Most VoIP companies sell all the hardware needed to set up and begin using a VoIP service from a home computer. In the event that you are buying separate components for setting up a home VoIP service there is some installation to be done and a minimum amount of VoIP hardware needed.
Depending on the service you are using there may be some small differences, but most hardware will be more similar than different.
* Router and/or phone adapter - This component is the essential part of the VoIp hardware, allowing information to be exchanged between your high-speed internet connection and your phone. There will be a minimum of three plug-in slots in the back of the unit, one for the LAN (computer) hook-up, one for the WAN (DSL or cable modem) hook-up, and at least one slot for the analog phone to plug into.
There will also be a power supply cord. Depending on the phone adapter the number of slots on the back of the unit may differ but there will still be one slot for Ethernet cable and one for phone or fax line. Some VoIp routers also work as a network router to enable up to four computers to share the high-speed broadband internet connection.
* Cables - an Ethernet cable will be need to hook the router or phone adapter to the computer or high speed internet gateway and a phone line will be needed to connect the phone to the router/phone adapter.
* Plug and play - Most of the new devices require minimal set-up by the home user, rather they are plug and play devices for easy set-up and configuration. The devices will come with a simple, easy to follow step-by-step installation and configuration guide.
* Analog phone - A good quality analog phone is essential for good quality sound. The phone may be either standard or cordless and simply plugs into the phone jack located on the back of the VoIP router or phone adapter.
* PC Handsets - These devices are similar to telephones but they connect to the computer through USB or via sound card. Usually, they work with a softphone. If you are using an IP phone, these can also be plugged to allow many users to use the same phone.
* PC Headsets - This headset is a very commonly used to listen to listen to the audio from your PC while allowing you to speak through a microphone.
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