What is VoIP and How Does a VoIP Phone Number Work?

Posted on: 2015-09-23 | Categories: VoIP VoIP Phones VoIP Services VoIP Technology

You may have heard the term VoIP phone but may not have fully realized the full potential behind the technology. Those four letters represent a technology that has drastically changed the way businesses and consumers make phone calls.

Traditionally, voice calls require a landline and hard phones tied to a specific location, thus, creating a specific area code. VoIP technology makes it possible to get voice phone service from any location using an Internet connection and common devices like a smartphone or tablet. These virtual calls can also be made using laptops, desktop computers and even landlines (using an appropriate converter).

Businesses looking for an enterprise-class phone system will find that the many features offered by VoIP service fully meet their needs. Virtual phone systems offer features such as conferencing, instant messaging, music on hold, ACD queues and a host of others at an affordable cost. Additionally, because VoIP is location independent, businesses can take advantage of virtual calling to establish a local presence without the need for a physical location. Here is a full guide on VoIP for small businesses and what you need to get started.

What is a VoIP Phone System and How Does it Work?

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to the technology used to make phone calls through a standard Internet connection. To make a phone call using this technology, all that is needed is a suitable Internet connection and a device capable of making Internet calls. The great thing about Internet calling is that it supports a wide variety of devices. As a result, companies can begin using the technology without a significant upfront investment in equipment. They can simply use any of the following devices they may already own: 

  • Laptop 
  • Desktop computer 
  • Tablet 
  • Smartphone 
  • A landline telephone (hard phone) 

The final component required for voice calling over the Internet is a virtual phone number, also known as a VoIP phone number. Virtual telephone numbers look and work the same as any other number. It is a string of digits that can be entered on the dial pad to connect a call. There is no learning curve or technical knowledge required to use a VoIP phone number, making the software accessible to all.  

To get started with small business VoIP, companies simply need to install the software on their devices. When they are ready to make a call, they would use the software to make the call as if making any other call.

Difference between VoIP and Regular Phone Numbers

While there are some similarities between regular numbers and virtual numbers, there are some key differences worth noting.

Area Codes

Perhaps the most important difference is that the area code has no actual relevance to VoIP phone systems. Virtual phone numbers work independently of location, and there isn’t much of a difference between local, national or international numbers. With voice calling over the Internet, users can choose a phone number with any area code.

Multiple Devices

Landline numbers (also known as hard phone lines) are typically tied to a specific device like a home phone, office phone or any other landline instrument. 

VoIP phone numbers can be attached to multiple devices which makes it possible to use them in unique ways. Accordingly, users can make a voice call from a hard phone, their smartphone or computer using the same number. 

Such a system allows for great flexibility for users, especially in a business context. A VoIP phone number is more suited to how we work and live in today’s modern world. 

The Advantages of a VoIP Phone Number

The way landline numbers are used hasn’t changed much over the last several decades. People make calls, send and receive voicemail and maybe use a few extra features like caller ID. A VoIP phone number, however, has many advantages over traditional hard phones. A few of them are listed below:

Enterprise Class Phone Service Features

VoIP phone service allows businesses of all sizes to take advantage of enterprise-class VoIP phone features at an affordable cost.

  • ACD Queues – Directs inbound traffic to the appropriate queues by creating customized ACD queues.
  • Conferencing – Making conference calls using VoIP is as simple as creating any number of virtual conference rooms. In addition, each conference call supports an unlimited number of participants.
  • Instant Messaging – Virtual phone service providers support free instant messaging between devices.
  • Music on Hold – Create a better customer experience by customizing musical interludes for their hold time.
  • Call Recording – Record and store company phone calls for future reference.

Make Voice Calls Using Any Device

VoIP phone numbers operate on networks that rely on IP technology – the same networks that are used to deliver Internet access.

VoIP numbers can be used to make voice calls from a range of devices such as an IP desk phone, analog landline instrument (with a converter) or an app on a smartphone or tablet.

The experience is consistent across all devices, and the person on the other end of the line sees the same number on their caller ID.

Incoming Calls Can Ring to Multiple Devices

Most VoIP phone systems include a feature wherein incoming calls can ring multiple devices simultaneously or one after the other depending on how the service is configured. 

The feature may have different names on different services but is commonly referred to as ‘multi-device ring’ and ‘find me follow me’ respectively. 

Thus, any person can be reached through a phone call even if the caller has no idea where they are or which device they might be calling from.  

Businesses can significantly improve customer service by making sure calls are answered regardless of where employees may be located. With traditional phone lines, callers would end up in voicemail if they couldn’t reach someone. With virtual numbers, voicemail becomes the last resort as the user will be reached sooner or later.  

Virtual Phone Numbers are Location Independent

Traditional phone lines require companies to use a local area code. VoIP phone numbers, however, are not tied to a specific location. Thus, users can choose a phone number with any area code. As a result, businesses can establish a local presence by adopting a local area code. 

Number mobility

Transferring phone service to a new location is hassle-free with a virtual phone number. There is no need to change phone numbers or suffer through moving a hard phone number to a new address.   

VoIP numbers offer portability, meaning they can go with the user no matter where they move. The number can be used through a standard Internet connection regardless of the location.  

This level of portability is especially beneficial to businesses not wanting to lose loyal customers who are used to dialing the old number. 

There will be no need to update marketing materials, the company website or other communication to reflect new numbers. The old number will continue to function as usual.

VoIP phone service brings a wealth of enterprise-class features to businesses of all sizes. There is no need for a significant upfront investment to get started. Companies can get started with virtual calling using their Internet connection and existing equipment. Learn more about how you can get started with VoIP for small businesses and take advantage of a free 30-day trial