ip phone systems | business ip phone service

Your office probably has an e-graveyard—a dusty side room filled with outdated electronics and computer gear that the business has long outgrown.

Business VoIP services have become increasingly attractive to small-business owners because of their simplicity, wide range of features, and—most of all—inexpensive pricing, compared to traditional phone line systems. They can also eliminate a lot of on-site hardware, so it might be time to deal with that e-graveyard.

VoIP transforms outgoing or incoming calls into a digital signal and sends it through the internet, converting it to a standard telephone signal to reach a non-VoIP number. Through VoIP, you can place outgoing calls or receive incoming calls directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or a regular phone that’s hooked up to a VoIP adapter, as well as wirelessly through mobile hotspots.

If it isn’t obvious yet, VoIP business phone systems require reliable high-speed internet of DSL quality or above, in addition to some specialized software and hardware. But your service choices aren’t limited to a handful of local legacy telephone companies, as VoIP is cloud-based and ubiquitous (the sheer amount of business VoIP service providers is staggering; we’ve included as many as we could here).

13 best VoIP providers for small businesses

1.RingCentral: Best full-service VoIP
2.Nextiva: Best inexpensive VoIP provider
3.Grasshopper: Best for mobile businesses
4.Ooma: Best budget buy
5.8x8: Best international calling
6.Vonage: Best VoIP service for growing businesses
.7.Verizon: Best VoIP for midsize businesses
8.Jive: Best features
9.Mitel: Runner-up for mobile businesses
10.Phone.com: Cheapest plans
11.MegaPath: Best customer service
12.1-VoIP: Most flexible
13.Frontier: Honorable mention

What you should know about VoIP

Since VoIP is a relatively new technology that differs from traditional copper-line telephone systems, there may be a bit of a learning curve before you dive into adopting it for your business. Here are a few elemental points to get started.

Basic features to expect

Just as a smartphone can do more than a landline phone, a VoIP phone system for business can perform all the expected tasks of standard phone systems and then some. They’re a great choice for small businesses that need full functionality, and the VoIP systems we’ve reviewed include most, if not all, of the following features:

  1. Web-based system administration
  2. Mobile management (iOS and Android)
  3. Automated attendant
  4. Hold music
  5. Call forwarding
  6. Conference bridging
  7. Conference calling
  8. Caller ID
  9. Call blocking
  10. Call waiting
  11. Call transferring
  12. Find Me/Follow Me
  13. Ring groups
  14. One-line sharing on multiple phones/devices
  15. Videoconferencing
  16. Voicemail to Email (as audio file)
  17. Voicemail to Text
  18. Fax to Text (as PDF)


A private branch exchange (PBX) is the closed telephone network within a business, which employees share for outbound, inbound, and interoffice phone calls. VoIP systems manage PBXs off-site through cloud hosting, eliminating the need for costly (and space-hogging) on-premise equipment and maintenance.

SIP trunk

A SIP (session initiation protocol) trunk carries voice, data, and video through a “trunk” that replaces copper telephone connections through the conventional PSTN (public switched telephone network), consolidating phone and internet service into a single digital line.

In plain English, SIP trunking allows you to physically disconnect from your phone company, opening the door for digital, internet-powered options (read: VoIP). And unlike hardwired telephone lines, digital lines allow you to scale your phone solutions as your business grows.

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