How Does A Single Line VoIP Phone Work?

Many VoIP services require you to install an application onto your computer, which means you're always sitting at the computer when you want to make a call. If you're not into wearing a headset and being tied to a computer just to make calls, there's another option: the single line VoIP phone.

What Is A Single Line VoIP Phone?

VoIP is great for its free calls but who wants to sit at a computer every time you need to make a call? While many VoIP services require you to connect a device into a computer, then install their VoIP software on the computer, you can still use a phone handset.

An IP-based handset is a pure digital phone. No conversion from digital to analog and vice versa is needed. IP stands for Internet Protocol. This phone sends and receives voice data directly over the Internet. Regular telephone service is not needed.

The handset can be used just like a regular telephone handset. Most residences have only one phone line. Unless you are buying a multi-line phone for a business, a single line VoIP phone will do everything you need.

How Does It Work?

An IP-based phone comes with a base, just like a cordless phone. The base connects to a power source and your router. The IP phone needs an Internet connection to send/receive voice data. Because the handset needs constant power to operate, getting one with a battery backup will provide uninterrupted use.

Standard routers don't prioritize voice data too well, if at all. Routers with Quality of Service (QoS) built into them will give voice data priority, ensuring high-quality voice calls. Even if you don't have a QoS router, most VoIP phones will have QoS built-in. To eliminate potential bottlenecks, consider upgrading to a QoS router.

Depending on the handset, you can also go wireless. A wireless IP-based phone will look like a regular wireless telephone. Just like a wireless phone, these do cost more. But if mobility around the house is a requirement, then a wireless phone is your solution. You'll also need a wireless router. A wireless phone will only work within range of your wireless router.

On the phone base, there an RJ-45 port that connects to the router. RJ-45 is used for ethernet cable. There is also a power source. Some phones offer a battery backup. Or the phone's power can be connected to an external battery backup.

Protocols Used By VoIP Phones

Because the phone connects to your network, it needs an IP address, just like any other device on the network. This is accomplished through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). DHCP assigns an IP address to a network device automatically. Some phones will allow you to disable DHCP and manually assign the IP address. Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, automatic assignment should work fine.

VoIP phones can be configured through the display on the phone. For troubleshooting, some phones will allow you to log into the phone from your computer. This is done by accessing the phone's IP address and logging in. To log in from your computer, the phone uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), just like on the web. The login page is after all a web page.

Internet Protocol (IP) is the main pathway for sending (voice) packages over the Internet to and from the phone. This is the same protocol when we say an IP-based VoIP phone.

Features Available On Single Line VoIP Phones

VoIP phone features depend on the VoIP service you might be using. Basic VoIP phones are capable of the following:

  • Digital display
  • Caller ID
  • Call history
  • Voicemail waiting light
  • Mute
  • Speakerphone
  • Foot stand for desktops
  • Wall mount

Higher end phones include a video screen for video calls. These are still single line VoIP phones but are called SIP phones. SIP stands for Session Initiated Protocol. SIP is basically an enhancement to VoIP. It allows for multimedia data transfers such as video conferencing and instant messaging.

As the price climbs on VoIP phones, voice quality improves. Basic VoIP phones already do a good job with voice quality. Small businesses will demand the highest voice quality and most likely multi-line phones.

It's no longer necessary to be in front of a computer to use VoIP. Stand-alone VoIP phones work just like a regular phone except they utilize the Internet rather than telephone lines. These single line phones are all that's needed for personal use. They come with as many features as you'll find on any personal use traditional telephone.

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