Forget about the days when your company used to spend a lot of money on long-distance phone calls to clients and partners. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology allows people to place and receive free or cheap calls, and there are various options for individual users and business owners alike.
VoIP comes in a variety of forms. Do you rarely leave your house and office, or are you usually on the move? If you’re a business owner, what’s the size of your company, and what factors matter most to you? Let’s take a look at some of the VoIP services available on the market to help you make a better decision in choosing your means of telephony.
Residential VoIP services
For this type of VoIP, you use an adapter to connect your landline phone to a Wi-Fi modem to make and receive calls over the internet. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll be billed each month for either unlimited services or for minutes you actually use.
Examples: VoIP.com, Lingo
Device-based VoIP services
This involves purchasing a VoIP device from a service provider and plugging it into your existing phone set so that you can make free calls within the US. This means not having to pay a monthly bill, and you need no other devices besides your old landline telephone.
Examples: MagicJack, Ooma
Software-based VoIP services
This is the most common type of VoIP, and many of us use it on a daily basis. You either access a web-based application online, or install it as software on your computer. Then you use your computer’s audio input and output device to talk and listen.
Mobile VoIP services
Like software-based VoIP services, mobile VoIP is also an application. However, it is installed on mobile phones instead of computers, thus enabling you to make and receive calls no matter where you are as long as you have a good internet connection.
Examples: Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts
Business VoIP services
VoIP for business comes in two options: on-premises and cloud-based. Both provide much more cost-effective communication solutions than traditional landlines and have a variety of useful features for businesses. These include video and audio conferencing, screen-sharing, interactive voice response, automated attendants, call queues, and call reports, just to name a few. These features are scalable, and you’ll also get complete technical support.
For on-premise VoIP systems, businesses need to purchase all the equipment and house it in their office. This requires huge capital expenses. Businesses also have to pay a monthly fee for SIP trunking or PRI circuit, as well as dedicate IT staff to maintain, repair, and upgrade the systems on a regular basis. The upside is you’ll have total control over your hardware.
With cloud-based VoIP systems, you outsource the phone system to your VoIP provider. This means there’s no need to purchase hardware or invest in maintaining the systems since your provider will take care of everything for a fixed monthly fee. You can also add or remove users easily. The downside is that you’re not in total control of the hardware and need to rely on your provider’s expertise to ensure system reliability and security.
Want more detailed information about VoIP to help you choose the most suitable VoIP provider? Talk to our professionals today. They have extensive knowledge about this efficient, low-cost communication technology and can explain everything to you in plain English!