VOIP Phones: what are they and are they right for you? VOIP phones or Voice Over Internet Protocol phones are devices or software systems that use the internet to make calls. Instead of using traditional wired pathways and cell towers, data travels over your internet connection to your VOIP phone provider and then out to the world. They have been around since the mid-nineties but are becoming more widely used by businesses around the world.
VOIP software, which can be used via a physical phone or a computer, converts your voice into a digital signal. This signal travels over the internet to your VOIP provider, who properly converts the signal and deliver it to the intended recipient. All of this happens sight-unseen, and nearly instantaneously, leaving you with a call experience that is nearly identical to using a traditional phone.
VOIP phones typically come in two forms. First, there are traditional phones. These phones look and feel identical to an office phone you’ve seen in the past; however, instead of being plugged into a phone line, they are plugged in to an internet connection.
The second common form of a VOIP phone is what is called a “softphone.” A softphone is a computer application from which you can make phone calls. Usually it has a number-pad to type in who you want to call and also has a list of contacts you can dial. Phone calls on a softphone are made right from your computer, which no physical phone device needed. You use the computer’s built-in speakers and microphone to talk/listen or you can connect additional hardware, like a headset, to use instead.
Is VOIP right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Can be less expensive than traditional phone lines.
- Softphones work anywhere with an internet connection -> not tied to the office.
- Remote/mobile solution that doesn’t require employees to use their cell phone.
- If you want to keep traditional office phones, you’ll need to replace your current phones with VOIP phones.
- Quality of the call depends on your internet speed.
- May require a backup internet connection in case of emergencies or outage.
VOIP can be a great option for you and your business. It can help you cut the costs and increase accessibility to communicate with vendors, clients, and/or colleagues whether you’re in the office or not. Based on the pros and cons, we always recommend clients convert over to a VOIP solution whenever their traditional phone system is at end of life. To learn more about how we help our clients make these important decisions, check out our Managed IT Solutions.
By Joe Couillard, Client Relationship Manager