As with any new technology, users worry about security. Is it risky to put so many eggs in a single basket - that is, all those voice and data services on a single network? Could hackers or computer viruses damage the systems? Can calls be intercepted or disrupted?

The answer to all three questions is: yes. Voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems are just as vulnerable as any other network that is connected to the Internet. At the same time, passwords, firewalls, virtual private networks, and other standard security options offer some protection, as does detailed call reporting that captures information on every number dialed. In addition, according to AltiGen, it's tougher to "tap" a VoIP conversation than it is a normal telephone connection because capturing digitized voices required highly sophisticated equipment.

For more information on VoIP, visit:

Bitpipe IT research
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Network World Fusion
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Voice over IP Calculator Directory
Book list, hardware information, list of service providers