Regular Extension vs. Virtual Extension – What’s the Difference?

Today I want to go over a topic that I personally had a bit of trouble understanding when I first started here at Telonium. It’s the difference between regular extensions and virtual extensions. Since many VoIP providers provide both options, I’m here to educate you so that you’ll be able to make the best decision about what your business needs.

Let’s start with the basics, what are extensions and what makes them different than lines? Extensions are the actual number of phones needed in an office, which usually equals the number of employees. Do you have ten employees that will be using phones? That means you will need ten extensions. This is why you will often hear the term users or seats used interchangeably with extensions. Lines, on the other hand, which are what most people are used to dealing with, are concurrent calls or how many people can be using the phone system at the same time.

Now on to the difference between regular and virtual extensions. Regular extensions give you all the functionality of a business phone system, including unlimited local and long distance, unlimited concurrent calls, and a fully-featured phone system. Unlimited inbound AND outbound calls are included in the price for regular extensions, and this is a major difference between regular and virtual.

Virtual extensions are usually less expensive than regular ones because only unlimited inbound calls are included in the rate. This is because virtual extensions rely on an external phone, such as a cell phone or home phone. With a virtual extension, when a customer calls in to the main business number, and dials the extension, the call can be seamlessly routed to a cell phone. The experience will be the exact same for any customers calling in, they will not notice any difference between the two types of extensions.

Now, you may be wondering, who uses virtual extensions? Well, the ability to tie a cell phone to a company number can be incredibly useful for someone that is often on the go and out of the office, like a real estate agent or an outside sales rep. Another great feature is the ability to forward incoming calls to an after-hours answering service or message depending on the time of day.

Although regular and virtual extensions are similar in many ways, they do have a couple major differences. If you still need help deciding what would work best at your company, feel free to give Telonium a call, or you can contact me at <my first name>