Fixed & Non-Fixed VoIP: What's the Difference?

Anyone who has taken the time to research different phone services for their business has likely come across the terms “fixed” and “non-fixed VoIP” phone numbers. But what exactly does that mean? And how can one know which is suitable for the needs of their particular business? Please continue to learn about the differences between fixed and non-fixed VoIP phone numbers and the range of costs and benefits they can provide.

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What is VoIP, How Does it Work, and What Types of VoIP Services are Available to You?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a specialized technology that allows users to make phone calls through a broadband internet connection rather than a traditional analog phone line. All a VoIP call needs is a stable internet connection, which will send converted call data packets to an intended recipient over an IP network. VoIP allows people to connect with anyone from around the globe while significantly lowering overall communication costs for businesses.

When making a VoIP call, the individual you’re trying to contact will see your unique VoIP number (hosted on the cloud) through a caller ID component. However, the information contained in your caller ID varies depending on whether you’re using a fixed or non-fixed VoIP number. Businesses can utilize a range of VoIP services, though the three most common options include business phone service, call center software, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking.

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What is a Fixed VoIP Number?

In short, a fixed VoIP phone number is an internet-based phone line that is attached to a physical address. Though it uses the internet to make and receive calls, it has a specified account owner and an address of a residence or company assigned to it. People and businesses can easily retain their fixed VoIP numbers through a porting process if they ever want to change providers.

These factors have made fixed VoIP numbers much less likely to be used by scammers since it’s more difficult for them to conceal their identities while connecting with potential victims. As a result, they are generally considered to be more accepted and reputable. Fixed VoIP numbers also benefit from making the subscriber location match the user of the phone, meaning that calls to local recipients are more likely to be answered. However, this can also make it more difficult for businesses to develop a credible presence on a global scale. Additionally, fixed VoIP numbers send the exact locations of callers to public safety answering points (PSAPs), so 911 calls can be easily traced in the event of an emergency.

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What is a Non-Fixed VoIP Number?

Unlike a fixed VoIP number, non-fixed VoIP phone numbers are internet-based phone lines that aren’t directly attached to a physical address. Since they don’t require a connection to a fixed address, non-fixed VoIP numbers can be associated with any geographical location, meaning that they’re a fantastic solution for businesses serving customers in areas where they don’t have a physical presence. This is particularly beneficial for remote workers and companies that focus heavily on global communications. Additionally, businesses with a distributed workforce can provide employees with individual Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers relevant to the location they serve without requiring the use of multiple phone lines.

Non-fixed VoIP numbers are much easier to get than fixed VoIP numbers, and they tend to be utilized by low-cost or free digital connection services, such as Skype and Google Voice. While this can benefit businesses looking to acquire a VoIP phone number quickly, it also means that they’re frequently utilized by scammers engaging in fraudulent activities. Additionally, it should be noted that non-fixed VoIP numbers aren’t easily traceable like fixed VoIP numbers when calls are made to emergency services.

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The Similarities & Differences to Note Between Fixed and Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers

When it comes to the similarities between fixed and non-fixed VoIP numbers, the fundamental factors you’ll want to remember are that they:

  1. Both serve as internet-based phone lines
  2. Offer similar base VoIP benefits, including ease of use and lower costs compared to traditional phone numbers
  3. Utilize the same VoIP phones and devices
  4. Can be specifically configured to receive and send text messages
  5. Can both be registered with free online business directories 

But for their various similarities, there are even more differences that potential users need to carefully understand before selecting the type of VoIP number most suited to meet their needs.

Specific Fixed VoIP Factors

  1. A physical address is necessary
  2. They are considered more accepted and reputable, especially by local consumers
    1. Though they can impede the development of a presence with global consumers
  3. They are less likely to be used by scammers 
  4. They will incur higher costs for international and long-distance calls

Specific Non-Fixed VoIP Factors

  1. A physical address is not necessary
  2. They are great for global businesses that need a local number but don’t have a local presence or that serve consumers in a wide range of locations
  3. They are effective for companies with a distributed workforce and can provide location-relevant numbers as part of DID services
  4. Some providers offer a wide range of additional features, including unlimited calling, voicemail, call recording, conference calling, and queuing
  5. They are more likely to be used by scammers, though progress is being made to counteract fraud and scamming attempts

The Bottom Line, Which Type of VoIP Number is Right for You?

At the end of the day, the specific needs of individuals or businesses will ultimately determine whether a fixed or non-fixed VoIP phone number is most effective. For those who focus primarily on local calls and dealing with consumers living near your physical location, fixed VoIP numbers would likely be the way to go.

That said, if your particular business operates in a wide variety of areas without a physical presence or connects to consumers in a wide range of countries, a non-fixed VoIP number would likely be more beneficial. If you’d like more information about optimizing the ways your business can connect with customers and the technology you can use to do so, please consider contacting the experts at Teams Device Center today.

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