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 VoIP USB Phone

As you can see VoIP USB phone looks like cordless phone which comes with USB connector. You connect that into the USB port found on your computer or laptop. It is plug-and-play VoIP device that improves your PC to phone calls experience.

Yap-Jack by Net2Phone Dialup VoIP

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.

Linsys PAP2 ATA
    VoIP Phone Adapter broadly known as ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). One of the VoIP devices that works on broadband Internet only to enable you  make and receive phone calls via the Internet. Simply plug this device into your Internet modem, hub/switch at home or office. Then you are good to go. Visit the above link to read more. 

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).

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

Quintum DX Advanced VoIP Gateway

Advanced VoIP Gateway, sometimes referred as media 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.

ShorTel IP Phone

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.

GrandStream Video Phone

An Internet video phone is similar to IP phone, it just comes with extra embedded video camera so that you can use it for live face-to-face communication. So with this type of device you can virtually see/view the person you talking to, not only place and receive VoIP phone calls. Visit Internet Video Phone page to read more about IP Video phone - for enhanced face to face teleconference, much better than PC web-cam.

Paton SL4020 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. Read more.

Netgear SPH 101 Wifi Phone

WiFi Phones / Wireless VoIP phones look like typical mobile phones. They are part of stand-alone and easy to use VoIP devices. The VoIP technology continues to flourish, so does the hardware associated with the movement. As many use Wi-Fi hotspots and accessing the Internet on a daily basis across the world, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing wireless VoIP phones. Check Wireless VoIP phones for more information.

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. An IP PBX is a VoIP based central telephone system mostly used by small and corporate companies. This technology is similar to traditional PBX switching system, the difference is that calls are routed through the Internet networks rather than PSTN or circuit switched network. 

A VoIP switch or soft-switch is a server device used for connecting IP based telephone calls. The VoIP calls are routed over the Internet from origination to destination, meaning from IP based networks to circuit based networks (PSTN). More about this here - VoIP Switch

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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