Over the last decade, VoIP technology has gained significant popularity worldwide. Both business and residential users have embraced VoIP phone systems for their communication needs. Many established carriers now provide VoIP calling plans. In addition to that, the number of reliable VoIP providers is also growing steadily. The benefits over traditional phones include cheaper phone calls and advanced features to support user mobility.
VoIP technology converts analog audio signals (these are the same audio signals you hear when you talk on the phone) into digital data which can now be transmitted over the internet. This technology allows you to share your standard internet connection for data transmission and making phone calls. You basically bypass phone companies, including their charges, and route your calls through the internet.
What is a VoIP phone number
Just like a regular phone number, a VoIP phone number refers to a sequence of digits that users will dial to reach you on your phone. It is sometimes referred to as a virtual phone number. There a few differences between the two types of numbers. Perhaps one of the most significant differences is that a VoIP phone number is not necessarily associated with a fixed physical address.
How do I get a VoIP number?
Your telephone service provider will issue a VoIP number when sign up for their service. However, there are cases where you may need additional numbers. Depending on your location, it is possible to get free VoIP numbers from providers such as Callcentric and Phonebooth.com. These virtual phone numbers numbers only provide Direct Inward Dialling (DID), they just allow you to receive incoming calls.
When the phone number from your POTS it is already well known to their customers, family or friends. You can port it to VoIP service provider. This essentially turns it into a VoIP number. There is usually a one-off fee charged when you request your number to be ported.
Benefits of a virtual phone number
- Using a virtual phone number and a VoIP service both business and residential users can reduce their communication costs. Cost savings come about mainly because calls to your virtual number will be charged at local rates instead of long-distance rates.
- An additional benefit for organizations with staff in remote locations, is that VoIP numbers can be used to create local presence.
Limitations of a virtual phone number
- The main complaint from people who use VoIP numbers that they are rejected by Whatsapp, Uber and several other online services that require your phone number.
How do I make VoIP calls?
Once you have your virtual number. There is a variety of alternatives you can use to access VoIP services, these include:
ATA or Analog Telephone Adaptor is the most common and simplest way to use VoIP. This is basically an analog-to-digital converter, meaning it takes analog signals from your traditional phone then converts them into digital data so that it can be transmitted over the internet. This enables you to connect a standard phone to your PC or your internet connection so that you can use them with VoIP.
There are many VoIP service providers that offer ATA and VoIP as a package like AT&T Call Vantage and Vonage. Instalments are easy. You only need to crack the ATA out of the box, plug the phone cable that normally goes in the wall socket into the ATA. Then you are ready to use your VoIP telephone.
The easiest way to use VoIP is through computer to computer. This saves you from paying long-distance phone calls. This is commonly offered by VoIP service providers at very low costs or even for free. However, you’re going to need a software, speakers, card, a microphone and a decent internet connection. Usually, you are not charged with distant computer-to-computer calls except for your normal monthly ISP fee.
There’s nothing extraordinary about the looks of an IP phone. It looks like an ordinary phone with a handset, cradle and some buttons. However, you have to use a different phone connector for this. Normally, we use RJ-11 for our traditional phones but with IP ones, you’re going to need a standard RJ-45 Ethernet connector.
This connects directly to your router. There is hardware and software necessary to handle the IP call. What’s made more convenient is that if you’re using a Wi-Fi phone, then you can make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot.