Perhaps the greatest challenge in the escalating adaptation to voice over IP lies in encouraging those who are set in their way to step out of their conventional comfort zone and begin using VoIP. The following is a quick overview of the various options available to voice over IP users. Listed in order of increasing expediency.
Instant Messengers – Definitely the easiest, though far from the most convenient, method to access voice over IP. Various IM providers, such as Yahoo, have been providing access to voice over IP services through their message platforms for many years. It is possible to configure your voice over IP service to work in conjunction with most instant message programs. In doing do it is possible to contact local and international parties, through a computer, with the click of a button.
Soft Phones – An Internet soft phone is a software program designed to make phone calls over the Internet using voice over IP. The software is designed to resemble and operate like a typical telephone, viewable on a computer screen. Soft phones connect directly to a VoIP provider and make regular telephone calls. They are engineered to use standard protocols like SIP and H323 but users must be stationed at the computer at all times in order to use them.
VoIP IP Phones – VoIP phones are slightly more advanced communications devices that communicate with the voice over IP application directly through the computer USB port.
ATA Adapters – An analog telephone adapter refers to the equipment used to connect a tradition telephone to a voice over IP network. An ATA adapter allows businesses to utilize their existing hardware when deploying VoIP.
SIP Phones – Sip phones look and feel exactly like a traditional phone, but do not require an ATA adapter to harness the functionality of VoIP. SIP phones are available in both wired and wireless varieties and do not require any active computer connection to operate.