VoIP phones come in many varieties.
And just so you know, all VoIP phones are not alike.
VoIP phones may be soft or hard or anything in-between.
Let's start with hard VoIP phones.
Hard VoIP phones
Hard VoIP phones are self-contained
broadband IP telephones that look just like regular
phones. Instead of conventional phone jacks, VoIP phones
have Ethernet ports through which it communicates. This
communication can be with another VoIP phone, a VoIP
server or a VoIP gateway. VoIP phones do not require
a personal computer on which to run. All that is required
for VoIP phones is an Internet connection. Some VoIP
phones are cordless and come with an IP or USB interface
on their base stations.
VoIP hard phones do not have a built in Ethernet
port, but have built-in modems instead. The dial-up
type of hard phone does not require a personal
computer to operate. All that is required is a
phone line and a dial-up Internet account. These
kinds of VoIP phones are popular where broadband
is as of yet undeveloped.
or WiFi VoIP phones are hard phones with no Ethernet
ports, but WiFi transceivers instead. These VoIP phones
connect from to a WiFi base station and the to the VoIP
server. The WLAN or WiFi VoIP phones need only a WiFi
base station on which to connect. Some hard VoIP phones
can also connect to GSM networks as well. A few manufacturers
also offer video support as an option.
Soft VoIP phones
Soft VoIP phones are software
phones that run by personal computer. Soft VoIP phones
run through the IP address on a PC and require audio
software to be installed upon the PC as well. The PC
needs to be equipped with a sound card. Then the soft
VoIP phone will run through speakers, microphones or
earphones or even a USB phone set. Soft VoIP phones
are cheaper (some are free) than hard phones but the
quality is inferior. Some soft VoIP phones also come
with video support. USB soft phones are popular with
many consumers, but the drivers that are bundled may
not be compatible with all operating systems.
Conventional telephones may be
used as VoIP phones with the installation of a small
Analog Terminal Adapter (ATA) adapter. After registering
for service, most VoIP service companies will send a
small adapter to plug onto the conventional corded or
cordless telephone, which then plugs into the home network.
In order for a conventional telephone to be used, you'll
need a cable or DSL connection. A router may also be
useful so that you can share your connection with multiple
devices within the home.
Future of VoIP Phones
So, what does the future of VoIP phones hold. Well
VoIP could begin to be a player in the cell phone marketplace
sometime in the future. As WiFi hotspots expand and
the Android open source operating system takes over
the mobile phone market place this could change the
landscape in a very few short years. The Android
Phone with all of the open source development going
into it could help VoIP broaden its reach throughout
the U. S. At first, of course the Android phone would
be compatible with both VoIP and traditional cell phone
services, gradually switching over to VoIP as time passes.
Anyway, this is a look into the crystal ball of how
VoIP will develop in the coming years.