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WiFi Calling Explained: Benefits, Drawbacks, and Key Features

Rodney Garner - Top 10 writer
A business man making a WiFi Call.
We've all been in that frustrating situation where an important business call drops due to poor reception. Since I switched to WiFi calling, every conversation with my clients has been smooth and reliable.

VoIP providers and services are revolutionizing communication for businesses and individuals, even allowing users to make calls using WiFi. Notably, the global voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) market is set to reach a staggering $20.3 billion by 2030.

WiFi calling lets you connect with clients over the internet, offering a powerful alternative when your cellular signal is weak.

Let me guide you through how VoWiFi works, its advantages and disadvantages, and tips on reducing costs.

» Learn how to transform your business with a VoIP phone service.

What Is WiFi Calling?

WiFi calling technology enables making and receiving calls and sending texts via a WiFi network instead of using traditional cellular networks.

This service doesn't require additional hardware; you need a smartphone that supports WiFi calling and access to a WiFi network. It also often improves call quality and reduces costs, particularly for international calls or areas with limited cell coverage.

How Does WiFi Calling Work?

Making a WiFi call is just like a regular call. You dial a number as usual and can use typical features like three-way calling and speakerphone. When WiFi calling is on, your phone automatically picks the strongest network.

What's the Difference Between VoIP and WiFi Calling?

VoIP lets you make calls over any internet connection, whether WiFi or mobile data. To use VoIP, you typically need to subscribe to a specific app or service, like Vonage or Zoom.

On the other hand, WiFi calling is a specific type of VoIP. It's built into modern smartphones and allows you to call over a WiFi network. Unlike general VoIP services, this feature uses your phone's regular dialer and contacts list without needing a separate app.

» Elevate your business with VoIP apps for Android and iOS.

Key Features of WiFi Calling

WiFi calling can transform your business communication in several ways:

  • Improved connectivity: Ensures reliable calls even in areas with weak cell reception.
  • Seamless roaming: Allows effortless switching between WiFi and cellular networks during calls.
  • International calling: Provides affordable options for making international calls over WiFi.
  • Enhanced voice quality: Often delivers clearer and higher-quality audio than traditional phone calls.
  • No extra apps: WiFi calling features are built into most smartphones.
  • Accessibility: Available on various carriers and networks, making it widely accessible.
  • Text messaging support: Enables text messaging for comprehensive communication.
  • User-friendly setup: Easy to activate and configure on most devices.

Advantages of WiFi Calling

Expanded Coverage

WiFi calling provides a dependable option when cell reception is weak or nonexistent. This is especially useful in remote areas, thick-walled buildings, or underground locations where cellular signals cannot reach.

With WiFi calling, you can make and receive calls and send texts, ensuring you're always connected. You also don't need any additional hardware, only your smartphone.

Enhanced Call Quality

WiFi calling delivers high-definition voice quality, often surpassing traditional cellular connections. This results in fewer dropped calls and clearer conversations. Services like Grasshopper leverage this technology to provide businesses with improved call quality.

Reduced Call Costs

Cellular networks often charge hefty roaming and long-distance fees, especially for international calls or those made outside your network area. With WiFi calling, you can significantly cut or even eliminate these expenses.

When traveling abroad, you can connect to a local WiFi network to phone clients, friends, or family members without extra charge. This method is similar to services like Skype and WhatsApp, which provide free or low-cost internet-based calls.

Video Calling

Video calling over WiFi offers an excellent way to maintain connections with clients. To ensure that you have a smooth video-calling experience, consider these tips:

  • Check your internet speed: Conduct a speed test before starting a video call to inspect your current upload and download speeds in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Use a reliable video calling platform: Call quality often hinges on the connection between your computer and the platform you’re using. Some popular video calling services include Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet.
  • Avoid peak internet times: Schedule calls during off-peak hours (mid-morning and early afternoon) to avoid network congestion and ensure smoother video quality.

Multidevice Capability

Your smartphone can act as a WiFi hotspot, sharing its internet connection with other devices like laptops and tablets. This is handy when there's no WiFi network around. Most modern smartphones come with this feature. Just turn it on in the settings.

You can also use a portable WiFi device. These are small, easy to carry, and use cellular data to create a WiFi network for your other devices to connect to.

Call Handoff

Call handoff prevents call drops when switching between cellular and WiFi networks. Picture being on a WiFi call at home and needing to step outside. With this feature, your call seamlessly transitions to your cellular network without disruption.

It proves useful when moving between areas with varying network strengths, maintaining smooth conversations without redirecting or reconnecting.

Data and Battery Savings

WiFi calling helps you save data and battery life. Your phone doesn't have to work hard searching for a cellular signal, a process that typically drains battery power. This leads to longer intervals between charges. By using WiFi over cellular data, you also conserve data for other purposes and avoid exceeding your monthly limit.

Disadvantages of WiFi Calling

Network Congestion

Limited bandwidth often causes network congestion, which can impact WiFi calling quality. Scheduling calls during off-peak hours, when traffic is lower, can be a solution.

Another option is to upgrade your internet plan for higher bandwidth. ISPs like Comcast or Verizon offer various service tiers, potentially increasing bandwidth, reducing congestion, and enhancing call quality.

Carrier Restrictions

Carriers have different policies on WiFi calling, so check with yours before setting it up on your device. While services like Dialpad provide WiFi calling as a free feature, others may charge extra, either as part of a specific plan or as an optional add-on.

Security Concerns

Stay alert to potential security risks like data interception. To safeguard your conversations, use networks with encryption protocols like WPA3 and avoid using unsecured WiFi networks. Additionally, consider implementing VoIP security measures to boost your privacy and safety while making WiFi calls.

VoIP Latency

VoIP latency involves a delay in transmitting audio data during communication. To reduce VoIP latency and improve your call quality, take these steps:

  • Ensure your internet connection is stable
  • Limit the number of devices on your network to lessen congestion
  • Prioritize your WiFi calling device or configure QoS (Quality of Service) settings on your router
  • Use a wired Ethernet connection for enhanced stability
  • Contact your service provider for help with any underlying connection issues affecting WiFi calling latency

Incompatibility With Older Devices

Older devices may not support the latest WiFi standards, such as WPA3, which could hinder effective WiFi calling. Consider upgrading to a newer device that supports the latest security protocols, and contact your carrier before setting up WiFi calling.

WiFi Calling: Experience Seamless Communication

WiFi calling is a reliable tool that can keep you connected even in places where cell signals may be limited. It's essential for business and personal use. It's also particularly beneficial for remote workers who use VoIP phone systems to maintain seamless communication.

» Boost your operations with these 10 VoIP features for small businesses.

Rodney Garner - Top 10 writer
Rodney Garner, a Top10.com writer, brings over a decade of expertise in Technical and Software Support. He's skilled in VoIP, Systems Administration, IT, and Educational Technology. Beyond tech, Rodney serves as an educator and mentor.