Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as a telephony solution allows small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to choose between traditional desk phones (hardphones) or software-based devices (softphones). Read on to learn which option best suits your organization’s needs.
What’s a hardphone?
A hardphone functions like a normal phone, but it's connected to your business's IP network instead of a telephone line. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at an affordable price. More advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens for video calls, eliminating the need for separate equipment for video conferencing.
What’s a softphone?
A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software application that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into phones that can make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone or through a headset with a microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.
Which VoIP phone is for you?
When choosing between hardphones and smartphones, consider the following questions:
Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company take pride in offering top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?
Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need.
Why choose hardphones?
Nothing beats the voice clarity and noise cancellation features of hardphones since they are designed specifically for voice calls, unlike softphones that share power with other programs on a device. They also let you make and receive calls without being disrupted by poor PC performance or malware.
Because you have to purchase actual phones, the initial setup costs for hardphones are greater than those for softphones, but the monthly phone bills are more affordable. Not only that, softphones may be more costly in the long run, as they require separate headphones and microphones that may need to be replaced or maintained frequently.
Why choose softphones?
If your company has a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be the way to go. Softphones feature call routing, which allows you to divert calls to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your company. This is most useful in a contact center environment. Transcribed voicemail messages are another helpful feature, as this enables you to receive messages promptly, even if you’re in a meeting or on the road.
Our experts are available 24/7/365 to answer any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are right for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today.