Help selecting VOIP for work-at-home job
September 4, 2020 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm needling in a haystack for my new position which requires VOIP. There is so much of everything.

The last job was given away (due to I didn't get the 18th, 19th, and 20th pieces of documentation in on time). The HR person offered me another job but I declined as I didn't want to work 40 hours. Anyway I was offered a third job and this one requires VOIP (nothing said about it being attached to my ISP as before) and not POTS.

Can you please make suggestions? I will not be doing a contract until I decide I am suited to this job helping people with simple tax questions. The first company was $40 a month no contract so I have an idea of the cost, anyway.

I am overwhelmed at the number of choices.
posted by intrepid_simpleton to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I’m not sure what VOIS is, and Google doesn’t suggest anything, but from context I think you mean VOIP (voice over IP). Is that interpretation correct?
posted by Alterscape at 2:38 PM on September 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what you mean by VOIS (VOIP?), but it's also unclear from your question what the issue is with you getting it. If your employer requires it as a condition of employment, they should pay for it, correct? Is that a conversation you've had with them? Or is it a technical restriction - are you not in a location where getting this is feasible? Or are you asking for recommendations for a reliable provider?

A little more clarification on what your actual issue here is would be helpful.
posted by pdb at 3:23 PM on September 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My bad, VOIP.

It's a work at home job and they expect us to provide the computer, internet, and VOIP. They provide software and training. I'm asking for suggestions because there are 9 million VOIP providers and I don't know who is best.
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 3:27 PM on September 4, 2020

Response by poster: So, yes, recommendations for a reliable provider.

oh my brain so gone.
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 3:31 PM on September 4, 2020

Mod note: fixed to say VOIP!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:58 PM on September 4, 2020

The two biggest players in the residential space are Ooma and Vonage. Looks like Vonage is a little pricier, but they've also been around forever. Both seem pretty well regarded, so I'd just pick the one you're most comfortable with and call it a day.
posted by General Malaise at 3:58 PM on September 4, 2020

We've used Ooma for at least five years and had zero problems. Although it's VOIP to the Ooma box, to the user it's just a phone (plugged into the Ooma box).
posted by anadem at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2020

I think VoIP probably is a clunky way of saying you need a USB headset of something similar, and they won't pay for it. Really AirPods or something similar should probably suffice but if I could read in between the lines you'll probably be on the phone all day.

If you have Internet, really what you're buying is a phone number. Skype has a "Skype Number" that will serve you fine. If you install the app on your phone you'll have it on your phone as well, I actually prefer to use my phone for phone calls so that I don't run into issues with multiple apps on my computer competing for control of my audio. It is $6.50/mo. and should accomplish all you need.

VoIP is a rather dated term and most marketing is now around getting a phone number. I'm surprised the company doesn't recommend a paticular service or just pay for the cost. It is so cheap I would think they'd be able to get a bulk discount and then not have to deal with people asking what you're asking. In any case, Skype is backed by Microsoft so the business and enterprise community likes it.
posted by geoff. at 11:06 PM on September 4, 2020

We've used Ooma for at least five years and had zero problems. Although it's VOIP to the Ooma box, to the user it's just a phone (plugged into the Ooma box).

To be clear, and I'm assuming this is implicit in what you're saying, the op does not need to use an actual telephone or Ooma box. They need to make phone calls from a phone number that is not their personal phone number. If they want to keep an existing telephone system, the box will work, but is certainly not needed.
posted by geoff. at 11:10 PM on September 4, 2020

I am pretty sure Google Voice is considered VOIP and is free. Can use it on the computer with a headset.
posted by AugustWest at 12:39 AM on September 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Whatever provider you use, if you're going to be on the phone constantly (customer service, or, well, any of us these days) I highly recommend a good headset. My employer issued all of us Sony WH-1000M3s bluetooth headsets several years ago when people complained about noise in the open office. Now that everyone's working from home, I wear the thing 9+ hours a day. Pricy, but great noise canceling and good call quality. Even if that's out of your range, something will help. I use the earbuds that came with my cellphone for almost all personal calls for the same reason -- holding up a phone handset for any length of time (especially curent-gen skinny phones -- it was easier with wall-phones that were designed to be held against your head by your shoulder) is a PITA.

I'm sort of surprised that these companies won't have you talking via some software they provide. Can you clarify if you need a phone number, or just a headset that you can use with their software?
posted by Alterscape at 7:16 AM on September 5, 2020

Ooma works very well and does not have a fee for basic service. The call blocking and robocall blocking features are worth the additional fee, however.
posted by metasunday at 6:27 AM on September 6, 2020

I am pretty sure Google Voice is considered VOIP and is free. Can use it on the computer with a headset.

In the social sciences, VOIP also includes Google Voice, Zoom, Discord, Meet, Teams, etc. Is it that you need a phone number for people to call, or just a way to be available for talking to people in general? Google Voice is awesome, and you can also text with it, and you don't have to use your own phone number. You can receive and make calls on your phone with the app, but I have no idea if that includes international calling. Depending on what your employer offers (MS Office Suite, G (Google) Suite, etc.) you might already have what you need.

Can't recommend enough those fancy Sony or Bose headphones Alterscape talked about, though. You barely know they are on your head. They make the world wonderful. And they WORK.
posted by Snowishberlin at 4:57 PM on September 6, 2020

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