What is a VoIP Phone: Learning the Basics
Recent technology has made it possible for many more channels of communication to be available. Despite chat, text, social media, and other communication channels, evidence shows phones are as crucial as ever. So, what is a VoIP phone, and why should you consider it?
It’s been hard for many companies to eliminate phone calls, especially for small businesses that need to maintain a close connection with customers. If you’re looking for options to modernize the way your company makes and receives calls, you’ve likely come across VoIP phones but don’t quite understand what they are.
Increasingly more companies are moving to an IP phone system to enable VoIP phone calls. VoIP stands for “voice over internet protocol,” which is basically the term for when you make a phone call using the internet instead of physical telephone lines.
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.”
VoIP technology entirely depends on an internet connection. It has gained popularity as an office telephone system over the more traditional and expensive PBX.
Since the pandemic started, many businesses have had to migrate to online platforms to enable remote workers. Landline phones don’t have mobile flexibility. The challenge for many organizations was to ensure a strong internet connection for a better, faster, and more reliable service to maintain operational stability.
If your company faced this challenge too, you probably did some research and ended up Googling “what is VoIP phone?” You may have also read the terms “virtual phone system,” “IP phone,” or “cloud-based phone system.”
You can use these terms interchangeably to refer to solutions that send and receive calls from anywhere via the internet. Complex, enterprise-grade VoIP telephone systems can combine Cloud PBX (useful for call routing and control functionalities) and other virtual communication tools. A VoIP phone system can also include IP-enabled desk phones, browser-based call management software, and mobile applications.
If you utilize apps such as Facetime or WhatsApp, you’re already using VoIP. They fall within the same category of systems that make it possible to communicate from anywhere using video, chat, messaging, and voice calls, supported by your WiFi or 4G/5G connection, instead of a phone line.
Related: What is a Softphone and Why Do I Need One?
How Does an IP Phone System Work?
IP phone systems leverage a special 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).
Call handling software replaces an old-fashioned PBX system and is used to route calls to the correct extension or device.
When asking what is a VoIP phone, you may also want to know what other features it includes. Due to its inherent flexibility, VoIP can also incorporate a host of additions you might 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?
IP phone solutions provide many benefits for businesses of all sizes, but small and growing enterprises gain the most significant advantages.
A recent IBISWorld study, “VoIP Industry in the US – Market Research Report,” revealed that “Social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders have led many businesses to rapidly adopt remote working, increasing demand for industry services, particularly video conferencing.”
More data found in the “Business VoIP Services – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics” report by Research and Markets adds:
- The global market value for Business VoIP Services reached approximately US$26.4 Billion in 2020.
- Projections indicate it may reach US$31.9 Billion by 2027.
- The VoIP Services market could grow at a 2.8% annual rate over the 2020-2027 period.
- The business VoIP services market in the U.S. alone was valued at US$7.1 Billion in 2020.
This outlook is proof that companies around the world are embracing VoIP as their preferred form of communication. Why the rush to VoIP?
VoIP is Less Expensive
Typically, you must buy traditional phone lines in batches of 23. That’s a non-starter if your business only has a few employees or if you are starting out on your own. With a virtual IP phone system, you get and pay for exactly the number of phone numbers you need now and add on as you grow.
You can find a plan that fits your exact calling needs. On the phone all day? Then you’ll want to look for a plan with unlimited minutes. If you only need to make a few calls here and there, a less expensive metered plan might be better for you.
There are no maintenance or installation fees because everything happens in the cloud. You don’t have to purchase, house, and maintain equipment or pay for technical support when adding or removing users.
You’ll Get More Flexibility
Whether you use an IP-enabled desk phone or a mobile application to make and receive calls, your IP phone system doesn’t care where you are. You and your employees can work from virtually anywhere you can connect to the Internet without installing additional equipment.
Are you adding an employee or two? Great! You can assign them an extension off of your current number or get new business numbers for them on-demand with just a few clicks.
Related: VoIP-based Office Telephone Systems: Pros And Cons
There’s Less Maintenance
With a copper wire landline, you’ll often have to deal with maintenance and upgrades to your phone system. Not only does this mean downtime for your business, but it also means you have to wait around for a technician.
With an IP phone system, you get rid of onsite maintenance completely. You can perform any maintenance or upgrades to your phone system remotely in the cloud. Business continues as usual as you focus on things other than phone maintenance.
Implementation Is Easy
When you choose a leading provider, it should be easy it is to get started with your new VoIP phone system:
- Pick your plan. Your partner will offer several calling and additional feature packages to meet your needs.
- Pick your phone number. You can choose from a vast inventory of local, toll-free, or custom phone numbers.
- Tell your provider about yourself. Your preferred supplier will collect just enough information to service your account.
- Set up payment.
That’s it! If you choose the right company, you can get started right away managing your account or making calls from your mobile app.
Sign up for an IP Phone System Today
Now you know what a VoIP phone system is, how it works, and the many benefits that come with it. So forget about your legacy landlines and all of their limitations. Choose VoIP calling instead for greater flexibility and easier maintenance at a lower cost.
Ready to switch to an excellent VoIP phone system for your small business? Take a look at Phone.com’s convenient plans. Our features enable you to stay connected from anywhere, at any time, and on every device. You will be surprised at how easy it is for entrepreneurs and growing businesses to implement and maintain. Take your business communications to the next level. Sign up now!