What is a VoIP Phone?

VoIP phone refers to a device or program that utilizes Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. VoIP technology allows the user to make voice calls over broadband internet, rather than through a traditional, analog connection.

VoIP phone can look just like a traditional office desk phone. The difference is behind the scenes. Instead of transmitting through a physical pair of copper wires, VoIP utilizes the internet to transmit voice calls, in the form of data packets. VoIP phone systems can also be a software application or app, coined softphone, and not require desk phone hardware.

Voice over IP technology is incredibly versatile for small business users. Phone lines can be used from wherever the employee is located and calls can be seamlessly transferred from office phone to mobile. Conversations can evolve from SMS to voice call to video conference call, all in the same application.

If versatility, security, and affordability are at the forefront of your business technology decisions, then VoIP phones are the communication solution you have been looking for.

How does VoIP phone service work?

In order to use VoIP technology for your business, you first need to subscribe to a VoIP phone service. A VoIP phone service runs the servers that host calls and utilize SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) technology to connect calls to other telephone networks. This allows for VoIP calls to be conducted with users on any phone network, whether they are using VoIP, traditional landline, or cellular service.

Providers of VoIP phone service function in a similar way to traditional landline phone providers. They connect you to the broader telecommunications networks that are utilized in every phone call we make. The difference is that these providers utilize the latest technology to deliver both the best user experience and the lowest costs.

VoIP services provide the technology to make VoIP calls function properly - and the tools to make the technology accessible to everyone. Your own broadband internet will connect your calls to your VoIP provider’s servers, where they are routed globally to the relevant telephone networks needed to complete the call. All this happens behind-the-scenes, automatically and seamlessly.

VoIP phone service from Zoom

Zoom Phone is a leader in the VoIP industry. Zoom Phone helps businesses modernize their communications systems to cut costs, improve productivity, and achieve better business outcomes.

Zoom Phone integrates with the existing Zoom software and native apps for all your favorite devices. The platform allows you to seamlessly transfer calls across devices, and even transition a voice call into a video conference call - all without interruption. Centralized management tools provide an easy way to manage all users - whether your company is 50 people or 5,000.

How does VoIP compare to a landline?

VoIP Phone

Landline

Connection Type

Internet Protocol (via ethernet, WiFi, cellular data, cellular voice, or direct USB connection to an internet-connected computer)

Dedicated copper wiring (generally via private branch exchange telephone systems)

Voice Quality

HD voice - twice the audio range of traditional landlines

Standard voice

Features

Advanced features like intelligent call routing, automated virtual attendants, call recording, video calling, SMS messaging, secure HD audio, integration with applications like Slack and Salesforce, as well as all standard features

Standard features like call waiting, voicemail and caller ID. Modern systems may have more advanced features, like conference calling and video support

Versatility

Ultimate versatility. Make and receive calls from almost any device - and seamlessly transfer calls between devices, wherever you are in the world

Limited versatility. Calls can only be made while physically at your office location, via a phone that is directly wired to the office PBX system

Scalability

Infinite scalability, limited only by the strength of the internet connection

Limited by physical wired connections and addition of extra equipment

Costs

Generally low-cost. Costs will scale with number of users and desired features, but are typically lower than landline setups

Generally moderate to high-cost, particularly with advanced features included

Device Compatibility

VoIP-enabled desktop phones, conference phones, computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more

Traditional landline desktop phones

Stay connected with VoIP

Same number in the office or on the go

VoIP technology allows you to use the same phone number, whether you’re in the office, at home, or hiking in the Swiss Alps. Because your calls will route through the internet, you can make and receive business calls on a physical phone at your office, through an app on your smartphone, or even on a laptop at the airport.

Multiple ways to call

VoIP allows for seamless integration of voice calling, video calling, conference calling, and even SMS messaging. Every form of communication can be managed in the same applications, keeping you connected to the global business world.

Add or remove users

With VoIP phone service, adding or removing a user is incredibly easy. Employees are assigned user accounts with the click of a mouse. From there, existing phone numbers can be ported in, or users can be assigned new phone numbers to be used right away.

Get started in minutes

VoIP phone service is simple to set up. Once you’ve purchased a plan, simply download an app or software, and you can make calls immediately. Additional users and devices can be seamlessly added as-needed, and even more advanced setups can easily be handled by in-house IT experts.

Multiple “lines” on just one phone

VoIP phone technology allows you to have multiple phone “lines” on a single phone. Calls can be routed seamlessly to different active phone lines, or even transferred to other devices on the network. With advanced call routing features that are easy to set up, call management is a breeze.

Global coverage

VoIP provides a simple and affordable way to make business calls all around the world. Experience HD call quality with next to no delay, all with affordable and transparent pricing. Zoom Phone is available in 45+ countries and territories, with local phone numbers available in each supported country. International calls can be made outside of the supported network, as well. International calling via VoIP is low-cost, simple, and accessible anywhere.

Types of VoIP phones

Voice over IP technology is extremely versatile. The technology can be used on traditional desktop phones, USB headsets, conference phones, cellphones, and virtually any computer, smartphone or tablet capable of downloading an app.

Businesses interested in switching to VoIP desk phones can purchase their own compatible equipment, or even subscribe to VoIP phone hardware as a service directly from Zoom.

Standard desktop phones

Desk IP phones look and function similarly to traditional office phones. The difference is that they connect via ethernet cables and transmit voice calls using VoIP.

Businesses VoIP desk phones offer the widest range of available features. Most have LCD screens displaying important information, including caller ID. More advanced models have full-color touchscreens for advanced productivity, and can handle upwards of a dozen unique phone lines. Some models feature Bluetooth® technology, allowing the user to utilize wireless headsets.

USB phones

USB phones are simple devices that plug directly into your computer via USB. These devices provide a straightforward and affordable VoIP phone solution for small business users.

USB phones do not generally have LCD screens or any advanced features. Call management is typically handled via the computer that the USB phone is connected to. USB phones are generally used alongside “softphones”, explained below.

Softphones

Softphones are virtual phones that exist on a software app that’s installed on your computer, smartphone or tablet. They are not tied to any physical location, and therefore provide substantial versatility.

Softphones can be used in combination with physical devices, such as headsets or USB phones. Many businesses simply run softphones on the desktop computers, paired with USB or Bluetooth® headsets.

Conference phones

VoIP conference phones are designed to improve sound quality during conference calls. The devices have multiple microphones, and each microphone is electronically balanced to improve call clarity.

Conference phones are often V- or Y-shaped, and have two to three separate audio speakers. The distinct speakers, combined with digital balancing, ensure that each voice in the room is transmitted clearly.

Video phones

Video phones are similar to standard desktop phones. The only difference is that they feature a built-in or USB-based camera along with a larger, full-color screen that’s perfect for video calling.

With the popularity of software-based video calling, many business owners find dedicated video phones to be unnecessary. However, they can still be a useful addition for certain industries.

VoIP phone service FAQ

Most small businesses can benefit from switching to a VoIP phone service. Costs are generally lower, features are more useful for modern business, and VoIP is infinitely versatile for growing businesses. In many ways, switching from landline to VoIP is like transitioning from fax to email - in the 21st century, it just makes sense.

Generally, VoIP phone service costs less than traditional landline service. VoIP utilizes your existing broadband internet connection, which your business is already paying for. Zoom Phone plans can cost as little as $8 per month per user for metered calling, or just $20 per month for unlimited domestic calling with optional unlimited global calling add-ons.

VoIP can be used to call internationally. The process is simple and low-cost. Essentially, VoIP transmits the call to the destination country over the internet, where it then transfers to local communications providers to complete the call. Zoom Phone currently supports international calls to over 150 countries and territories, all at competitive rates. Businesses making frequent calls to select international destinations can also choose to set up a local phone number in those countries, potentially saving on costs.

Yes. Because VoIP phones offer the same ability to communicate between phone numbers that a regular/traditional phone does, you can make and receive regular phone calls using a VoIP phone.

Not necessarily. VoIP phone systems can be fully functional using solely computers or mobile phones. Many firms choose to keep things simple, running calls through office computers, and issuing their employees low-cost headsets for hands-free communication. If you’d like traditional office phones, many modern phone models are compatible with VoIP service providers.

Yes. Zoom Phone supports phone number porting, meaning you can transfer over your existing phone number from your old provider. You can also procure new phone number(s) quickly and inexpensively.

A good VoIP service will provide all the features that you are familiar with: Caller ID, call forwarding, voicemail, conference calling, etc. A great VoIP service, like Zoom Phone, will provide a broad range of modern features, including native apps for desktop and mobile, video conferencing, global call routing, secure HD audio, native integrations with popular business applications, and much more. See a full list of Zoom Phone features here.

A VoIP number is a virtual phone number, meaning it’s not tied to a landline or specific device. Instead, a VoIP number is assigned by your VoIP service provider and allows you to make or receive calls over any internet-connected device using a softphone.

Contact sales to get started with Zoom Phone today!

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