Voice over Internet Protocol, typically known as VoIP, enables you to make your phone calls over an internet connection instead of a traditional fixed landline. With increased internet speeds over the years, this technology has also gained a lot of popularity. It has also proved to be one of the cost-effective mediums for your business’s communication needs and especially when you require calling overseas often. In fact, there are different solutions available within this technology that can be explored basis your own business requirement. The very basic question that might have arisen in your mind is to choose between non-fixed and fixed VoIP phone numbers. How does VoIP work? What are fixed VoIP phone numbers? What does non fixed VoIP phone mean? The article aims to provide a detailed explanation of the different questions around VoIP for your business.
VoIP functionality explained
As the name itself suggests, the calls are placed over an internet network in VoIP. The voice signals are transformed into data packets which are transported over internet for calls to get completed. The only thing which is required is the internet connection. There isn’t any requirement for a physical landline phone. When a VoIP call is made, the person on the other end sees your VoIP number which is passed on via CNAM or Caller-Name delivery (a part of caller ID) to your phone service provider and which in turn reflects on the other end. There are a number of VoIP solutions available in the market however, some standard options are:
Business Phone Services: enables businesses to host end to end communications including voice, video and chats – portable and scalable in nature
Call Center SaaS: enables you to run your call center using cloud – can handle a high volume of calls and integrates customer support on different channels
SIP Trunking: enables you to move your PBX into a cloud – calling through an internet connection and centralizes data and voice in one place
Typically, VoIP phone numbers are hosted on the cloud and because of this, the caller id information keeps on varying. Hence, it becomes even crucial to have an in-depth understanding of different types of VoIP phone numbers and their treatments of how the calls are received at the other end. Further to this, there has been a spike in the volume of robocalls especially in the U.S., and robocalls, at the backend, use VoIP to hide the caller identity. As a business, this is not an ideal situation that your potential customers ignore your business calls. Hence an in-depth understanding of the VoIP functionality will help you select the right type of VoIP phone number and potentially help grow your business.
Fixed VoIP Phone
Fixed Voice over Internet Protocol phone number uses a physical address assigned to your phone. This address is attached to the account owner. This is more like a fixed landline phone number. However, it still uses the internet to make and receive calls. It also means that to get a local phone number, a local address is a primary requirement and you cannot get a fixed VoIP number without a valid local address. For most of the business, fixed VoIP number proves to be a preferred choice as gives a sense of authenticity and legitimacy to your business calls and results in a competitive edge over someone who uses a non-fixed VoIP phone number. It sends the exact location to PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Programs) making it traceable by 911. It also makes the subscriber location match the phone user resulting in local customers feeling more inclined towards taking your calls. The requirement to have a local address for a fixed VoIP number also makes it less likely to be used by scam or fraud callers as it can easily be tracked and it is harder to mask the identity in fixed VoIP numbers.
In case you are worried about the possible challenges during relocation, you should not. You can easily change your physical address in your account keeping the same number through a process called porting.
Non-Fixed VoIP Phone
Opposite to fixed VoIP numbers, non-fixed VoIP phone numbers do not have any physical address assigned to them. It can easily be understood with examples such as Skype or Google Voice which are some of the popular non-fixed VoIP solution providers. It is a virtual phone number that can be used as a business or residential phone number but it cannot completely replace a fixed phone number. Since these numbers do not need any physical address, you can use them for any geographical location and even help you serving the customers in the regions where you do not have a physical presence. It has certain benefits when it comes to communication requirements for global customers or remote teams. The initial setup is pretty simple and the ease of doing is pretty high in the case of non-fixed VoIP phone numbers. There are a number of solutions providers which offer these services at absolutely no cost. For business use, you can also avail of paid services from providers. The prerequisites would just be a credit card and a valid email id and that is it. You can easily dispose of them as well after usage.
With all these fewer security protocols around it, non-fixed VoIP numbers used to be a preferred choice to be exploited for fraudulent and scam activities. You have to keep in mind while using non-fixed VoIP that it should not be your last resort in case of an emergency. If a call is made to 911 from this, it is not easily traceable. That is the reason why groups or individuals involved in fraud use this very often. The true identity of a person can be concealed easily with non-fixed VoIP phone numbers and it can offer a certain level of disguise. Since you can use this from any location, such groups operate from an offshore location which makes them pretty hard to trace. However, FCC has formed laws around this and now it has become necessary for solution providers to combat such malicious robocalls and caller ID spoofing. Today, there are other mechanisms and systems available in the market which make non-fixed VoIP phone numbers more secure than earlier times.
- Provides a lot of flexibility as it does not have any geographical limit and you can set it up from anywhere with no dependency on the local physical address
- Highly recommended in case you or your organization require to make a lot of overseas calls or you have multi-country teams who need to coordinate a lot
- Extremely simple and easy initial setup – requires only an email address and credit card or any other online payment solution
- Offers a high level of cost-effectiveness for you or your organization – services available free or at very minimal cost
- Not suitable for emergency calls as the location is not assigned to the number hence making it difficult to trace even by 911
- Not recommended for making customer calls as it is used mostly by fraudsters and scam callers for making robocalls or caller id spoofing – making it less likely to be picked up by customers
- Does not have a professional appearance hence not to be used as primary communication line for your business
Caller ID Spoofing
One of the biggest downsides of a non-fixed VoIP phone number is that it is used the most for caller ID spoofing. It is basically a technique used by fraud callers to use a number as deception which looks similar to a known or recognizable number. As a user, you tend to pick up a call that comes from a known or recognizable number and void taking those calls from numbers that do not look familiar. Easy initial setup and high disposability are two of the key virtues that make it a go-to choice for spammers to make fraud or spam calls using caller ID spoofing. Let’s understand it using a very simple example. If a company is based out of New Jersey and does a lot of business with customers based out of Washington D.C., then they would want to use a number that gives an impression of the local area code despite the fact that their location is different. It also raises a scam alert as scammers generally use this tactic. They copy the first few digits of a local number with an area code that will seem familiar on a local caller id and is more likely to be picked up.
Non-Fixed VoIP Number: The Conclusion
By now, you would have got the answers to your questions such as – what does non fixed VoIP phone mean and how can it benefit your business? It certainly comes with a lot of benefits to offer to your enterprise. There are some concerns around spamming; however, with the evolution in security protocols, the scenario is changing gradually. There are now systems available in the market to enhance security levels of non-fixed VoIP communications. In addition to this, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also set up a portal called FTC Complaint Assistant (FCA) where you can go and report scam calls. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formed new laws for solution provider companies to be more aware and implement more secured and stringent mechanisms in place for malicious and fraudulent robocalls. There are frequent updates to Caller-Name delivery (CNAM) as well which help the cause. There are a lot of steps been taken in the interest of users, you can easily put the concerns around non-fixed VoIP to rest.