Android & iOS
When it comes to choosing the best softphone application, there are plenty of great options in the app store, but not every solution is made equal. In this blog we’ll list some of the popular options available for both android and iOS and recommend which one is best for you.
Why Apple, Why?
Lets quickly throw some light on what is required for iOS as apple has removed the ability to keep a connection open in the background completely. The app must be in focus in order to create and maintain a network connection.
This forces the app to use push notifications which means an app developer needs a special server to watch the SIP accounts that sends push notifications to your device.
The reason Apple does this is to prioritize battery life. However there are a few issues with it:
- Push Notifications aren’t always reliable or instant as they claim.
- It adds delay to answering the calls when the call is routed through a 3rd party server (sometimes as much as 10 seconds) which can cause more missed calls.
- In order to route that call through application’s servers the app server needs to have the SIP account details – that means they are transmitted to their servers first and this could result in more issues as it exposes your SIP account to another provider.
- Adds another point of failure.
On Android, no such configuration is required as one could elevate the permissions for any application to actively run and maintain a stable connection in the background. Additionally one could turn off battery optimization (recommended) so Android won’t put it to sleep if you’re not using it often enough.
How do push notifications work for incoming calls (iOS)?
So what happens in this instance when someone calls you is this:
- Call comes in from POTS to your trunk provider
- Your provider sends call to your PBX
- Your PBX sends the call to a third party server (Bria/Groundwire/etc) that then sends your phone a push notification
- Your phone receives the push notification and a special handler from the softphone app will start ringing your phone and set up the SIP connection
- Then you can answer the call it will create the audio connection (RTP)
Outbound/Outgoing calls (iOS)
Outbound calls should not be affected because the App will connect directly to your PBX over SIP when it is opened and in focus. Previous versions of iOS allowed the app to run in background when not in focus and would maintain a stable connection in the background; Can’t do that anymore with recent versions of iOS.
Best Softphone Apps
- Bria by Counterpath
- Bria Solo
21 days free trial; after which it becomes completely free to use with limited features. However, we recommend you support Counterpath’s (the company behind Bria) effort and purchase a subscription option which unlocks all the features of Bria Solo.
- Bria Teams
21 days free trial; after which you would need to purchase a subscription or move all your users to Bria Solo (free version)
- Bria Solo
Bria is hands down the best 3rd party application that we recommend. It has the best looking and most functional interface that simply works out of the box after you configure it. Above all, it’s the only solution that we recommend for iOS users.
- Zoiper by Securax
It’s the next best option that we recommend to our clients who want to use 3rd party SIP Applications. It’s interface is not as premium as Bria’s but it’s functional and works really well out of the box.
- Other notable apps
- Grandstream Wave
- Groundwire (paid)
- Linephone (not recommended by us, as we’ve had most number of complaints on Linephone)
If you’re looking for the best 3rd party Softphone app out there or simply want to get work done – we highly recommend Bria or Zoiper. They are not perfect but both are great options and they work out of the box and for most situations, you won’t need anything else. VitXi+ although a great alternative (if you do not use bluetooth headset for calls). Grandstream Wave and Groundwire are all good options as well. Anything else (at the time of writing this post) and you’re looking at issues, dropped / missed calls, and what not.
Wondercomm offers a native softphone app that is tightly integrated with the Unified Communications platform and offers seamless set up and configuration using a QR code scanner so the end user has no issues when they register their softphone. Wondercomm’s service starts at affordable rates, for more information – visit wondercomm.net.
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