system? Aren’t you just swapping one thing for another? The answer to that final question is: “Well, no. Not at all.”
The first question you need to ask yourself if you are considering whether VoIP is worth the change, and it is a simple question, is: “Do you want to save money?”. It really is that clear-cut; you will save money if you change from standard landline (and particularly cell phone) calling. Indeed, there are some companies who are already using mobile internet as a way of allowing their mobile customers to use VoIP on the move, and for those customers it has proven to be cheaper than a standard mobile call. Not to make things overly technical, the fact is that using VoIP makes less of a demand on infrastructure, and as a result it costs less.
If the chance to cut your phone bill by as much as 75% isn’t enough of a selling point, then perhaps you’d be interested by the additional convenience that VoIP allows you. Probably everybody who is reading this has been in a situation where one person is waiting for a phone call and another needs to use the phone. With your landline provider you can, of course, add a second line, but that means a second set of line rental costs, an installation fee that won’t be cheap and – if you aren’t careful – a much larger phone bill at the end of the month. With VoIP, the addition of extra lines is a matter of supreme convenience.
Some of the best technological developments have come about through people thinking: “What if we had the best quality of x and added the best quality of y to it?”. In telecommunications, the main two methods up to now have been our landline and our cell phone. Both have real benefits in their favor; our landline being steady and not dependent on good signal quality, more affordable and always there. Meanwhile our cell phone is something we can take with us wherever we go, allowing us to be in contact even when we are on the move. If you have a VoIP system then you can combine these qualities in a system which costs less than either.
The vast majority of VoIP providers have a system which allows remote login, so that if you are at home or at work, away on business or anywhere else, you can log in to the system and as long as you are equipped (and the items needed are highly portable) you can make and receive calls. As long as there is an internet connection available, the line quality is better than any cell phone and the calls are cheaper than any landline. Signing up to VoIP doesn’t mean losing what you liked about your landline or cell phone – you can keep both and still use VoIP – but it does mean you can have the best of both worlds in one.
For many years, and well within the living memory of most people around today, customisation simply didn’t exist. One size had to fit all with many services and products, because that was all you were going to get. In the present day, we have come to expect and rely on the ability to tailor things to our preferences and if we don’t get the chance to do so we aren’t happy. It is fortunate, then, that the range of features packaged with the average VoIP plan (along with others that you can add as you see fit) make the whole system something you can tailor precisely to your preferences.
Among the features available with various providers and plans are: the opportunity to have your voicemail converted into a sound file which can be emailed to you, allowing you to pick it up anywhere; the chance to set a limit on calls, so that you (or your family) don’t exceed the monthly budget; the opportunity to choose a ‘vanity number’ which can make your business immediately recognisable for a small one-off cost; and many more besides. Each of these features can make your calling system cheaper, better, more versatile or even more fun.
In the long run, it is expected that we will all move across to VoIP for one reason or another, and there may be a few who decide that they will wait for the point where it is easier to do it than not to. But early adopters are always in the position to get the best out of a service, so it makes sense to make the switch sooner rather than later. It doesn’t mean you’ll lose what you had with the old system, because you don’t even have to give that system up; so there really is no reason not to make the switch.