The Definitive Guide

    What is a VoIP Phone and How Do IP Phones Work?

    A VoIP phone is a hardware or software-based telephone that uses voice-over IP technologies to convert voice into digital signals for placing phone calls over an internet connection

    A man asking what is VoIP phone looking on softphone and hardphone

    What is a VoIP Phone?

    A simple VoIP phone definition, (aka a Voice over IP phone), is a hardware or software-based device that can make and receive voice calls over a data network.

    But what is a VoIP phone in more technical terms? A VoIP phone is a voice-over-internet phone that converts analog telephone audio signals into a digital format that can be transmitted over the internet or a data connection such as a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). 

    Related: What is VoIP?

    Types of VoIP Phones

    In general, there are two main types of voice over IP phones: softphones, and hard phones.


    VoIP softphone interface

    Softphones are software-based IP phones, which typically come as virtual phone application software for a computer or mobile device. The software often has a touchpad/dialer and caller ID display on its user interface. 

    Softphones place calls via an app installed on a device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer. They have all the same advantages as hard phones but allow people to make and receive calls outside the office.

    Hard Phones 

    2 VoIP hard phones

    A hardware voice-over IP phone typically resembles a traditional hard-wired or cordless telephone, with a microphone or speaker, touchpad, and displays showing user input and caller ID. Dedicated voice over internet phone hardware usually also offers call transfer, multiparty calling, and support for multiple VoIP accounts. These phones are used as conference room phones or traditional desk phones.

    Key features of VoIP phones include:

    • LCD color display with touchscreen
    • Programmable keys and shortcuts
    • Built-in display for video calls
    • Built-in USB ports
    • Busy light indicator

    How Does Voice Over IP Phone Work?

    A VoIP phone converts an analog voice signal to a digital signal over a broadband Internet connection. Is it easy to say? VoIP uses the Internet to make and receive calls instead of traditional landlines.

    All you need is internet service, a VoIP-compatible phone (softphone or hard phone), and a reliable VoIP service provider to make and receive calls.

    How does VoIP work graphic

    When you speaking to a VoIP phone your voice is converted from analog to digital package data. A VoIP phone connected to a DSL or cable modem. The modem sends digital packages using an internet connection to the VoIP phone provider which routes the package to the number that was dialed.

    The VoIP phone on the other side converts digital data packages to an analog signal which is one you can hear and understand.

    This video explains how voice-over IP phones work in more technical terms.

                  Video Source: Know How Now

    How to connect internal phone extensions to the public telephone network? Cloud PBX (Cloud-based Private Branch Exchange) is a virtual internet phone system, which automatically answers all calls and routes them to the correct department or user extension.

    What are the VoIP Phone Features for Businesses?

    Voice over IP phones and business communications systems are available from different providers. Each service may offer its own characteristic feature set. 

    net2phone offers 40+ VoIP features for your business phone system including: 

    • Auto-Attendant - “Electronic receptionist” with advanced call handling and routing.
    • Video Calls - virtual face-to-face communications with people around the globe
    • Instant Messaging - aka Live Chat 
    • Presence Panel - displays who is available to take a call, who is busy, etc.
    • Call Forwarding - automatically route callers to the next available person or department based on criteria you set
    • Ring Groups: allows all extensions in a group to ring simultaneously.
    • Incoming Call Queues - answer incoming calls and distribute them to employees within an organization who can resolve an issue
    • Music On Hold - let your callers hear music, recorded audio, or customized marketing messages while they are placed on hold.
    • Call Recording - maintain company standards through call recording
    • Call Analytics - provides you with rich performance-based data to help you maximize efficiency
    • Visual Voicemail: Users can choose which message they want to listen to by going through the interface. 

    Related: 40+ VoIP Features For Your Business Phone System

    VoIP Phones vs Landline

    VoIP Phone vs Analog Phone

    In a VoIP Phones vs Landline battle, which technology wins? Let’s make a comparative analysis to resolve the VoIP vs Landline debate.

    Its cloud-based UCaaS solution enables users to work from anywhere in the world via an integrated mobile app, softphone or desk phone, with fully-integrated features such as video calling, chat-based messaging and powerful analytics. - Jonah Fink, President of net2phone

    Analog phones usually have the basic features you'd expect from a commercial phone system, such as B. call waiting, hold, transfer, etc. However, the capabilities of analog phones pale in comparison to digitally powered VoIP equipment.

    Because the interface of a VoIP phone system is presented on a computer or similar device, it is possible to provide more functionality than a single analog phone can accommodate.

    Caller information can be auto-filled on the fly, calls can be routed hot or cold, auto-attenders can automatically route calls, data can be collected and analyzed for future improvements, a powerful softphone can help receptionists handle high volume calls with ease, and more .

    Benefits of Using VoIP Phones

    • Cost Savings - In comparison to a landline phone system, voice over IP phones have the edge in terms of cost. While you may pay a lower cost upfront for traditional analog phone hardware, in the longer term, the costs of installing and maintaining landline infrastructure and its wiring can be quite costly.
    • Low Maintenance & Upgrade Costs - In addition, there will be future costs associated with the necessary upgrades needed for an analog system that IP phones do not require. These upgrades are inevitable and needed to keep up with the demands of modern business phone communications and integrations.
    • Low-cost international calls - With VoIP phone calls typically incurring a charge at the local rate of the call's destination, organizations will save on the cost of long-distance and international calls as well.
    • Flexibility and Scalability - Cloud-based voice over IP phone systems for small businesses from net2phone allow companies to quickly and easily increase or decrease their number of users and communications features, in response to changing conditions. This flexibility also facilitates remote working and extending business communications services to geographically dispersed sites.
    • Enterprise-class Features - In comparison to landlines, VoIP phone systems also offer a multitude of enterprise-class communications features.
    • Local Numbers for a Global Presence - VoIP phone users typically have access to more numbers than with the public switched telephone network. Most reliable VoIP providers will also enable users to keep their existing  VoIP phone numbers, even if they move to a different service.
    • Flexibility - In addition, net2phone is a global leading SIP trunk provider, which is a voice over internet protocol technology that delivers telephone services over the internet. Simply adding SIP Trunking to an existing phone system, can help cut costs and also enhance business communications as both voice and data are carried on the same line.
    • 99.99% Uptime - net2phone prides itself on its 99.99% uptime.

    Downsides of VoIP Phones

    With a landline phone, you don’t need to be connected to the internet in order to make or receive calls. VoIP phones require a steady electrical supply, together with fast and stable network data connections. Luckily net2phone prides itself on its 99.99% uptime track record. 

    In regions where internet connectivity is unreliable or unstable, issues with latency (data transfer delays) and packet loss can lead to a deterioration in call quality and data transmission, with a VoIP phone.

    Related: VoIP vs Analog Phone System

    Can I Switch a Landline Phone to VoIP Technology?

    Yes, you can switch a landline to a VoIP phone. Making the move from a traditional landline telephone to VoIP phone requires careful planning. This migration checklist will help you smooth the transition.

    Check Your Internet Connection

    As we mentioned above VoIP phones require a steady electrical supply, together with fast and stable network data connections. To enjoy the crystal quality of voice and video, you must have a reliable and fast internet connection.

    Choose A VoIP Service Provider

    Choosing a service provider is the most important decision you will make during the transition. You need to make sure that the provider you choose has the experience and resources to support your VoIP system. You should also make sure the provider has transparent pricing and offers all the features you'd expect from a VoIP phone system.

    Port Your Existing Phone Numbers

    Porting is the process of transferring a telephone number from one communications provider to another. Keeping an existing phone number is very important for small business owners.

    Train Your Team

    In net2phone we assign a Customer Success Manager to provide comprehensive training to each member of your team to ensure they are prepared to optimize their new solution. Within one day, net2phone provided one-on-one training to every remote worker, and both office locations to ensure everybody was up and running. serve as a resource for clients, providing technical assistance and ongoing training tailored to their needs.

    We designated a single point of contact throughout the deployment of services to assist with learning

    RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone vs Other Standard Phones

    The ability to effectively deal with a flood of incoming calls and ensure that every VoIP caller gets timely professional attention is critical for any business. For this reason, many organizations have made the switch to automated VoIP answering systems over the last decade, to deal with increased call volume. 

    Rcon softphone VoIP phone interface

    One of the features that separate net2phone from other communication services is our presence panel functionality. This is one of the core components of net2phone’s product package. Our RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone will transform the way your businesses’ receptionist console operates.

    The net2phone RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone allows your receptionist (or front of office staff) to see at a glance who in the office is available, and who is presently engaged. This prevents callers from being placed on hold for long periods and reduces the amount of time wasted putting calls through to people who are busy with other callers. net2phone RCon enables businesses to effectively manage large volumes of both inbound and outbound calls, with our presence panel functionality and easily optimize workflows around inbound call demand.

    In contrast to other phones on the market, the RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone has a universal contact search feature that allows your staff members to be quickly located -- thereby enabling calls to be triggered faster than would have been previously possible. With the innovative drag and drop calling feature, your receptionist can quickly and easily direct incoming calls, transfer and park calls, or facilitate three-way calling.

    The RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone boasts many other features that make for a completely efficient UCaaS phone system. Warm transfer options enable your receptionist to announce the caller before putting them through, so the person on the other end knows what kind of situation they’re walking into. A one-click transfer feature allows your front-of-office to quickly push a call straight through when things are busier, or if the call is more urgent. These well-thought-out features make it simple to route calls, even if working remotely. With a net2phone RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone with presence panel functionality, your business can effectively become a call processing machine.

    RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone Review

    The RCon Powerhouse SoftPhone displays your entire team on your screen -- which gives you the visibility to determine who is actively on a call, and who is available to take a call. This prevents users from transferring callers to occupied or out-of-office employees. This simple interface makes customer communication that much easier, as described in the video below:


    In addition to its rich feature set, as a net2phone user you also gain access to:

    • A fully featured mobile app which enables you to make and receive calls or text messages from your business phone number.
    • FREE US-based support- available 24/7 to ensure that your business always stays connected.
    • net2phone's self-service online portal, which enables you to manage all company team members, devices, phone numbers, and more, from one convenient location.

    To learn more, or to get started with a VoIP phone from net2phone, get in touch with us today.