VoIP Hardware Overview

What hardware is required For VoIP?

Here you will find a brief overview of various options for your VoIP service.

For more information only the actual products please check our VoIP Hardware Catalog for a detailed description of the most common VoIP hardware.

IP Phones

IP Telephones look and feel like standard desk-phones, but connect to the Internet (either via an Ethernet connection or WiFi) rather than the phone line socket in wall. They are independent from your computer, meaning you do not have to have your computer on to make and receive calls.

A wide range of IP phones are available from the ultra-basic phones, to advanced phones with multi-line support, high quality speaker-phone, power over Ethernet, and more!

Analogue Telephone Adapters

These adapters (ATAs) allow you to use any standard analogue telephone as an IP phone. Simply plug your telephone (cordless phone if you like) into the RJ-11 port on the ATA, connect your ATA to the Internet by plugging it into a spare Ethernet socket on your router, and your old telephone is transformed into an Internet telephone. Once set up, they are independent from your computer, meaning you do not have to have your computer on to make and receive calls.

Many analogue telephone adapters also have a built in router, providing some advantages over the standard ATAs. These are lited in the router category.

Routers with VoIP

VoIP Routers are 'all-in-one' devices that combine a router and a voice over IP adapter in one. By using a single device for your router and VoIP hardware, not only do you have one less piece of hardware to deal with (and one less powerpoint that is occupied), you are guaranteed that you will not have any NAT or firewall issues as the router inherently 'knows' about the VoIP traffic. Additionally, these units automatically prioritise traffic to ensure call quality is never compromised by other Internet activity.

Routers with built in ADSL modems are also available.

ADSL Modem/Routers with VoIP

"All-in-one" combo units are becoming very popular amongst home and small business users. They combine an ADSL modem (some are ADSL2 and ADSL2+ compatible), router, and built in voice over IP telephone adapter in the one unit. Some units also have multi-port Ethernet switches, 802.11g wirless access points, and advanced firewall and VPN functions. A single unit covering multiple needs means less hardware collecting dust, and fewer used power points! Additionally, a combination unit ensures that you will not have any NAT or firewall issues as the router inherently 'knows' about the VoIP traffic. These units automatically prioritise traffic to ensure call quality is never compromised by other Internet activity.

Plain routers (without the ADSL modem component) are also available.

PC Headsets

These headsets can be used with any voice over IP application on your computer. In fact, they can be used for any application that requires a microphone and/or speakers! We have sourced only the most comfortable headsets that are suitable for use with Internet telephony. Some of our headsets plug into a spare USB port and act as a separate audio device for your computer, whilst others simply plug into your sound card, allowing them to be used on any operating system without requiring drivers to be installed. We have a selection of both stereo and mono headsets (which some people find more natural for telephone conversations).

PC Handsets, Speakerphones & Telephone Adapters

'Telephone-like' handsets connect to your computer via the sound card or a USB port and work together with a softphone to provide you with a complete VoIP experience. We also have USB based hands-free speaker-phones, and telephone adapters which are similar to ATAs, but connect to your computer rather than your router.

All of these devices either work without any special software or come with free software. Many work on MacOS and Linux systems as well as Windows.

Asterisk Hardware

Asterisk is an open source IP PABX that runs on the Linux operating system. It is an extremely powerful product capable of the most advanced PABX functions including voice-mail, conference calls, trunking, hunt groups, and much more. Being IP based, users connecting to Asterisk can be geographically distributed, yet still connected to the same business grade PABX. In order to connect telephones directly to an Asterisk box, or to connect Asterisk to the PSTN, interconnect cards are required.

Business Grade Media Gateways

Media gateways are suitable for businesses requiring a number of voice over IP lines - either as an independent option or hooked up to an existing PABX. These gateways do the job of multiple ATAs in the one unit as well as additional routing functions.

The Octtel series of gateways have a built in phonebook manager allowing you to manage a group of devices without any external SIP server. This phonebook feature can also be used in conjunction with a SIP proxy if desired.

Gateways with FXO ports are not yet A-ticked and may only be used for internal testing purposes.

Many of these units are available in H.323 and MGCP configurations on request.

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