Can I use my laptop or a computer for calling if I have a VoIP phone system at my business?
We explain whether or not you can use a business laptop for calling over a VoIP phone system. Doing business in the 21st century means companies need to be smarter, more agile, and open to flexibility. Whether it’s allowing remote employees or changing business practices, it’s vital for organizations to stay ahead of the curve.
This is especially true when it comes to how businesses communicate. The good news is that if you’re using a VoIP phone system at your business, communication has never been easier. Many of our customers want to know how they can take advantage of the forward thinking, flexible nature of a VoIP phone system, and often ask us if they can use their business laptop for calling with a VoIP phone system. It’s a great question, and one that’s important to understand so you can always be ‘just a phone call away’ for your clients.
Can I use my business laptop computer for calling with a VoIP phone system?
The short answer is: Yes!
Yes, you absolutely can use your laptop, desktop, windows tablet, Mac, etc., to both place and receive phone calls if you’re using a VoIP phone system at your business.
It’s actually pretty simple. You can download a software called a softphone which will provide you with an interface that mimics a traditional desktop phone. Most computers can easily handle the software, so you don’t need to be using a cutting edge high powered laptop.
However, depending on the phone system you’re using, there may or may not be both Windows and Mac based software, so if you’re a office using all Mac products, you might want to look into this ahead of time. Generally software will always be available for Windows computers, but again, depending on the VoIP system, there may or may not be Mac based software.
The other thing to consider is that softphones may be an additional charge above and beyond your VoIP setup. Some systems may charge you a monthly fee for an extension on your computer, while some system’s it’s built into the cost of the system. Again, always ask up front if you think softphones are going to be important for your business.
We cover a lot of ground about softphones in another article entitled What is a softphone? which is a great read for anyone who’s new to the subject.
Best practices for using a laptop for calling on a VoIP phone system.
Just because you can use your computer for VoIP phone calling doesn’t always mean you should.
For example, we always recommend using a good quality headset to ensure you get the best possible sound. If you’re planning on just using the laptop's built in microphone and speakers you might not have the best experience, either on your end or on the caller’s end.
The other issue we see customers running into is using a bad internet connection and experience issues with call quality. Simply put, call quality is directly related to the quality of your network and internet connection. So if you’re at home by yourself using a decent internet connection, you should be fine. If you’re sitting somewhere like a coffee shop, your internet connection may be limited, which in turn would cause poor audio quality. Or, if you’re working remotely and your computer is tethered to a cell phone, it could impact call quality. If you have 4G LTE with full service, you should be ok, but there’s no guarantees. If you have 3G or 1X it might not cut it.
When it doubt, test it out. Try calling your office, home, cell, etc., and make sure your calls sound good before placing that important call. We all know how important it is to have a crystal clear phone call when talking to customers.
To learn more about using laptops and other types of technology to keep in touch with your customers, contact us online, shoot our vice-president an e-mail directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give him a call on his direct line at 908-378-1218.
By Bill Braunschweiger
VoIP Engineer, Tele-Data Solutions
When I’m not helping my TDS customers keep their systems up and running at 110 percent, I like to stay active. I really enjoy playing hockey and experiencing the great outdoors while mountain biking. I have a wonderful family, I’ve been married for two years, I have a great six-year-old son named Nathan, and I have a wheaten terrier.