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VoIP phones – Types, advantages, cost, and more

Author: team-content
VoIP phones – Types, advantages, cost, and more

VoIP phones are special phones designed to use voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) technology to place calls. This service converts analog telephone audio into a digital format and vice versa to transmit sound. These capabilities are not found in traditional analog phones, which use the public switched telephone network. This article explores the interesting world of VoIP phones, systems, types, and services to help users find the best match for their needs.

Types of VoIP phones
Based on the user system, there are two types of VoIP phones. Most VoIP service providers offer both types.

  • Hardware-based: These look like traditional hard-wired or cordless phones, with features like a speakerphone, microphone, and caller ID display. These phones also allow users to transfer calls and call multiple parties simultaneously. Some may also have video capabilities.
  • Software-based: Alternatively, users can download or install a virtual phone software client on their mobile phones and computers to enable VoIP calling. This is called a softphone. It allows the device to operate as a phone handset, accompanied by a touchpad and caller ID display. Using a headset along with this setup can make calling a seamless affair.

Services covered by a VoIP phone
The main service provided by a VoIP phone is calling via the internet or IP networks. However, with advancements in technology, many of these phones also offer additional features such as video calling, IM, team chat, text messaging, online faxing, voicemail capabilities, call logs and records, Bluetooth communication, conference call access, auto attendant, mobile and desktop apps, number portability, call routing, call recording, call analytics, hands-on customer service, and software integration.

Advantages of VoIP phones:
Shifting to VoIP phone services can be advantageous to organizations. Some of the benefits include:

  • Cost savings: VoIP services are a great way of reducing calling costs within the company. Although analog phones have low upfront costs, these services have several overheads in support, upgrades, and integration. By comparison, VoIP services are cheaper and offer international calling at substantially lower costs.
  • Performance: With traditional analog phones, companies need to spend a significant amount of time, effort, and energy when shifting, as new lines need to be purchased. With VoIP services, however, there is improved mobility. Business owners can also add multiple lines to the available bandwidth to continue their operations seamlessly.
  • Integration: VoIP phones are easily integrated with multiple business applications, such as customer relationship management software. This accesses the customer’s call records and analytics, helping improve sales and customer service.

Disadvantages of VoIP phones
There are a couple of drawbacks to VoIP phones as well. These are:

  • Performance dependability: For VoIP phones to function properly, they require a reliable internet connection. Without this, callers may experience latency, causing delays or dropped calls. These phone services will also not hold up during a power outage.
  • Lack of emergency calling: VoIP services also do not offer the caller’s exact location. This may make it difficult for emergency services to track calls or get to the location immediately. To bypass this issue, service providers are expected to support Enhanced 911 (E911) using third-party providers to enable location-tracking by emergency services.

Cost of VoIP phone system
There are direct and indirect costs associated with setting up a VoIP system. These may be one-time or recurring expenses. Setting up a VoIP system costs around $25-$35 on average per line. Features such as call recording, toll-free numbers, and equipment rentals may be added at an additional cost. Here, subscription fees and per-user/line costs are recurring, while setup and equipment are one-time costs. When budgeting, owners also need to account for the price of high-speed internet, which is a prerequisite for the smooth running of VoIP phones. In addition to the upfront expenses, there are several other expenses to consider when setting up a VoIP system. These can include expenses related to network upgrades, taxes, fees, add-ons, and integrations, many of which may not be immediately apparent.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the range of plans offered by VoIP service providers. These plans are designed to cater to different communication needs and budgets. Monthly plans, for instance, are more expensive but provide greater flexibility, making them ideal for small businesses with fluctuating call volumes. On the other hand, annual plans are slightly cheaper and are often preferred by established companies with predictable call volumes.

Most VoIP service providers offer free calling across the nation. However, for those with high rates of international calls, it is advisable to check these prices in advance. Although these calls are significantly cheaper than traditional calls, they will be added as extras to the bill each month.

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