What Is an IP Phone System?
While technology has given us more innovative communication channels, most small businesses have yet to abandon the phone. Companies are rapidly replacing traditional phones with IP phones that offer greater benefits to both them and their customers.
The same holds true with regards to snail mail. Today, email, chat, and video takes its place, providing faster, more reliable communications. Whether via phone, email, chat, or video, we now can establish personal connections with customers without being face-to-face.
An IP phone may be new to you, but it’s simple to understand. PC Mag defines an IP phone as:
“A telephone that is used with voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service. The IP phone plugs directly into the Internet and converts voice into IP packets and vice versa. It has built-in SIP signaling and is used in conjunction with an IP PBX in an enterprise or a hosted VoIP service. An IP phone can also be software installed in the user’s PC for calls made at the computer.”
In short, an IP phone system makes VoIP phone calls possible. “VoIP” stands for “voice over internet protocol” and is the term used for when you make a phone call using the internet versus traditional copper wires.
If you use apps such as Skype or Whatsapp, then you’re already using VoIP. Whenever you make a call using WiFi or 5G instead of a landline phone, then you’re using VoIP.
However, a corporate IP phone system can include any combination of IP-enabled desk phones, mobile applications, and browser-based call management software.
Related: VoIP-based Office Telephone Systems: Pros And Cons
How Does an IP Phone System Work?
IP phone systems leverage a particular protocol, known as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), to connect calls from a desk phone, mobile app, or browser to the public switched telephone system (PSTN).
Routing calls to the appropriate extension or device is possible with the help of call handling software replacing an old-fashioned PBX system.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) explains, “Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line (…) VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you call a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination. VoIP can allow you to call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. Also, wireless ‘hotspot’ in locations such as airports, parks, and cafes allow you to connect to the Internet and may enable you to use VoIP service wirelessly.”
The IP phone system software also adds a variety of features you may associate with a traditional business phone system, such as voicemail, automated attendants, call forwarding, hold music, and so forth.
What Are the Benefits of an IP Phone System?
Telephone systems based on traditional landlines and other telephone equipment have been dying for decades, due first to the rise of handheld devices and now to VoIP phones. Globally, close to half of all landlines have been eliminated, and the ones left are rarely used.
With the ease and accessibility of the internet and smartphone technology advances, more businesses and consumers will likely abandon traditional phone lines that come with so many limitations.
As we become increasingly capable of communicating with other technologies, our demand for new ways to contact businesses is also helping propel the development of more sophisticated VoIP solutions.
Related: What’s the Best Virtual Phone System for Small Businesses?
There are many advantages to IP phones for every business, but these benefits are most significant for small and growing companies. Let’s take a look at some of them:
IP phones are less expensive.
Traditional phone lines are available for sale in batches of 23. That’s a non-starter if your business only has a few employees or if you are working on your own. Why would you pay for 23 lines when you only need one or two?
With a virtual IP phone system, you get and pay for precisely the quantity of phone numbers you need at any given time. As your needs change, you can easily increase or decrease lines without needing a technician to come to install new lines.
Find a provider with plans that fit your exact calling needs. For example, if you are a person who spends several hours a day on the phone, you may want to consider a plan with unlimited minutes. On the other hand, if you need to make just a few calls here and there, a less expensive metered plan may be better for you.
Be aware that there are no maintenance or installation fees related to IP phones because everything the service involves “lives” in the cloud.
IP phones are more flexible.
Whether you use an IP-enabled desk phone or a mobile application, you can place calls no matter your location. All you need is an internet connection to work from virtually anywhere, all without installing additional equipment.
Remember that if you plan to hire more staff, you can easily assign them an extension from your current number or get new business numbers for them on the fly with the best IP phone system.
IP phones do not need significant amounts of maintenance time.
With a copper wire landline, you often have to deal with maintenance and upgrades to your phone system. You not only have to worry about your business going offline during this repair time, but you also have to schedule and wait for a technician to arrive to correct the problem or expand your capabilities.
With an IP phone system, you will avoid these complications altogether. You can quickly perform any maintenance or upgrade procedures to your phone system remotely —no waiting around for qualified and expensive staff to arrive. Your business will keep running as usual.
IP phone implementation is straightforward.
If you choose the right business communications partner, installing IP phones is a breeze. Here’s how you can get started with your service in just a few steps.
- Pick your plan. Leading companies offer several calling and feature packages to meet any business need.
- Pick your phone number. You can choose from a large inventory of local, toll-free, or custom phone numbers. You may also be able to keep your existing landline phone number.
- Tell your supplier about yourself. Your partner will collect just enough information to service your account.
- Set up your recurring payment.
That’s it! You will be ready to get started communicating with IP phones, manage your account, and make calls from your mobile app instantly.
Sign up for an IP Phone System Today
At this point, you know what an IP phone system is, how it works, and the many benefits that come with it. Forget about your legacy landlines and make the switch to VoIP calls instead.
If you are ready to get an IP phone system for your small business, then take a look at Phone.com’s plans. Stay connected with business communications services available anywhere and on any device. Phone.com offers all of the modern features of a big-enterprise phone system but is affordable and easy to use for entrepreneurs and growing businesses. In just minutes, you can take your business to the next level. Sign up now!