VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.
It’s a group of technologies that allows telephone and video conference calls to take place over the internet.
It’s a cheap, reliable way to manage telephony, whether you run a small business or a multi-national conglomerate. And with many operations now managing employees who work from home, VoIP has become a must-have for most.
VoIP works by transforming calls into a digital signal, which it then sends via an internet connection. The software can convert the call into a standard telephone signal as well, so you can reach non-VoIP numbers from a VoIP line — and vice versa — meaning it’s easy to redirect business calls to your home phone, your mobile, an iPad, or laptop even.
And when you use a VoIP app, your clients will see your caller ID as your business number, no matter the device you’re on, helping you maintain a level of professionalism irrespective of your work environment. In today’s world, a reliable business VoIP service is more important than ever…
So, here’s a list of our top-5 Voice over Internet Protocol service providers.
1. Star2Star Communications
Price: From $10.99
- Multiple failover options
- Call transfers and redirects
- Flexible voicemail options
Star2Star is a best-in-class business VoIP system that suits both smaller and larger enterprises. Thanks to its cutting-edge feature set and flexible pricing plans, it’s both highly functional and accessible to all, which is why it’s our top pick. Star2Star guarantees 99.99% reliability via a high-quality, internet-based line. You can expect a clear, crisp connection whenever you pick up the phone, and customers will never struggle to reach you.
Failover options ensure business-critical calls can always get through, even when a storm knocks out your power, or if you’re using a less-than-perfect internet connection. While for those times when you can’t reach the phone, you can pick up voicemails on mobile and your home phone, or read transcribed messages via email. And days working apart have never been so easy: quick call transfer lets you reroute calls based on caller ID or colleague availability (a dashboard helps you see who’s around) — all it takes is the push of a button.
Are you a technophobe? Fear not. Provided your existing phones are VoIP-enabled, Star2Star software connects straight to any hardware, meaning you won’t notice the transition or even have to pay for new phones.
Price: From $22.99 – $42.99
- Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
- 4-person video conferencing as standard
RingCentral is another reliable VoIP service provider that’s been in the game longer than most (the California-based company started back in 1999). It focuses its service on smaller businesses, with a range of flexible packages for clients in the USA, Europe, and Asia.
At first glance, the reputable provider is on the more expensive side. But that’s because RingCentral includes features like video conferencing and generous toll-free minutes out the box (whereas other providers charge extra for such add-ons). Plus, you’ll receive a price-match offer on any plan with 50 lines or less, meaning the price you see ‘at first glance’ isn’t necessarily the price you’ll pay.
Options like unlimited internet faxing and audio-conferencing make working from home a breeze, while video meetings can include up to 100 participants and last up to 24 hours (should that ever be necessary)… although integrations with Office 365, G Suite, and Slack should help you maintain productivity without ever having to burn the midnight oil.
Price: From $19.95 – $27.95
- Unlimited calls in the US
- Free number porting
- Mobile app for simple access
If you want a more modestly priced option, Nextiva’s lower-cost plans fit the bill. Lower price doesn’t mean fewer features. Quite the contrary, the Arizona-based VoIP service is as feature-rich as they come, making Nextiva perfect for working from home.
An online management portal makes it easy to manage phone lines across geographies and timezones. The Nextiva app lets you port your business phone number to any device. While Cospace — Nextiva’s very own co-working toolset — helps your team collaborate via video chat so that everyone stays in-sync.
All the above, yet the most expensive plan is still under than $60: this is a VoIP service that offers a lot for a little (including in-house customer support, no matter what package you choose).
4. Ooma Office
Price: From $19.95 – $24.95
- Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
- 3-way conference calls as standard
- Super simple to use
Ooma is the perfect VoIP service for businesses with five employees or less. The Californian company likes to keep things affordable and simple: two plans arrive in the shape of ‘Ooma Office’ and ‘Ooma Office Pro.’
Ooma Office includes unlimited domestic calls, three-way calling, a virtual fax machine, and all the other features you’d expect from a reputable VoIP service provider. Ooma Office Pro ups the ante with premium features like call recording and enhanced call blocking. A mobile app puts a business phone line on any device, while ‘ring groups’ let you select multiple lines to ring simultaneously, with the call then transferred to whichever employee answers first.
If there’s one drawback… Ooma doesn’t offer video conferencing. Rather, it includes conference calls as standard, but this might not pass muster with bigger clients.
Price: From $12.00 – $175
- Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Cheap international calls
8×8 is one of the original VoIP service providers (it launched back in 2002!) and now serves over one million businesses. It includes a lot of great features, but what stands the San Jose company apart is that it offers very cheap international calls. In fact, if you’re based outside the US, 8×8 offers local numbers in more than 75 countries, alongside toll-free numbers in more than 110 countries worldwide, which makes it a great option for international businesses.
All 8×8 plans include team messaging, HD video conferencing, and screen-sharing as standard, so it’s easy to keep remote workers in tune. While omnichannel routing allows call centers to use chat, social, text, and phone services from the same platform, no matter their location.
Integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, Netsuite, and Microsoft Dynamics — to name but a few — complete the picture. Though one thing we’re sure you’ve noticed: you pay for features, and the service can quickly get expensive as you move through subscription plans.
Interested in using VoIP in your business? Mid-Coast Tech on 207-223-7594, and we can help you get set up.