Business VoIP Phone

By Robin Wilding
Updated: March 07, 2011

Business VoIP phones have come a long way and are now virtually indistinguishable from traditional PTSN phones. VoIP phones are now just as feature rich as their PTSN counterparts, and are beginning to align along the same price points. There are internal differences as VoIP phones have Internet-based parts like Ethernet and USB ports, WIFI, audio/video codecs and DNS clients, but the external features look and feel the same as non-VoIP phones.

Elements of a VoIP phone

Physical handset hardware (ear piece, microphone, keypad, etc), DNS client, STUN client, DHCP client (uncommon), RTP stack, audio codecs, video codecs, user interface, power source.

Business VoIP Phone Features

  • Name/ID dialing
  • Caller ID
  • Locally stored and network-based directories
  • Conference calling
  • Call transfer and call hold
  • Call park.
  • Applications

Types of Business VoIP Phones

  • Wi-Fi - A VoIP phone with a Wi-Fi connection is the most convenient as you gain valuable mobility. Wi-Fi headsets are generally cordless handsets, which are convenient, but of course they only work within range of a Wi-Fi network—which these days is just about everywhere.

  • USB
 - USB is the most traditional connection and can be found on any computer, netbook, or tablet (except the irritating USB-free iPad). Most traditional office settings use USB port handsets.
  • Ethernet
 - Similar to the USB models but not quite as common. While most computers and laptops have Ethernet connections they can be missing from some netbooks and tablets. This is another standard technology for offices as many businesses already run Cat5 Ethernet cables through their offices.

PTSN Vs. VoIP Phones

While the phones look similar they run on two different technologies. Traditional PTSN phones (if you do not know what PTSN is—every standard business phone is PTSN and they have been around for decades) run off of a circuit-switchboard like a PBX while VoIP phones run via cables or Wi-Fi to an Internet connection and send packets of audio and video data via Internet protocol. PTSN sends information over analog lines, sending uncompressed packets of audio data only.

Analog PTSN phones use dedicated lines that are required due to the large quantity of information being sent. VoIP phones splice your Internet-connection and create “channels”, or lines, to send its data packets over. The data packets are compressed for VoIP calls so that you can have 8times as many lines as analog.

Buying VoIP Business Phones 

Before purchasing VoIP phones for your business you should first choose your Internet service provider, as they may recommend specific technologies and may include them in the cost of their installation and services (or offer a discount). Also, you may not need to purchase different handsets at all as converters and gateways can sometimes permit you to connect existing PTSN handsets to VoIP connections.

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