If you are getting tired from managing multiple vendors, dial plans, complicated phone system protocols, or restrictive network solutions? Now you want a business phone system that will help you to just work. Moreover, that will help you, no matter the size, industry or need?
These business phone systems designed from the ground up to streamline the work of administrators and end users alike. If you want a solution to stop managing your phone system entirely and still, wish to maintain control and management. Then these Top Hosted VOiP Providers surely help you.
There is no installation and IT costs to the subscriber, and the system completely managed off-site. Moreover, there is an ability to monitor unique businesses and also micro-manage the phone systems through the web-based control panel. Hosted solutions are not only popular among small-sized companies but also to medium sized businesses. Also, help these businesses for taking their communications to the next level.
Top Hosted VOiP Providers are – Nextiva, RingCentral, Mitel, Vonage Business, 8×8, JIVE. Here are their reviews and some of their prime features.
It is a VOiP provider that gives you Unlimited Calling & Faxing facility. For this service, you do not need to change your existing phone number. It does not require any technical skills, and its Plug & Play. It has U.S. based tech support. Nextiva responds very quickly and has a good support, team. Its transition is flawless. Nextiva phone system is just like a lifeline for our business.
RingCentral Office is a cloud-based business phone. It helps to combine the facility of advanced call management, fax service and secure phone conferencing mobile apps. It works for both iOS and Android. It is full-featured IP phones, that will arrive at you with pre-configuration and ready for use.
RingCentral, helps you to added a lot more users than we had before, but still it costs you less than with the old systems. We receive great call quality and reliability with greater value. i.e. user-level access increased functionality, and the ability to manage the system from anywhere. Also, you will experience around 50% time savings.
It is the market Leader in Delivering Cloud Business Phone Systems. It helps you to increase employee productivity, by connecting your workforce. It is simple to use. Mitel is a trusted Cloud Business Phone System by many companies around the world, including Cornerstone, Bancroft and many more. Mitel Cloud service will help you to reduce your communication costs by 40% each month.
4. Vonage Business
It helps you to deliver the most reliable and affordable phone service that will help your company to grow. It gives its service at low cost and low overhead. It has business-class features. It has reliable & easy to use features.
8×8 is latest and reliable VoIP technology. It is suitable for all types of enterprise phone service needs. 8×8 is the only hosted VoIP phone service that provides you the facility of instant messaging as well as web conferencing. It saves Big Money and still gives the facility of the voicemail, local and long distance service. As you are getting everything from one provider so that you are saving up to 50% each month. It has a powerful capability of creating a lasting, professional impression with your feature-loaded IP phones. It is available anywhere. You can make and accept calls through your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or your computer with the help of 8×8 Mobile Softphone.
It is a VoIP phone service that is suitable for any-sized businesses. Jive’s Hosted VoIP saves money and time. It charges for extra features or add-ons. It set up a custom dial plan that will help you to match your business. By this service, you can call anywhere in the U.S. for free and can make international calls with affordable rates. You can send and receive free fax via emails and can use unlimited extensions.
A study about VoIP Phone Service
We all are hooked to smartphones for a variety of reasons while the most important being to make calls to our contacts. But there exist a plethora of reasons why you might not wish to rely on your mobile alone. Due to coverage dead spots well as dropped calls occurring on a regular basis while landlines are remaining unavailable at everyplace and being expensive, we have to look for other alternatives. So, what is the answer to this conundrum? If you don’t wish to flush down money each month to pay for your local telephone or different cable operators such as AT&T, Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon when it comes to landlines or mobile numbers, the solution lies within internet which is present and available everywhere. In this search for a solution, Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) is a low-cost solution which takes the advantage of your internet connection. It provides you with a powerful and effective web-based phone service with its salient features and functionalities. VoIP platforms provide you alternatives to major phone companies and carriers, with additional features such as along with software phones or smartphones and mobile apps, call routing and recording, as well as SMS text as well as video conferencing capabilities, at a lower cost. At last, there are also higher-end, business-grade and premium VoIP services for big companies with more heavy-load enterprise features.
VoIP providers are available in different shapes and sizes. In this article, we review the inherent definition of VoIP along with traditional VoIP provides that began with calling features and later added a wide range of features gradually. We also review newly introduced cloud-based services like Skype which started as video conferencing services and have been introduced with significant VoIP capabilities. Some of the VoIP providers entirely utilize cloud-based user interfaces or UIs and calling, while other service providers offer both web-based calling as well as routing via physical handheld devices which are available from a variety of sources.
Polycom is among one of the premium vendors which provides a wide range of IP-based products which includes phones. For instance, RingCentral partners with Polycom for their handsets. Polycom also provides solutions which work effectively with Microsoft Skype for Business. No matter if you are dealing with combined software and hardware or fully cloud-based application, the VoIP services offer you a powerful and excellent combined communication platform in order to keep you connected in the way that suits you exactly.
What Is VoIP?
The method through which the voice signals are transmitted nowadays has transformed in a significant manner since its origins. In the start, the method consisted of a simple point-to-point connection between two devices. Over the period of time, the switching concept was introduced which enabled the call routing to multiple devices through an operator to physically “switch” a user’s phone and then connect the call to any incoming line. Earlier versions of automated call switching inherently used electromechanical switches to connect these outside lines to a particular handset. With the introduction of digital circuits, it enabled the ability to automate this switching function and made it way simpler for the user to both make and receive the calls.
The exchange concept came about as the telephone number lines started to grow and the grouping of numbers by a particular central office or a local exchange became a necessary requirement. This concept used the notion of a three-digit exchange number that is still in use as of now as the first three numbers after the area code. With the four-digit extension number, a single exchange could, theoretically, handle nearly up to 10,000 numbers from 0000 to 9999. The same idea was also used for big corporations which had a large number of extensions in the form of Private Branch Exchange or PBX.
VoIP is another revolutionary and evolution of transmission of voice over long distances. At the very basic level, it consists of encoding the voice into a digital form that can be then transmitted over the internet. On the given receiving end, this encoded signal needs to be decoded in order to let the recipient hear the sender’s voice. Other parts of this methodology consist of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) which handles the VoIP call set up.
If you wish to get to know more about technical details of SIP, you can find in RFC 261. The Request for Comment or RFC documents are essentially maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force, the IETF as well as it documents the bulk of protocols along with services that are in use on the internet today. SIP can also be used with a variety of streaming protocols which cover both video and voice. SIP is also used to connect endpoints and also establish a session which exists until it is disconnected.
Most VoIP service providers incorporate a cloud-based PBX as an inherent part of their product. This functions in a similar way a traditional PBX operates on-premises in that it goes on connecting calls which are destined for a particular endpoint to any incoming line. Another major function of this cloud-based PBX is to offer a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) gateway to enable the connection of VoIP calls to a given physical number.
In order to get the best quality, you will require a minimum upstream as well as downstream data throughput requirement. Along with it, you will also require to meet a minimum latency number which is the time between when a signal leaves a particular remote computer and when the system receives it, which is typically measured in milliseconds. It is also possible to test the network connection in order to see whether it will support a given VoIP service. RingCentral provides this particular service from their website.
VoIP, in general, is quite simple to set up. All you require is to get a box or special phone adapter unit from any of the service providers, plug it into the power source, your Internet router along with a standard telephone handset. An alternative which is slowly becoming less popular is to purchase a SIP phone that includes electronics which enables you to sidestep the requirement of the adapter.
The price difference between the standard landline services and VoIP are quite significant. For instance, in the New York area, a Verizon Freedom Value plan which includes unlimited local, as well as long-distance calling, comes at around $59.99 per month which depends on the bundle that you chose. AT&T provides a better one with an AT&T U-verse Voice Unlimited plan in Wisconsin which costs at around $35 per month, but the catch is that you can’t get it without the addition of minimum $14.95 per month Internet plan.
So, you are essentially looking at nearly $50 just for landline service from the existent duopoly of the service providers. VoIP services cut your monthly bill by a significant margin. 1-VoIP Residential starts at merely $8.97 per month. A Vonage line or an entry level Phone.com will cost you $9.99 along with add-ons for premium services for businesses. VoIPstudio starts at only $4.99 per month per user. Mitel MiCloud Office allows you to choose from different license levels of $19.99 to $24.99 and $29.99 for each of the users which depends on the level of features that they require.
Not only these VoIP services cost significantly less than your standard phone line services, but they also come with additional features on top which you get from the legacy service providers. For instance, Mitel MiCloud Office, Vonage and Phone.com provide mobile apps for iOS and Android which act as extensions to your phone that includes enhanced functionality rolled out specifically for latest mobile operating systems which includes iOS 10. Jive provides you browser-based, click-to-call functionality in Google Chrome along with things like drag-and-drop dial plan editing. RingCentral provides a host of different additional functionalities, ranging from an auto-receptionist and also role-based access control for call screening as well as team collaborations.
Skype, as well as Skype for Business, are well-known for video calling rather than standard telephone system capabilities, but it provides plenty of features such as call routing, text messaging, speed dial, along with more robust tools like Skype Translator. Another salient feature in most of these services is “phone hunt” that rings multiple phones or apps until you send or pick up the call to voicemail depending on the user preference. Other inherent capabilities consist of caller blocking, call waiting as well as three-way calling. Skype also consists of capable online chat functionality, which is continuously augmenting with new Moji, i.e., emoji-like stickers which are similar to that of Facebook Messenger, along with wide range of bots which represents an automated natural language helpdesk experience for its users within the chat client for conversation or transaction with different brands and services.
Another core capability which we like to mention is E911. Emergency service calling had remained a problem for VoIP providers, but the industry has certainly developed a solution in the form of Enhanced 9-1-1 or E911. When you sign up for Vonage or any other provider, you have to specify a particular address for 911 service. This essentially sets up E911 that lets the emergency operator see the location where the call in being coming from in order to quickly dispatch the first responders. The services also have a fail-safe number that you enter another phone number to forward all your calls in case your internet connection goes down.
The business-focused entrants in this article, as you can expect, go far more than the basic features and comes with additional functionalities, serving as PBXes. These allow the business to present a professional appearance when it comes to telephoning world along with features like call routing, call recording, automated attendants and conference call bridges. Interactive Voice Response or IVR systems now replace the requirement of an operator in order to route the calls to different departments or individuals using dial-by-name. For the purpose of customer support, the use of call queues complete with a hold music along with wait times which help on enhancing the customer experience. The mobile phone has integrated contact features which allow you to directly dial from any entry. This is a prominent time saver for business customers, and it is supported by most of the business VoIP services. Integration with various popular services such as Microsoft Office 365 and Gmail also bring an additional level of support. RingCentral office provides these integrations along with popular services like Zendesk and many more.
Another major area of Business VoIP support covers the ever-growing number of mobile employees which use softphones for the purpose of sending as well as receiving calls from their laptops or mobile devices. With a cloud-based PBX solution, the business can have its employees at various physical locations to include multiple time zones. It makes it quite easier to support longer business hours in order to cover the entire customer base. Most of the business offerings provide call routing which is based on time of day along with time zone.
It is also quite possible to switch a call from a particular mobile device to a desktop line and vice versa. Business products often provide several pricing levels which are based on the number of lines that are required which ranges from about $10 per line for large organizations to $35 for smaller organizations. You also pay more for additional features like integration with cloud business services like Salesforce, though products which include Mitel MiCloud and VoIP studio provide integrations with Salesforce and other CRM platforms in-built.
Softphones and Mobile VoIP
Another key way to make a significant reduction in your standard landline or mobile plan calling charges is by trying to use either mobile VoIP client or using a software-based VoIP client on your computer which is often called as a softphone. Both of them are essentially software apps which mirror the functionalities of a physical VoIP phone. VoIP, after all, is everything that you require to create a telephone right there on your computer- a dialer, speaker and a network connection. With everything else that computers and mobile devices can do, mobile VoIP apps, as well as a softphone, can add different kinds of new functionalities which can revolutionize the telecommunication experience of yours.
At present, most VoIP provides, especially the one which sell any type of business VoIP solution, will certainly have both a compatible softphone app along with mobile apps which are built specifically for popular mobile operating systems which includes Android, iOS and Windows 10 mobile. If your provider has all these options available, then you would be well served in order to download and try them out as both softphones and mobile VoIP clients which can provide significant benefits along with new capabilities that you won’t find through your standard mobile phone or desktop experience.
Softphones, for instance, provide the employees of the business to make as well as accept calls using both their standard office line and any associated telecommunication apps, irrespective of their location. So, if a salesperson happens to be out of his office in any other country, he can still log into conference calls, easily take client calls and even handle customer service requests using the helpdesk app of the organization, just like he was in his office. And he can do it all while he is using a low-cost or even free public internet connection. Another major capability of softphones is their inherent ability to integrate with other office communication channels for a more capable and better experience. So, for instance, a softphone can easily combine a telephonic conversation with a text chat as well as screen sharing which essentially means that a conversation between two employees can be seamless, and they can add more participants and also handle private text chats among those participants while the call is going on still and also extend to a collaboration session where the entire group can share screens as well as documents and data with no preparation, no reserved lines, but just by simple button clicks.
Mobile clients are essentially the same thing as softphones, but they are simply optimized for a particular type of mobile OS and for being used in different mobile situations which actually means that they are designed to switch easily between different cell and wireless connections while being on-the-fly. Similar to the softphones, it means that the business can let its employees use whatever the cheapest wireless connection is around them which happens to be there, free of cost. They also provide the ability to the employees to use the company’s phone system on their own devices which means if you have bought into RingCentral that your employees can easily download the company’s mobile client on to their smartphones, log in with their corporate credentials and then start making calls using their standard office line as well as rates. All this can be done without interference from the IT department or maybe a little.
The final benefits of using softphones and mobile VoIP apps is a revolutionary one, which is integration. While the early implementations of mobile clients and softphones simply offered a software picture of a phone with all the usual buttons that are made clickable along with some new buttons which are added for new features, are now changing. Voice is now becoming integrated with other types of back-end apps, especially those which optimize direct interaction with the customers through email marketing, helpdesk and even Customer Relationship Management systems, CRMs. In a lot of these apps, the softphone capabilities are simply showing up new features. Those features are now delivered by the VoIP provider, but to the software user, they simply appear as part of whatever application or app they are currently using. This also goes the other way too where the upcoming VoIP providers such as DialPad, are working to turning their softphones into platforms that manage integration with various apps for you or you can switch to a more standard softphone format in case the situation requires it. In short, among the best features of VoIP is that it brings the telephone right into the realm of the software which means endless opportunities for integration, optimization and expansion of your telecommunication experience.
Turning the Internet into Your Landline
You can certainly get away with keeping a mobile phone line as your only telephone, but still, landline services have their own inherent advantages. It includes never having to worry about how strong the cell signal of yours is or whether your battery of the device has any charge left. Landlines and VoIP also tend to offer clearer and reliable sound at almost all times. If those characteristics and features have an undeniable appreciation for you, then go through our summaries of the best VoIP services which are available and get into the details by going through the review links.
But you need to be aware of certain facts too. Using a VoIP service actually makes you dependent on the internet provider of yours. In case your internet connection goes down, then essentially your phone service goes down too. While this isn’t the issue at once that it used to be, but still it should always be considered when you are making a purchase decision. Heavy internet gaming or video streaming which often consumes a large section of bandwidth can certainly affect the voice quality as well. Though, whether you are in search for a personal alternative to the present traditional telephone service or looking for an effective as well as scalable way to equip your small size or midsize business (SMB) or home office along with an array of advanced and cutting-edge communication capabilities as well as connectivity, one of these VoIP services may certainly offer you the right combination of features and prices that suit your requirements. However, you should always take note of the advantages and disadvantages of these VoIP services before you commit to any of those. Look for better one which provides the features and functionalities that you require for your personal use or your business for different uses.