Thinking about VoIP routers can be intimidating to people just starting to investigate voice over internet protocol (VoIP) solutions. It can be very intimidating because it seems like you have just too many options. There are hundreds of routers on the market in a very wide range of prices. If, however, you take a step back and look at VoIP router technology and how it works to bring you telephone service independently from all the various makes and models it becomes much less mysterious and confusing.
VoIP telephony is simply talking on your phone by using your high speed Internet connection. Despite the number of options you have in terms of specific hardware, the actual equipment that you need is relatively minimal. Using a VoIP router is not your only option in getting phone service but it is a critical component if you plan to use the Internet as well as take advantage of telephone services. A VoIP router can also enable you to use the same hand sets that you have always used. The VoIP directs the traffic between your Internet connection and your computer equipment.
What the VoIP router actually does is receive the information coming in through your broadband connection and interpret the headers and other information in order to determine where the information needs to go. In other words, the VoIP router takes the packets of data from one network and “routes” them to another network. Without the VoIP router, your phone would not get the information it needs.
There are ways to take advantage of VoIP technology without using a VoIP router. If, for example, you do not need to be able to access the Internet, you can use an ATA adaptor to manage the information. With a VoIP router there is no need for an adapter. You can also purchase a special VoIP telephone which contains the necessary hardware and software to handle the data without using a VoIP router. This technology is still in its relatively early stages and is still somewhat expensive. You can also opt for a software plus telephone set solution that works directly on your computer. The set may be run through your audio card or it may be USB. This is probably the cheapest solution but it is also not a real substitute for VoIP technology that mimics the phone setups we are used to with traditional telephone systems.
The largest and most well known provider of VoIP routers is probably Cisco who markets its products under the Linksys name. Cisco/Linksys VoIP routers are considered to be high quality, strong, and reliable. Other big names in the market are 3Com and D-Link.
There is no question that a VoIP router is a very important element in accessing VoIP phone technology, particularly if you plan to use the Internet. It isn’t your only solution and it really isn’t as difficult to manage as it first appears to be. With a little research you’ll have your VoIP phone solution working in no time.