FAQ: Can You Use Your Laptop with VoIP?

In the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) world, some questions have somewhat complicated answers (VoIP technology can be pretty detailed!), and some questions have “well, it depends…” answers. But there are also some questions that have very short, simple, and standard answers. And on top of the list is the inquiry: “Can you use a laptop with VoIP?” In a word: YES!

How to Use Your Laptop with VoIP

There are two ways — again, nice and simple — to use your laptop with VoIP. The first way is with an IP phone (sometimes referred to as a digital phone). The second way is through a softphone (sometimes referred to as a VoIP headset).

How to Setup a Laptop + IP Phone with VoIP

To use a digital phone, simply (there’s that word again!) plug one end of the Ethernet cable into your laptop, and the other end into your IP phone. You don’t need tools, just snap the connectors in and out, similar to a regular phone. 

Next, enter the Wi-Fi properties of your laptop (you will find this in the “Control Panel” if you’re using a Windows system), and establish network sharing by clicking the associated box. 

After that, open your Wi-Fi network properties, search for the IP settings, set up DNS, and change the IP settings to Make the same change to your Ethernet’s networking properties (this may happen automatically, in which case you don’t have to change anything).

Lastly, you need to update your IP phone’s settings. This will establish an Ethernet connection. In a few seconds, your digital phone will be all set up and ready to use with your VoIP phone system!

***Many laptops these days, especially slimmer/smaller ones, do not have an Ethernet port, which means that you will not be able to directly establish an internet connection. If you run into this problem, then don’t panic! Just pick up an inexpensive USB to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.  

How to Setup a Laptop + Headset with VoIP

If you thought that the process of setting up a laptop and digital phone with VoIP was easy, then you’ll love the steps for using a headset instead. 

Are you using a USB connection? Then plug the headset into the USB port of your laptop. If prompted, download and install any firmware updates required. 

For Bluetooth connections – use your laptop to find the headset (note: you must power on the laptop), and then pair it. 

Can You Use Just Any Old Headset with VoIP?

Technically, you should be able to connect virtually any USB or Bluetooth-enabled headset to your laptop, and therefore establish a link to your VoIP phone system. However, we strongly recommend you use a quality headset that is specially designed for VoIP. These headsets have a far superior microphone and audio processor, and built-in noise cancellation technology You will also have no compatibility issues.

Which Option is Better?

You know how we started out by saying that some questions in the VoIP world have “it depends” answers? This is one of those times, because whether or not your business should use headsets or IP phones — or a mix of both — depends on how your employees will use the system. Let’s take a look at the advantages of both options.

VoIP Phone System Headsets: Advantages

  • Great for environments where employees typically need to multitask while making phone calls (e.g., enter caller details, place orders, etc.).
  • Ideal for environments where employees frequently move around while making phone calls (obviously wireless headsets are required for this).
  • Can prevent arm and neck soreness in environments where employees typically have long voice calls (e.g., sales, technical support, etc.), or spend a lot of time throughout the day on the phone.
  • Employees can participate in video conferencing using the webcam on their laptops. 
  • If you have a large number of remote employees, then using headsets can mean more cost savings than giving each employee their own IP phone. 

VoIP Phone System Headsets: Advantages

  • IP phones have a hands-free (speaker) option for VoIP calls. IP phones that are specifically designed for conference calls, which have advanced microphones and noise cancellation technology, are also available.  
  • Some IP phones have USB ports and Bluetooth for instantly connecting to headsets, as well as charging mobile devices. It is also possible to record calls on a USB key.
  • Some IP phones let you create dozens (or even hundreds) of shortcut keys. This gives you rapid access to features by pressing the corresponding shortcut, without needing to scroll through the menu when the handset is idle.
  • Some IP phones are wall mountable.
  • Some IP phones have high-resolution screens for video conferencing. 

Our Recommendation

Carolina Digital Phone is one of the most experienced VoIP providers in the country. We find that customers who get the most value from their all-in-one VoIP phone system have a mix of headsets and IP phones. This gives them optimal mobility and convenience while providing access to advanced features. These features include built-in screens for video calls only available through IP phones.  

If you choose us as your VoIP Solutions Partner, our experts will assess and analyze your needs. Our experts provide you with a customized recommendation aligning with your business communications requirements and budget. 

Plus, we will install, configure, and optimize all of your headsets and IP phones, which means that your staff doesn’t need to lift a finger. And while we are confident everything will work perfectly, if you run into any issues then our LOCAL experts are here to help! 

Contact Carolina Digital Phone today and schedule your free live guided demo of our all-in-one VoIP phone system. Call us now at (336) 544-4000.