Phones you can use with VoIP

VoIP allows you to make phone calls in a different way, with many advantages. But you still need a phone, since it is the closest to the human being. It includes both voice input and output and is the main interface between the user and the technology. There are several types of phones that you can use with VoIP:

Your existing phones

You may have already invested a lot of money in existing phones that you use over PSTN/POTS. You can still use them for VoIP if you are equipped with an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). The basic principle is that the adapter allows your phone to work with VoIP technology, which simply uses the Internet to channel voice data in digital packets. Where do you get an ATA? When you sign up for a VoIP service at your home or office, you are usually provided with an ATA, often called an adapter. In other configurations, you may not need one, as we see below.

IP phones

The best phones to use with VoIP are IP phones, also called SIP phones. These are specifically designed to be used for VoIP, and have features and functionality that other conventional phones do not have. An IP phone includes the function of a simple telephone plus that of a telephone adapter. Included is a list of exciting features that make your communication more sophisticated and efficient.


A softphone is a phone that is not physically a phone. It is a piece of software installed on a computer or any device. Its interface contains a keyboard, which can be used to dial numbers. It replaces the physical phone and often doesn’t need an adapter to work with as it is designed to be used with the Internet. Examples of softphones are X-Lite, Bria and Ekiga. Communication programs like Skype also have softphones built into their interface.

Softphones can also be configured to be used with SIP accounts. SIP is more technical and the common user does not like it, but it has its value.

IP phones

An IP phone is another type of phone made for VoIP. It is not stand-alone, in the sense that it is made to be connected to a PC, to be used with a softphone. An IP phone resembles a portable phone and is equipped with a USB cable for connection to a PC. It has a keyboard for dialing numbers. IP phones are also quite expensive and require some configuration to work.

Smartphones and Tablet PCs

Almost all VoIP applications that are installed on smartphones and tablet PCs have built-in softphones, with a dial pad for composing numbers. Android and iOS are the two platforms that have the most VoIP apps, but there are plenty of those apps on other platforms like BlackBerry and Windows Phone. For example, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and many others have versions of their apps for each of these platforms.