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What Is a VoIP Telephone & How Does It Work? (Up to date)

what is a voip phone

VoIP has turn out to be a buzzword when speaking about enterprise telephones of late. However VoIP is greater than only a funny-sounding acronym. It stands for an enormous step ahead within the development of contemporary enterprise telephone methods. The large query for everybody is what’s a VoIP telephone?
This text will enable you to be taught extra about VoIP and enable you to select the suitable VoIP telephone service for what you are promoting.

What’s a VoIP Telephone System?

A VoIP telephone is a tool that makes use of the web as a substitute of a pair of direct join copper wires to supply phone service. VoIP telephone methods provide you with higher mobility, interoperability, and connectivity.
You might be most likely studying this since you’ve already heard about VoIP’s key options like:

  • Simple set up and setup
  • Simple scaling
  • Digital telephone numbers that comply with you and your workers
  • The expertise helps older expertise
  • Large availability and economical implementation
  • Easy integration with different software program purposes.
  • Vary of machine choices
  • Seamless arrange on current web connections

This text will deal with how to decide on the most effective tools on your wants. We might be protecting the varieties of VoIP telephones, how VoIP telephones work, options, and learn how to examine gadgets.

Kinds of VoIP Telephones

VoIP Hard Phone

Exhausting Telephones

Exhausting telephones are like conventional telephones in that they sit in your desk or in a convention room. You should utilize arduous telephones for:

  • Direct calls
  • Convention calls
  • Accessing voicemail
  • Communications by handsets, headsets, Bluetooth, and speakerphones


Softphones are digital telephones that stay in an app on a tool (reminiscent of a pc, pill, or smartphone) and will also be used very like a tough telephone. We might be speaking in regards to the many choices for softphones in a future article.

How VoIP Telephones Work

Previously, telephones have been wired to an on-premises Non-public Department Change (PBX). This cumbersome machine would deal with all routing and guarantee every name reached its correct vacation spot. VoIP telephone options far exceed these obtainable on outdated PBX methods.
Since VoIP telephones course of phone calls from the web, or the cloud, the expertise employs current laptop community cabling or Wi-Fi to entry phone networks.
No extra copper wiring is required to make use of your VoIP enterprise telephone service. Your telephone quantity can keep the identical as earlier than, so there isn’t a expense in altering it.
Due to this, making a VoIP telephone name is straightforward. Simply decide up the handset and dial a quantity. The expertise is designed to make it easy, no more sophisticated.
This identical concept applies to obtain a VoIP telephone name. It’s the identical as every other name.
how VoIP works diagram
So whichever phone machine your organization chooses, you’ll be able to join it to the VoIP telephone system merely and simply. Simply plug the telephones in and have your tech workforce configure the system in a manner that most closely fits your explicit wants.
In the event you use a VoIP telephone system from Nextiva, you’re utilizing the finest enterprise telephone service obtainable as we speak.
Associated: 7 Steps to Set Up a VoIP Telephone System at Residence or the Workplace

Telephone Setup

As an alternative of the 6-pin RJ-11 telephone connectors, VoIP telephones plug into 8-pin RJ-45 jacks. These RJ numbers aren’t droid names however are literally the connectors your laptop makes use of to hook up with the web.
Each the RJ-11 and RJ-45 look very comparable. To the typical particular person, these connectors would merely be referred to as ‘telephone jacks’ or ‘ethernet cables’. However in actuality, they serve two completely different functions.
The RJ-11 is designed to attach analog telephones, whereas the RJ-45 is designed to attach networks. To be taught extra in regards to the distinction between analog and VoIP,  learn our weblog publish on VoIP vs. PSTN.
Most VoIP telephones want solely a community connection or router. Some newer fashions may not want cables in any respect and may hook up with your community merely by WiFi.
The back of a voip phone
Take a look at this telephone’s backside! No thriller right here. Plug within the community wire, energy jack, and also you’re performed!
Now the bonus. Check out the second port. You possibly can plug in one other telephone and chain two telephones collectively on the identical community wall jack. This implies you gained’t need to take care of messy, large bundles of cables operating to routers below your desk.
Be sure to use the proper cables, although, with the intention to get sufficient connection speeds.
For actual specs on the completely different cables obtainable, discuss with the chart beneath.

Community Cable Specification Comparability

Specification Cat-5 Cat-5e Cat-6 Cat-6a Cat-7
Frequency 100 MHz 100 MHz 250 MHz 500 MHz 600 MHz
Attenuation 24 dB 24 dB 19.8 dB 18.4 dB 20.8 dB
Impedance 100 ohms ±15 100 ohms ±15 100 ohms ±15 100 ohms ±15 100 ohms ±15
NEXT 27.1 dB 30.1 dB 44.3 dB 59 dB 62.1 dB
PS-NEXT N/A 27.1 dB 42.3 dB 59.1 dB 59.1 dB
ELFEXT 17.9 dB 17.4 dB 27.8 dB 43.1 dB Not Specified
PS-ELFEXT 14.4 dB 14.4 dB 24.8 dB 41.8 dB Not Specified
Return Loss 16 dB 20.1 dB 20.1 dB 32 dB 14.1 dB
Delay Skew 50 ns 45 ns 45 ns 45 ns 20 ns

It was a widespread follow to make use of outdated normal CAT-5 cables when the pc revolution started, however now these older cables can’t deal with quicker speeds. Upgrading to a minimal of CAT-5e—or higher but CAT-6—will repair this.
Learn the class designation on the facet of the cable to search out out in case your cables and jumpers are sufficient on your present infrastructure.

Advantages of a VoIP Telephone System

Most of the options of a VoIP telephone service converse for themselves:

  • Use your current Web connection. Different enterprise telephones require devoted copper wiring separate from the pc community connection.
  • Hyperlink to person accounts, to not telephone numbers. They let you swap between simultaneous calls on a given account.
  • Give corporations easy accessibility to superior voicemail options.
  • Greater high quality audio vary (twice that of conventional).
  • Could be arrange for PoE. Which means they get energy over their Ethernet community cable as a substitute of a conventional energy adapter. This ends in fewer transformers having to be plugged into energy strips across the workplace.

VoIP Telephone Options

Now let’s take a look at a typical VoIP telephone and study its capabilities and options. It is a common description, however we are going to use a diagram of a Poly telephone. So the precise capabilities and button areas will differ barely with different fashions.
You will have to grasp the big selection of choices to make the only option for what you are promoting.
Diagram showing the button structure and layout on a Polycom VoIP phone

1) Line keys

  • Often these buttons mild as much as remind you when there’s a name ready or parked on that line.
  • A simple method to determine the variety of traces obtainable on this telephone, rely these buttons.
  • Typically these buttons will also be programmed with velocity dial entry to your necessary purchasers.

2) Reversible Tab

Flips over right into a hook permitting you to relaxation the telephone on a wall with out the handset falling off.

3) Speaker

The place the sound comes from when in speakerphone mode. The standard of a telephone’s speaker is necessary for efficient communication.

4) Again Key

Means that you can return to the earlier menu on the push of a single button.

5) Switch Key

Means that you can ship the caller to a different person’s telephone.

  • Completely different from name forwarding in that it’s designed for use after somebody has answered the telephone.
  • Heat Switch – means that you can have caller maintain whilst you verify the vacation spot quantity recipient.
  • Blind Switch – means that you can ship the decision over to the brand new machine with out first checking if they are going to reply.

6) Messages

This button provides you fast entry to your ready voicemail.

  • Sends you to your voicemail the place you may get entry to all of the superior options of VoIP voicemail.

7) Maintain

Comparable perform to the maintain buttons everyone knows and love.

8) Quantity keys

Up = louder, down = softer

9) Dial pad

The usual quantity association used for dialing.

10) Mute key

Used to mute the microphone so a fast confidential remark will be made, or if you wish to make an espresso throughout a convention name.

11) Speakerphone key

Impromptu convention calls and palms free so you’ll be able to multitask.

12) Headset key

Change to your headset if outfitted.

13) USB Port

Means that you can use a USB headset or plug in a flash drive.

14) Residence key

Typically as you search by the choices in your telephone, you will want a shortcut to return to the start.

15) Navigation keys/choose key

Use these to navigate the show, like a mouse or joystick.

  • Instructions correspond to the on-screen menus: up/all the way down to scroll by contacts, left/proper to decide on choices like a hoop sort for every contact, and many others.

16) Gentle keys

These keys will change perform based mostly on the context of what you’re presently doing. Often the show will inform you what it could actually do for you.
Here’s a record of usually obtainable choices you would possibly see on the show for the gentle key.
These choices are displayed when the telephone is energetic (when the telephone is off the hook or engaged in a name).

  • Switch
  • Blind Switch
  • Convention
  • Park
  • Redial
  • Listing
  • Pace Dial

These are displayed when the telephone is idle (when the telephone is on the hook).

  • Redial
  • Listing
  • Name Pickup
  • Name Ahead Activate / Deactivate
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Final Name Acquired
  • Missed Calls
  • Pace Dial
  • Gentle keys are dynamic. They are often programmed to do completely different capabilities in case you’re on a name vs if the decision is idle

17) Safety Slot

Lets you connect a safety cable and lock the machine to a desk (on the reverse facet of the telephone).

18) Display screen

This may range between fashions; there are actually many gadgets with full colour contact screens.

  • A VoIP telephone display normally reveals all the information the person wants. This may embody issues like time, date, gentle keys, world messaging, parked calls, and many others. (Every little thing the telephone thinks you wish to know.)
  • Greater-end telephones make use of contact screens like smartphones that may substitute some or all of the buttons on the machine.

19) Message ready indicator

A easy mild to let you already know “You’ve obtained mail”
Associated: 12 VoIP Blogs to Bookmark (Information, Traits, and Extra)

Evaluate VoIP Telephones

Now that you just higher perceive each how VoIP works and what they will do to enhance what you are promoting communications it’s time to pick a telephone mannequin.
This may usually turn out to be a frightening process once you understand that there are lots of of gadgets to select from and greater than a dozen manufacturers.
To make the choice course of straightforward, Nextiva has assembled a chart exhibiting the most well-liked telephones in the marketplace. All of those fashions have been examined and reviewed, and every has benchmarked to the best business requirements.
Keep in mind, although, that there are numerous different fashions obtainable (some with both extra superior options or extra traces). Right here’s a extra complete record of the finest enterprise VoIP telephones.
Notice that in case you want a enterprise convention telephone will probably be dealt with within the subsequent part.
VoIP phones comparison chart

Video evaluate of the Nextiva X-885

Figuring out Your Enterprise Wants

In the long run, you can’t go unsuitable with any of those in style gadgets. You’ll discover that every of those presents the options that you’d anticipate from a telephone system.
Listed here are the first necessities to think about earlier than selecting a tool:

  1. Take a look at the manufacturers. Are there names you belief greater than others? Take into consideration longevity and previous efficiency.
    • Poly is the worldwide chief in terms of productive and efficient engagement with colleagues, companions, clients, and prospects. You possibly can’t take a look at a severe VoIP resolution with out together with their product line in your decision-making course of.
    • Cisco is the large identify in enterprise networks and web infrastructure and one other lead participant within the VoIP {hardware} realm.
    • Panasonic is among the world’s main innovators in VoIP telephone enterprise methods. Their popularity for making high quality digital gadgets goes again many years.
    • VTech is the world’s largest producer of cordless telephones and well-known for its digital instructional toys.
  2. Search for the variety of line appearances. What number of traces does every machine in what you are promoting want to have the ability to deal with? Some workforce members will want many greater than two traces.
  3. Do use headsets? What sort of connector have they got? An RJ-9 is a well-known sort of connector for telephones, however are much less in style. As we speak’s headsets use USB for connectivity. In the event you want Bluetooth, then be sure that your machine helps it. Some gadgets require a USB-to-Bluetooth dongle which may not be included.
  4. Prepared for Energy over Ethernet (PoE)? Most gadgets now help for PoE, however guarantee that you’ve got the ability adapters since most workers that work from residence would not have PoE-capable community tools.
  5. Don’t neglect about reliability. Does the telephone obtain common safety updates? VoIP telephones that obtain these updates have a tendency to supply far more dependable VoIP telephone service than gadgets that want firmware delivered by hand. (Trace: Many, many internet-connected gadgets by no means get up to date.)

Evaluate VoIP Convention Telephones

A convention telephone differs from a desktop telephone in that it’s optimized for each listening to and sending the highest quality audio in a gaggle setting (like a convention room desk).
Convention telephones are designed with omni-directional microphone configuration.
Nonetheless, there isn’t an enormous useful distinction between a desktop telephone and a convention telephone. In the event you discover ways to use one, you’ll be able to simply use the opposite.
The fashions proven beneath are among the many hottest out there. Every comes with normal options like speakerphones and velocity dialing. For data on extra options and capabilities, discuss with the chart beneath.
VoIP conference phone comparison table

Taking a look at Your Enterprise Wants

Most of the identical decisions apply to convention telephones that apply to desk telephones. As a result of convention telephones have a barely completely different goal and performance within the workplace, although, there are a number of extra elements to think about:

  1. Discover the choice for going cordless. Many convention rooms don’t have a community jack in the midst of the desk. If you wish to keep away from operating one other cable, this may very well be an necessary alternative on your machine.
  2. Bluetooth could be necessary too. Particularly if you could increase the sound for somebody with a listening to impairment and never make it uncomfortably loud for others within the room.
  3. The show is additional away from the person, so a brightly-lit readable show may make a distinction.
  4. Importantly, pay attention to the popularity for high quality that every model represents and take a look at their customer support score.
  5. Lastly, a espresso/espresso maker choice is just not but obtainable on any mannequin. Maybe we must always begin a write in marketing campaign?


There are various decisions when shopping for and configuring what you are promoting VoIP service. Ensuring you’ve gotten the most effective VoIP supplier, telephones, and options, provides you extra confidence to run what you are promoting.
It doesn’t need to be arduous. The truth is, organising a digital telephone system is really easy, you’ll be able to set it up your self.
The excellent news is that you’re not alone on this journey, and there are professionals to information you alongside the best way. Let Nextiva’s VoIP specialists assist you choose the proper telephone system on your firm. Additionally, try what our clients say about our VoIP telephone service.

We’ve performed the analysis for you. Obtain the VoIP Telephone System Purchaser’s Information loaded with confirmed finest practices.



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