Computers, Laptops & Tablets Accessories & Hardware Common VoIP Hardware Devices and Equipment Understanding Common VoIP phone system hardware by Nadeem Unuth Freelance Contributor Nadeem Unuth is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire who specializes in information and communication technology with a focus on VoIP. our editorial process LinkedIn Nadeem Unuth Updated on April 19, 2020 TwilightEye / GettyImages Accessories & Hardware The Quick Guide to Webcams Keyboards & Mice Monitors Cards HDD & SSD Printers & Scanners Raspberry Pi Tweet Share Email To place or receive calls using Voice-over-IP technology, you need a hardware setup that will allow you to speak and listen. You might need simply a headset with your PC or a complete set of network equipment, including routers and phone adapters. We've prepared a list of the equipment that you typically require for VoIP, but you won't need everything we mention. What you need depends on what you use and how you use it. Analog Telephone Adapters An analog telephone adapter acts as a hardware interface between an analog PSTN telephone system and a digital VoIP line. You don’t need an ATA if you are using PC-to-PC VoIP, but you will use it if you sign up for a monthly VoIP service to be deployed at home or in your office, and if you intend to use your existing phones. Acronym Alert! PSTN — the packet-switched telephone network — uses analog signals over copper or fiber-optic cable. Voice-over-IP technology sends digital signals through the internet. The approaches function similarly, but the underlying architecture is very different. Telephone Sets The phone set is essential for VoIP — it's both an input and an output device. Several types of phones can be used with VoIP, depending on the circumstances, your needs, and your choice. Although you can use an analog telephone designed for PSTN networks, you might find more value in a dedicated VoIP phone or even a non-hardware softphone app. PC Handsets Handsets resemble telephones, but they connect to your computer through USB or a sound card. They work together with a softphone allowing you to use VoIP more comfortably. They can also be plugged into an IP phone to allow many users to use the same phone. These devices are rarer than they used to be; most people now either use a PC headset or an ATA with a desk phone to communicate using VoIP. PC Headsets A PC headset is a standard multimedia device that allows you to hear audio from your computer and input your voice by using a microphone. Check out our list of the best USB headsets and the best Bluetooth headsets to help you pick the right device for you.