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What Is a VoIP Number?

What Is a VoIP Number

A Voice over Internet Protocol phone number allows your business to communicate over an Internet connection rather than a regular telephone line.

  • VoIP numbers can be associated with a local or cloud-based system.
  • VoIP numbers have more sophisticated functionality and offer greater flexibility than traditional business phone systems, although many can work with existing hardware.
  • You can start by choosing a company phone system provider and connecting an existing number or choosing a new one.
  • This article is for small and medium business owners who are considering a VoIP number.– In the globalized digital world we live in today, you never know when you might need to make a call from anywhere using anything, so it no longer makes sense for businesses to succumb to time or regional restrictions on their location or device. Fortunately, there is a solution.

A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) number allows you to dial the desired prefix for a telephone or even have multiple telephone numbers with different prefixes. Thanks to these virtual numbers, it has never been easier to adapt and conduct business from different environments and there are a number of other benefits.

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If you are wondering what all this means and if a VoIP number is a good option for you, you are in the right place. We’ll look at how VoIP numbers work, how they compare to traditional phone numbers, how to get one yourself, and a few things to keep in mind along the way.

How does VoIP work?

While traditional telephone numbers (i.e. landlines) are connected to a dedicated telephone line and make calls using circuit broadcasts over the public switched telephone network (PSTN), VoIP uses the Internet to make calls and is not connected to any specific device. The name literally means that it transmits voices using Internet protocols. How it works is complex, but basically a VoIP converts the telephone’s analog signals into a digital format so that the Internet can process them.

Although it has become more popular recently, VoIP has been around in some way since 1995. Since then, we’ve seen huge increases in quality and speed, along with lower costs and more features.

Types of VoIP systems

Although all VoIP systems use the same basic mechanisms, there are different types. The simplest VoIP phone system is simple software that works through an Internet provider, giving you access to your virtual number from anywhere and through any device. It works similar to software like Skype. This is ideal for individuals or small organizations as it is the simplest and cheapest option to set up. [Read Related Article: 4 Types of Phone Systems]

Local VoIP systems

Then there are the local VoIP systems, which take the technology used in traditional landlines and transform it into a VoIP version. This is the most complex and difficult to maintain, as companies have to control and maintain everything on their own, but it can work for larger companies.

Cloud-based VoIP systems

An alternative to a local system is a VoIP system hosted by a third party, who rents the solution, configures it, and maintains it as needed. This gives the company less control over the system than an on-premise solution, but is much easier to manage and therefore very popular.

You may also hear hosted VoIP systems called cloud-based phone systems. The two are pretty much the same. When a VoIP system is hosted in the cloud, it means that an outside company keeps everything. To see an example, read our Nextiva review.

VoIP vs traditional telephone numbers

What we consider a traditional business telephone number is usually a landline – an analog telephone system hosted by a local telephone company that operates using a copper cabling infrastructure over PSTN.

For a company to have its own landline service (with multiple extensions and features such as call forwarding), it must have Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware. A PBX system is expensive and complex to maintain, but it offers important features such as call forwarding.

Conversely, VoIP phone systems work on the Internet. However, the results are quite similar: VoIP systems offer most of the functionality that was previously limited to PBX systems.

Now that you know the difference between the two, you are probably wondering if a VoIP or landline phone is better for your business. Let’s go over the details.

Pros and cons of traditional phone numbers

An advantage of traditional phone numbers is that they have been around for so long that everyone in a company will feel safe using them. And because they don’t need the internet to work, they’re more reliable in areas where the internet connection is slow or intermittent. However, many phone system vendors are phasing out their landlines, which means you may run into problems in the future if you need to replace or repair it. Nobody wants to work with outdated technology. Additionally, they can be expensive and difficult to maintain, often requiring in-house IT staff.

Pros and cons of VoIP numbers

One of the main advantages of VoIP systems is that they offer more sophisticated features at a fairly affordable price, including call forwarding and forwarding, extension dialing, and three-party calls (more on that later). This makes it easy for small businesses to appear more professional and established, even if they can’t afford a local phone system. They also offer greater flexibility as you are not limited to a specific physical location or device when making VoIP calls. You can also choose an area code outside of your location – a great tool if you want your business to be associated with a specific location or multiple locations, or to avoid long-distance charges.

VoIP systems often offer better audio quality as well. As long as you have enough bandwidth for the call, VoIP can eliminate blur and improve clarity. However, since VoIP systems require an internet connection, they aren’t the best option if bandwidth isn’t up to the task. As for VoIP systems that also use PBX hardware, they are better for compliance as they offer businesses more control and therefore greater security, but they can be very expensive and require a lot of maintenance, so they are not a realistic option for everyone. . Business.

Other options

You are not limited to choosing between a VoIP system and a traditional phone number. There are also intermediate solutions.

Virtual phone numbers are another option. They basically work with call forwarding: the caller dials a landline number, but is diverted to a different number, usually belonging to a teleworker who answers the phone from home. This helps a company look more professional on a tight budget.

To find out which option is right for you, check out our guide to the best business phone systems.

How to get a VoIP number

Depending on whether you want a hosted / cloud-based, software or internal VoIP system, the method of setting up your number will differ. Since an internal VoIP system is a complex process that will require the help of an internal IT department and a VoIP software is very simple, we will focus on hosted or cloud-based VoIP systems here.

The first step is to choose a service plan. Some of the most popular are RingCentral, Intermedia Unite, and Dialpad. You have many other options, so choose wisely.

To help you choose, look for features like these:

  • Corresponding softphone app
  • Call recording
  • Call queuing
  • Call forwarding
  • One-click conference calls
  • Auto-attendants
  • Toll-free number
  • Integration with chat and email

You may not need all the features available, so make a list of the ones you need to have.

take your number

After choosing a provider, they will give you a virtual number, which means you can choose any country or area code you want. This may take some time in special cases (e.g. if you choose a country code associated with a highly regulated nation). However, it will usually only take a few hours. You could also link a phone number you already have with your VoIP.

configure everything

The final stages of the process will depend on the provider you choose. Usually, you can just create your online account and set up your system with the features you want.

You will also need to connect any devices you want to the system. Are you satisfied with just one phone or do you want to connect multiple computers, tablets and devices?

As a final step, you can check that everything is working correctly with a quick test. If something goes wrong along the way, your carrier should be able to help you.

VoIP fraud to watch out for

While VoIP systems can be a surprising and affordable solution for businesses, they can also be a good tool for scammers, who use them to establish credibility with their victims. When scammers call someone via VoIP, they may appear to be a legitimate organization (like a bank) rather than a random person from a random place.

No matter how legitimate a caller appears at first glance, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If in doubt, say you’ll call back later and call the number directly. That way, you know you are talking to who you should be.

It’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest scam techniques and get phone numbers straight from the official source (not via a text message or email you just received).

Prepare for success

Technology is making it easier than ever for small businesses to disguise themselves as larger, more established entities and access cheaper versions of their tools.

VoIP numbers are one example among many, and the best part is that the benefits don’t stop there. You will also be able to receive calls from anywhere in the world and much more. No wonder an increasing number of companies are involved.

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