Phones for voice over IP have several distinctions. Clearly, analog and digital phones differ. And some phones...
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
can pass packets -- as required for VoIP -- while some can't.
You can have digital phones that do not pass packets, and you can have cell phones that communicate over IP on the cellular or Wi-Fi network. But older digital phones that don't pass packets can still communicate over VoIP. You can install a gateway that will convert the digital conversation into data packets to transmit over an IP network.
The easiest way to tell what a phone is capable of delivering is to look at what the phone plugs into to get a dial tone. If the phone does not plug into a network switch, then it will require a gateway to communicate over the network.
A gateway will have one connection to the POTS network, an older key system or PBX, and another connection to a communications network that understands IP traffic. The gateway acts like a translator between the two. On a cellular or Wi-Fi network, the gateway is typically a software program that will encapsulate the IP packets for transmission over the network.
Picture yourself in a foreign country where you don't know the language. A translator can interpret the conversations for you and the person with whom you are having a conversation. The translator is equivalent to the gateway in this scenario.
Another type of phone for VoIP is a softphone. Skype, Avaya Communicator and other softphone clients take microphone voice input and turn it into IP packets for transmission over a network. Softphones have the advantage of routing calls to the device regardless of physical location, as long as it's on and visible to the network.
You don't necessarily need the right hardware phones for VoIP communication. In fact, you can have any of these phones in combination and they will work.
You could use a gateway to bridge an office that uses VoIP with an office that doesn't. You could add softphones to that environment, or pretty much any combination of phones. Of course, with freeware and any phone that uses public networks, the call quality will only be as good as the network.
Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)
Making sure your VoIP system grows with your company
Understanding the basics of VoIP
VoIP basics show the evolution of telephony
Dig Deeper on IP Telephony Systems
Related Q&A from Carrie Higbie Goetz
Maintaining voice communications is vital to disaster recovery. Networking expert Carrie Higbie Goetz explains how to build a disaster recovery ...continue reading
The growing use of collaboration apps is putting pressure on the business mobile network. Learn how to support collaboration on both mobile and Wi-Fi...continue reading
Learn how to prepare your organization for a SIP deployment through a clearly defined evaluation of your organization's network requirements and ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.