What is a Softphone? Definition, 12 Best Features, Benefits & More

Anyone who has spent time looking into a business phone service has probably heard of a softphone. So, chances are you’ve already asked yourself, what is a softphone? How does it different from regular IP phones? And do you really need one? Keep reading for the answers to all of those questions, and more.

What is a Softphone? Definition, 12 Best Features, Benefits & More

What is a Softphone?

So, you’ve stumbled across the term softphone during your VoIP research but aren’t entirely sure what it means. It’s pretty simple! A softphone is a software program that’s installed on a computer or internet-connected device and uses the internet to make calls.

Typically, the softphone software is provided by your VoIP provider and is a user-friendly interface that functions much the same way a regular phone would. This interface allows users access to dialing and all the features that come with their VoIP solution.

In general, a softphone can access and enhance all of your VoIP features, something that traditional phones (even with adapters) can’t do. That’s why many providers have built their own softphone interface to go along with their VoIP service options.

Now that you know what a softphone is, we’ll take a high level look at how one works. You’ll be surprised by how simple it is.

How Does a Softphone Work?

Understanding the ins-and-outs of a softphone is surprisingly simple. For most providers, setting up your phone is as easy as following the program’s built-in setup process, which often has you up and running in a matter of minutes.

But first, it’s important to know what the basic requirements of a Softphone are.

Basic Requirements

In order to use a softphone you need two pieces of equipment:

  • A desktop computer
  • A headset (or access to a microphone and speaker combination on your device)

A headset is recommended to ensure you get the best possible sound. While you might have great speakers and a device that picks up your voice well, there’s more opportunities for ambient noise to disrupt the sound quality without a proper headset.

We also mention having a desktop computer, but there are plenty of other devices that can access a softphone if you’re not primarily working off of a desktop.

You can use any type of computer (laptop or desktop), a smartphone, or even a tablet. As long as you can connect to the internet all of these options are available to you. Now that you have the hardware you need it’s time to download the program.

Softphone Software

With your devices on hand, you’re ready to get started. Next up you’ll install your VoIP provider’s software program onto your desktop or device. Nextiva, for instance, has the Nextiva App that is downloaded directly to your desktop computer or mobile device.

After following the set-up process and implementing your phone settings, the app is ready to go in a matter of minutes.

All you need to make your first phone call is an internet connection.

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