Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has emerged as a revolutionary technology for businesses, offering feature-rich yet affordable communication solutions. However, to be able to leverage the full potential of this communication technology, it is important to choose the right hardware.
Choosing the right VoIP hardware is essential to ensure optimal services. VoIP converts voice signals into digital data packets or codecs. These codecs are then transmitted over the internet. To ensure seamless conversion and transmission, businesses need to make the right choice for hardware. Otherwise, poor-quality equipment results in poor call quality, frequent dropouts, and related issues. Therefore, it should be the top priority for the business to invest in quality VoIP hardware components.
Here is all you should know about VoIP hardware to be able to leverage its full potential:
Basic VoIP Hardware Component
VoIP hardware comes in a variety of forms. For instance, it can be desktops, handsets, VoIP phones, and conference devices with a set of speakers, all are VoIP hardware.
VoIP hardware is good for those familiar with using a dedicated phone line. It offers similar functionality as the analog phone system; of course with added features. Mostly the VoIP service provider provides the customers with hardware and VoIP equipment. Basic VoIP equipment for installation of VoIP phone system include:
VoIP Phones / IP Phones
VoIP phones, also called IP phones are designed to make and receive VoIP calls. Based on their unique features and functionalities, VoIP phones come in various forms. For instance, desk phones, cordless phones, conference phones, etc. in addition to IP phones, softphones are also used. Softphones are software-based applications that are installed on desktops and phones. This allows VoIP communication over desktops and mobile devices. Simply put, businesses can choose the most suitable IP phones according to their requirements and available budget.
Router and Switches
Both these components support quality of services (QoS) by prioritizing VoIP traffic. Businesses should invest in quality routers and switches. These will ensure that video and audio VoIP calls are not disrupted by other traffic on the network.
Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA)
Analog telephone adapter is an affordable way to integrate VoIP into your existing analog phone system. An ATA adapter, when attached to the phone, converts voice signals into digital data packets. These data packets are then transmitted over the internet.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) Switch
A Power over Ethernet (PoE) Switch eliminates the need for separate power adapters for each VoIP phone. Instead, the PoE switch powers VoIP phones through Ethernet cables. The Ethernet cables connect IP phones, routers, switches, and VoIP hardware to complete the network.
Headset and Accessories
High-quality headsets are a must-have for employees using softphones or mobile apps. Headsets for VoIP calling enhance user experience through additional features such as noise and echo cancellation.
Advanced VoIP Hardware Components
Large enterprises having extensive VoIP communication systems make use of some advanced VoIP tools:
Session Border Controller (SBC)
Session Border Controller (SBC) protects and regulates VoIP communication. This special-purpose device regulates signaling and media traffic between networks to ensure data integrity during VoIP calls.
Voice Quality Monitoring (VQM) Tools
Voice Quality Monitoring (VQM) Tools enhance call quality. These tools mitigate latency issues, VoIP jitter, and echo.
Conference Call Equipment
VoIP equipment for conference calls is designed to enhance audio and video quality during calls. This way, multiple participants can communicate and share leads for enhanced work efficiency.
Key Considerations When Choosing VoIP Hardware
Assess Your Business Needs
When choosing VoIP hardware, do a detailed assessment of your business needs. Every business has specific requirements when it comes to communication systems. For instance, businesses with remote working teams should go for softphone and mobile applications. This will enable them to stay connected from multiple different locations. A detailed assessment of your organization’s communication requirements is significant to be able to make the right choice.
Your communication system should be scalable to accommodate growing business needs. Make sure to choose VoIP hardware that is easily scalable and can seamlessly integrate with additional devices and services when required.
Your chosen hardware and components must be compatible with the existing infrastructure. Only then, it can seamlessly integrate and provide optimal VoIP services.
Reliability and Security
Invest in reliable quality equipment and sustain regular use. When making a purchase, check for the manufacturer’s warranty and support for troubleshooting.
In addition, data security is a prime concern for businesses. To mitigate the risks of cyber threats and security breaches, choose the right hardware. Ideally, it should have inbuilt security features such as encryption and firewalls. Furthermore, you should regularly do patch management and upgrades for enhanced security.
Prioritize Quality of Services (QoS)
VoIP hardware should be able to ensure high-quality services – a feature that prioritizes VoIP calls over other data transmissions.
Optimal call quality is non-negotiable for business communication. Therefore, choose hardware that supports Quality of Service (QoS) features. This will ensure crystal-clear call quality with minimal downtime and low latency.
Budget is often limiting as well as a deciding factor for VoIP systems. You will need a budget for purchasing equipment, set up, service installation, running expenditures, and so on. Therefore, do thorough research to find the right service provider for your business offering quality services while staying within budget.
Some Notable Brands for VoIP Hardware
Some of the reputable and well-known manufacturers of VoIP hardware and components are:
- Cisco – Reputed for the quality and reliability of a range of VoIP equipment
- Yealink – Offers a range of feature-rich IP phones
- Grandstream – Leading manufacturer of IP phones, analog phone adapters, IP-based and VoIP equipment
- Poly – Formerly Polycom offers a range of video conferencing equipment, headset and accessories
- Snom – Offer a range of innovative IP phones, video conferencing equipment and accessories
- Fanvil – Reputed manufacturer of a variety of IP phones and related products for business communication
Choosing the right VoIP hardware is paramount for businesses to ensure optimal quality of VoIP services. There are several key considerations such as reliability, scalability, security, quality of service, compatibility, and your business needs in this regard. When shifting to a VoIP phone system, make sure to do a thorough analysis and research of different service providers and manufacturers to choose the best for your business.
Frequently Asked Question
What are essential hardware required for VoIP?
For setting up a VoIP phone system for your office or home, you will need an IP phone, router modem, and accessories such as cables and switches. An analog telephone adapter is also used. When connected with an analog phone, it enables VoIP telephony.
Can I keep using the existing phone system for VoIP telephony?
You may keep using your existing phone system, given that it is compatible with VoIP technology. Moreover, the communication infrastructure should be capable of handling high call volume without affecting call quality.
Hosted VoIP or on-premises VoIP solution, which one is better for my business?
The choice between hosted and on-premises VoIP solutions depends on your business’s specific needs. While on-premises VoIP offers greater customization and control hosted VoIP offers increased affordability.
What is the use of the ATA adapter?
An Analogue telephone adapter (ATA) is a device that enables internet-based telephony when connected to a device. VoIP service providers offer ATA adapters that users connect to their analog phones to enable VoIP technology.
What are some considerations when choosing VoIP hardware?
When selecting VoIP hardware for your home or business, consider your specific needs, budget, required features such as (conference calls, and call routing) and scalability options.