Virtual PBX Phone

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: April 01, 2011

Virtual PBX phones are a key component of IP-based phone systems. They serve as the physical hardware you speak into during a phone call, and transmit your audio signal over a data network through standard internet protocol.

There are three main types of virtual PBX phones available:

A VoIP phone is a telephone that “plugs” into the internet and lets a hosting company place the phone call for you. Their primary distinguishing factor is a socket on the telephone that can be directly wired to a data network. They also have a general purpose processor and ADC and DAC converters.

USB phones resemble an ordinary telephone, but have a USB port that connects them to your VoIP provider. They also require computer software in order to function and a computer that is kept on at all times. The audio processing is managed by a dedicated ASIC that is built into the phone.

Wi-Fi phones make use of a wireless network to connect to the internet and your hosted VoIP company. This allows people to make and receive phone calls while moving around a physical area, much like a cellular phone (keep in mind they have to stay within the confines of the wireless signal).

You can also obtain a softphone to serve a similar function. These are downloadable computer programs that run in the background of your computer (often the same software that is used by USB phones) and require either a microphone and set of speakers or a telephone headset.

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