Searching For VOIP Softphones

Remember when your office phone changed into a solidly constructed multi-line virtual machine with push buttons for the different extensions? (For those of you who haven’t seen it, it functions as a plot, approximately a room-sized PC that replaces human people on the TV station. Amazingly, 50 years ago too.) And you had a secretary who could answer all your calls? It seems quaint now, like something from a Tracy/Hepburn movie like the “Desk Set.”

Searching For VOIP Softphones 1

The largest alternative for workplace telephony nowadays is the setting apart of incoming and outgoing calling plans and how we can use computers instead of an actual smartphone device, if we all can get our softphones to work nicely.

I remember writing about them in the early Nineteen Nineties; softphones aren’t new. I am now not speaking about some Claes Oldenburg sculptures. However, the software for walks to the PC permits you to make and receive calls. Sadly, the quality of software program development continues to be akin to this period than the modern-day.

Voice over IP has made calling almost too cheap to meter, a benefit of softphones, to bear in mind a word from the 1950s (then it turned into nuclear power, and we realize what happened). That’s why many companies presently offer unlimited month-to-month calling plans for their VOIP Services – Vonage ($25), Skype ($three), and Google Voice (Free!). What is crucial to word is that these are all outgoing calling plans. Anyone can call you with no agenda; you need a phone variety. Here is where matters get complicated.

I had been a happy purchaser of Vonage, given that around 2002 or so, they used their smartphone provider in three different states for both home and work. The first-class component of the use of Vonage (or every other VOIP smartphone with an affordable function set) is that I can install what occurs when a person calls my quantity. Right now, I have it ring each workplace and mobile number concurrently. This way, I need to provide you with one variety to name me, and I can alternate cellular numbers or add a new region if I am working somewhere for a prolonged period. The first-rate element of Vonage is that I can do all of this with more than one mouse click without having to wait on hold for a Bell business office provider rep to attempt to upsell me with services I do not want.

Most of the time, after I am on the telephone, it is to interview someone for an article I am writing or concentrate on a convention name briefing. Those are calls that I provoke, and I do not need a physical phone anyway – I often use a headset related to my computer to unfasten my shoulder so I can type in my notes. (Yes, I should also use a Bluetooth headset for my smartphone.) But I don’t genuinely get that many calls anymore, not that I am complaining.

I wondered whether I should eliminate my workplace telephone line, switch it for a Vonage softphone, and perhaps shop for a little cash. That led me to try to find a softphone to run on my Mac, connect with my Vonage account, and be reliable. Meeting all three criteria was a project over the past week.

The softphone charges $10 a month. A name to Vonage customer service set up matters and moved my office quantity to the softphone account. I notion I was doing well. Alas, it wasn’t so smooth. First of all, while Vonage has its softphone app on each Windows and Mac, the Mac model is a harmful cousin, and I could not get it to paint nicely. After spending some time with Vonage tech help, I discovered that there are “troubles” with it running on Intel-based totally Macs (which can be all recent Macs for the past several years).

Vonage does have a softphone for the iPhone (and Blackberry, too). It is designed to name internationally from your smartphone and save you on these fees. However, you need to install another $ 25-a-month subscription plan. So it isn’t always the softphone that I am searching for.

There are numerous softphone VOIP software program organizations, and a few have Mac clients. I have tried a few and attempted to get them configured for my Vonage account; however, without an achievement. There are many poor, acceptable records online, many smaller groups without tech assistance.

What about Skype? Yes, Skype may be considered a softphone (more significant because it does video calls). The monthly unlimited calling plan is $three. However, you may want to purchase a web-wide variety for another $three a month if you need human beings to call you. All of a sudden, my predicted savings are evaporating. I have liked Skype and have used it for years, more often than not, for the IM capabilities, and the voice is notable.

How about MagicJack? This is a pretty cool USB device that you may connect with each Mac and Windows PC, and it will set up a softphone (or you could use a standard telephone and wire it to the USB tool immediately). All for $40 for the primary year and $20 for 12 months afterward. My one hassle with Jack is that I keep getting human beings calling me who are calling the wrong numbers. I am not sure what this is all about. I get the occasional Skype from someone I do not recognize, but no longer as regularly.

And then there are Google Voice and eVoice, a brand new carrier from J2 Communications, the humans which can be at the back of eFax and eFax. These are not quite softphones. However, they do provide some exciting communications features to manipulate your telephony. If I didn’t maintain my Vonage wide variety, I would likely be extra curious about them. Google has also purchased Gizmo Project, which had a genuine first-rate softphone with a built-in voice recorder, so who knows what will happen?

I will admit that not having a traditional landline smartphone may be an issue. But it isn’t generally a problem. So, as I transition to a telephone-free table, I suppose back to the days when I once had one of the old Western Electric telephones. Maybe I should purchase one and preserve it on my desk for antique time’s sake, even as I keep fooling around with my softphones and headsets.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.