What Kind Of VoIP Hardware Do I Need?

With every communication system comes a host of hardware requirements. The case is no different with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) setups.

You need special hardware or equipment in order to make and receive VoIP from local and international clients. Hardware generally refers to any tool, machinery, wiring, or physical component of an electronic system that allows you to interact and make use of VoIP software to communicate.

The type of hardware for any VoIP setup depends on the user’s needs. Perhaps you want to simply place and receive calls or maybe perform more sophisticated tasks like conferencing, playing pre-recorded messages to clients, detecting online users, and converging different functions.

Whatever the case, you need a basic knowledge of potential hardware solutions that you can use. This article gives a brief guide on major categories and forms of VoIP hardware, along with how they integrate software to deliver value. Finally, it offers a free model setup you can utilize at your startup or home.

To begin with, let’s explore how the hardware works with VoIP software.

How Hardware Integrates VoIP Software

The underlying workings of a VoIP system rely on a range of computational protocols, processes, and languages that work when software is used along with hardware.

Basically, the hardware provides ports for connecting old telephones, soundcard devices for providing voice input and outputs, and components that enable the user to interact with VoIP data via specific software.

Basic Hardware

Basic hardware is not a category by itself but rather a collection of regular devices that you may have at your disposal and which may serve as basic VoIP hardware. They include computers, tablets, and smartphones.

With a PC, tablet, or a smartphone, setting up a VoIP system for basic communication is as easy as it gets. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a high definition audio device that has recording capabilities. You can then install your preferred VoIP software and you’ll be ready to go.

The network connection may not necessarily be an internet connection. It may simply be a Local Area Network (LAN). However, you’ll need an internet connection in order to make regional and international calls. Be sure to check the bandwidth capabilities of your network.

Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA)

ATA or a phone adapter, as commonly referred, is a device that acts as an interface between analog telephone systems and digital VoIP lines.

With an ATA, you can merge your conventional (Public Switched Telephone Network) PSTN phone system and a VoIP service of choice. Alternatively, you can connect your LAN to your phone network.

If you are using a PC-to-PC VoIP set-up, you don’t need an ATA. However, you may need it if you have subscribed to a monthly VoIP service.

Major features of a regular ATA take in ports for making an interface between your conventional phone and VoIP, call switching, ability to support VoIP protocols, standard service features, 3-way conferencing, and power failure tolerance among others.

Telephone Sets

The phone set is perhaps one of the most important hardware solutions as it represents an interface between the user and the service.

Just like a conventional phone, a VoIP telephone set serves as an input and output device.

A range of phone sets you can use include your existing PSTN phone, VoIP Phones (SIP Phones), and Softphones.

SIP phones use Open Standard “SIP” to place and manage phone calls. They transmit your voice through Open standard “RTP.” SIP and RTP protocols are the foundations of “VoIP.”

A softphone is a software program that you can install on your computer.

VoIP Routers

VoIP routers are used for internet connection. They act as a gateway between your VoIP system and the internet to ensure that you are always online to receive calls from prospective callers.

PC Handsets

These resemble telephones but have the ability to connect to computers via standard USB ports or sound cards. They work together with softphones, allowing you to utilize VoIP easily and comfortably.

You can also plug IP phones to allow many users to exploit a single phone. This is handy for small startups that want to capitalize on existing resources.

PC Headsets

A headset acts a multimedia device for recording and listening to audio on your PC.

A Model Hardware Setup

If you’re looking to adopt a basic VoIP setup, here is a simple solution to get you going.

First, you need to get a phone. You may choose between a regular IP phone and a softphone. If you have remote users in your home or enterprise, you will have to install a VPN connection that routes them back to your switch so that their calls can be redirected to VoIP for cost savings.

Finally, you will need an internet connection from your ISP. This may include a router.

Conclusion

There is a common misconception that VoIP requires complicated equipment and expensive hardware with confusing names. In reality, however, VoIP services can shrink or grow to accommodate the users’ needs, particularly when it comes to hardware requirements. You may opt to use existing hardware or go for hardware that is tailored for specific needs.

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