In one sense, the difference is straightforward. A fixed VoIP phone number is associated directly with a physical address. A non-fixed VoIP phone number is not. However, there are many other details to consider with each option having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look.
Fixed VoIP vs. Non-Fixed VoIP
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What is a fixed VoIP number?
A fixed VoIP number is physically linked to an address such as a home or office building. This makes them more reputable and recognizable and much less likely to be used by fraudsters or scammers. Having this physical number in place effectively gives the caller a sense of reliability because of its enhanced security.
Fixed services are more likely to be associated with a VoIP service provider through a session initiation protocol (SIP). These will probably be a paid service rather than free.
What is a non-fixed VoIP number?
With non-fixed VoIP, there is no physical address or provider. These are generally free of charge, although some, such as Skype and WhatsApp, come with a premium option that will cost you. Getting set up is quick—only an email address and payment information (if needed) is required.
Advantages of fixed VoIP
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of each option. Fixed VoIP comes with a number of advantages including:
- Increased security. Because VoIP systems work over the internet, data can be at risk. Having a fixed VoIP from a trusted provider comes with a higher level of security. Fixed VoIP providers often have broadband networks that connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This means they own the network carrier over which your calls will be sent. They can then protect your calls with the highest possible level of security and prevent calls or networks from being breached.
- Improved reputation. Because non-fixed VoIP has often been associated with fraud, your customers will be naturally wary of them. As a small business, you want customers to pick up your calls. They will be much more likely to do that if the displayed number appears to come from a reputable source.
- Enhanced emergency access. A third advantage is that when you dial an emergency number, calls are automatically redirected to your nearest local emergency services number. Emergency services will be able to track your location, which means such services will arrive more quickly. It’s a safer environment for you and your employees to work in.
Disadvantages of fixed VoIP
However, in an increasingly international working environment, having a fixed VoIP number has some drawbacks.
- Includes fees. A fixed VoIP provider will normally come with set up charges. It may offer a wider range of features, but this will involve a certain monthly cost. With more flexible free options available, it’s easy to see why non-fixed options might turn a few heads.
- Expensive international calls. Business is going global. If you’re collaborating with teams from multiple countries, fixed VoIP is somewhat costly and inflexible. International calls can be expensive which makes it difficult to collaborate. Your fixed VoIP number is specific to your country, and international calls incur a heavy charge.
Advantages of non-fixed VoIP
Of course, there are benefits and disadvantages to using a non-fixed VoIP. Let’s take a look at the pros, including the following:
- Talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. Global communication becomes quick, easy, and free of charge. You can speak to someone on the other side of the world for the same cost as someone down the road. So, if you have two or three branches in different countries, communicating between team members is much less expensive if you choose the non-fixed VoIP route.
- Local area code assigned. With the non-fixed option, a location’s specific area code is assigned to your number. So even when someone calls your virtual number, it’s identified as a local call but is forwarded to your non-fixed VoIP number.
Disadvantages of non-fixed VoIP
There is one primary disadvantage of using a non-fixed VoIP: it can be a security risk.
- Security risk. The mobility of a non-fixed VoIP provider is also its biggest drawback. Because calls are transferred over the internet, numbers can be accessed by hackers. For example, if you’ve ever had a call from an unidentified number telling you there’s a problem with your computer and asking for login details to fix it, the chances are it came from a non-fixed VoIP provider. Because these numbers aren’t fixed to a single location, they are much more difficult to trace, making it very difficult to expose criminals.
Non-fixed vs. fixed VoIP: Which is best?
We’ve just explored the advantages and disadvantages of both VoIP options. The natural question to come next is: Which option is best for your small business? The decision will ultimately depend on your situation.
Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. A fixed number is more reputable and secure, but non-fixed numbers are cheaper for international purposes. For example, if you only do business in your home country, a fixed option might seem to be the best. On the other hand, if you’re working overseas, you might lean more towards non-fixed VoIP for the low cost and flexibility.
Alternatively, you might use a blend of services using a fixed VoIP at home, but communicating internationally with customers, partners, or other branches using a non-fixed network. In each case, it’s worth understanding the pros and cons so you can maximise the advantages and minimize the risks.
RingCentral is our top VoIP choice for small businesses because of its unlimited domestic business phone and messaging, starting at just $19.99/mo.
- Adaptable to your business needs from equipment rentals to toll-free numbers
- Global infrastructure with an easy setup
- Easy to scale and find a plan that works for you—regardless of your business’s size
Fixed VoIP vs. non-fixed VoIP FAQ
What is VoIP?
As the name suggests, VoIP works by placing calls over the internet. Voice calls are converted into data packets and sent over an internet protocol (IP) network. It does away completely with the need for a phone line. All you need is an internet connection.
What are the main advantages of a fixed VoIP vs. a non-fixed VoIP?
A fixed VoIP number is physically linked to an address, such as a home or office building, which makes it more reputable and recognizable and much less likely to be used by scammers.
A non-fixed VoIP is not linked to a physical address, but international calls are cheaper and more affordable.
What is the main disadvantage of non-fixed VoIP?
The main disadvantage of a non-fixed VoIP provider is because calls are transferred over the internet, numbers can be accessed by hackers and are difficult to trace.
If my business has to make international calls, what would be the best option for me?
If you’re doing business or working overseas and need to make numerous international calls, non-fixed VoIP is easy to use and saves costs. For example, if you have two or three branches in different countries, communicating between them is much less expensive if you choose the non-fixed VoIP option.
VoIP is the future of business communication. While there are differences between fixed and non-fixed VOIP, both have compelling advantages. By implementing a VoIP system, your business will save communication costs on domestic and international calls, as well as on hardware (there’s nothing extra to purchase). VoIP also promises a clearer connection and is easily scalable.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.