While shopping for a VoIP provider, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you need, and will pursue that end to ensure it’s received. One of the important items many users grow to love and depend on (including myself), is the full use of a softphone. At times, it’s much easier to throw on a Bluetooth and not even bother looking at your desktop phone. Others, it’s great for having that “in office” appearance no matter where you may be. Provisioning a third party softphone isn’t always a straightforward process either, and troubleshooting will undoubtedly be much smoother when you’re dealing with software developed/supported by your provider. With that considered, here are some of the first-party softphones major business VoIP providers offer, along with their various features and pricing:

Provider/Feature 8x8 Fonality OnSIP RingCentral
Name of Softphone Virtual Office Softphone PBXtra Jitsi for
Call Controller
Price Included at no charge in both the Online (Free) and Pro (49.99/ext) versions of Virtual Office (not available with 8×8 Key System, Basic, or Shared-Line extension Plans) $49.99/license
$995 for PBXtra Standard Edition server
unlimited licenses
FREE Price/User/Mo

1 = $39.99
2-19 =$29.99
20-99 =$21.99
100+ =$19.99

Outlook Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Application Web-Based or Download? Web-Based Download Download Download
Mac or PC? Both Both Both
(Up to OSX10.5)
IM/Chat Yes HUD-Enabled Yes Yes
Video Chat Yes HUD-Enabled Yes No
Click2Call Yes No Yes(w/plugin) Yes
Audio Codecs Supported On Flex: Speex (NB, WB), PCM; G.711 G.729, G711 G.711, G.722, G.729 G.711, G.722, G.729
Video Codecs Supported H.263 and H. 264 N/A H.263 and H.264 N/A

Notable Aspects of the Phones:

This chart covers the important points of each softphone. Not included in the graph, is the option to send out faxes, which differs for each provider (where it’s available). RingCentral for instance, allows you to send a fax directly from the Call Controller Application, while 8×8, Inc. also allows for fax sending, but within the Virtual Office Portal that the softphone is attached to. You can see how there’s some gray area here, so we’re going to save finer details with dedicated focus for a later date. Overall, these are four really competent softphones from great VoIP providers. They are easily paired with your system, and best of all, support the SIP Protocol. Again, we’ll be doing follow-ups on many of these featured providers, so be sure to check out future articles that will focus more stringently on each.

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