What Types of Multimedia VoIP Phones Are Available?

August 31, 2012 by Garrett Smith

Someone who’s beginning to shop for a new multimedia VoIP phone might have a lot of questions about exactly what these models are and what they offer. Actually, there’s a lot of difference between the various types of multimedia VoIP phones that can be found on today’s market. Understanding the differences can help one choose the hardware and telephony setups that most benefit their business or home use.

Categories of Multimedia VoIP Phones

Some of the major types of multimedia VoIP phone models include phones that are standalone hardware, much like traditional telephones, along with other telephones that are differently connected to VoIP setups, and even telephones that are built right into a computer via software.

All of these phones use VoIP technology in the sense that they send signals, not through the traditional fiber optic lines used for land lines. They transmit data packets through the Internet on predetermined routes.

Soft Phones

One type of multimedia VoIP phone is called a ‘soft phone’. Soft phones are not physical hardware. Instead, they are pieces of software that act like a phone. Users can bring up these phones just like any other software on their desktop and use them to make calls. Additionally, some of these might have extra multimedia features like social media connectivity, e-mail features, fax features or other benefits.

Standalone Hard Phones

Standalone hardware phones look and feel like traditional telephones. They have receivers, but because they are multimedia phones, they also have a visual screen and a graphical user interface to provide video and other multimedia features.

Other multimedia VoIP phones may connect to a computer through a USB connection, just like other peripherals. This gives users an easy setup alternative. From models like the Altigen iFusion to lines of phones from makers like Cisco, many phones support this kind of easy connection.

VoIP Phone Operability

Different multimedia VoIP phones also have different fundamental means of communicating audio or video calls. Many of these phones work on different IP systems, where some companies and providers may have their own specifically set up routing for calls, to enable a better and more consistent result. Some of these funds also offer “plug-and-play” operability, making it easier to connect to a network. Features related to accessing a local area network or LAN are desirable features of many multimedia VoIP phone models.

Operating Systems for Multimedia VoIP Phones

Today’s selection of multimedia VoIP phone models can work with nearly any major operating system associated with computers and other devices. There are VoIP phone models for Microsoft Windows, as well as Apple’s Mac OS. Some phones can also be compatible with the open source Linux operating system. Many multimedia VoIP phones will run on smartphone operating systems like Android OS, especially if they use some of the same routing as a smartphone strategies as a 3G or 4G system.

Buying Multimedia Phone Apps

Users can download applications from the makers of the operating systems that the multimedia VoIP phone runs on. Typically, applications for multimedia VoIP phones will be set up in online marketplaces where buyers can choose any software that did not come with the phone purchase.

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