Do I Need Special Phones For VoIP?

by | Mar 20, 2019 | VOICE OVER IP | 0 comments

Do I need special phones for VoIP?

There are different types of phones you could choose for your business, IP phones are one of them, the quick answer is, yes, you need some sort of special phones for VoIP for your business.

New and latest trends in communication technology are now shaping our businesses. Communication stands as a basic pillar for any business to function properly. Without this, all functions would be incomplete. Communication is extremely necessary for both internal and external business operations.

People are now looking for smoother and better ways to communicate efficiently. One such advancement in the telecommunication sector is the phones for VoIP technology. There is a lot to know about VoIP telephony. Let us start by learning the basics first.

What is VoIP telephony?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. This allows the user to make phone calls over the internet. The VoIP phone network is a wireless and seamless form of communication. Once a VoIP user makes a call from one end, it is not necessary that the receiver on the other end be a VoIP user as well. The recipient can be an ordinary landline user or another VoIP network user.

It can also be a desktop computer user, and he can answer calls using a headset. In technical terms, the voice is digitized into little packs of information. These little packs are then routed to the receiver via the use of the internet. It only involves the use of three objects. A wireless internet router and two pieces of communication hardware; one for the sender and one for the receiver.

Special Phones for VoIP Telephony

VoIP phones come with a package of benefits. However, they have certain requirements too. Can you use VoIP technology with your ordinary phones for VoIP? Are they compatible with the phones that we generally use? Before installing VoIP facilities inside your workplace, you should gather knowledge about their functionality. Here is a list of phones that you can use for VoIP.

Your Existing Phones

For most of you, it will come as good news that you can use VoIP technology in your existing phones. You use these phones over PSTN. Their usage is slightly different from VoIP phones. VoIP phones transmit information by the use of the internet. On the other hand, traditional PSTN makes use of copper wires to transmit data and information. This means wires are involved here whereas with VoIP phones you can go wireless.

However, you cannot just take your existing phone and plug it to your router or broadband modem. That would not be possible as the connectors on the two devices are not of the same size or shape. By trying to force them to work, you will damage both the devices.

To make your existing phone work with a VoIP technology, you will need an ATA box. ATA stands for Analog Telephone Adapter, which channels the analog voice data into little packets of information. This is typical for any VoIP telephone. This is made possible by the help of CODECS or Coder/ Decoder.

Furthermore, it uses SIP or Session Initiation Protocol. This maintains things like dialing and knowing when the phone is not in use. It can be used via the internet or any private data network. What the ATA box so importantly does is turning analog information to digital. The circuitry generates the standard line voltage and ringing voltage that your phone is compatible with.

This information may sound complicated but once you have the right equipment, turning your existing phone to a special VoIP device is very facile. Furthermore, it is a rather cost-saving method given the fact you need minimum resources.

How does the ATA Box work?

Making it work with the ATA Box is very easy if you have some basic knowledge. With your internet router and ordinary telephone, you have to order an ATA box and an Ethernet cable too. The Ethernet cable acts as the connector between the two. First, you connect your telephone line to the adapter that has the exact shape as the phone jack on your wall. Then you connect the cable to the broadband modem, and you are all set!

For easy understanding, compare it with the time when internet modems or routers were not a thing. Remember, how you would have to pull the telephone line to your desktop computer in order to establish an internet connection? It is similar to that except now you turn your phone into a wireless device and not your PC!

IP Phones

The second type of phones that is compatible as a VoIP phone is the IP phone. In fact, these are the best kind of phones you can use. These are also known as SIP phones. IP or SIP phones are designed specifically for the use of VoIP technology. These include features and functionalities that other ordinary phones do not have. Count in the features of a conventional phone plus those of a telephone adapter.

Some of the most useful features and benefits of IP phones are enlisted below:

Graphical LCD display screen:

The screen is one of the most prominent features that stand out. IP phones have a graphical LCD display screen. This screen is useful for displaying the caller ID. Although this is mostly monochrome, some advanced IP phones do come with a color LCD screen. This allows you to carry out tasks like video calling and web conferencing. With a slightly higher budget and investment, you will have access to these features that will greatly payback in the end.

Graphical LCD display screen:

The screen is one of the most prominent features that stand out. IP phones have a graphical LCD display screen. This screen is useful for displaying the caller ID. Although this is mostly monochrome, some advanced IP phones do come with a color LCD screen. This allows you to carry out tasks like video calling and web conferencing. With a slightly higher budget and investment, you will have access to these features that will greatly payback in the end.

Multiple programmable feature keys:

IP phones come with many advanced features. To handle these features, the phones come with multiple programmable feature keys. The basic VoIP features include caller ID, voice mail, call blocking, call forwarding, 3-way calling, IP fax, and local number portability. All these features need special keys to handle them. IP phones come with built-in keys to support these features.

Network and PC ports:

Turning your normal phone to an advanced phone comes with a lot more benefits than you may think. IP phones have ports for both network and PC connections. There are three types of ports working. First, the RJ-11 port lets you connect to an ADSL line for Internet connection. Next, the RJ-45 is for connecting to an Ethernet LAN. Lastly, multiple RJ-45 ports turn the phone into a switch that comes handy when connecting to other network devices and phones.   

Duplex speakerphone:

You might be confused by reading the word “duplex” to describe a speakerphone as it normally comes with the description of a house! Fundamentally, communication can be made in three ways. The first is one way, simplex mode. An example of such one-way communication is the radio. The second is a two-way communication method known as half duplex. With this, you can conduct two-way communication but only one way at a time. For instance, the walkie-talkie. The third type, and applicable for IP phones is the full duplex speakerphone. Two-way communication is made seamlessly.

Help and support:

The settings of an IP phone are very customizable according to your preferences. For one thing, you can change the language settings. If you want to speak in German to your clients rather than English, just change the language setting to German. You will also get support for network management. This uses a protocol called SNMP known as Simple Network Management Protocol. This is a complicated tool that uses network devices known as the Management Information Base (MIB).

Headset jack and ringing tone:

All IP phones come with a headset jack. When you are occupied with other work to hold the receiver, just connect a headset. This allows for easy multitasking. Furthermore, you can personalize ringing tones for all your contacts. In this way, you can know just by the caller tune who is calling you and the importance of the call.

Data encryption:

The last one in the list but one of the most important ones. Security is key to the functionality of communication. Voice data and any multimedia messages communicated from your IP phone will have the danger of being susceptible to network security threats. A host of security threats exists including phreaking, eavesdropping, vishing, viruses, malware, Denial of Service (DoS), Spamming over Internet Telephony (SPIT) and call tampering. IP phones come with data encryption solutions to all these vicious threats.

Softphones

Softphones technically do not fall under the definition of a typical phone. Rather, it is software installed in a PC or computer. That is where the name “soft” derived from. The installation will bring with it a keypad that you can use to dial numbers. This does not require any adapter and is readily usable with the internet.

A very common example of such a softphone used worldwide is Skype, although a closed source. Skype has a softphone included in their interface. Other examples of softphones are X-Lite, Bria, and Ekiga. The settings of softphones can be configured to use with SIP accounts. Users can download and install the softphone application and use it to make free or inexpensive calls.

However, free software comes with certain drawbacks as well. Softphones are not recommended for large or growing businesses. In many cases, it cannot be reliable. Take Skype for example. Many times, the connection is poor, and the network or quality of voice is not reliable. As the business scales bigger, investing in some real VoIP technology becomes increasingly important.

IP Handsets

This is the least recommended on the list. IP handsets are designed in such a way that they cannot function independently on their own. They are made for VoIP but have to be connected to a PC and have to be used with a softphone. An IP phone works by being equipped with a USB cable for PC connection and resembles a portable phone. This also has a keypad for dialing numbers. Also, they fall more on the expensive side and require some complicated configuration to work. Thus, you have better options to choose from.

Smartphones and Tablet PCs

Using VoIP on smartphones is now very easy; all you need to do is install an application that supports it. Given the fact, the end user also has the same app installed; you can call using apps such as Skype, FaceTime, Viber, Line, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and many more. Some of these such as Skype and Viber also makes it possible for you to call a regular landline or mobile number.

However, this will usually cost you money. On a PC, you can get other features such as calling someone on any device. These devices include a smartphone, tablet, and laptop. The features you can expect are free video calling group calling.

Advantages of VoIP Special Phones

There are many advantages of using a VoIP special phone. These outrun the benefits you will receive if you use your ordinary phone. Some of these benefits include:

  • A VoIP phone provides you with the best hardware for use. This hardware is for the sole function of transmitting voice calls. Due to this, you can rest assured that you will get optimum voice and audio quality. On the other hand, no matter how good quality speaker, microphone or headset you use, you will not get an audio quality even close to this.
  • VoIP phones for VoIP come with additional and sophisticated features, which otherwise you would not receive. These essentially have a separate screen to support functions like showing additional information, putting a caller on hold or transferring them to another extension. All these can be done simply by the touch of a button. Although the software does provide some of these features, it will take you several clicks and a lot more time to do these.
  • VoIP phones come with a plethora of advanced features. These include remote management, interactive voice recognition (IVR), automatic call distribution, voicemail to email, bandwidth and duration reports of calls, and call conferencing. Not all these features are available with regular software or softphone.
  • Finally, the most lucrative advantage of all time is that it costs less. Phones for VoIP will allow you to make calls at a much cheaper rate than a landline. Because this uses the internet, you can make voice calls to overseas for almost free of cost.

Conclusion:

If you or your business can afford a newer IP Phones for VoIP, go for it, because it will give you a lot of flexibility and feature rich functionality. But if you like what you are having now, just hook up an ATA box, and turn over the analog line to the latest technology IP world. I hope this has been informed for you. Good luck with your phone selection.

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