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What You Need to Know about Wi-Fi Calling
Wi-Fi calling is nothing new, but it’s a way to make free phone calls. The ability to patch calls using a Wi-Fi connection, instead of on a cellular one, has been around for years and Skype has been one of the most popular and oldest apps to do so. However, just as cellular technology continues to improve so does Wi-Fi calling. There are plenty of third-party apps that are now taking on Skype and making free phone calls even easier.
What are Wi-Fi Calls?
With Wi-Fi calling, instead of using a carrier’s network connection, the phone can make a voice call using a Wi-Fi network. This uses the same Wi-Fi connection you have in your home or the Wi-Fi hotspot you are using when you are out in public, such as in a library or café. In many ways, it’s like other phone calls and you are still able to use regular phone numbers.
Wi-Fi calling on carriers is a bit different than third-party apps, but they all work similarly.
The Advantages of Wi-Fi Calling
The biggest benefit of Wi-Fi calling is when you are out in an area with poor carrier coverage and need to make a call. For example, when you are in a building with bad reception, but good Wi-Fi. You might already be aware of using Wi-Fi networks to send messages when SMS texting isn’t available. This is the same thing that applies to placing calls.
Does It Cost More?
In most cases, Wi-Fi calls are free. If you do make a VoIP call over a data network then this typically eats into your monthly data allowance. You may need to read the policies of your carrier to see if there are any charges or restrictions related to your specific situation.
Can You Use It Overseas?
Whether you are able to use Wi-Fi calling overseas will depend on your carrier. Typically, if you are traveling internationally and call a U.S. number then the call should be free. There are different rules if you are calling an international number. If you are going international and want to keep in touch, it may be worth it to avoid messing with the carrier altogether when making calls and use third-party apps while you are connecting to a hotel’s Wi-Fi network. If you use data, it will typically cost you more on cellular networks. Turn off data when you head out and only use Wi-Fi.
Do You Need a Fast Connection?
The higher the throughput, the better your connection will be. You will want a minimum of 1Mbps to get a solid call through. Quality will decrease, and you will have more dropped calls otherwise. You may be able to hold a call with 80 Kbps or kilobits per second, but the quality may decrease. The more people that are using the Wi-Fi network will affect your signal strength. It will also depend on what they are doing. For example, if there are 20 people that are all streaming 4K video, that is also going to decrease call strength.
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