Getting To Know VoIP Devices 

The VoIP market is populated by VoIP devices. There are various types out there and vary in model and sizes to be applied for different services and solutions. You will notice one common, that is most devices come with single or multiple ports so a user can plug telephone lines and Ethernet cable. 

The ports are known as...

  • RJ-11 or FXS port - where you plug your corded or cordless, fax telephones and a PBX (Private Branch Exchange). In telephony the term FXS (Foreign eXchange Station) is used where you connect a telephone to back side of your VoIP device such as ATA and gateway.
  • FXO (Foreign eXchange Office) port is where you plug a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) line to your VoIP device meaning the line that comes from your phone company.
  • RJ-45 port - this is where you plug your Ethernet cable to your Internet modem/router.

The following figure illustrates RJ-11 and RJ45 ports...

VoIP Devices - RJ11 and RJ45 Jack Diagram

VoIP Hard Phone

A VoIP hard phone is an equipment which you physically can hold and touch. We can categorize VoIP devices into three types:

1. basic 

2. intermediate and 

3. advanced 

Let me provide you an overview of each type and start with the ones that were manufactured early. 

1. Basic

Yealink USB Phone
  • VoIP USB Phone - as you can see it looks like a cordless phone and comes with USB connector. You plug this to the USB port on your computer or laptop.

  • Dial-up VoIP Phone - manufactured with 56K built-in modem, just like a PC fax modem for dialing to ISP for Internet access. Designed to work with a dial-up Internet, use this one if high speed Internet is not available in your area.
Yap-Jack by Net2Phone Dialup VoIP

Linsys PAP2 ATA
  • VoIP Phone Adapter broadly known as ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). One of the VoIP devices that works with broadband Internet only.

2. Intermediate

  • Basic VoIP Gateway - similar to the above ATA but usually made with more FXS/FXO ports for SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) and SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprises).
Welltech 2502 4 Port Gateway

3com 3100 Basic IP Phone

Basic & Intermediate IP Phones, they look like a regular telephone but designed to work with High speed Internet and come with RJ-45 ports. We talked about RJ-45 port above (refer to first figure). For Advanced IP Phones look below.  

Avaya Intermediate IP Phone 4620

3. Advanced VoIP Devices

  • Advanced VoIP Gateway - designed for commercial purpose and mostly used by companies and service providers. They are classified as analog and digital gateway. Check VoIP gateway article to find out more.

Quintum DX Advanced VoIP Gateway

Shoretel IP Phone IP212K
  • Advanced IP-Phone - fancy all-in-one phone comes with digital display, rich-features and benefits. You can do many things with these type of latest  IP phone models, they included features such as: Internet browser, checking weather and more. Have a business or company? You may need to consider getting this type to motivate and increase your employees' productivity.

  • Internet Video Phone - for enhanced face to face teleconference, much better than web-cam PC based tele-conference.
GrandStream Video Phone

Paton SL4030 VoIP Router
  • VoIP router - comes with more RJ-45 ports. Very handy and makes your office area less crowded. It acts as a VoIP device and Internet modem/hub/ switch so you can network your computers and other devices.

  • WiFi Phone - Designed to work with wireless Internet access. It looks like mobile phone as you can see on right. Check Wireless VoIP phones for more information.
Netgear SPH 101 Wifi Phone

Cisco_NSS3000 IP PBX Device
  • IP-PBX (Private Branch Exchange) - comes as hardware or software and can be configured with IP-Phones and VoIP gateways. This replaces traditional PBX for business telephone systems.

VoIP Switch - used in various applications mostly used by enterprises and ITSPs (VoIP providers) for billing, originating, terminating calls. 

Tenor CSM VoIP Switch

The above listed devices are the most used in residential, small and corporate businesses. Beside that, there are even more types of equipments and accessories such as:

  • VoIP Headset
  • Converter box 
  • VoIP Recorder 
  • Telephony Cards


  • conference station for businesses

The list goes on. Let's leave it here for now.

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