Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to phone services that utilize the internet to make and receive calls rather than traditional analog telephone lines. VoIP converts voice signals into digital data packets that are transmitted over the internet. It allows businesses and individuals to make cheaper calls by bypassing expensive traditional phone services.
VoIP services have become extremely popular in recent years as more reliable high-speed internet connections have become commonplace. Both large enterprises and small businesses can benefit from switching to VoIP phone systems to cut costs substantially. Even individual households can use VoIP services to replace their traditional landline phone bills and take advantage of convenient features.
When selecting a VoIP service provider, there are several key factors to take into consideration regarding functionality, reliability, capabilities, security, scalability, and pricing structure. Comparing multiple top VoIP services can help identify the best match for your organization’s or household’s needs and budget. This comprehensive guide will outline the benefits of VoIP systems, the leading providers, essential features, and how to determine the right solution for your requirements.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a VoIP Service
Choosing the right VoIP phone service is critical for ensuring excellent call quality, efficient scalability, robust security, strong customer support, and cost-effective pricing for your business or home office needs. Here are the key factors to evaluate:
Uptime and Network Stability
Because VoIP services rely on your internet connection, it is vital the provider have robust and reliable data centers and networks. Check reviews and service level agreements (SLAs) to confirm guarantees of at least 99.999% uptime. Fast response times to any outages are equally important.
Ideally, providers should have redundant servers and infrastructure across multiple geographic regions to circumvent potential localized outages and disasters. Fiber optic connections also ensure higher resiliency. Ask about contingency protocols as well in case of downtime events.
Call Clarity and Quality
Superb call quality is a fundamental requirement for any worthwhile VoIP service. They should support HD voice and clear call connections without lags, jitter, static or echoes. Evaluating the voice coding technology, network capacity and Quality of Service (QoS) delivery is recommended.
PC Magazine Wi-Fi calling assessments provide objective insight into call quality performance. However, you should test call clarity directly yourself as quality can vary geographically. Confirm that call quality consistency ranks among their highest priorities.
Scalability and Flexibility
If your business growth might necessitate adding more phone lines, conferencing capacities, software integrations or features down the road, scalability is vital. The VoIP service should readily support simple user additions, call volume expansions, and technology enhancements through intuitive online portals.
Number porting should also be offered to seamlessly transfer your existing business or mobile numbers. Identify any limitations on simultaneous call volumes or lines available per plan to accommodate sizable growth.
Security Measures and Encryption Protocols
Protecting sensitive voice data, recordings and private information requires robust security provisions integrated into the VoIP provider’s systems, software, data centers and transmission networks. Ask providers about encryption protocols for calls, recordings, stored data and meta data.
SSL and TLS protocols for all account and data access are essential. Evaluate whether they have third-party security audits and ISO certifications as well as protections against DDoS attacks. Getting clarifications on privacy policies is prudent as well before committing.
Compliance with Industry Standards and Regulations
If your business operates in legal, healthcare, financial or other regulated industries, ensuring the VoIP provider complies with all relevant regulations is critical.
Ask specifically about HIPAA compliance, PCI compliance, SOX compliance and GDPR compliance depending on your jurisdiction and industry landscape. Confirm if they conduct regular compliance audits to guarantee adherence and avoid hefty non-compliance penalties.
Customer Support and Service
The responsiveness and technical expertise of a VoIP provider’s customer support team says volumes about their reliability and service quality. evaluating online resources, response times and resolution satisfaction levels will prove telling.
Most offer 24/7 phone, email and live chat support which is ideal – test them directly with complex queries. Searching their app store ratings can offer insights as well. Quick issue resolution and knowledgeable assistance are key VoIP service differentiators.
Package Offerings and Pricing
Cost savings typically drive the migration to VoIP systems so comparing pricing models is imperative – nearly all provide monthly flat rates rather than metered plans. Most include unlimited domestic calling, number of extensions and basic features in standard plans aimed at small businesses.
However, international call rates, dial-in conferencing capacities, toll-free number costs and advanced feature add-ons vary tremendously so analyze comparative pricing sheets carefully based on your current and future needs. Free trials allow evaluating before committing.
Benefits of VoIP Services
Migrating from traditional phone services to modern VoIP systems deliver some compelling benefits:
Cost Savings on Phone Bills
By utilizing broadband internet for call transmission rather than conventional telephone company services, VoIP achieves substantial cost reductions – up to 50% or more versus landlines. Monthly prices for hosted VoIP services average from $20 to $30 per line compared to $50 or more for analog lines.
Long distance and international calls typically cost at least 50 percent less as well. Completely eliminating expensive conventional phone services bills including taxes and surcharges yields major savings – especially beneficial for high call volume environments.
Seamless Scaling with Business Growth
As your business grows so does the need for additional phone lines and calling capacity. VoIP systems readily scale lines, call volumes, mobility functions and other features through intuitive online portals rather than technicians. Adding 10-20 more call lines with a traditional phone company takes major efforts.
VoIP services enable configuring additional lines and numbers in minutes online through self-service administration portals with minimal costs. Some providers even support auto-scaling abilities to spin up resources automatically during peak demands.
Easy Installation and Configuration
Another key advantage over legacy phone solutions is fast and convenient installation of VoIP services. Rather than waiting weeks for telephone company technicians, VoIP hardware can ship quickly and handy online portals enable do-it-yourself setup in hours.
With VoIP, businesses only need broadband internet access, IP phones or softphones, and access to the provider’s account portal to administer every aspect. Video tutorials make onboarding and system configuration simple without reliance on technical specialists.
Advanced Features like HD Voice, Conference Calling, and Call Forwarding
IP phone systems unlock a vast range of enterprise-grade calling features that basic analog or digital phone services can’t match. Capabilities like HD voice quality for flawless call clarity, smart auto attendants, call forwarding rules, virtual fax machines, ring groups and advanced analytics are all standard features even for entry level plans from most hosted VoIP providers.
Multi-party conference calling capacitates, real-time custom call reporting, hour by hour routing schedules, ring pools, and barging for managing overflow callers also maximize efficiency and functionality that legacy phone systems can rarely offer.
Top VoIP Service Providers
Below outlines the leading business VoIP service providers across critical success factors and capabilities to deliver top notch phone solutions:
Jive Hosted VoIP
Jive dynamiates call experiences with cutting edge reliability and clarity you can count on. Their integrated cloud architecture effortlessly scales while delivering 99.999% proven uptime for uninterrupted performance. Jive balances robust feature sets from basic to advanced with refreshingly simplified pricing.
- 99.999% Guaranteed Uptime
- 24/7 Proactive Monitoring
- Unlimited Calling Plans from $19.95/line
- Free Phone Rentals Included
Exceptional reliability, resilient security, crystal clear quality, scaled integration growth, and value define Jive VoIP excellence.
Deskforce makes staying connected incredibly easy with intuitive tools to manage every call. Complete business communication lives in their streamlined interface offering a 360-degree client view with smart personalization. Automatic call logging provides helpful insights.
- 360-Degree Customer View
- Predictive Analytics
- Salesforce Native Integrations
- 14-Day Free Trial
Deskforce empowers meaningful personalized conversations and relationships through seamless integrations for sales teams.
VoIPLy simply works with plug and play devices, clear HD calls and powerful features for straightforward setup. Number porting made easy along with number choices from across North America. Growing businesses trust VoIPLy for reliable service and responsive support at excellent value.
- Number Porting Made Easy
- Bring Your Own Devices
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
- Unlimited Extensions from $17.95
VoIPLy offers tremendously capable solutions with impressive reliability at prices that make sense. You have total control over seamlessly coordinated communications.
CallHippo pioneers clever tools that give your business an instant upgrade with their virtual call center software for managing sky-high performance. Increase sales and deliver first-rate customer service with custom IVRs, smart routing, and other intuitive options.
- Cloud-Based Call Center Software
- Automated Call Distribution
- Customized Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- 14-Day Free Trial
CallHippo reveals transformative potential for your inbound and outbound calls. Discover new horizons today.
Skype is one of the most ubiquitous and widely recognized VoIP software options leveraging the Microsoft cloud for trusted account security and availability. Extremely popular for affordable international calling and video conferencing from desktop and mobile apps.
- Microsoft Cloud-Based Platform
- Unlimited Domestic Calling Plans
- International Calling from 2.3¢ per minute
- Video Conferencing and Chat
Skype embraces hundreds of millions of users with inexpensive and approachable global communication capacities that nearly everyone can navigate comfortably.
Fuze seamlessly centralizes voice, video, messaging and meeting solutions with powerful cloud-based software for the modern business. Say goodbye to complex on-premise systems and unite your global workforce through Fuze’s intuitive signature interface.
- Unified Communications Platform
- Streamlined Team Collaboration
- Enterprise-Grade Security
- Integrates with Leading Business Apps
Fuze consolidates fragmented systems into one practical portal to interact efficiently across the organization.
As a leading global cloud communications provider for over 20 years, Lingo provides easily managed, secure and resilient VoIP solutions designed for specialized vertical needs of healthcare organizations, financial services firms, legal practices, and educational institutions.
- HIPAA, PCI, SOC2 Compliant Options
- Dedicated Fiber Optic Network
- 24/7 Proactive Monitoring
- Unlimited Domestic Plans from $23.95
Lingo arms regulated industries with tailored solutions to overcome compliance complexity while optimizing communications productivity, insights and service levels.
MightyCall delivers the only business phone powered by artificial intelligence with Zingbot for smart transcriptions, analytics, and automation capabilities. The advanced dashboard also helps track marketing campaign effectiveness along with sales and staff performance.
- AI-Powered Business Phone Service
- Conversation Intelligence Analytics
- 300+ App Integrations
- Premium Voice Quality
MightyCall’s sophisticated VoIP platform drives meaningful business insights so you can work smarter. Discover what conversational AI can unlock.
Mitel MiCloud streamlines communications by converging phone systems, video conferencing, contact center capabilities, messaging, and mobility into one seamlessly connected cloud platform. Flexible and scalable for midsize to large multi-site organizations.
- Converged Cloud Communications
- Seamless Business Continuity
- Contact Center Offerings
- Consistent Enterprise-Grade Security
Mitel MiCloud modernizes infrastructure with integrated continuous collaboration across the entire organization.
Spectrum Enterprise delivers large reliable voice and data networks including VoIP phone services, SIP trunking, cloud hosting and other unified app integrations using the nation’s second largest cable broadband network with 100% fiber optic connectivity.
- Large National Fiber Optic VoIP Networks
- Dedicated Account Representatives
- 100-200+ Seat Options
- Integrated Voice, Data, Apps
Spectrum Enterprise equips large distributed organizations with Crystal Clear VoIP integrated with high-performance fiber data networks.
magicJack for BUSINESS
magicJack for BUSINESS offers remarkably affordable and reliable small business VoIP solutions using proprietary technology for peerless sound quality without the cost and hassle of conventional business phone services. US-based customer support included along with free phone rentals.
- Groundbreaking VoIP Technology
- Superior Call Quality
- Free Phone Rentals
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantees
magicJack is the VoIP pioneer with over 20 million users and counting due to unrivaled value.
Intermedia Unite brings customized cloud communications seamlessly together – phone, chat, email, file backup/sharing, fax, conferencing and other tools unify teams. Reliable identity threat protection centralizes access control. Integrates directly with professional apps like Office 365, G Suite and Slack.
- Unified Communications Suite
- Identity and Access Management
- Secured Enterprise Cloud
- Deep App Integrations
Intermedia Unite furnishes all essential collaboration tools managed in one secure reliable architecture so teams access conversations conveniently.
Among the most widely adopted VoIP solutions globally, Vonage enables flexible work from anywhere environments with unified communications elegantly integrated – video meetings, team chat, integrated contact centers along with mobility features help workflows stay connected.
- Global Business Communications Platform
- Agile Work Environment Focus
- Integrated Video Conferencing
- Contact Center Offerings
Vonage empowers dynamic teams with unified solutions that easily transition communications capabilities to the cloud for digital workspaces.
Google Voice delivers a widely popular cost-free cloud-hosted virtual phone number forwarded to any other number you choose while transcribing voicemails into text. Seamless spam call blocking, call screening, and advanced phone administration provisions help protect productivity.
- Free Cloud Phone Number Option
- Voicemail Transcriptions
- Spam Call Protection
- Works Over WiFi or Mobile Data
Google Voice furnishes reliable core calling and voicemail capabilities with practical features that protect time for tens of millions of users worldwide without any costs.
Dialpad pioneers AI-powered cloud communications designed for hybrid work environments across voice, video meetings, messaging, and contact center solutions. Intuitive interface unified with Google Workspace and Microsoft Office interoperability streamlines collaboration.
- AI-Powered Communications
- True Hybrid Work Focus
- Voice, Video, Messaging, Contact Center
- 14-Day Free Trial
Dialpad projects the future of AI-enabled conversations in the flow of work to maximize shared understanding.
RingCentral dominates VoIP market share by powering modern hybrid work environments with a full cloud communications platform encompassing phone, fax, meetings, contact center, and team messaging capabilities. Seamlessly embed communications across workflows.
- Leading Cloud Communications Platform
- Deep Integrations Ecosystem
- Global Infrastructure
- Unlimited Calling from $19.99
RingCentral propels productive digital transformations with integrated communications capabilities embedded directly into daily workflows.
Zoom Phone amplifies Zoom’s immersive video meeting prowess with full featured cloud phone capacities seamlessly integrated into the popular video platform and client apps. Flexible scalability from small business to enterprise requirements makes configuration straightforward.
- Natively Integrated with Zoom Meetings
- Cloud PBX Capabilities
- Unlimited Domestic Calling Plans
- Mobile App and Desktop Client
Zoom Phone extends the trusted video first pedigree to streamline cloud telephony leveraging existing Zoom amenities with reliability IT departments expect.
Nextiva provides large enterprises with carrier-grade reliability securing mission-critical communications via a nationwide VoIP and optimized data network. Robust UC platform built on proprietary backbone for continuous reliability and clarity aligned to corporate SLAs.
- Carrier-Grade Network Reliability
- Optimized QoS Performance
- HIPAA Compliance Support
- High-Volume Unlimited Plans
Nextiva’s enterprise-focused VoIP solutions ensure optimized service levels, uninterrupted access, and infrastructure control over the full communication lifecycle.
Webex by Cisco offers enterprise-grade VoIP, conferencing, messaging, contact center capabilities, and software development toolkits in one global cloud platform. Top-tiered security and compliance attainment across these unified collaboration services for regulated industries seeking seamless business communications.
- Unified Cloud Communications
- Meeting and Messaging
- Contact Center Integrations
- Compliance Leadership
Webex empowers exception digital workspaces with continuous unified communications securely connecting teams across the enterprise.
Line2 provides a popular second business line service app that forwards calls to any phone while allowing organizations to keep existing numbers. Excellent spam blocking, voicemail transcription, IVR menus, and analytics help optimize small customer teams affordably.
- Cloud-Based Second Line App
- Spam and Robocall Blocking
- Voicemail Transcription
- Unlimited US Calls for $9.95
Line2 amplifies call productivity with a versatile second line to separate business and personal calls more seamlessly.