VoIP Phone Overview


1. What is a VoIP Phone?

2. How does a VoIP phone work?

3. Major Components of a VoIP Phone

Your VoIP service is only part of the solution.

You want the best possible VoIP calling experience. But it’s not just about your VoIP service.

Your VoIP phones play a large part in a quality calling experience.

That's why it is important for you to read the FREE information found here. Learn more about a VoIP phone and the technology that powers it right now in only a few minutes.

In fact, how about we get right into what VoIP phones are.

What exactly is a VoIP Phone?

You know that a VoIP phone isn’t like your old rotary dial. It’s also not that complicated to understand.

A VoIP phone is a telephone with built-in IP technology and transport protocols that is used in conjunction with a VoIP phone system or VoIP service allowing you to send and receive calls. It is similar in fit, finish and functionality to a traditional desktop telephone except it uses a different underlying technology (IP).

IP...I've heard of that before.

Tha's right. If you think you’ve heard the term IP before it’s because you have. IP stands for Internet Protocol, a method of transporting packets across your Local Area Network (LAN) and or Wide Area Network (WAN).

This is the same technology utilized by your data network to send and receive information.

It is also where the term VoIP comes from. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is the widely used term associated with the sending over voice calls over a network.

Now that you know what a VoIP phone is how about we explore how it works?

How does the magic inside a VoIP phone work?

It would be great to tell you that there is some sort of magic behind the way an IP phone works. But, there’s no need to prepare to be amazed. A VoIP phone is actually a simple device.

A VoIP phone works by taking your analog voice and converting it into digital packets that are then transmitted across a networkusing. VoIP phones can also convert digital packets in analog voice streams.

To accomplish this conversion and transfer of voice stream a VoIP phone usesspecificset of VoIP protocols and voice codec’s.

This is usually the part where you get a little squeamish. Before you go grabbing that bag located in the seat back in front of you take a deep breath - Voice protocols and voice codecs are rather easy to stomach.

Let's keep turbulence to a minimum.

You might not be technical, but you still need a basic understanding of the VoIP protocols and codec’s. Without them you’d be in for one bumpy ride.

This is because protocols and codec’s play an important role in ensuring system compatibility and call quality. Without going into great detail…

A VoIP protocol determines how your voice packet is transported across a network. A VoIP phone will typically support one protocol. The most popular VoIP protocols are:

  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) – SIP is a standards-based protocol that is used and supported by the vast majority of VoIP phone systems and services.
  • SCCP (Cisco Skinny Client Control Protocol) – SCCP is a proprietary protocol used by Cisco’s Call Manager and Cisco IP phones.
  • MGCP – MGCP is an older VoIP protocol you might come across. It is not widely used and or supported.
  • H.323 – Similar to MGCP, H.323 is an older VoIP protocol that you might come across, but is no longer widely used and or supported.

A voice codec is responsible for the conversion of your analog voice stream into a digital packet. Voicecodec’s also determine sound quality and bandwidth required to send the packet. A VoIP phone typically supports multiple voice codec’s. The most common voicecodec’s are:

  • GSM – 13 Kbps
  • iLBC – 15 Kbps
  • G.711 - 64 Kbps
  • G.722 - 48/56/64 Kbps
  • G.726 - 16/24/32/40 Kbps
  • G.728 - 16 Kbps
  • G.729 - 8 Kbps

See that wasn’t too bad. As long as you make sure your VoIP phone system and VoIP phone support the same protocols and codec’s you should be in for a smooth ride.

Do these things come with a nice set of rims?

No cool rotary dial. No rabbits popping out of a hat. Plus there are those protocols and codec’s to contend with.

You're probably starting to think that a VoIP phone is rather boring.

Don't fall asleep just yet. While they don't come with a slick set of rims, VoIP phones do have a few major components that add a little flash.

The major components that make up a VoIP phone include:

  • Screen
  • Keypad
  • Handset
  • Microphone/Speaker
  • Ethernet ports
  • Headset jack
  • Software

Okay so maybe those components don’t add any flash.

Even though VoIP phones aren’t the flashiest of things they are necessary. They allow you to send and receive calls. Don’t forget that they also play an important role in a quality VoIP calling experience.

Read the next installment of our VoIP Phones Resource Series , Types Of VoIP Phones

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