What is a VoIP Caller and Who is Using this Technology?

Updated Aug 3, 2022.

Have you ever received phone calls from unknown sources but instead of seeing the phone number, you see “VoIP Caller” displayed on your caller ID device? Do you wonder why it is impossible to call back those VoIP calls?

If you are not familiar with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones and how it works, seeing VoIP Caller on your caller ID can be a bit of a worry.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about VoIP callers. 

Let’s get started.

What is a VoIP Caller?

VoIP callers save you from using office phone systems based on running phone wires to make calls. A VoIP caller means someone who places VoIP calls. Unlike traditional phones, the internet-based phone service system does not require you to install expensive hardware or use special phones. 

VoIP calls use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology instead of regular phone lines. You can save costs by utilizing affordable and straightforward VoIP services via an internet connection. 

As your employees' number increases, you can quickly onboard new employees to your business’ VoIP caller. Free VoIP service providers let users send and receive voicemail, videos, and other multimedia files over the internet. Business VoIP service providers offer VoIP phone services that allow you to easily add or subtract members and make calls to any location. 

VoIP caller software is a tool that maintains online and remote interactions without any hassle. Users can change VoIP providers anytime. These VoIP providers offer VoIP services, and their subscription packages depend on the number of users or the size of the establishment.

What is VoIP (Voice of Internet Protocol)

VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol and supports transmitting voice messages, texts, chats, and emails through the internet. 

The VoIP phone system uses internet technology instead of traditional phone lines to transmit calls over the internet. Unlike cell phones and traditional landlines, VoIP does not require radio waves, fiber optic cables, or wires to function.

What we know as VoIP today (a multi-device and multipurpose communication system) was first introduced in 2003. 

VoIP or virtual phone systems can change voice signals to digital data in data packets and send them over the internet using a router. There is a need for phone system software and a very good network connection. Multimedia like chats, texts, emails, videos, and audio is sent through mobile data or Wi-Fi connections.

Internet telephony does not require the use of a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to function. Instead, it turns a standard internet connection into a way of placing free phone calls. You can use VoIP to call cell phones or traditional landlines. 

Another name for VoIP is IP telephony because it uses Internet Protocol (IP) to make calls. VoIP turns audio data into network packets, therefore transferring these network packets through your desired IP network.

You can make calls from computer to computer, computer to phone, and phone-to-phone with VoIP. There are internet access devices such as WebRTC-enabled browser and special VoIP phone that allows you to make VoIP calls. Some VoIP services allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter.

VoIP provides a framework for uniting all modern communications technologies using a single unified communications system.

How VoIP Works
Source: Novocall

Basic Components of a VoIP Phone System

The VoIP phone system comprises several essential parts. They include gateway, IP phone, application server, call agent, gatekeeper, video conference station, multipoint control unit (MCU), and voice-enabled switchboards.

What's a VoIP Phone System
Source: GetVoIP

1. Gateway

The gateway promotes calls made between various networks. Use it to place calls between the IP phone and the office, and to place calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to call home.

2. IP Phone

The IP phone sends and receives voice calls. These phones use a network connection called ‘Ethernet network connection.' The Cisco IP and  7975G are examples of IP phones.

3. Application Server

An application server is the architectural component of a next-generation VoIP network that supports enhanced user features such as voicemail. You can refer to it as a unified communications server. VoIP and IP Centrex applications initially used application servers.

4. Call Agent

A call agent is configured to conclude routed calls. Call agents have replaced parts of the PBX (Private Branch Exchange). Cisco Unified Communication Manager is an example of a call agent.

5. Gatekeeper 

Gatekeepers can be called the traffic police of the WAN (Wireless Area Network). The bandwidth in a WAN network is not always widely available, and a gatekeeper can keep an eye on the amount of bandwidth accessible. 

If the amount of bandwidth cannot sustain another voice call, the gatekeeper can reject all trials of those calls henceforth.

6. Video Conference Station

Are you familiar with video conferencing, webinars, or the general concept of video calls? Then you know what this next component of a VoIP system is. 

Video conference stations are software that allows a calling or called party to view and transmit video as part of their telephone conversation. 

7. Multipoint Control Unit 

Multipoint control units (MCU) are useful for conference calls. On conference calls, people can converse and listen to each other simultaneously. You need processing power to mix these audio streams. 

The multipoint control unit (MCU) is also a source of processing power. MCU contains a DSP (Digital Sound Processor) that functions in the computer's circuitry that can mix audio streams.

8. Voice-enabled Switchboards 

A voice-enabled switch helps differentiate between voice frames from connected IP phones and transfers the frames to advanced precedence and then to other frames. 

Good Business Phone Systems

A good business phone system lets you make audio and video calls, handle multiple calls at once, block numbers, send messages and emails, set business hours, deploy a virtual receptionist, and carry out other functions. 

Hosted VoIP Business Phone System
Source: CallHippo

With a business phone system, you can make and receive calls even when not physically present in the office. A good VoIP phone service allows your business lines to be reachable even when your team is 100% remote and spread across different geographical divides. 

Some of the best phone business systems include:

How Do VoIP Numbers Work? 

You get assigned a VoIP number once you sign up for a VoIP service. There are two types of VoIP numbers: fixed VoIP numbers and non-fixed VoIP numbers

VoIP telephone numbers are identifiers that allow people to make and receive calls using a network connection. They look and work the same way as regular phone numbers and can also be attached to any phone device. VoIP calls are based on IP networks.

You can use VoIP numbers from all devices like laptops, tablets, and VoIP phones and receive notifications on these devices. Devices might be assigned phone numbers relating to their area codes to help keep businesses connected to prospective customers. 

Individuals and businesses use VoIP numbers to make and receive calls on various devices like tablets, phones, and even on analog landlines using an adapter. Create VoIP numbers to keep users anonymous as a form of security.

Getting VoIP numbers is as simple as finding an ITSP or VoIP provider for provision and service numbers. To get a VoIP number, start by inserting your VoIP phone into a Local Portable Network (LAN) port and make sure the device registers itself on the VoIP network.

Convert phone numbers currently assigned to PSTN landlines or other carriers to VoIP through ‘Number porting.' Old phone numbers are portable and you can use them in any location through an internet connection. The numbers can continue to function without updating the company's website, information, or communication to show new numbers.

Another way to get VoIP numbers is to contact a cheap VoIP service provider to get a VoIP number. Various VoIP service providers provide new VoIP phone numbers. Ensure you use a provider that covers region numbers in your surroundings or other countries you do business in.

How to Get VoIP Phone Service
Source: Nextiva Blog

While using the VoIP caller, some features come along with the VoIP numbers:

  • Voice mail
  • Conference calls
  • IVR menu
  • Call recording
  • Video conferencing

Why Would Somebody Use a VoIP Number?

There are several reasons why you should use a VoIP number. They include price, mobility, convenience, transferring and receiving multimedia, and flexibility.

1. Cheap and Affordable

Making use of VoIP helps to cut high costs. This option is very cheap to use compared to other solutions. Since VoIP phone numbers are virtual, you can make and receive calls from any number in the world at the same charge.

2. Mobility

Regardless of your location, you can use VoIP at work and outside. VoIP allows you to add many connections to your network without restriction. You can connect the same VoIP number to numerous devices so that outgoing calls appear as if it is coming from one source.

3. Convenience

You are allowed to set the VoIP anyhow you desire. Calls can also be directed wherever you want. 

You can set your incoming calls to ring on multiple devices to help you get in touch with customers even when you are not in the office. This move reduces customers’ complaints of unresponsive communications. Your team members can pick up calls from any location in the company.

4. Transferring and Receiving Multimedia

You can easily send multimedia like audio files and video streams via VoIP numbers. You need an internet connection to send files to others over the internet. 

5. Flexibility

Using VoIP makes it easier to handle tasks. You can add new users, leading to business growth. There is also the capacity to add new users based on bandwidth. You can increase or reduce bandwidths.

Who is Using VoIP Technology?

Everybody can use VoIP technology, and no one is excluded from its bandwidth. Businesses are the primary users of VoIP services. Many individuals use residential VoIP services to replace traditional phone lines and cell phones.  

Voip Stats for 2022 by Fit Small Business
Source: FitSmallBusiness

Nowadays, lots of organizations and individuals make use of VoIP. You can use VoIP technology in different places and by different people.

1. Individuals

A lot of people all over the world use VoIP applications. Making and receiving phone calls using the internet also uses VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Examples of VoIP applications are WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom.

2. Remote Workers

Thanks to VoIP technology, workers from different branches of an organization get to work from anywhere. They do not have to be in the office to pass information or receive calls. VoIP phone systems allow great and efficient communication.

3. In Households

Many households use VoIP phones instead of local telephones. VoIP phone systems are easy to use at home by plugging VoIP phones into routers and setting up their service providers.

VoIP service providers such as RingCentral, Ooma, Vonage, and RingCentral alternatives offer plans with additional features like spam blocking. The cost-saving benefits are why many households use the VoIP system.

4. In Hospitals

Using VoIP devices creates a safe space for communication. VoIP helps find patients' information on demand, transfer calls to the right location for doctors and nurses, and manage time by providing quick solutions with customized menus for payments.

5. In Financial Institutions

Using VoIP for finances provides accountability. VoIP helps send and receive faxes, locate call recordings to solve specific issues, and train agents by improving and monitoring calls. Financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies use VoIP technology. 

6. In Other Working Places

Workplaces use VoIP phones internally in noticeably different ways than homeowners. Business owners use VoIP phone systems for the easy running of their businesses. VoIP technology saves businesses costs they would have spent on office phone systems

There is a smooth flow of communication from the receptionist to the tech department and any other department in the organization. Using VoIP technology also saves time and cost of travel.

Most businesses make use of the following setups:

1. A Company VoIP Phone Network

In most working places, using a company VoIP phone network means replacing regular phones with VoIP-enabled hardware or devices. These devices get VoIP phone numbers. For example, most workers in different offices or departments get assigned different numbers and extensions to each phone.

In some cases, the same phone number might be assigned to all the phones. For example, phones on a particular floor may have the same number to avoid delay and enable quick response to all calls, especially emergency calls.

2. Special Setups

Unique setups like video conferencing, audio recording, and email notifications may vary depending on the organization's need. You might include other advanced features needed by the organization to function.

3. Quick Contact Network

Quick contact networks are dialing digits used to contact other areas of the organization. Three-digit dialing makes it easier to contact specific workplace people. 

You can only use these quick contact networks for important contacts within the organization. For example, a company may configure code 211 to contact the security office or code 411 to contact the tech department. 

Set these three-digit numbers with different regular numbers. In this case, they might or might not be shared with other workers in the organization.

Can VoIP Calls be Traced?

Yes, VoIP calls are traceable if the calls have to pass through the internet. They are also traceable if they use public switched telephone networks at some point in their journey. 

After every call, they leave server records which makes them traceable. Law enforcement agencies and telecommunication companies can access these records. They can trace every action made on the internet due to digital footprints.

Some people use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to cover some tracks, but the VPN works to maintain secure proxying of your traffic on another server. The operators of such a server have a record of the traffic.

Use a “security through obscurity” method to become untraceable, but this step indicates suspicions and illegal dealings. You can not be sure about how secure your services or calls are. 

However, to get secure conversations, you need to encrypt. You have to use Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) with your generated certificates to encrypt. You can do this with a VPN. Your media gets encrypted, although the source and destination are traceable.

This protection is, however, limited. Security organizations can trace any calls, even from non-fixed IP addresses. The Federal Communications Commission is the governmental body that regulates communication services such as VoIP phone services and traditional phone lines. 

Can I Call Back a VoIP Phone Number?

Yes, you can call back a VoIP phone number. Calling a VoIP phone number back is a feature that is only available depending on the service provider. 

If you have the VoIP phone number of the VoIP user, you can only call back using a regular telephone. There is no restriction due to area codes or location. Using a regular telephone to call back a VoIP phone number is very easy; just dial the VoIP phone number like a regular phone number. 

Some VoIP service providers allow calls between two subscribers. You can search the VoIP provider's website if you know the service provider of the VoIP user.

Create an account with the service provider if required. Log in and search for the username or number of the VoIP user you want to call. 

You might need to save the contact before you can call, or you can also click on the ‘dial' straightaway. Your conversation starts once the VoIP user answers the call. Note that the VoIP user must be online on the VoIP account to receive your calls.

Does VoIP Have a Caller ID?

Yes, VoIP has a caller ID. The caller ID allows the call receiver to see information like the caller's name and number through VoIP. 

Whenever there is a call, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) verifies the caller’s identity. The ISP displays the information attached to the number almost immediately after the call. 

A VoIP caller ID helps you recognize the person making the incoming call when that number calls. Businesses can improve their brand recognition by having a customized caller ID when making outbound calls to customers. 

You can add specific telephone numbers to the blocklist to avoid unwanted calls. Using VoIP caller ID attracts extra charges.

Caller ID services are provided in two ways: Calling Name (CNAM) companies and phone-based identification.

1. Calling Name (CNAM) Companies

Gaining access to this method is usually offered by VoIP services. The role of any CNAM company is to maintain a database of numbers and provide information attached to the numbers. 

Information is made available after a few rings of a phone call instead of immediately a call comes in. However, there is a limit to this method due to the delay in providing information.

2. Phone-Based Identification

Phone-based identification is more accessible and provides detailed information. Organizations use it to learn more about a caller. This method shows the services the caller provides instead of the name. Phone-based identification is more effective in large businesses.

How to Perform a VoIP Phone Caller ID Lookup?

You can perform a VoIP phone caller ID lookup using a softphone, reverse phone lookup, CNAM lookup through your service provider, and IP address lookup.

1. Use a Softphone

You can set up a softphone to display CNAM and IP addresses. If you use a phone app, install a packet analyzer. A packet analyzer helps to collect data on incoming calls. Proceed to enable the SIP filter on the packet analyzer. 

Locate the CNAM and IP Address on the ‘FROM' field of the initiation packet. You must set it up before receiving calls from the number to be traced. If you use a standard phone, you use the packet analyzer on a local router or ITSP server. 

2. Reverse Phone Lookup

Reverse phone lookup is the easiest and fastest way to perform a VoIP phone caller identification. Write the number in the search box, and you'll get the name and address almost immediately. Reverse phone lookup is not for free, and it costs a dollar per search. 

To search for many phone numbers, use a batch append service to save costs. This service allows you to check numbers in bulk.

3. CNAM Lookup Through Your VoIP Provider

You can supply the IP address or CNAM of the VoIP number to be looked up to your VoIP provider. This information is useful for finding the owner of the phone number. You can only enjoy this service if you receive scam calls from that particular number.

4. IP Address Lookup

If you find the IP Address, you can use it to get information about the owner of the VoIP number. This information tells you where the IP address is, the internet service provider, and the domain name.

How Do I Know If a Number is VoIP? 

VoIP numbers are popular today because making calls over the internet has proved to be much easier. You can not tell if a number is VoIP just by looking at it. 

However, there are a few ways to go about it. They include using an IP address, running reverse phone lookup, and using a softphone. 

The first way to know if a number is VoIP or not is to determine the IP address. If you get to identify this, you can find and trace the information of the call owner. However, you only get to see the information uploaded or given out by the number owner. 

You can also run a reverse phone lookup by inputting the number on the search box. This method presents the information (whether the number is VoIP or not) to you. A reverse phone lookup attracts charges, but it is the fastest way to identify a VoIP number. 

Another way to identify a VoIP number is to use a softphone to find out the IP address of the number and then proceed to supply the IP address of the number to your VoIP service provider.

How to Protect Against VoIP Fraud?

VoIP call is no different from when someone is calling you on a cell phone, a desk phone, or on a landline. You can avoid VoIP fraud or hacking by following some necessary steps.

1. Build Your Firewall

To reduce fraud risk, ensure there is no access to your PBX from the internet. If there is a need for any external access to your system, some firewall features help to reduce the risk. They include intrusion detection, GEO IP blocking, a VPN, and web-based PBX.

  • Intrusion Detection: Detection sensors are available in some firewall products. These sensors can match, detect and block VoIP hacking attempts. They also protect against zero-day vulnerabilities that have not been patched in your PBX software before passing through the network.
  • Geo IP Blocking: Many commercial and open-source firewall products allow the configuration of inbound rules that block access from IP addresses in some countries. For example, if your American PBX needs to be accessed offshore, consider limiting access to only American IP addresses to stop VoIP calls from other IP addresses.
  • Using a VPN: VPNs are another method of providing remote access to your systems, including the PBX, instead of making them accessible from the internet.
  • Web-based PBX: If your PBX management console is web-based, HTTPS helps prevent middleman attacks from getting your passwords.

2. Disconnect International Calls

Business VoIP phones are the sole targets of hackers. If your business does not involve making or receiving international calls, restrict or set strong outbound call rules. 

You can make use of a custom international code. Another option is to allow or block certain countries to avoid exploitation. You can prevent spam calls by making complaints against companies doing it.

3. Use A Notification System

Installing an automatic alarm system that alerts you of certain breaches or suspicions is necessary. This alert system also catches activities beyond the limits you have set.

Many systems can generate automated reports and alerts, which you can email directly to system administrators. These tools can bring attention to potential problems quickly.

4. Patch

Patching VoIP software and devices from time to time help protect against call fraud. If the system is not updated regularly, changes and overrunning of your VoIP system by hackers can occur. 

Any quality PBX and handset vendors will release regular updates to their products, including feature upgrades, bugs, and security fixes. You should regularly update your PBX software and handset firmware to ensure the latest security issues are addressed.

5. Limit Access to Outbound Routes

To reduce fraud risk by configuring outbound routes, follow these steps:

  • Configure your dial plans only to match complete and adequately formatted phone numbers instead of accepting all or being a wildcard.
  • Place a limit on all access to outbound routes to valid extension numbers, which should be allowed to dial out and enforce correct caller IDs.
  • Most toll number fraud occurs on weekends and nights when the victim is less likely to notice. Allow outbound calling only during business hours; disallow all calls outside of those hours. 
  • Always allow access to emergency services numbers.
  • Implement a route password for high-cost routes (such as international calls).

6. Monitor Your System

Ensure you pay attention to all calls made during and after work hours. Take note of calls to and from international numbers. Alert your VoIP service provider in case of any unusual activity.

Monitoring systems all day long is almost impossible. The system may be vulnerable to exposure to hidden weaknesses that hackers and fraudsters can take advantage of. Some of the things you should keep an eye are:

  • Call history of both local and international calls.
  • Current connections and IP address
  • Changes in configuration
  • Calls made or received after work hours
  • Security logs mainly track login events

Some VoIP services offer you enhanced call blocking features. If you keep receiving unwanted VoIP calls, you can block VoIP calls using your device’s blocking features to block the number. 

7. Disable Call Forwarding on Phone Calls

A common toll number fraud tactic is configuring call forwarding (on the PBX or handset) to an expensive destination. 

The fraudster then generates calls to the PBX, automatically forwarded to the destination through your phone service at your expense. If you can, disable call forwarding options anywhere, they are not necessary.

8. Lock Your Voicemail

Voicemail mailboxes require passwords or PINs. Disable the ‘dial through' features. Doing this helps to reduce the number of access to the mailboxes. 

9. Enable Account Lockout

Many phone system platforms can detect failed login attempts and block the offending IP address for some time. These tools help slow down any form of force or attack, making the hacker stop before a valid set of credentials is found.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.