Like the analog telephony, the VoIP-tech world can do without telephones. However, it does not employ the machines to which we are accustomed. More modern IP-phones are different from their conventional counterparts both in functionality and appearance. Moreover, not all VoIP-phones are a hardware solution, some involve software.
The characteristics of IP-phones
The voip telephone is a device that allows you to make calls through the IP-telephony, connected to LAN. The most well-known manufacturers of such equipment are Cisco, Avaya, Grandstream, China Skyline, Ejoin Tech, and Gigaset. In addition to the standard functions of the conventional fixed or mobile phones (speakerphone, speed dial buttons, etc.), VoIP phones offer the following features:
- An indication of the availability of the subscriber (user can switch the device into the "do not disturb", "not available" mode, and so on).
- Easy call forwarding (advanced IP-phones allow subscribers to set up call forwarding from one device to another via the computer).
- Voice mail (easy access to new messages).
- Audio conference (available not for all IP-telephones).
- Sending and receiving text messages (the function may not be available on some models).
- The telephone gateway is used for connecting the IP-phone to the Internet network.
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Types of IP-phones
To date, there are several types of VoIP phones:
- Softphones are software SIP/VoIP phones, which are often used in IP-telephony. They are special software that allows you to make and receive calls. These programs use a microphone and headphones. There is also a special VoIP-computer headset that can be connected.
- Hardware IP-telephones are "advanced" phones that are connected via an RJ-45 connector.
- USB VoIP-phones are connected via the USB-connector to the computer and work using IP-telephony programs.
- VoIP videophones provide visual contact between users through video support. They are often equipped with a built-in browser and a USB-port to connect a mouse.
Buying an IP-phone, you should consider your own needs. Remember that the most important criterion for selecting a device is its compatibility with your IP PBX and VoIP gateway. That is, if your telephone exchange is based on the H.323, the other equipment must also support this communication protocol.
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