The nature of IP makes it difficult to geographically locate network users. Emergency calls, therefore, can not easily be routed to a nearby call center, and are impossible on some VoIP systems. Moreover, in the event that the caller is unable to give an address, emergency services may be unable to locate them in any other way. Following the lead of mobile phone carriers, several VoIP carriers are already implementing a technical work-around. The United States government had set a deadline, requiring VoIP carriers to implement e911, however, the deadline is being appealed by several of the leading VoIP companies.
This is a different situation with IPBX systems, where these corporate systems often have full e911 capabilities built into the system. A simple solution to this problem is to store the local emergency numbers on speed dial which is usually even faster than having to be transferred by the 911 operator.
Integration into global telephone number system
Whilst the traditional Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) and mobile phone networks share a common global standard (E.164) which allocates and identifies any specific telephone line, there is no widely adopted similar standard for VoIP networks. Some allocate an E.164 number which can be used for VoIP as well as incoming/external calls. However, there are often different, incompatible schemes when calling between VoIP providers which use provider specific short codes.
Single point of calling
With commercial services such as Vonage, it is possible to connect the VoIP router into the existing central phone box in the house and have VoIP at every phone already connected. Other services, such as Skype & PeerMe, typically require the use of a computer, so they are limited to single point of calling, though handsets are now available, allowing them to be used without a PC. Some services, such as BroadVoice provide the ability to connect WiFi SIP phones so that service can be extended throughout the premises, and off-site to any location with an open hotspot..
Telcos and consumers have invested billions of dollars in mobile phone equipment. In developed countries, mobile phones have achieved nearly complete market penetration, and many people are giving up landlines and using mobiles exclusively. Given this situation, it is not entirely clear whether there would be a significant higher demand for VoIP among consumers until either a) public or community wireless networks have similar geographical coverage to cellular networks (thereby enabling mobile VoIP phones, so called WiFi phones) or b) VoIP is implemented over legacy 3G networks. However, "dual mode" handsets, which allow for the seamless handover between a cellular network and a WiFi network, are expected to help VoIP become more popular.
The majority of consumer VoIP solutions do not support encryption. As a result, it is relatively easy to eavesdrop on VoIP calls and even change their content. There are several open source solutions like VoIPong or Vomit that facilitate sniffing of VoIP conversations. A modicum of security is efforted due to patented audio codecs that are not easily available for open source applications. Some vendors also use compression to make eavesdropping more difficult. However, real security requires encryption and cryptographic authentication which are usually not available at a consumer level.