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What Is Non-Fixed VoIP?

Shannon Flynn
Shannon Flynn
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 28, 2022

Learn how non-fixed VoIP technology can streamline your business's communication.

You’ve likely heard of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a type of business phone system that has changed how many businesses handle communication. Many of us are less familiar with non-fixed VoIP technology and its helpful business functions. Whether you knew it or not, you’ve likely interacted with someone using non-fixed VoIP. You may have even used it unknowingly. 

Here’s a look at non-fixed VoIP technology, how it compares to VoIP and what you need to know when implementing non-fixed VoIP into your business. 

What is non-fixed VoIP?

Unlike traditional phone lines, VoIP technology places calls through the internet. Your VoIP service hosts your number in the cloud and passes it on to the service provider of the number you’re calling. The person you’re calling will see a typical phone number, but you don’t need a physical phone line.

Non-fixed VoIP takes this freedom a step further by not tying you to a specific location. Instead of assigning numbers to addresses, non-fixed VoIP services give them to users. As a result, you can use a non-fixed VoIP number from anywhere using any area code or country format.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right business phone system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Non-fixed VoIP numbers are also referred to as “virtual phone numbers.” 

Did you know?Did you know? Online communication tools like Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp rely on non-fixed VoIP technology for their in-app calls.

How does a non-fixed VoIP number work?

Non-fixed VoIP numbers work by placing calls entirely over the internet. The VoIP service will convert the audio into data packets to transmit over the web when you make a call. They will also include information like the virtual number or caller ID to deliver to whomever you’re calling.

The service will know what information to assign to you based on your device. Your smartphone, computer or other internet-connected device is tied to the virtual number you’ve selected in the cloud. The VoIP service can then convert this information back and forth, letting you call from whichever gadget you prefer.

>> Learn More: Cloud-Based Business Phone Systems

Registering a non-fixed VoIP number often requires little more than an email address. This makes it quick and easy to set up a virtual number and start calling. If you’ve ever used a service like Skype or Google Voice, you know firsthand how easy it is.

Non-fixed VoIP vs. fixed VoIP

Fixed VoIP ties phone numbers to physical addresses. These services still make calls over the internet but also often connect to a traditional phone network. Non-fixed VoIP numbers can also connect to these networks but don’t rely on them.

>> Learn More: Optimize Your Local Business Network for VoIP

Entirely online services like non-fixed VoIP have zero maintenance fees and may even be free. Since fixed VoIP requires physical infrastructure and uses location-based services, they’re more expensive. Non-fixed services are also more flexible, letting you use the same number from anywhere, while moving with fixed VoIP can be more complicated.

One advantage of fixed VoIP over non-fixed is that people see it as more authentic. Since fixed VoIP numbers are harder to get, they’re a less obvious choice for criminals or scammers. Similarly, they’re better for 911 calls because emergency services can easily track them to a specific location.

Bottom LineBottom line: If you need authenticity, go with fixed VoIP. If cost and flexibility matter more, then non-fixed VoIP is ideal.

Pros and cons of VoIP and non-VoIP phone numbers

There is an alternative to non-fixed and fixed VoIP phone numbers: traditional phone lines. The main difference between conventional phones and VoIP is that the former uses either landlines or cell towers, whereas VoIP uses the internet. Here are some of the other differences between them.

VoIP phone numbersNon-VoIP phone numbers
Call costs are not dependent on distance or time.Call costs are typically based on distance and time.
Voice quality depends on bandwidth.Voice quality is consistent with landlines and depends on signal quality with cellular.
Scaling up requires additional bandwidth.Scaling up may require extensive physical infrastructure.
Call waiting, call transferring and call forwarding are standard.Call waiting, call transferring and call forwarding may cost extra.
VoIP can integrate with other digital apps, like smart assistants.Digital integrations are limited.
They cost $20 to $30 per month on average.They cost $40 per month on average for landlines and $127 per month on average for cellular.
Access from anywhere requires non-fixed VoIP.You can access from anywhere with cellular.
They may be seen as untrustworthy.They are generally trusted.

In general, non-VoIP phones cost more but may deliver more consistent quality and are more generally accepted. VoIP solutions are typically cheaper but can have consistency issues, and some consumers don’t trust these numbers.

FYIFYI: ​​VoIP systems have a much wider array of features than many non-VoIP systems, including interactive voice response, automatic call forwarding, voicemail-to-email transcription, and virtual receptionists.

Who is non-fixed VoIP best for?

All phone solutions for businesses have unique advantages and disadvantages, so whether or not non-fixed VoIP is the right choice for you depends on your situation. While there are some specific considerations, there are a few general situations where non-fixed VoIP is ideal.

Many non-fixed VoIP providers focus on specific niches, so they come with their own pros and cons. Here’s a look at four of the best use cases for non-fixed VoIP and the providers that meet those needs.

Call centers

Perhaps the most familiar use case for non-fixed VoIP phones is a call center. Since setting up a non-fixed solution is fast and affordable, a non-fixed VoIP number is an obvious choice for establishing a call center on demand. No matter where the team members are located, these services can give them local area codes.

Nextiva is an ideal non-fixed solution for call centers because it’s easy to set up. Team members need only plug their IP phones into an Ethernet port at their location. Nextiva then automatically syncs their sites to make it seem as if all calls are coming from the same place. Operators can then use their mobile devices to make calls. Learn more in our Nextiva review.

Managed service providers

Managed service providers (MSPs) are another type of business that can benefit from non-fixed VoIP. Since MSPs spend so much time talking with their customers, they need affordable, scalable and easy-to-use phone solutions. Traditional or fixed VoIP lines may be too expensive or inflexible, so non-fixed VoIP is the best solution.

>> Learn More: What Is SIP Trunking?

Some non-fixed VoIP services offer a wide range of features that MSPs could find useful. GoToConnect, for example, boasts more than 100 features and tools, including call monitoring, custom greetings, voicemail-to-email transcription, and custom time-based call routing. Learn more in our GoToConnect review.

All these features make customer service a far easier and more streamlined process. While setting up MSPs with a traditional phone solution would take a lot of time and money, it’s relatively straightforward with non-fixed VoIP.

Small businesses

Since non-fixed VoIP is typically much cheaper than the alternatives, it’s excellent for small businesses. For example, 8×8 has some of the lowest per-user costs of any business phone solution. Learn more in our review of 8×8.

Services like 8×8 can cost as little as $12 per user per month. You won’t find prices that low for a landline or mobile solution, certainly not with all the same features. If you’re running a small business and need to make lots of calls while keeping costs low, consider non-fixed VoIP.

Remote workforces

Distributed workforces, which are increasingly popular, are another ideal use case for non-fixed VoIP. With these solutions, employees can call partners or customers from a local phone number despite being hundreds or thousands of miles away. You can also use non-fixed VoIP to route calls from your main office to remote workers’ extensions.

With some options, like Dialpad, you don’t even need a desk phone to experience all these benefits. Learn more in our Dialpad review. You can access your virtual phone number through your personal smartphone, so remote workers don’t need to route through an in-office phone. This feature will also help keep infrastructure costs down.

TipTip: Read our comprehensive reviews of the best business phone systems to compare features, prices and customer support.

Spammers and non-fixed VoIP

Non-fixed VoIP has plenty of benefits, but you should be aware of one growing issue. Since these numbers are easy to get and can hide real phone numbers, they’re popular among spammers. Providers may be more likely to label non-fixed VoIP calls as spam.

>> Learn More: Benefits of VoIP Business Phone System

Robocalls are a growing problem, averaging more than 159 million calls daily in February 2021. Phone security measures may become more aggressive about blocking them as they increase. Since non-fixed VoIP is a favorite tool of these callers, that could be a problem for businesses.

Thankfully, some business-oriented non-fixed VoIP companies have taken steps to combat this. One solution is data that communicates that a call is coming from a legitimate source, not a free, scam-friendly tool.

Did you know?Did you know? Other VoIP security measures include high-level encryption and identity management to lower the risk of protected information falling into the wrong hands.

Is non-fixed VoIP right for you?

No matter what kind of business you run, choosing a business phone system is an important decision. Depending on your specific situation, non-fixed VoIP may be the best way to manage those calls. Examine your options and learn what they offer to make the best choice for your business.

Image Credit: Chainarong_Prasertthai / Getty Images
Shannon Flynn
Shannon Flynn
business.com Contributing Writer
Shannon Flynn is a writer who has spent five years covering all things technology, including business technology tools and software, cybersecutiry, IoT, cryptocurrency and blockchain. She is the Managing Editor at ReHack and a contributor at MakeUseOf, LifeWire and SiliconAngle.