Two of the most common telephony questions we hear are:
“What is a fixed VoIP service?” and “What is a non-fixed VoIP service?”
In this article, we’ll describe both services in detail and explain what makes them different. To ensure we’re covering the subject thoroughly, we’ll start right at the beginning.
What are Fixed and Non-Fixed VoIP?
What is VoIP?
VoIP, or ‘Voice over Internet Protocol,’ is a group of technologies that enables voice communication over the Internet.
Every Internet-connected device has a unique ‘address’ called an Internet Protocol (IP) address. VoIP converts voice signals from an Internet-connected device into ‘packets’ of data and transmits them over the Internet to another device.
VoIP services can also call — and receive calls from — national or international phone numbers. In this case, data packets created by the VoIP service are converted into a standard telephone signal, and vice-versa.
Depending on hardware, VoIP can give the end-user an experience identical to a traditional telephone, or it can allow them to make calls directly from their PC or laptop.
Best of all, VoIP is much cheaper than traditional telephony services and typically free for internal company calls, even between users in different countries.
While VoIP is easy to understand as a concept, there are several variables to consider, including:
- Which supplier is most appropriate for your needs
- Whether to choose fixed or non-fixed VoIP
If at this point you’re wondering, “What does non-fixed VoIP mean?” — we’ve got you covered.
What is a Non-Fixed VoIP Service?
Non-fixed VoIP is the type of service offered by popular voice service providers like Google Voice and Skype.
In addition to enabling free calls between devices with an Internet connection, these providers allow users to purchase virtual phone numbers. This makes it possible to make and receive calls to and from traditional phone lines.
So, what is a non-fixed VoIP number? Non-fixed numbers aren’t associated with a physical address, and individuals can usually purchase them in just a few minutes with nothing but an email address and a credit card.
Non-fixed numbers are independent of location and device, so VoIP users can log into their account and make and receive phone calls using any device, anywhere in the world.
There are several reasons why you might choose a non-fixed VoIP number for your business:
- Ease of signup makes them highly flexible.
- You can buy a non-fixed number with any area code, so customers can call you using local rates.
- Non-fixed VoIP is very cost-efficient, even for international calling.
On the other hand, non-fixed numbers usually don’t allow calls to emergency services and because they are easily accessible via the Internet, they are also more vulnerable to account takeover attacks.
What is a Fixed VoIP Service?
Now that you understand what non-fixed VoIP is, it’s time to answer the second question: “What does fixed VoIP mean?”
Fixed VoIP is offered by service providers that can link directly to the public switched telephone network, such as Vonage or BroadVoice. It’s less flexible than non-fixed VoIP, but it offers several advantages that make it attractive to larger businesses.
So, what is a fixed VoIP phone number? Fixed VoIP numbers are associated with a physical location. That means if you want a fixed VoIP number, you must have an office in the relevant country for that local number.
To purchase a fixed number, your service provider will require your office’s physical address and will usually ask for additional proof of your identity.
Fixed numbers can be assigned to any device — such as a business phone, cell phone, PC, or laptop — so long as it is physically located in the right country.
Here are some reasons why you might choose fixed VoIP for your business:
- Many providers will allow you to ‘port’ existing traditional phone numbers.
- Advanced call routing and calling features are often available.
- It’s (usually) easier to access emergency services.
- Fixed VoIP is arguably more secure.
- Fixed VoIP is less prone to being used for fraud because it’s easier to trace (e.g., using caller ID).
Once again, there are a couple of disadvantages. Perhaps most importantly, calls from fixed VoIP numbers are more expensive than non-fixed, particularly to international numbers.
You also can’t have a fixed number in another country unless you have a physical office there, making it more challenging to offer international customers the benefit of local rate calls.
Which is Right For Your Business?
At this point, you might be thinking: “Great! It’s obvious which one I need, so I’ll just purchase that.”
Before you make that decision, consider this. While the difference between fixed and non-fixed VoIP phone systems is easy to understand, it’s not the only area to focus on.
From call rates and technical considerations to security and regulatory compliance, there are plenty of variables to consider when selecting the best provider for your business.
If you don’t take the time to weigh your options carefully, it’s very easy to choose the wrong provider. You may not even realize this until after you’ve wasted time and resources on implementation.
OnCall Telecom is your partner for telecom and IT decision-making. With decades of experience and a partner network of 180+ providers globally, we’ll guide you through every stage of your VoIP journey, including:
- Specifying your needs and budget
- Identifying the best VoIP setup
- Choosing your ideal provider
- Securing the best possible rates
And the best part? We offer free consultations, and we’ll be available to support you throughout your contract term.
To find out how OnCall Telecom can help you save time and resources while choosing the optimal VoIP vendor for your specific needs, get in touch with us today.