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.
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.
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.
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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