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What is the easiest way to set up an IP phone over an office WAN?

SearchVoIP expert Carrie Higbie answers a member-submitted question about connecting an IP phone to an office WAN from home.

I have a Nortel 2004w IP Phone and am trying to set it up over a WAN at home to my office. Should I try it through a VPN Tunnel on my laptop or through my router which doesn't have a VPN Tunnel? Which one is easier and what settings would I need to set up in the phone and/or laptop to get this working?
A VPN tunnel will allow you to transmit voice and data over a more secure connection but will also add a bit of overhead to the system. Your router may have an add on software package for the tunnel. If you run it through your PC you are going to have to contend with data traffic that will transmit (just like the router) but the PC is not usually as efficient as a good router. If you are using a cheap (translated lower featured) router, you may find it less than desirable. Also, depending on your carrier and firewall for internet, you may have to obtain an open IP address for the communications rather than the one that is dynamically assigned every time the power goes out or you reconnect.

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