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Softphones made simple

If you’re looking into cloud-based telecommunications, you’re sure to come across the terms “softphone”.

You may be wondering what a softphone is, how they differ from traditional handsets and whether you need one.

Softphones can be a real asset to your organisation. Let’s go through how they work and how they may benefit you and your teams

What is a softphone?

Put simply, a softphone is a software application which can be installed to an PC or laptop to make and take calls over the internet.

Once installed, you can route all calls through your computer, without the need for a standard phone handset.

How do you use them?

Setting up a softphone requires three basic elements:
  • A laptop or computer – to install your softphone
  • A headset – for better call quality
  • An internet connection – to carry calls
Your telephony provider will support you in how to download the application to your device, and give you login details to access your personal softphone.  For example, you can watch the video below to see how easy it is to download Connaught’s hosted system here.

Why use a softphone?


Softphones are a good way to make the best of the features included with your telephony package.  As well as basic call features (such as call transfer, hold and hunt groups) you can use your softphone to take advantage of extra VOIP functions, which differ between providers. 

With Xelion, for example, your softphone will offer you the following, all included:

  • Video conferencing and desktop sharing, app-free
  • Instant messaging
  • Contact directory integrated with Microsoft 365
  • Colleague presence feature
  • Stop-start call recording
  • Call reporting and live statistics

These features are not available via a physical handset, so using a softphone is the best way to make the most of your cloud-based solution. 


For all-inclusive cloud-based systems like Xelion, access to a softphone is included in the licence, so there is no additional expense, compared to purchasing a physical handset. 

Supplying extra handsets to homeworking staff can be expensive.  Softphones can be run from devices you already own, so you can start enjoying the benefits immediately without a large upfront investment.

Softphone updates are rolled out by your provider (Xelion provides all upgrades free of charge) and can be supported remotely, meaning there’s no additional cost to access the latest benefits, compared with upgrading or maintaining physical handsets.

Calls from VOIP systems are usually free too, so you can save money compared with traditional telephony services, where call costs can mount up quickly.


As you aren’t tied to a physical deskphone, softphones allow you to work from anywhere via a laptop.  This means staff can make the most of agile or hybrid working – your office is wherever your softphone is!

Staff can interact via calls, instant messaging and video conferencing, for more unified communications and the presence feature means you can see at a glance which of your colleagues are available to take a call.

Contact directories attached to your softphone can bring up the caller ID, allowing you to prepare for calls ahead of answering and making calling your colleagues quick and simple.

You don't have to choose

Although it is possible to completely replace your physical handsets with softphones and headsets, the best thing about softphones is that they work in partnership with deskphones and mobile apps to give you a truly flexible and comprehensive telephony service.

Softphones can be twinned with your handset, allowing you to choose which you would prefer to answer, and meaning you can have a deskphone in the office and a softphone at home. 

As softphones are included in your licence, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the benefits they bring, even if you use them alongside physical handsets.

If you’d like to talk through how a softphone can help you and your organisation, we’ve got you covered.  Call us on 0800 652 768 for a free consultation to transform your telephony.