What is the difference between VoIP and traditional phone service?

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Traditional Phone Service VoIP Phone Service
Voice Quality Excellent Good to excellent, varies; with provider, internet connection, and equipment. Many business VoIP providers will provide a guaranteed QOS for excellent voice quality.
# of Dropped Calls Rare Isolated to rare; some loss of data if heavy data traffic, unless provider guarantees service.
Coverage Worldwide Worldwide
Bandwith usage Inefficient Very efficient
Long Distance Rates Can vary; can be costly Relatively inexpensive; free if within network
Maintenance Costs High, due to aging infrastructure, high cost of copper, and more costs. Low, due to relatively light infrastructure requirements.