To be able to gain maximum benefit from a voice over IP communications platform, a specific hardware setup allowing speech and sound is required. While some business choose to simply use a headset with a computer, others prefer a complete set of network equipment, including routers and telephony adapters.
Below you will find a list of the most common equipment normally required for optimal VoIP communications:
Analog Telephone Adapters
An Analog Telephone Adapter, or ATA, is a device that acts as a hardware interface between an analog phone system and a digital VoIP line. An ATA is not required in computer-to-computer voip (when using soft phones) but is necessary for businesses seeking to continue using their existing hardware. It is best to shop around for an ATA adapter that meets business requirements, remember the most costly option is not always the best in terms of quality.
A telephone set is essential for voice over IP as it provides the input and output device between both parties. There are several types of phones available for use with VoIP service, including hardphones and soft phones.
Most businesses find that they receive better quality with hardphones, as soft phones are notoriously unreliable.
Voice Over IP Router
A router is a device necessary for Internet connectivity. The type of router needed is dependant upon the Internet connection used. For example, businesses with a wireless Internet connection will require a wireless router.
Some businesses decide to use a handset, handsets resemble telephones but connect directly to a computer via a USB port. They are used predominately with soft phone applications.
Headsets are also used predominately with soft phones, or in cases where people are always on the phone. A headset is designed to allow the users to both hear audio and input voice using an attached microphone.