Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is used for making voice and video calls all over the world. One of the features offered by VoIP service providers is non-fixed VoIP. Non-fixed VoIP is basically a virtual phone number that is not attached to a physical building or address.
Evolution of Telephony
Since its inception, the technology for human-to-human communication has evolved on a truly grand scale. The first telecom networks were analog in nature and used circuit switching. This switching was done manually. In time, automated switching replaced manual switching, and the wheels were set in motion for what would become modern digital technology. This was then followed by a plethora of value-added services such as caller ID, data services, and much more.
Data networks for machine-to-machine communication started to emerge in the early to late 1980s. These networks continued to grow until the entire world was connected via the global Internet in the mid-1990s.
Nowadays, most voice and data transmissions are carried over data networks. Data networks differ from traditional/legacy voice networks in the following ways:
- The voice or data is carried in the form of packets.
- The transmission bandwidth is shared among different users and different types of applications.
Today, we can make voice and even video calls from all types of network-connected devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches.
What is VoIP?
Numerous protocols have been specifically developed for carrying multimedia traffic over data networks. VoIP is a group of technologies or protocols that is widely used for voice communication over data networks.
Some of the VoIP protocols are:
- Session Initiation Protocol or SIP: used for signaling in VoIP networks
- Real-time Transport Protocol or RTP: used for transport of real-time voice and video
- Secure Real-time Transport Protocol or SRTP: the encrypted version of RTP
- Media Gateway Control Protocol or MGCP: used for management of connections for media gateways.
What are the Advantages of VoIP?
With VoIP, you can make calls:
- From all kinds of devices such as computers, tablets, etc.
- Overall kinds of transport media such as Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, 5G, satellite, etc.
Compared to traditional telecommunication systems, making calls over VoIP is not only cheaper, it also offers multiple benefits such as:
- Higher scalability: the ability to add or reduce users as required
- Portability: you can keep the same number even if you change service providers
- Advanced features: audio and video conferencing, auto-attendant, call monitoring and recording, etc.
- Low CAPEX: cloud-based UCaaS offers full-service telephony solutions at almost zero CAPEX
Because of all of these advantages, VoIP has been adopted by enterprises all over the world.
What is Fixed VoIP?
Fixed VoIP refers to phone numbers that are linked to a physical address. This address can be residential or commercial. Through a service known as number porting, you can keep the same number even if you decide to switch service providers.
The advantages of fixed VoIP numbers include:
- Your clients are more likely to take your calls if they see a local number on their caller ID.
- The exact location used for making calls is shared with public safety answering points or PSAPs. This means that calls made to emergency services such as 911 can be traced.
What is Non-Fixed VoIP?
Unlike fixed VoIP, non-fixed VoIP numbers are not linked to specific residential or commercial addresses. Non-fixed VoIP numbers are instead linked to users. Except in some countries where the service is not permitted, non-fixed VoIP is the preferred option for most companies.
If your business does not have a local presence in a country, then the only option for you is non-fixed VoIP. Non-fixed VoIP numbers are an excellent solution for global business communications. Best of all, obtaining non-fixed VoIP numbers is as easy as 1,2,3.
What are the Best Non-Fixed VoIP Features?
The features offered include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Conference calling
- Voicemail transcription
- Call recording
- Reporting and analytics
- Multiple device support
What are the Advantages of Non-Fixed VoIP?
Non-fixed VoIP offers many benefits for your business such as:
- You don’t need to have a physical presence in target markets.
- International calling is cheaper compared to traditional methods for making long-distance calls.
- Low-cost and flexible plans with almost zero CAPEX are ideal for startups and small and mid-sized enterprises.
- The configuration and setup of non-fixed VoIP systems is simple and easy.
What are the Disadvantages of Non-Fixed VoIP?
There are some very real and some perceived disadvantages associated with using non-fixed VoIP. These include:
- Since they lack an assigned address, it may not be possible to call emergency services such as 911.
- Similarly, calls that do get through cannot be traced by emergency services. This becomes problematic as responders cannot reach and help those that are in need of help.
- The lack of an assigned address means that non-fixed VoIP numbers are harder to trace and are often used by scammers for criminal activities. This has led to a general perception that non-fixed VoIP is related to fraudulent or criminal activity. However, the reality is that any technology can be used for legitimate or illegitimate means. Both fixed VoIP and non-fixed VoIP offer several benefits such as low cost and rapid provisioning that make them attractive for commercial and non-commercial use.
What are Some of the Applications for Non-Fixed VoIP?
By using the top VoIP providers, such as Nextiva, we’re able to give you all the best features. Some of the most popular applications are:
Numerous call center providers use non-fixed VoIP for building on-demand call center teams. The call center teams can be located anywhere. To increase credibility, non-fixed VoIP numbers with local area codes are used.
OTT Communication Apps
Many communication apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp use non-fixed VoIP.
- Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
MSPs that offer telephony services use non-fixed VoIP to offer phone services to clients.
How Do I Identify a Non-Fixed VoIP Number?
While it may not be possible to identify a non-fixed VoIP number just by looking at it, it is not impossible to trace these numbers. They are, however, very difficult to trace.
The first step towards tracing any VoIP number is to request information from the number provider to confirm whether the number is a fixed or non-fixed VoIP number. Other than that you can:
- Setup your caller ID so that it displays both the number and the IP address. You can then look up the IP address to get an idea about the general location.
- Hire a private investigator.
- If nothing else works, you can file a complaint with the government authority that handles issues related to cybercrime.
What are the Best Practices?
Here are some of the best practices for businesses that use non-fixed VoIP:
- Begin every customer call with your name and the name of your company. Doing this will help to improve your credibility.
- Use services such as Bing Places, Google My Business, and Yahoo Localworks to list your non-fixed VoIP numbers online. Doing so will help your customers see that they are dealing with a legitimate business.
- Calls made from non-fixed VoIP numbers to emergency services might not get routed properly, and even if they are, the location won’t be traceable. Therefore, try to ensure that your team members don’t use the non-fixed VoIP numbers for calling emergency services.
What are Some of the Non-Fixed VoIP FAQs?
Does the phone network treat non-fixed and fixed differently?
The phone network or PSTN does not differentiate between fixed and non-fixed VoIP. Calls made to/made from fixed VoIP and non-fixed VoIP numbers are handled in the same manner.
Is it possible to make a call to a non-fixed VoIP number?
Any VoIP number – whether it belongs to the fixed or non-fixed category – can make and receive phone calls.
Is it easy to track non-fixed VoIP numbers?
Even though it’s not easy, it can be done. However, the virtual nature of non-fixed VoIP means that there is no guarantee that you will be successful in your tracking efforts!
Can it be used for fraudulent activities?
Like any other technology that is widely available, non-fixed VoIP is also used for both legitimate and illegitimate activities. There is also no denying the fact that non-fixed VoIP has developed a bad reputation. But this is mostly due to a lack of understanding of the technology on the part of those who propagate this false perception. It is just as easy to use fixed VoIP for fraudulent activities! The best way of using this helpful technology is to follow industry best practices and educate yourself and your team about existing and new cyber threats and implement up-to-date measures for protecting yourself from these cyber threats.
VoIP is the technology that enables modern communication tools and apps that we use on a daily basis. It’s an inexpensive and reliable alternative to the legacy voice networks of yesteryear. It also offers benefits that make it attractive for businesses looking to quickly set up working systems that can be scaled rapidly as per business requirements.
Non-fixed VoIP is the ideal solution if you are looking to expand your business but don’t want to incur the high cost of setting up offices and hiring multiple global teams.
Numerous service providers offer plans that are tailored for startups, small to mid-sized businesses, and large corporations. Each of these plans can be set up in no time and is easily scalable, allowing you to grow your services along with your company. We work with all of the best VoIP providers including Nextiva. Click here to get a free quote on your VoIP service needs.