Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)


VoIP Solutions – Getting Started

Hardware

You could use your computer’s built-in microphone and sound card to make and receive calls, but most users find headsets and handsets more practical.

  • Analogue handsets plug into your existing soundcard. They are simple to operate but sound quality can be variable. They are available for around £25.

  • USB handsets plug into any PC and deliver superior audio as they usually have built-in sound cards. Look for models with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) functionality. SIP models can plug into any PC so you can access your voice mail and make/receive calls from anywhere in the world. Prices start at around £40. For more information on SIP, see VoIP Solutions – Going Further.

  • Analogue telephone adaptors – units that convert your existing analogue phone into an internet capable (SIP-capable) phone are available from suppliers such as Cisco. Typical costs are around £150.

  • IP phones are available from Cisco, Avaya and other suppliers. They plug into the data network. As well as making phone calls over the internet, you can check email, browse the internet and access your company’s business applications. But their screen is much smaller than a PC screen. Small businesses may also find their existing network is not sophisticated enough to accommodate them. You can pick them up for £60-£130.

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