This is a guest article by Sujan Thapaliya who is the CEO and Co-founder of KrispCall.










VoIP phones have changed the communication system of the entire world. Since VoIP phones use an internet connection rather than an old-fashioned copper wire connection, the perspective on telephony has changed. The world of telephony has seen two major types of VoIP phones: VoIP Hardphone and Softphones.

VoIP Hardphone and softphones have received many technological advancements and functionalities over the years. Both are similar in terms of their core concept of providing the telephony needs. But still, they are vastly different than each other in terms of their usage and looks. In this article, we will help you understand the similarities and differences between them. First, let us learn about VoIP Hardphones and softphones.

What is a VoIP Hardphone?

VoIP Hardphone looks exactly like the traditional landline phone that we have been using for years. It is normally plugged in at a work desk, but it is connected to your IP network instead of having a copper wire connection. In other words, it needs an internet connection to make phone calls.

Generally, VoIP Hardphones are used for handling phone calls. However, some hardphones have built-in screens for video calling. They have handheld receivers and a base with buttons to dial numbers.

Since VoIP offers advanced features like auto-attendant, call forwarding, call recording, etc., there are specialized settings or some dedicated buttons to trigger advanced functionalities. It is extremely easy to learn how to use a VoIP Hardphone since it functions similarly to a normal landline phone.

What is a Softphone?

A softphone is a software-based phone that can be installed on any compatible device. You don’t need dedicated telephone hardware like landline phones to set up a connection. A smartphone, desktop, tablet, or laptop with the telephony software installed and an active internet connection is what you need to make and receive VoIP phone calls.

A softphone is the right option for the office to multiply workstations quickly and cheaply. In scenarios like remote working and office branches, softphones connect all the users in one system regardless of the location.

Skype and Whatsapp is perhaps the most familiar softphone across the globe. Virtual cloud phone systems like KrispCall offer softphones more sophisticated than Skype and Whatsapp. Right after installing these apps, you can easily make and receive voice calls, text messages, and video calls. Since more and more businesses are shifting to use this technology, softphones are evolved to offer advanced functionalities like:

• Intelligent call routing,
• Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
• Interactive Voice Responses (IVR)
• Customized greeting messages
• Advanced call analytics
• CRM tools integration and many more.

Similarities: VoIP Hardphone and VoIP Softphone

As much as Hardphone and softphone sound different from each other, some common factors make them look similar in some way. Here are some of the notable similarities between VoIP Hardphones and softphones

1. Internet Connection
Both hardphones and softphones use VoIP technology for handling communications. We know that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) requires an established internet connection instead of a regular phone line to make voice over. Generally, the devices are connected to the internet using an ethernet or wifi signal. They need at least 100 kbps broadband speed for uninterrupted phone calls.

2. Advanced features
Hardphones and softphones are much more than any traditional phone. They are integrated with sophisticated features that allow users to handle business communications efficiently. Some of their common features are call forwarding, call recording, call queuing, call transfer, call monitoring, call hold, voicemail, caller ID, auto-attendant, and IVR.

3. Scalable
One of the best things about hardphones and softphones is that adding and removing users is possible. In some scenarios, like in an office where they have to make room for new employees, it is easy to add a new phone line to the network. Especially on a softphone app, you can easily add a new user in a few clicks. Or connect a new hardphone device in the IP network to get a new connection.

4. Hardware requirement
Hardphones and softphones both need physical devices to make phone calls. As the name implies, hardphone comes in different shapes and sizes. Corded IP Hardphones, Corded IP Hardphones, and Conference IP Hardphones are the common types of hardphones available in the market. In the case of softphones, you will require a compatible device to install the software. Smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops are common devices to run softphone apps.

Differences: VoIP Hardphone vs VoIP Softphone

As much as we admire the similarities between hardphones and softphones, they are very different than each other. Both of them have distinguishable directions and capabilities that are beneficial in different areas of business according to telephony requirements and priorities. Here are some of the notable differences between VoIP Hardphones and VoIP softphones

1. VoIP call quality
Although both hardphones and softphones use VoIP technology, the quality of the call differs depending upon the strength of the internet connection. Hardphones have a dedicated physical phone to handle phone calls that mean the internet connection on the device is only used for calling. It makes call quality consistent.

The softphone app is installed on devices like laptops, smartphones, or desktops. These devices have multiple software installed in them so the softphone app has to share resources with other software. This affects the call quality because the app does not get a consistent stream of internet bandwidth, unlike hardphones.

2. Interface
Hardphones and softphones are entirely different in terms of interface. Since hardphones look exactly like the traditional landline phone, their interface consists of a physical dial-pad and functional buttons. Some of the modern versions of the hardphone have a touchscreen to maneuver telephony services.

But things are completely different for softphones. All the calling features and services are included in telephony software. The software has graphical user interface (GUI) elements for navigating all the features. The virtual dial-pad resembles the physical dial pad of a phone. You will need a keyboard or mouse, or touchscreens to use the user interface.

3. Features
Hardphones and softphones have many advanced features in common. Despite the similarity, hardphones have very limited features. If you want to access new features, then you may require to get new hardware. This makes them expensive than usual. On top of that, features-sets are not tailored like in softphones.

If you look at a softphone app, you will find featured bundled in different packages. These features are more customizable and extensible. Although you will have to spend extra money on more features, this cost is way too less than hardphones.

4. Dependability
Since hardphones are powered through an ethernet connection, they are more reliable. Hardphones are mostly on all the time and have very little downtime. This makes them formidable to be used in any situation because of which users can always depend on them.

But softphones have some demerits in this department. The softphone apps may lag or malfunction at times, due to which the system will face downtime. Not only this, laptops or desktops have to reboot at times which is another issue for downtime. Also, smartphones may not find the network range at times, and you might get disconnected from the system.

5. Ease of use
As we have said before, Hardphones resemble the look of traditional landline phones. Most of us are already know how to use traditional phones, so using hardphones will be easy. Not just the looks but hardphones functions similar to standard telephones that mean there will be no difficulty in handling phone calls.

Softphones are entirely different. You need technical knowledge to use the softphone app. Navigating the features and services in the app will take some practice, so you will have to go through a steep learning curve.

6. Mobility
Hardphone is strictly connected to an ethernet cable connection all the time. That is it is almost impossible to take them wherever you go. Usually, hardphones are placed on top of a table, and unless you move the whole device with its cable, they are not moving anywhere.

When it comes to mobility, softphones take the crown. Since softphones apps are installed on a wireless device, you can take them anywhere you go. Devices are laptops, tablets, or smartphones that can fit in your bag or pocket all the time. So, as long as your device is getting an active internet connection, you can enjoy the services of softphone on the go.

7. Installation
Hardphones take a long time to deploy. They require a hardware installation which involves a lot of steps for doing a complete setup. Companies have to go through this process for every new user, which is costly as well as time-consuming.

But softphones are much quicker and easier to deploy than hardphones. All you have to do is download the softphone app and install it on your existing device. After installation, you need to create an account and subscribe to their services. Once you are all done, you can make your calls.

8. Cost
Getting a hardphone is expensive. You need to buy dedicated physical hardware to use the telephony services. Not only this, the telephony services get expensive every time you add a new feature.

On the other hand, softphones are cheap. You don’t need to buy additional hardware to run the softphone app. You can install the app on your existing device to use the telephony services. The subscription package for softphones is very cheaper than hardphones. Most of the telephony features are already included in the package, but it doesn’t cost much if you need additional features.

VoIP Hardphone and Softphone: Which one to choose?

Both VoIP Hardphone and softphone have their benefits on how they are used. It depends on where you want to place them for handling your business communications.

If the company is more inclined to provide operations from inside the office, then Hardphone will be an ideal choice. Hardphones are comfortable and easy to use. They can be placed at those departments that cannot afford any downtime or loss of call quality.

However, if the company wants flexible communication, then softphones are better. Softphones are affordable, mobile, and scalable. Those who don’t want to spend a large sum of money on telephony can use softphones. Also, Softphones are the go-to choice for work-from-home or remote work. This strong flexibility from softphones is the reason that most call centers take cloud telephony services.

On the plus side, you can adopt both hardphone and softphones. Companies can install either of them according to the needs of the different departments. Overall, the choice to choose either hardphone or softphone or both depends upon your business requirements.

Author’s Bio

Sujan Thapaliya is the CEO and Co-founder of KrispCall. He has a wealth of computer, communications, and security experience. As well as years of experience in the industry, Sujan has also conducted investigative research into issues such as privacy and fraud. Through KrispCall, he aspires to make business communication safer, reliable, and more affordable.





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