VoIP phones have changed the communications landscape for the better. It’s now easier for businesses, working people, and individuals at home to get communication services they need at a far more affordable rate. One of the features that’s growing to compete with and overtake traditional phone service is the multi-line VoIP system.
What Is Multi-Line VoIP?
VoIP multi-line phones are regular VoIP phones with the extra capability to use more than one line at a time. Each phone can have multiple lines associated with it, depending on your specific needs. Instead of needing a separate phone for each line, you can use your VoIP phone or VoIP software application to do it all.
This system replaces traditional multi-line phones while also adding more capabilities on top. The phones themselves are similar to regular VoIP phones, but they have the ability to be activated for multi-line service. Not all VoIP phones have this capability.
When Do You Need a Multi-Line VoIP?
Multi-line VoIP systems are useful if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, if you work from home, or if you have a team of remote workers. These lines also help you scale up and down more rapidly if you’re adding, reducing, or rotating staff regularly.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to have very few employees, if any. Instead of having a single line and a single phone, you can have multiple phones connected to the same line or multiple phones with 1 shared line and 1 specific line. This allows an employee to share the main phone number in case of call overflow (multiple calls able to be answered at once) and to use internal phones as an intercom system without needing separate or specialized equipment.
People working from home and businesses with remote teams can also benefit from multi-line VoIP phones because it allows for separation of work and personal calls. Work calls can also be further separated by co-worker internal calls or external client calls.
If your staff numbers are changing often, or if you anticipate a change in the near future, multi-line is useful to allow more flexibility without much infrastructure change. You can easily share 4 or 5 lines between an office of 10 – 15 people. If more are necessary, just add a line to the plan. If you reduce your staff and want to reduce your budget, take away a line.
The last scenario where multi-line VoIP providers can help you out is when you need an international calling plan. You can have your normal business line and international business line together in the same phone. The international line will have a plan that’s cheaper for international calls while the other line can have simple long-distance and local calling enabled.
How to Implement Multi-Line VoIP
Implementation of multi-line VoIP is simple. In some cases, there’s little you’ll actually need to do. Here’s the basic process:
- Get the Right Equipment
You need to ensure you have a VoIP phone that’s able to use multiple lines. Buy one straight from your VoIP provider or look to a third-party source. Wherever you shop for it, make sure it has the technical ability to utilize multiple lines simultaneously. Most VoIP phones have this capability already, and VoIP phone apps or software also have the same capability built in.
- Connect to a Multi-Line Enabled Provider
While multi-line usage isn’t a standard in all VoIP plans, it’s included for many business VoIP plans. You probably won’t find this capability in standard residential phone plans without an extra fee. Whichever provider you’re using or you want to use, just check and make sure they have the ability to enable multi-line VoIP.
- Activate the Service
If the VoIP provider has multi-line capability already, you just need to contact them and have them activate the service. This should happen within 1 day or less, depending on who your VoIP service provider is. Activation shouldn’t disrupt your regular service. You can easily do this also by expanding your existing plan to include multi-line service, such as when you switch from a residential plan to a business plan.
These basic steps won’t change. As long as you have the right equipment, you’re connected to a VoIP provider with multi-line service, and you have that service activated, you can use multi-line VoIP.
Selecting the Right Provider
If you don’t already have a VoIP service provider, or if your provider doesn’t offer multi-line VoIP, you need to make sure you get hooked up to the right VoIP service. Check in with GetVoIP or another similar comparison service to find a provider within your budget with the right features, including multi-line enabled services.