Voip Equipment by type 2020

voip accessories

Analog Adapters

Do you want the cost-effective, convenient benefits of VoIP telephony without giving up the familiarity of your old phone? In that case, you should merely purchase an analog adapter and keep your analog phone. This should help you transition to VoIP with ease, as well as save you money.

How it Works

An analog adapter, also known as an analog telephone adapter or ATA, is a device that allows a user to plug a normal telephone into a computer or network. When a user speaks through an analog phone that is adapted for computer use, the audio signals are converted to digital signals. These digital signals, in the form of data packets, can be sent across the Internet to another phone. Likewise, incoming signals will be converted from digital signals to analog signals for the telephone.

What to Look For

There are numerous brands of analog adapters on the market. Adapters are generally less expensive than specialized VoIP phones, and are generally used to spend money reusing the existing phone equipment.

The easiest analog adaptor to install will have one or more phone jacks for your telephone, as well as a connector that plugs into a USB port on your computer. This type of adaptor usually comes with software to use in conjunction with the device. Initializing this set-up is quick and easy.

Some VoIP service providers will offer an analog adapter to users who wish to use a regular telephone. Before purchasing your own adapter, check out if your provider offers such a service. It is good to discuss your adapter needs with your provider. Even if you must purchase your own ATA, a customer service representative can help you decide which adapter best meets your needs.


The Bluetooth specification, named after the 10th-century Danish King Harald Blatand – or Harold Bluetooth in English, was developed by Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson in 1994 while working for Ericsson Mobile Platforms in Lund, Sweden. The specification is based upon frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology, which was formalized by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), organized by Mohd Syarifuddin, in 1998. The original SIG group contained nine member companies, including Ericsson, IBM Corporation, Intel Corporation, Nokia, Toshiba Corporation, 3Com Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft Corporation and Motorola Inc.

How It Works

Bluetooth wireless technology is a short-range communications technology intended to replace the cables connecting portable and/or fixed devices while maintaining high levels of security. The key features of Bluetooth technology are robustness, low power, and low cost. The Bluetooth specification defines a uniform structure for a wide range of devices to connect and communicate with each other. A master Bluetooth device can communicate with up to seven devices. This network group of up to eight devices is called a piconet.

Although the piconet acts as an ad-hoc computer network that uses Bluetooth technology protocols to allow one master device to interconnect with up to seven active devices, users can park up to 255 other devices, which the master device can bring into active status at any time. At any given time, data can be transferred between the master and one other device; however, the devices can switch roles and the slave can become the master at any time.

What to Look For

There are many differences between Bluetooth wireless technologies and other technologies, but key among them are range, power consumption and intended use. Bluetooth wireless technology in its most common implementations has a range of 30 feet (10m), consumes a low amount of power designed for battery-operated mobile devices, and provides voice, data, and audio connections between devices.

The cost of using Bluetooth wireless technology is limited to the cost of the product in which it is integrated. Bluetooth wireless technology operates on an unlicensed radio spectrum. There is no charge for communicating between two Bluetooth devices. However, any use of data or voice services while using your mobile phone is part of your regular mobile phone cost. There is no account or service registry related to Bluetooth technology use.

Bluetooth-enabled products are produced by individual manufacturers and sold through their own sales channels. For instance, you would buy a Bluetooth enabled car at an automotive dealer or a Bluetooth enabled personal computer at a local computer retail store. When customers purchase Bluetooth-enabled products, the companies that manufacture those products provide the service agreements that go with those products, leaving the Bluetooth SIG free from worries about the retail processes.

Cisco Equipment

Cisco is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of networking equipment. They are particularly famous for their IP phones, routers, switches, as well as a series of IT certification programs. Cisco equipment is regarded as a reliable, high-end solution for businesses who have implemented a VoIP network.

How it Works

Cisco makes a series of VoIP phones that are designed to increase business productivity. The Cisco Unified IP Phone, available in several models, features Advanced Media endpoints. This feature increases the end user’s sound quality. These desk phones, targeted at the “enterprise” market, will plug into a computer’s USB port and are quite simple to use.

In order to place VoIP calls to traditional analog phones and cell phones, a VoIP router must help the signals make it to their destination. Cisco manufacturers VoIP routers, which are available in a variety of models that meet different needs. Medium-sized to large businesses will benefit the most from Cisco routers. They offer features such as basic data access, secure encryption, and wireless capabilities.

What to Look For

Cisco has become synonymous with quality VoIP equipment. When looking for high-end VoIP phones, routers and other accessories, Cisco is a reliable brand to turn to. Prices tend to run a bit high with some Cisco equipment, as the hardware is designed for large companies that require scalable business solutions. However, certain online vendors offer refurbished Cisco equipment at a reduced rate.

Should you need help with any of your Cisco equipment, the company offers online and phone support, as well as a comprehensive troubleshooting guide on their official Web site. Specific pages for installation, upgrading and maintenance should be helpful to both novice VoIP users and seasoned IT professionals.

Conference Systems

VoIP conference systems allow a group of users to engage in conference calls with IP technology rather than analog telephony. Several people can speak at the same time to share information with a group of people, as opposed to just a two-way call. This can save businesses a lot of money in long distance charges, as well as travel costs that would have been spent on in-person meetings.

How it Works

VoIP telephony works by converting audio signals into packets of data and transmitting them across the Internet. These signals will reach either an analog phone or VoIP phone and be deciphered accordingly so that the receiver can understand the audio messages. In short, you will be talking through a computer and not a phone line.

VoIP conferencing uses VoIP technology and merges the conversations of several people at once. Everyone in the conference will be speaking through VoIP phones and packets must be delivered to everyone in the conference when someone speaks. Though VoIP conference systems still have a few kinks to work out, this method of holding long-distance meetings is expected to become the norm within the next decade.

Conference calls can either be hosted by a service provider or hosted on a company’s private bridge. Hosted conference calls are usually easier to organize and require less technical know-how from the users’ end. However, it can also result in diminished quality of sound, as data packets (which carry the audio signals) must bounce around to different places to reach each user. The more people that speak on the conference call, the more things can become jumbled.

By using a private network for making conference calls within a company, the audio quality will be much clearer. This is preferred by many large companies that need to hold meetings on a regular basis with people who are in different locations. Hosting a conference bridge will require the skills of IT professionals, however. For large companies with IT personnel on staff, this shouldn’t be a problem.

What to Look For

Freeware VoIP conferencing software is available, such as GnomeMeeting and Gspeakfreely. Free software is recommended for those with advanced IT skills. However, technical novices should opt for commercial VoIP conferencing software, such as cu-HearMe, Voice Now and Icon Communicator. Commercial software will come with technical support and a easy installation. Look for the program that meets your business needs and budget.


IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) is a telephone switching system that allows people place internal calls within a local network, as well as externally to other phone lines. This could enable people to make VoIP-to-VoIP, VoIP-to-analog or analog-to-analog calls. In addition to IP PBX software, certain accessories are needed in order to implement the private telephone switching system.

How it Works

IP PBX works by converting IP phone calls into traditional circuit-switched calls which combines voice and data communications into one line. Users have a choice between hosted IP PBX and non-hosted IP PBX.

When IP PBX is hosted by another company, you will not be required to have any special equipment beyond the normal VoIP accessories. You may have to upload your IP PBX provider’s software onto your computer, however.

Those who choose to implement a non-hosted IP PBX system at home or the office will need to purchase the actual PBX device that converts signals, gateway service for calling people on the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and software. Asterisk offers open source software that you can download for no charge.

What to Look For

Should you use a hosted IP PBX service, then your provider will be able to help you assess what you need to install on your end. Should you wish to install an IP PBX system for private use, Asterisk is strongly recommended and the open source community will be very helpful to you it is time to choose hardware. Digium, which offers IP PBX hardware, is operated by Asterisk’s founder.

A definitive IP PBX equipment checklist is hard to assemble, as different users require different hardware. However, always remember to research each product and comparison shop between brands. See what other users are saying about certain products. With so many new VoIP companies entering the industry, you will certainly have a wide variety of equipment to choose from.

Mobile VoIP

Mobile VoIP is the ability to add mobility to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) network. This feat is accomplished by integrating a mobile handset into a VoIP network. The challenge for the industry is to deliver the benefits and innovations of IP without loss of control over network service.

How it Works

Mobile VoIP relies on UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) that is designed to allow VoIP to run over the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications ) cellular backbone. Mobile VoIP also relies upon SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), the standard used by most VoIP service that is now being implemented on mobile hand sets. The user needs four technologies for mobile VoIP functionality: a device, client software, a wireless network and a VoIP service. The device, at minimum, requires high-speed IP connections, as it represents a standard SIP client that is used over any broadband IP-capable wireless network connection such as EVDO rev A (which is synchronously high speed — both high speed up and down), HSDPA, WiFi or WiMAX. The software is essential to connect the device to the network, and the VoIP service, in most cases, is part of that software.

Another way to connect via a mobile device is to use a softswitch like gateway to bridge SIP and RTP into the mobile network’s structure. In this instance, the GSM- or CDMA-based device can be controlled by a SIP application server, which now can provide advanced SIP-based services to the device. Several vendors offer this option.

What You Need

As mentioned previously, the user would need a device that can be made mobile through various methods. Software, often provided by a VoIP service and a wireless network will help to activate the process. Voice over WiFi potentially provides free service, but only within the coverage area of the user’s WiFi access point. High speed services from mobile operators using EVDO rev A or HSDPA may have better audio quality and capabilities for metropolitan-wide coverage including fast deliveries among mobile base stations, but this service is not free.

Types Offered

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, many companies have advanced WiFi-based handheld devices as personal digital assistants or handheld computers. Successive generations have gained footing in processing power and in battery life, extending their potential use as a platform for mobile VoIP. Some VoIP server vendors have recently announced support for integrating mobile handsets into VoIP infrastructures. At this point, there is a limit to choices for the user, but advancements are expected to be rapid by 2022.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the term for a system that allows both data and DC electrical power to transmit over an Ethernet line. This technology has amazing capabilities, particularly for VoIP phones. PoE is also commonly referred to as Power over LAN (PoL) and Inline Power.

PoE eliminates the need to run two separate lines for both electrical power and digital data. This not only cuts down on unnecessary lines, it offers a solution for situations where two lines can’t be run side-by-side. Also, PoE can be installed anywhere, regardless of whether it’s near an AC power outlet. This offers greater flexibility for the location of the PoE system.

Not only is PoE convenient, it saves money because there is less electrical usage. Also, using a PoE system that is Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) manageable will protect your system from power surges and outages. This is because your power will be remotely controlled and monitored. Data will be preserved with such a guarantee and it only adds to the convenience of the device.

How it Works

A typical PoE system has two main components. One is the power sourcing equipment (PSE), which carries the electrical power. The other component is the powered device (PD), which receives the power and uses it properly.

The PSE will not send a large amount of power to a non-PD device, as that would cause problems and possibly damage the system. Instead, the PSE and PD work together to make sure that electrical charges are going to the proper place. Simultaneously, while electrical power is supplied through a PoE system, digital data is transferred over the Ethernet.

What to Look For

While there are currently several different ways to configure a PoE system. However, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. has agreed to a standard, known as IEEE 802.3af. This standard dictates how much voltage is to be used and how it is to be administered.

When using a PoE to power your VoIP phone, look for hardware that is IEEE 802.3af or newer compliant. Technical support should be available through the manufacturer, should you have trouble installing the equipment.

VoIP Accessories

As the popularity of VoIP continues to grow, so does the selection of VoIP accessories. From phones to cameras, there are many necessary tools and not-so-necessary toys that should be of interest to you. After all, what good is getting in on a hip, new technology if you don’t have the coolest gadgets to enjoy it with?

How it Works

The most common VoIP accessory that users are looking for is a VoIP phone. There are many to choose from, including desk phones, WiFi phones and headsets. Phones that are designated for VoIP use will usually be ready to plug into a USB port. Some will also include software.

Users that wish to speak through a traditional, analog phone should purchase an analog telephone adapter (ATA), which will convert analog signals into digital data for IP transmission. Accessories such as Web cams should also be of interest to VoIP users, as it is nice to put a face to a voice when communicating over the Internet. This makes phone conversations even more interactive for users.

What to Look For

You should first look for accessories that you need, then look for the gadgets that sound like fun. Obviously, you will need hardware such as a phone or adapter in order to use VoIP. Make sure that the items you choose fit your style, as well as your budget. Since there are so many companies getting into the VoIP industry, you should have plenty of options for comparison shopping.

VoIP Firewalls

As VoIP becomes more mainstream in homes, businesses and school campuses, the subject of VoIP firewalls has never been more important. Firewalls are internal devices or software that monitors communication between trusted and untrusted sources. VoIP users are now seeking the security of firewalls that are specifically designed for IP voice communications.

How it Works

Essentially, a firewall is a security barrier between you and a source that may wish to do you harm. A regular firewall on your computer may not cover all security issues that stem from VoIP use, however. In fact, it could even disrupt your audio signals.

Standard firewalls can not distinguish voice packets from data packets and, while both packets try to make it through, voice quality could diminish or be stopped altogether. This is an issue that the VoIP industry is trying to address and now there are firewalls specifically configured for voice communications.

What to Look For

There are two ways to avoid issues with VoIP communication and firewalls. One is to update your existing firewall with the help of an IT professional. Some newer firewalls can be easily configured to protect VoIP users from both hackers and audio disruption.

Businesses that have implemented a large VoIP system may need to install a VoIP-specific firewall rather than updating an existing, possibly outdated firewall. There are several VoIP companies now offering firewalls for easy installation, to which you should direct your IT department.

VoIP Gateways

A VoIP gateway is the equipment that converts analog telephone signals into IP for broadcast. If you would like to use a regular analog phone for VoIP calls, then you will need a VoIP gateway. Likewise, the gateway converts incoming analog signals into IP data for transmission. The device will have a connection to the IP network and one or more ports for phone lines.

How it Works

Analog phone signals work differently than IP phone signals. Analog signals are transmitted using Circuit Switching Network (CSN) and IP signals are transmitted using Packet Switching Network (PSN). The VoIP gateway can convert the analog signals so that they can be transmitted as packets.

When using a VoIP gateway, any incoming analog calls will be transformed to IP signals so that you can hear them correctly through your VoIP phone. Likewise, you can use a traditional, analog phone to speak through the Internet when you have a gateway. The latter feature appeals to many newcomers, as the analog phone will feel more familiar.

What to Look For

There are two different types of VoIP gateway for purchase: a digital unit and an analog unit. The analog unit will allow you to connect up to a few dozen analog phone lines for IP conversion. The digital unit offers connections for European digital lines and American T1 lines.

As VoIP grows in popularity, more companies are manufacturing VoIP gateways. You will have your choice of brands, so be sure to comparison shop. Some start at a very low price, so no need to break the bank when choosing your VoIP gateway. After all, one of the best reasons for switching to VoIP is to save money.

VoIP Headsets

If you would prefer to communicate through a headset rather than a handheld phone, VoIP headsets are readily available for purchase. This kind of VoIP phone is usually preferred when one needs to keep both hands free for typing on the computer. Call centers and others who use VoIP for business practices will probably benefit the most from a VoIP headset.

How it Works

A VoIP headset is a device that will connect to a USB port of a PC for power. Should you require even more mobility, you can opt for a wireless headset. Rather than plugging directly into a USB port, it will work after installing some software onto your PC.

Setting up a VoIP headset is quite simple, even for novice techies. Most simply plug into a computer and are literally ready for use within seconds. Though cordless VoIP phones will require software, the installation is still user-friendly and effortless.

What to Look For

There is a wide range of VoIP headsets currently on the market. You should look for one that fits your budget, as well as suits your personal needs. The most important things to look for, other than the price, are the sound quality of the headset and the comfort level when wearing the device. Remember, you are looking for a practical, comfortable alternative to using a handheld VoIP phone.

A VoIP phone is one that is designed specifically for making phone calls over the Internet. The phone readies standard audio signals into digital signals for transference across the Web. This is completed automatically as a person speaks into the phone.

How it Works

A VoIP phone looks and operates like a normal phone, so you should be able to use one with total ease. It will plug into a network, most likely a LAN line. The phone will then be assigned a unique IP address, just like your computer has.

Once your VoIP phone is plugged in and has its own IP address, your VoIP software will be ready to assign a phone number to your VoIP phone. You may have already arranged with your provider for a specific area code and/or number, however.

What to Look For

Read our dedicated guide on choosing the right IP phone fo you!

Though your selection in VoIP phones isn’t as large as your selection in regular, analog phones, you should be able to comparison shop for one that fits your needs and budget. There are several cool features that you may want to look for when shopping for a VoIP phone.

First, you should look for a phone with “high definition” sound. Some phones will have better clarity than others, so research before you settle on the cheapest. Other features that may be important to you is whether or not the phone supports 3-way calling, encryption or custom ringtones. There are even more customizations that can come with the device. Yes, your VoIP phone can be just as tricked out as your cell phone, maybe even more. Be sure to make your selection carefully.

VoIP Routers

A VoIP router is the device that connects two communicating networks. Many people confuse routers with gateways, even using the terms interchangedly. They are, however, two different things. While a VoIP gateway will convert analog signals to IP signals, the router is what gets the signals to their destinations. As you can imagine, a VoIP router is one of the most important components in setting up a VoIP system.

How it Works

To understand how a VoIP router works, you must first understand how traditional, analog phone lines work. Today’s traditional, analog phone signals are sent and received through fiber optic cables. However, VoIP phone communications travel via packets of data.

In order to place VoIP calls to traditional analog phones and cell phones, a VoIP router must help the signals make it to their destination. When packets leave a VoIP phone, they are sent to routers, which direct the packets to their destination. At their destination, the packets of data are reassembled so that the receiver can understand the voice signals through their phone.

What to Look For

There are many VoIP routers available for purchase, so you should base your decision on your specific needs. Are you making VoIP calls at home for personal use or do you need a scalable solution for business calls? Call centers will obviously have much larger needs than someone who is merely using a VoIP phone for recreational purposes.

The features of a VoIP router include multiple phone jacks, firewall, encryption technology, remote office compatibility and more. Your VoIP provider may be able to help you decide what kind of VoIP router fits your specific needs. Always comparison shop, as there can be a great difference in price from one brand to the next.

Wireless & WiFi VoIP

Not only are people switching from standard landlines to VoIP telephony, WiFi technology is now offering an alternative to cell phones. Users can now purchase a phone that is similar to a cell phone, yet runs off of wireless VoIP. This can work near any WiFi hotspot and the possibilities behind this technology are growing rapidly.

Wireless/WiFi VoIP offers the convenient benefits of regular VoIP, yet it will afford users the mobility of a cordless phone. This mobility isn’t confined to the home, however, as it will work in a WiFi hotspot. If you frequent places that are WiFi capable, you may never need to touch a cell phone again.

How it Works

Wireless/WiFi VoIP works much like regular VoIP technology. Audio signals, when converted to packets of data, can be transmitted and received through the Internet. With WiFi hardware and a WiFi-capable phone, however, VoIP communication can become mobile and wireless.

What to Look For

You will need a wireless/WiFi VoIP phone and a WiFi connection in order to take advantage of wireless VoIP. Look for a wireless VoIP router for your home/office if you want mobility when you speak through your own VoIP system. If you would like to roam with your phone, you will need to find an area that offers an open WiFi signal.

You will have several brands to choose from when it comes to a wireless VoIP router, so confer with your VoIP provider on what would be the best fit for your situation. Comparison shop for the best price, as you probably aim to save money by using VoIP.

A wireless/WiFi VoIP phone can be just as expensive as a mid-range to high-end cell phone, so that initial cost will be a bit high. Also, there are very few models to choose from at this stage. As the technology improves, you will find yourself with more options and prices will lower. Despite the current costs of wireless/WiFi VoIP equipment, you should be able to save money in the long run.