A Softphone is a name given to "Software Telephone", that allows users to make telephone calls through software from a computer. This technique works on PC, smartphones, tablet and other devices that support VoIP (Voice over IP) calls and video calls.
One of the main advantages of softphones is that separate physical telephone devices are generally no longer needed. The PC becomes an integrated workplace and communications center.
Things you need to have a softphone
In order to make this softphone work, you need four important things -- an interface to make calls, System to process it, set of codecs and contacts. First off is the Interface -- this is the platform for communication between the user and the computer or device.
The interface should have all the features including dial pads, control buttons, audio output and video output. Next up is the module/system that allows you to place and receive the calls over a protocol. Next is the set of codecs that allow voice data to be encoded between analog and digital formats. And at last a contact list as well.
How it works
When you make VoIP calls, the software encapsulates the voice data and sends it to the VoIP provider, where it converts the data into voice signals and transmit them to the right telephone exchange. The return voice signals, on the other hand, go through the reverse procedure and a call is completed.
Benefits of Softphones
Cheap: Cost efficiency is one of the main advantages of Softphones. Since softphones do not require a desk phone or a handset, it can save you hundreds of dollars.
Free space: As the PC becomes an integrated workplace and communications center, it becomes possible to call someone directly from the electronic address book on your computer, simply by clicking your mouse on their name.