Landline phone services are slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur, with more individuals relying solely on their mobile devices for making calls. Businesses, however, have continued to rely on traditional landlines for professional use, but that’s also changing now thanks to internet-based VoIP services from providers like RingCentral, one of the most popular and .
VoIP, or “voice over internet protocol,” simply uses the internet rather than landlines or cell networks to provide voice services. It makes perfect sense considering the internet is just a method for transmitting data quickly across large distances – after all, the internet originally used our telephone lines to do just that.
A good VoIP service like RingCentral is different than a landline phone in a few ways: First and foremost, VoIP is simpler and more affordable for small businesses to set up and manage than the complex and costly phone systems that larger companies typically use. Also, since it’s done over the internet and largely cloud-based, VoIP gives you more than just voice communication with additional features such as group chat, automatic recording, voicemail-to-text conversion, app-based network management, and video conferencing.
The process of choosing and setting up your VoIP service is surprisingly easy:
- Determine how many users you’ll have on your network. For a business, this will boil down to yourself and your employees. This important first step is the biggest factor in determining what sort of service package you’ll require.
- Assess your office’s internet speed. Your VoIP provider will do the heavy lifting when it comes to managing data in the cloud, but as this all works over the internet, you still need a connection capable of handling the load. You can test out your internet speeds to determine if they’re capable of supporting VoIP. If they can’t, consider upgrading your internet service.
- Decide what you actually need and are willing to pay for. VoIP is cheaper than a large enterprise-level landline setup, but there’s no need to get carried away by paying for a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Write down what features you know you need and will use (for instance, a good mobile app or video conferencing software), what features you’d like but aren’t absolutely necessary, and set a reasonable budget for all of it.
- Get your hardware. Once you’ve determined your needs, you’ll have a good idea of what equipment (namely phones) you require. You can buy dedicated VoIP phones, but modern providers like RingCentral also allow you to use their services right on the computers and mobile devices you already have. This can be set up for a new user in just a few minutes.
- Set it all up. Since RingCentral doesn’t require any complicated network equipment, all you need to do after signing up is download and install the software for your service package if necessary (this will be done on each device), follow the instructions, and you’re ready to go within minutes.
RingCentral offers. These range from the basic “Essentials” package, which supports up to 10 users and is ideal for home offices, up to the “Ultimate” package, which supports unlimited users and includes a bundle of other advanced features like automatic call recording and voicemail-to-text, among others.
Prices for these tiers range from $20 to $50 per user per month if you pay annually (note that it’s $10 more if you decide to pay by the month). Once you’ve followed the steps above and figured out what you need, then you can check outright to find the right VoIP solution for your business.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- The best small business cell phone plans for 2021
- The best VPN services for 2021
- Slack vs. Discord
- How to use Skype
- The best prepaid cell phone plans for 2021