VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) can make calls using a broadband internet connection. It operates the same way as a traditional phone, except you need a stable internet connection.
Like all phones, you need a phone number. Phone numbers identify who is calling, where the call is coming from, and sometimes what device is making the call.
Everyone knows this for traditional phones. But how does this work for a phone using the internet? Where is the call coming from exactly?
That’s what we’re dissecting in today’s post, so keep reading!
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What Is A VoIP Number?
A VoIP phone number is an actual phone number given to an individual rather than a phone. A VoIP phone number takes advantage of the internet on multiple devices instead of one device.
For example, a VoIP phone number from Google Voice is assigned to you, the Google user. You can use this number on your smartphone, computer, tablet, and any other device that can access Google.
Traditional phones use one number allocated to only one device. VoIP can achieve this level of flexibility because it’s not tied to a conventional phone line.
VoIP phone numbers are multipurpose, so if your phone breaks, don’t worry. Just locate a computer, and you can still make “phone” calls.
How VoIP Works
VoIP switches your voice into a digital signal, compresses it, and delivers it across the internet. VoIP service providers facilitate the phone calls using a stable internet connection.
Any device can use VoIP so long as you check these boxes. Almost all smartphones these days are capable of using VoIP. Because VoIP crosses over into other devices, remote workers can use VoIP without using personal phone numbers to communicate with office workers.
How Do I Get A VoIP Number?
You need to take six critical steps to get started with VoIP. However, to get a VoIP phone number, you need to find a VoIP service provider.
Dozens of VoIP service providers exist. Some cater to businesses, and some cater to individuals. Some providers offer service to both. You can use existing phone numbers with VoIP. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that you have the right to number porting, the process of transferring your number to any carrier of your choosing.
You don’t have to use a current phone number to keep your number private. Business owners that use their personal phones for work can have a separate business number.
Here’s how it works: A VoIP provider assigns you a new number, connecting it with your current number. Customers call your VoIP phone number, but it will ring on your personal phone.
Other applications, like WhatsApp allow business owners and individuals to make calls through the app without giving away their phone number. Pretty cool, huh?
Check out our VoIP pros and cons list if you’re not sure if VoIP is right for you or your business.
RELATED: VoIP Call Routing: A Complete Guide
Who Uses VoIP Numbers?
Anyone and any business can use VoIP so long as they have a reliable internet connection. You can’t use VoIP without the internet.
In particular, small and large businesses benefit from VoIP because it slashes costs compared to traditional phone services. VoIP is also not restricted to a specific location.
Some industries that benefit from VoIP include:
- Customer service
- Call centers
- Hospitality industries (i.e., pet sitting, hotels, catering)
- Large corporations
These are just a few industries. The list can go on and on.
However, some countries have VoIP restrictions, even with a stable internet connection. Countries with VoIP restrictions include:
- North and South Korea
Why do these countries restrict VoIP? For different reasons. Scammers and hackers use VoIP all the time, so it’s easy to manipulate. For other countries, it’s a government decision.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use VoIP. It just means that if your clientele is in any of these countries, you’ll have to arrange a different communication method. Talk to your VoIP provider if you’re unsure about international VoIP calls.
Can You Trace A VoIP Call?
As we mentioned, VoIP is an opportunity for hackers and scammers. The main problem with VoIP is tracing the call. Because VoIP is location-independent, a phone call isn’t tied to an area code.
Checking the legitimacy of a business can be a challenge for this reason.
There are two kinds of VoIP phone numbers to know about: fixed and non-fixed.
Fixed VoIP phone numbers are associated with a physical location. Many businesses opt for a fixed VoIP number so their business can be found easily. The downside to this is that it limits your flexibility. However, it’s still better (and cheaper) than a traditional landline.
Non-fixed VoIP phone numbers are not associated with a physical location and, therefore almost impossible to trace. Scammers often use several different numbers, changing the number used all the time.
No one wants to deal with scammers. But it’s the reality in which we live. Talk to your VoIP service provider about encryption and other measures to protect you from fraudulent activity.
Is A VoIP Number Worth It?
VoIP allows for multi-device communications. It’s cheaper and flexible compared to traditional phone lines, giving you the ability to scale on the go as you grow. Not to mention, you can keep the same numbers and extensions.
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