Phones You Can Use With VoIP

VoIP technology opens the door to different phones, including virtual ones

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When it comes to making phone calls, voice-over-IP technology has several advantages over copper-wire systems. The networked nature of VoIP means you have additional options for phones you can use with VoIP.

Your Existing Phones

If you're committed to traditional, PSTN/POTS-based home phones, use them for VoIP by equipping an analog telephone adapter. The adapter translates the signal types to help your phone work with VoIP technology. When you register for a home or office VoIP service, you are normally provided with an ATA, which is also called an adapter. In other configurations, you may not need one.

IP Phones

The best phones for VoIP are IP phones, also called SIP phones. These are specifically designed for use with VoIP and have features that conventional phones lack. An IP phone acts as both a "phone" and an ATA.


A softphone is software installed on a computer or mobile device. Its interface contains a keypad, which you use to dial numbers. It replaces a physical phone and often does not need an adapter to work. Examples of softphones are X-Lite, Bria, and Ekiga. Communication software like Skype may also have softphones included in their interfaces.

Softphones also work with SIP accounts. SIP is more technically complex to configure and not as common in home settings, but it does have its perks.

IP Handsets

An IP handset is not independent. It connects to a PC with a softphone. An IP handset resembles a portable phone and is equipped with a USB cable for a PC connection. It has a keypad for dialing numbers. IP handsets are expensive and require some configuration to work.

Smartphones and Tablets

Nearly all VoIP apps that you install on smartphones and tablets have softphones integrated, with a dial pad to compose numbers. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and many communications platforms incorporate versions of softphones within their apps to support voice calls.

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