VoIP caller software for businesses

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Thanks to widespread, fast, reliable internet connections, we can harness the power of the web in almost everything we do. Telephony is no exception, with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) growing in popularity for business telecommunications.

VoIP is suitable for any business since cloud-based hosted services eliminate the need for costly on-premises hardware. It is possible for a business to host its own internet phone system, but a VoIP provider will do the hard work and give you the necessary expertise.

RingCentral has its own secure cloud IT infrastructure, advanced features, and customizable user experience. Our solutions are quick and simple to set up, easy for all employees to use, and ready to be scaled up when needed.

Because RingCentral MVP provides unified communications, you’re getting a raft of valuable features alongside HD-quality VoIP calling, too. Think conference calls, team messaging, SMS, and fax—plus personalized functions like call routing, hold music, and caller ID.

RingCentral also offers both top-notch safety and reliability. Enterprise-grade security includes 24/7 monitoring, with multiple data centers and servers in different locations. All users are assured of 99.999% uptime, while comprehensive customer support includes running a VoIP speed test.

Another upside is the simple, all-inclusive pricing with no hidden costs. It may not be as cheap as some non-fixed VoIP systems, but it’s well worth paying just a little more to protect your security, ensure top call quality, and benefit from all those extra features.

The best VoIP caller software provider

In general terms, the best VoIP services provide an excellent overall communications experience. If you want us to get specific, we’d say RingCentral takes the prize. That’s because it offers so much more than a VoIP phone system.

As well as HD-quality VoIP, RingCentral gives you a whole cloud-based communications hub that includes conference calls, team messaging, SMS, and fax—all in one platform. As a hosted VoIP provider, it also offers advanced personalized call control functions such as call transferring, screening, and hold music.

You can manage all communications with your mobile or desktop app from any location with a centralized dashboard, helping remote workers to feel connected. With the RingCentral App, employees no longer have to use their home phones for work.

As you’d expect from an industry leader in unified communications, RingCentral VoIP offers carrier-grade reliability and security:

  • Tier 1 network centers
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Multiple data centers and servers in different locations
  • Multi-factor authentication and single-sign-on
  • SSL-encoded web applications
  • Digital certificates to guard against VoIP fraud

To ensure top-quality VoIP calling, RingCentral provides instructions on checking your internet service and configuring your router. There’s also comprehensive customer support, while the all-inclusive pricing eliminates hidden costs.

A woman using VoIP calling

Benefits of VoIP over traditional phone systems

VoIP wins over traditional systems on cost, efficiency, scalability, and call quality. It’s flexible enough to be used from anywhere, even for calling non-VoIP phones.

It’s true that VoIP requires a high-speed internet connection, so an outage would mean traditional phones still worked while VoIP didn’t—but if you choose a super-reliable provider like RingCentral, you’re assured of having 99.999% uptime.

Do more for less

Traditional phone companies will charge long-distance fees if you call a different area code. On the other hand, most VoIP providers give you unlimited calling within the US and Canada—and it’s often free or very low-cost. They’ll also have much lower international rates, if any. VoIP may also mean no monthly contracts (and no termination fees).

While traditional carriers charge extra for some of the basic features of voice telephony, VoIP phone systems often include handy calling features, such as:

  • Voicemail
  • Auto attendant
  • Call forwarding
  • Call queues
  • Visual voicemail
  • Voice-to-text

Plus, if you choose a unified communications platform like RingCentral, you also get things like a virtual fax machine, SMS, and video conferencing alongside voice calls—meaning you can call and text or even video chat and send a fax from the same platform.

Low running costs

We already mentioned that you don’t need much hardware for a VoIP system, so that’s a saving right from the start. Traditional telephone systems require on-site hardware, which takes longer and costs more to install. You’re no longer stuck paying the flat rate for a landline, either.

Most VoIP applications don’t need specialist maintenance or tech support either—they’re usually cloud-based, so the service is stored in a remote data center maintained by the provider, with all the infrastructure in place.

VoIP also gives businesses a lot more flexibility. You pay for a subscription or software-as-a-service (SaaS) for as long as you need it—and when you don’t, you just unsubscribe. If you’d purchased your own hardware and equipment, you’d be stuck with it if you changed providers or systems.

Scalability

It’s important that your phone service is adaptable as your business grows, and VoIP makes it simple to scale up when needed. For example, when new employees join the team, there’s no need to install extra hardware or even create a new account—they can join almost instantly from any global location.

Because it’s based on internet technology, it only takes a few clicks to add extensions, while updates and upgrades arrive automatically and free of charge. If you wanted to expand a traditional system, you’d need to add physical cable lines, and each hardware upgrade or service would incur a fee.

Welcome to RingCentral: Simpler Communications video
FAQs about VoIP calling
VoIP technology uses the internet to deliver phone calls. It doesn’t necessarily require wires, fiber optic cables, or radio waves like traditional landlines and cell phones do. Instead, it converts your voice into “packets” of data that are transmitted via the internet.
VoIP services provide more features and flexibility than regular phone lines or “plain old telephone networks”, and allow anyone with an internet connection to make calls from anywhere in the world. It’s possible to call people who don’t have VoIP with the help of VoIP gateways, or even to make VoIP calls with a traditional phone by using an ATA (analog telephone adapter).
Internet telephony requires less hardware than hosted PBX phone systems, and another advantage is that you can use a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone to make calls. VoIP is mostly used for business, but there are residential VOIP services, too.
Businesses can subscribe to a VoIP-only service, or choose a unified platform like RingCentral MVP that combines a virtual phone service with additional communication and collaboration features.
The terminology around VoIP can seem confusing, with a host of acronyms in the mix. Many of these relate to internet protocols, which are rules that prevent data going astray. They include:
  • Transport Control Protocol (TCP)
  • User Datagram Control (UDP)
  • Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP)
  • Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
TCP and UDP are the primary protocols related to data delivery. TCP prioritizes quality over speed, while UDP is faster but not so reliable. RTP controls how your voice data is delivered and provides the recipient with essential information. SIP, meanwhile, is the component responsible for initiating and ending calls—and sending multimedia data.
VoIP is not to be confused with similar and related technologies, such as:
  • Cloud PBX, the technology that manages incoming calls by routing them to the right person.
  • Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the component responsible for establishing and ending VoIP connections.
  • WebRTC (web real-time communications), which enables communication through a browser like Chrome or Firefox. VoIP does this via software or an app.
 Illustration showing how the internet makes VoIP calling possible
VoIP-to-VoIP calls
Because the technology aims to replicate a traditional phone system, making VoIP-to-VoIP calls doesn’t feel like a big change. The main differences are that you need a specific device (an IP phone or a softphone) and that calls are often made by clicking or tapping on app profiles rather than phone numbers on a dialpad.
When you dial or click, SIP establishes a connection with your VoIP provider’s server. The server then connects the call to the device of the person you’re contacting. During the conversation, your packets of voice data are broken down and reassembled in real-time. When you say goodbye, SIP terminates the connection.
VoIP-to-PSTN calls
Although VoIP services are growing in popularity, many small businesses are still using traditional phone systems. So, what happens if you have a VoIP phone, but the person at the other end doesn’t?
Luckily, you can use something called a “VoIP gateway.” This is a component of SIP, which is used to convert landline connections into VoIP connections and vice-versa. When voice data is transported between digital and analog devices, the gateway translates it into a suitable audio format.
This term can actually mean two things. It can describe the person who’s using an internet-based phone service to make a call. The VoIP phone system itself, too, is sometimes referred to as a VoIP caller or “VoIP caller software”.
You don’t actually need a VoIP phone to become a VoIP caller. You can use an adapter to convert an existing phone, and you can even call people who don’t have VoIP without them requiring additional equipment.
This is made possible with VoIP gateways, a component of SIP. They convert digital voice data into analog, and vice versa so that it can travel over the internet.
Some people are concerned when “VoIP caller” shows up in their caller ID, but there’s no need to panic. More people are now using VoIP phones, so you’re increasingly likely to receive a call from one.
Although VoIP can be used for nefarious purposes, you just need to keep your wits about you—as with any type of phone call—and make sure your business has security protocols in place.
VoIP phone numbers do exactly the same thing as traditional phone numbers. In some cases, you’ll still have a string of digits with an area code, and make a call by dialing the number. 
Not all VoIP systems require numbers, however. If both parties are using the same app, all you need to do to make a call is to click on the other person’s details. These systems are usually using a network of users to all communicate across a single platform internal to their organization. 
The difference is that a VoIP system identifies a user on the IP network, rather than the PSTN (public switched telephone network). You can also attach the same VoIP number to multiple devices, so outbound calls from your organization come from one recognizable source, and remote employees can receive calls to specific numbers.
For business VoIP, you have a choice of fixed or non-fixed telephone numbers—which we’ll explain right here, along with their pros and cons.
Fixed numbers
A fixed VoIP system is attached to a physical location. It’s similar to a PBX (public branch exchange) system. Your VoIP provider assigns you a phone number, and the broadband network is linked to the PSTN.
Some internal wiring is required, but the installation is not as complex or costly as a PBX system. Although the numbers are linked to a specific address, your provider will help you take them with you if you relocate.
If you’re new to VoIP, fixed systems are a great starting point for replacing traditional phone lines. They typically include more advanced calling features than a non-fixed system, such as call recording and forwarding, and high-level security means they are considered more trustworthy and professional.
Sometimes a fixed system can prove more expensive, especially for international calling—but all-in-one providers like RingCentral offer plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to global communications.
Non-fixed numbers
These VoIP numbers are not linked to a single location and don’t require a fixed address. However, all phone systems now require a nomadic 911 address to be used in case of emergencies. They offer more flexibility and a simpler set-up than a fixed system. Instead of being assigned a number, you choose your own—including the area code.
Why choose an area code other than the one where your business is based? Well, your organization may have multiple locations, and you want them all to have the same number as your headquarters.
Or, you may be located in one area but do most of your business in another. Most people prefer to answer the phone to a local number, so it helps if your calls appear to come from the customer’s home area.
Calling plans are based on unlimited local for a flat rate or a per-minute charge depending on the plan that you pick. This can be very attractive for a business phone that handles lots of long-distance calls. However, since the VoIP allows the users to change how they present their numbers that they are calling from they are more prone to fraud and seen as less authentic—more on that later.
Compared with traditional phone systems, VoIP generally doesn’t require much hardware. The main thing you need is a stable internet connection!
Many VoIP service providers will give you an app to use on iPhone or Android devices, so you can make calls with VoIP instead of using up minutes in your cell phone plan. This is ideal for remote workers as it allows them to use the business telephone number—instead of their personal number—on their mobile device.
If you want to configure existing phones, you can buy a plug-in analog telephone adapter (ATA) that converts analog voice data into digital signals. Some of these devices perform the conversion and connect directly to a VoIP server, while others use software for the task.
Companies with on-premises IP PBX hardware can use SIP trunking to connect to a VoIP system. Alternatively, you could purchase a VoIP phone or IP phone, which is basically a desk phone connected to the internet through wi-fi or ethernet cables, for use with a fully cloud-hosted PBX system. 
Another option is to run your VoIP system over a computer or mobile device, using software to turn it into a “softphone”. VoIP caller software or apps usually come from your VoIP service provider, such as the RingCentral for Desktop app included with RingCentral MVP.
To operate a softphone, you’ll also need a microphone and speaker (already integrated into standard telephones and smartphones) or a headset.
One of the main reasons is affordability. VoIP solutions cost less to set up, run, and maintain, and we’ve already mentioned low calling rates. Plus, updates and upgrades are free and arrive automatically without you needing to install them.
VoIP is super-flexible and scalable, too. Because you’re a subscriber to software-as-a-service (SaaS) rather than complex hardware, you can use it for as long as you want, then simply unsubscribe.
When new employees come on board, it’s easy to add them to the system from any location—perfect for remote workers dispersed globally. Internet technology lets you add extra extensions instead of physical cable lines.
VoIP phone systems usually come with advanced features like voicemail, auto-attendants, and call forwarding at no extra cost. Some VoIP callers let you transmit video streams and audio files. And if you choose a unified communications platform like RingCentral MVP, you get messaging and video conferencing alongside VoIP voice calls.
Finally, cloud-based VoIP systems (particularly the fixed kind) bring security benefits, with the service housed in a remote data center owned by the provider.
Yes, VoIP can be used by fraudsters—as can landlines and cell phones­—but there are plenty of ways to protect yourself.
Call spoofing is when the caller deliberately sends false information to change the caller ID. Most spoofing is done using a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service or IP phone that uses VoIP to transmit calls over the internet. VoIP users can usually choose their preferred number or name to be displayed on the caller ID when they set up their account.
Some providers even offer spoofing services that work like a prepaid calling card. Customers pay for a PIN code to use when calling their provider, allowing them to select both the destination number they want to call, as well as the number they want to appear on the recipient’s caller ID.
Spammers have been known to take advantage of non-fixed VoIP systems because they can easily change their number that presents to the receiving number.Non-fixed VoIP numbers are not so simple to trace, and can more easily be “spoofed” by fraudsters.
For example, vishing (voice or VoIP phishing) is a scam that uses apparently genuine VoIP caller ID names and numbers to elicit sensitive information from a person or business—in the same way that a spoof email appears to come from one of your contacts. Other scams will ask you to press a certain button to end the call—so never press anything unless you’re sure it’s legitimate!
Trustworthy VoIP providers will check incoming calls against a list of known caller IDs, and attach an encrypted security certificate to the SIP protocol as the call is initiated. The recipient’s VoIP software then checks for authenticity and decrypts the information using the provider’s public key.
If you choose a provider with a great security record (like RingCentral) then you’re already at lower risk from threats. But here are a few more things you can do to stay safe:
  • Be wary of giving out personal information
  • Educate yourself on the latest scams
  • Regularly change passwords and logins on all devices
  • Encourage staff to report suspicious incoming calls
  • Work with your VoIP provider to find ways of avoiding issues
  • Get advice from the FCC.
There are two types of caller identification: carrier-provided caller ID and phone-based identification. The first is provided by your phone company, which gets its information from a CNAM (Calling Name) company’s database of phone numbers and attaches it to your phone call.
In the days of traditional phone lines and limited carriers, it was easier to keep track of caller information. But there is no central regulating authority for CNAMs, and their databases are not necessarily kept up-to-date.
Phone-based identification is where you assign caller ID information to a particular number, and it will show on your phone when that number calls. It’s useful for regular external contacts, or for internal calls within large businesses, and RingCentral MVP makes it easy to manage.
Call tracing
All VoIP calls are traceable, by looking at information such as server records. Telecom companies and law enforcement agencies have the resources to do this, but you can try to find out for yourself, if you:
  • Run an internet search
  • Use free “number lookup” services
  • Ask your VoIP provider for information
  • Set up live tracking during calls.
If a VoIP caller keeps calling, it could be a spammer, in which case you can try blocking the calls. Some VoIP phones come with this feature, while some VoIP services provide enhanced call blocking. If you’ve inadvertently signed up for calls from a certain source, just ask to be taken off the list.
However, there are some legitimate reasons why you keep getting calls from a VoIP phone, such as political campaigning, informational messages or reminders, or charitable calls.
The cost of a typical hosted VoIP telephone system could go up to $45 per user, depending on the package and features. RingCentral offers a variety of plans, each with one simple bill covering all services.
Of course, some basic mobile VoIP apps allow phone calling over the internet for free. But they are not professional or robust enough for business use when advanced communication and collaboration features are required.
VoIP isn’t brand-new—VoIP phones have been around since the 1990s. Until recently, it was necessary to install large on-premise servers, making the system expensive and therefore only available to big businesses.
The advent of cloud technology changed all that, as companies didn’t need to buy and set up the hardware themselves. They can subscribe to a VoIP provider, which hosts the service using remote data centers in the cloud. 
They’ll usually offer different packages for enterprise VoIP customers and smaller businesses. This makes VoIP available to any business, no matter the size.
It may be tempting to see pricing as the main factor in choosing a VoIP provider, but remember that you get what you pay for—it’s probably worth spending a little more to ensure you get the best quality and the most comprehensive package. Do the research and see if a potential solution ticks these boxes:
  • Easy to implement and use
  • Plenty of features
  • Flexible and scalable
  • Secure and reliable
Your VoIP system should be simple to set up, causing minimal disruption to the business. An expert communications provider, such as RingCentral, can get your virtual phone service up and running in a day or less.
It should also be easy for all employees to use, so make sure the system is configured to your organization’s specific needs and ready to be scaled up when needed. A customizable user experience is ideal, allowing you to personalize how you use VoIP.  
Look for extra functions that will help your teams communicate, such as conference calls and text messages, plus advanced features like caller ID, blocking callers,  and auto attendant. As previously mentioned, a unified communications platform like RingCentral provides a host of services in one neat package.
Top security and reliability are must-haves, protecting your business from threats and service interruptions. Choose a VoIP provider that meets and exceeds industry standards, including FCC (Federal Communications Commission) compliance, which would include Nomadic 911 and robocall mitigation.
It’s possible for a business to set up its own internet phone solution, but you’d need to have the IT infrastructure and expert skills in place—and be prepared to make a huge investment. You’re much better off letting a VoIP provider like RingCentral take care of the tech, hosting the services on their own secure cloud IT infrastructure.

More resources about VoIP and Internet Phone services

VoIP Main (Software)

What Is VoIP and How It Works

VoIP Provider

VoIP Network

VoIP Phone Systems

How Virtual Phone Call Works

Internet Phone Service

Virtual Phone Service

Small Business Phone Service

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