How does VoIP work?
Voice over internet protocol, or VoIP, allows users to make and receive calls using the internet. Instead of transmitting a call from a hardwired desk phone through a network of analog switches, copper wires, and branch exchanges, VoIP converts voice communications into digital data that travels over an internet connection to its destination.
VoIP calls can be made with any device that has a reliable internet connection, including a desktop, laptop, smart phone, or tablet. Extensive business features give users incredible flexibility to make and receive calls from anywhere without being dependent on a physical location like an office desk phone.
Over the past several years, businesses of all sizes have turned to VoIP to replace their legacy phone system and give their employees the tools they need to communicate in an increasingly mobile world.
What makes business VoIP service different from residential VoIP?
Residential VoIP phone plans are generally simpler and more straightforward, with limited features like voicemail, call waiting, call blocking, caller ID, and enhanced 911 (E911) location technology.
Business VoIP Service
Business VoIP comes with more robust features such as call forwarding, call routing, conference bridges, auto attendants, call recording, whisper, and virtual extensions to support business needs. Because organizations have a higher volume of calls, business VoIP systems need to be able to handle several simultaneous calls at once.
Advantages of VoIP service vs. traditional telephony
VoIP phone service gives business organizations greater flexibility in how they communicate, with more features and services for deploying and scaling.
Businesses looking to switch from Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) may find that VoIP service addresses the limits of traditional telephony features, such as hardwired desk phones and landline infrastructure, especially as more businesses support remote workforces.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of VoIP compared to traditional telephone service.
- Make and receive calls on any internet-connected device
- Affordable end user devices such as a headset
- Quick and easy to add or remove users/extensions
- Extensive features like call queues, call routing, and call forwarding
- Affordable domestic and international plans
- Real-time call performance monitoring
Traditional telephone service
- Limited to hardwired desk phone
- Expensive to purchase, install, and upgrade hardware
- Scaling requires installation of new hardware
- Extra costs for additional business features
- Generally more expensive, unpredictable costs, especially on international calls
- Difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot issues
VoIP service as part of unified communications
Because VoIP phone service is delivered over the internet, it fits seamlessly into a cloud-based unified communications platform.
What is Unified Communications as a Service?
Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, refers to a single cloud-based platform that delivers a variety of communications services — namely video, audio, and web conferencing; enterprise telephony; and instant messaging.
When organizations unify their communications under one platform, it provides a simplified, consistent experience for users. It also simplifies management for IT and collaboration administrators.
What are the benefits of UCaaS?
UCaaS offers a number of benefits for organizations of varying sizes, industries, and geographic regions.
Easy to use
Instead of using one platform for video conferencing, another for chat, and yet another provider for phone service, UCaaS creates a one-stop-shop experience for all business network communications.
Flexible and adaptive
UCaaS offers flexible deployment options that make it easy to add users as your organization grows. The cloud-based administrator platform can be accessed from a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, supporting a remote or hybrid workforce.
On one platform, users can easily elevate a phone call to a live video conference and use features like screen sharing and whiteboarding for efficient, real-time collaboration.
Secure and reliable
Zoom uses enterprise-grade cloud communications to improve security and reliability in the event of an internet outage or disaster.
What makes VoIP from Zoom Phone unique?
Zoom Phone is a cloud phone system that allows you to consolidate and unify your organization’s voice, video, and chat communications on one easy-to-use platform.
Seamless integration with Zoom Meetings
Sometimes a quick phone call can turn into an impromptu meeting. With Zoom Phone, you can easily elevate your call to a video conference and invite other attendees to join.
Simplified plans & pricing
Say goodbye to managing a complex fleet of telecom carriers and contracts. Our Global Select plan offers unlimited calling in 45+ countries and territories for one flat, complication-free price per user.
Bring your own carrier
With Zoom’s BYOC option, you have the flexibility to keep your existing service provider, contracts, phone numbers, and calling rates while enjoying Zoom Phone’s benefits and features.
Get Meetings, Phone and Chat together on any device.
- Move from a chat or a phone call to a meeting with a single click
- Enjoy industry leading usability with top-rated video and audio quality
- Apps are available for Windows, MacOS and Linux as well as for iOS and Android OS
VoIP phone service FAQ
VoIP phone service is generally more affordable than legacy landline solutions, especially because the hardware needed is less expensive — usually just a USB device such as a headset. Monthly costs are usually lower than traditional phone lines — Zoom Phone plans start at $8 USD per user per month, and our Global Select plan offers unlimited domestic calling in 40-plus countries and territories for $20 USD per user per month. If you selected an unlimited plan, your VoIP calls are all included free in the plan.
On-premises VoIP has hardware that is set up and housed at your organization’s office. It requires significant upfront investment costs for installation, space and infrastructure for equipment, and IT resources to maintain and scale.
Hosted VoIP is set up, hosted, and maintained by your VoIP provider. Hosted VoIP is cloud based, meaning there is no on-site physical infrastructure or equipment to worry about. For a monthly price per user, your VoIP provider handles all the responsibilities of running and maintaining your phone system.
VoIP service works on any device with an internet connection, a speaker, and a microphone. Using a softphone, users can make or receive calls from their desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet as long as it’s connected to the internet, allowing greater flexibility and mobility for working outside the office. VoIP also works seamlessly with most business desk phones.
If your VoIP provider uses security technology such as call encryption and SIP authentication, it can help keep your communications and data safe. See how Zoom protects our customers’ information and privacy.
To make VoIP calls, all you need is a computer, a working microphone, a sound card, and a strong internet connection. For details on what you may need if you sign up for Zoom Phone, see our recommended hardware.
The best VoIP service for business allows you to connect with colleagues, customers, and partners however and wherever you need. VoIP is no longer a one-off standalone service offering like telephone systems of days past. Look for a provider that offers ultra-reliable and flexible telephony service as part of a UCaaS platform that can support all your mission-critical communication needs.
In addition to Zoom Phone’s high-quality audio, global coverage, streamlined management, and simplified pricing and billing, users can also unlock high-definition video meetings, webinars, chat, and app integrations that make for a truly differentiated communications solution.
Organizations should evaluate VoIP providers depending on the needs and objectives of their business. Here are a few questions you should ask when comparing and considering VoIP providers:
- Does the provider offer all the services and features that my organization needs?
- Is the platform secure? Will it help protect our privacy and data?
- Is it reliable? Does it have a track record of providing high-quality, reliable service?
- Does it offer an intuitive experience for users?
- Does the platform integrate seamlessly with essential applications for our business, like Salesforce and Microsoft Outlook?
- Can I easily provision and manage users?
- How flexible is the platform? Does it allow for options like BYOC (bring your own phone carrier), third-party SIP trunking, flexible APIs, etc.?
- Is the solution cost-effective? Will it save me money by eliminating the need for multiple contracts, hardware investments, and maintenance?
- Does my provider offer VoIP as part of a UCaaS solution ?
Cloud-based VoIP uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology to allow users to make and receive calls over the internet by converting voice communications into digital data. This service is hosted on a cloud server using existing internet infrastructure instead of on-premise phone system hardware such as a PBX.
VoIP requires a reliable internet connection, so low bandwidth can reduce call quality and result in dropped calls. Your VoIP line will not work if you lose power or internet connectivity. If you experience frequent outages or don’t have sufficient bandwidth, VoIP may not be for you.
Need new phones?
With Zoom Phone Hardware as a Service, access the latest devices and scale your VoIP phone service with budget-friendly hardware options at an affordable, fixed monthly price.