What is a Softphone, and How Does It Work?

What is a Softphone? A Complete Guide for Beginners in 2024

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In the modern business landscape, consistent connectivity and accessibility are both conveniences and necessities. The traditional phone system, with its fixed locations, fails to meet these dynamic requirements of modern enterprises. Softphone breaks these constraints of the conventional telephony system, offering more flexible business communication solutions.

Softphones leverage the power of the internet to enable communication beyond the physical boundaries of office spaces.

What is a Softphone?

A softphone is a software application that allows users to make phone calls over the Internet. It functions like a regular phone - you can call and send and receive SMS. Moreover, a softphone app has added communication features such as conference calling, auto attendant and web dialer. You can stay connected from anywhere and manage your calls from smartphones, laptops and tablets - you only need a reliable internet connection.

Softphones Vs. Hard Phones

Softphones are software-based solutions that run on computers or mobile devices, while hard phones are physical devices dedicated to making and receiving calls. Handphones often lack the advanced features and mobility softphones provide.




Hard Phone


Software applicationPhysical device


Use anywhere with an internet connectionFixed to one location


Integrates with CRM and other apps    Limited integration


Lower initial cost, pay for softwareHigher initial cost for hardware
FlexibilityHighly flexible, updates via softwareLess flexible, updates less frequent
FunctionalityAdvanced features like auto attendant and conference callingBasic call functions

How Does a Softphone Work?

A softphone converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and transmits them over the internet or other IP networks. It utilizes VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to make and receive calls on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The setup enables seamless communication from virtually any location.

Step one: Install the softphone software on your device (computer, smartphone, or tablet).


Step two: Connect your device to the internet to ensure a stable connection.


Step three: Use a microphone, and speakers (or a headset) for audio input and output.


Step four: Open the softphone application, log in if necessary, and dial a number or select a contact to make a call.


Step five: The softphone converts your voice into digital data packets.


Step six: These data packets are transmitted over the internet using VoIP technology.


Step seven: The recipient’s device receives the data packets, converting them back into audio signals, thus completing the communication process.

Benefits of a Softphones

A softphone offers a modern approach to communication, blending flexibility with advanced functionality. It allows users to manage calls and other communications from any location, enhancing productivity and connectivity.

1. Enhanced Mobility

Softphones enable users to make and receive calls from anywhere, not just from their office desk. It is crucial for businesses with remote teams or those who travel frequently. These applications ensure that employees remain connected and respond promptly to clients and colleagues, regardless of physical location.

2. Cost Efficiency

Softphones utilize internet connectivity for calls and significantly reduce the costs associated with traditional phone lines and international calling. Businesses can save on hardware expenses, as no physical phone sets are required, and on operational costs, making communications more budget-friendly.

3. Scalability

Softphones are highly scalable, easily accommodating business growth. Adding new users or expanding features doesn’t require hardware changes but can be managed with a few clicks. It supports businesses as they evolve, ensuring their communication systems can grow with them.

4. Improved Productivity

Softphones streamline communication processes with features like voicemail to email, call forwarding and conference calls. Employees can manage calls more efficiently, access messages on the go, and collaborate easily. It leads to increased productivity and better time management.

5. Integration Capabilities

Softphones can be integrated with other business tools, such as CRM systems, email, and messaging platforms. It enhances workflow, allows for better customer relationship management, and provides a unified communication experience, reducing the need to switch between multiple applications.

Essential Features of a Softphone for Business

Softphone technology equips businesses with the tools needed for effective and efficient communication. The right features can transform how a company interacts internally and with its customers.

VoIP Calls

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the foundation of any softphone, enabling calls over the Internet. It drastically reduces telecommunication costs and enhances call clarity, making it essential for businesses to streamline communication strategies.

Multi-Device Support

Softphones offer seamless multi-device support, allowing users to switch between desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets without interrupting their workflow. It ensures that employees remain connected at the office, at home, or on the move.


An auto-attendant acts like a virtual receptionist. It greets callers and provides them with options to direct calls to the appropriate department automatically. It improves call handling efficiency and enhances the caller’s experience.

Call Forwarding

Call forwarding ensures no call goes unanswered, redirecting to another number if the primary user is unavailable. It is crucial for maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction.

Call Recording

Call recording is invaluable for quality assurance and compliance. It allows businesses to review calls for training purposes, resolve disputes, and ensure that customer interactions meet company standards.

Presence Information

Knowing colleagues’ availability in real-time helps make informed decisions about when to contact them. Presence information can show who is online, busy, or away, enhancing internal communication efficiency.

Integration with CRM

Integrating softphones with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can significantly improve customer interactions. It provides quick access to customer data during calls, enabling personalized communication and more effective service.

Contact Management

A robust contact management system within a softphone allows easy access to and management of all business contacts. It includes options to add, edit, and organize contacts efficiently.

Customizable User Interface

A customizable user interface ensures that the softphone can be tailored to fit users’ specific needs and preferences. It improves user experience and can increase adoption rates within the company.

Conference Calling

Conference calling enables multiple parties to join a single call. It facilitates group discussions and meetings, enhancing decision-making within your dispersed team.

Switching to Calilio for Softphone Solution

Softphones transcend traditional communication barriers, offering unparalleled flexibility and efficiency. It facilitates seamless voice and video calls across multiple devices, ensuring constant connectivity. Calilio provides a sophisticated softphone solution that integrates advanced features for modern businesses. Our business phone system enhances operational agility and elevates customer engagement, positioning your business for success in a competitive landscape. Sign up to Calilio and embrace the future of business communication.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the difference between a softphone and a smartphone?

A smartphone is a physical device with multiple functions, while a softphone is software that enables calling over the internet on devices, including smartphones.

What is the difference between a softphone and a deskphone?

A softphone operates as software on a digital device for calls over the internet, whereas a deskphone is a physical handset connected to a telephone network.

Is a softphone the same as VoIP?

A softphone is an application that uses VoIP technology to make calls over the internet, so it’s a component of VoIP services, not the same.

Who uses softphones?

Businesses, remote workers, and individuals seeking flexible, cost-effective communication solutions often use softphones.

What is needed for a softphone?

To use a softphone, you need compatible software, a computing device (smartphone, tablet, or computer), and a reliable internet connection.

Which softphone is best?

Calilio offers one of the best softphone solutions with its comprehensive VoIP phone services, providing advanced features tailored for business communication.

What is a softphone setup?

A softphone setup involves installing software on a computing device, like a smartphone, tablet, or computer, enabling voice and video calls over the internet without traditional telephony hardware.

How do you set up a softphone?

Setting up a softphone on Calilio involves signing up, choosing a VoIP plan, porting/purchasing a number, and customizing settings for your communication needs.

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