VOIP Hardware Interface


Active Member
Ok, Jon00 has gotten me hooked on getting up with the times and purchasing a VOIP device. When I spoke to him through X-Lite, using his FWD phone number, a couple days ago (From Florida to England) the conversation was AMAZINGLY clear, no lag, no artifacts and absolutely free).

I have fiddled around with computer to computer calls with software in the past, as just about everyone else has. This next step is amazing though! It allows you, for instance to pick up a regular cordless phone plugged into the adapter, get a dial tone, and dial a number, where in turn it rings on the other end, exactly as a regular phone would work. This is limited by the person on the other end having either VIOP hardware, or a "softphone" installed on the PC. With the amount of Cable/DSL users being VERY high on this BB, this will work for most people here, for free.

I KNOW this is not news to many of you out there, as I am late getting on the bandwagon with this one, but for others that are not familiar with this, it is really worth checking out!

The place to start is HERE. You sign up, and they will issue you a "Phone Number". Then by simply setting up your phone number in the hardware/software of your choice, you are ready to go. Anyone then can dial that number and your phone/softphone will ring.

Ok, now for the request for assistance :p

I am currently using a "soft phone", which is just a software version that runs on your computer. I am using X-Lite, which is a free program for VOIP dialing. Jon is using a hardware device that connects to his broadband router, and allows you to plug in any standard telephone.

I am looking for recommendations, on what type of device to get. Cost is a factor here, and would like to keep it around the $30-$50 range. Doing a search for VOIP on google ect, turns up a LOT of "false hits", and its hard to find what I am looking for. What type of hardware/ Network adapters are others out there using? I am looking for a device that will just plug into my router, and then can plug in a standard phone into that.
I didn't realize Jon got an ATA, I thought he was still using the Grandstream VOIP device, which indeed plugs right into a router but looks/ acts as a std phone.

Anyways. I have a grandstream but prefer the softphones instead. John...I would think the softphone with that wireless mic thing you were talking about before would be great for this application.

There are lots of ways to go with this.

1) softphone

2) dedicated IP-addressible VOIP device

3) or a digital to analog converter device that would then allow you to use a STD house phone. Such as an ATA
3) or a digital to analog converter device that would then allow you to use a STD house phone. Such as an ATA

Thats EXACTLY what I am looking for. A device to plug right into the router to use an analog phone.

I am not sure what Jon is using, but he did say it plugged into his router, and that he was using a standard telephone. Any suggestions to a reasonably priced adapter? Or where to start looking. I cant beleive the clutter that comes up when doing a simple google for VOIP devices, its difficult to weed through.
John, Ski, jom, et al:

How does this system compare to a Vonage service? I wouldn't mind a little more basic explanation of VoIP and maybe pros and cons compared to Vonage.

For instance, with VoIP we sign up for a phone number, download some software, then can call anyone anywhere? For free (no long distance charges)?

If this is the case, why would anyone want the Vonage service unless they want their friends to call in for free (i.e. pick your local number for a particular city)?


VOIP service like FreeWorldDialUp is BASICLY 1 computer to another computer. What vonage offers you is a gateway to a standard PSTN line.

You can also use a regular VOIP softphone ( software application ) and create an additional SIP account for several types of pay services that would do the same thing
I guess that is my main question jom, why go the Vonage route if you can do the same thing just for the price of a soft phone (or am I still missing some very basic point)?
Most soft phones you can get for free. And they work great for pc to pc calls. What you pay for is the gateway to a pstn line. That being a call from either a softphone or VOIP device to a regular landline.

Just having the softphone is more or less like a voice instant message service. Absolutely great if calling another pc user that has a like application running. I take that back, the other pc user doesn't even need the same softphone. Just the same SIP provider.

Is this helping at all?
So is one of the implications of what you you are saying:
A system like Vonage can replace your POTS line, but without that pstn gateway, you are restricted to talking to other computers?
A pay service, such as vonage, acts as a gateway to basicly get you from, for lack of a better word, the internet - to a regular phone.

softphone <to> pay account <to> neighbor's regular phone line across street.

without the middle man ( the gateway) you can only go from your softphone to another softphone, or a hardware device that acts like a softphone; like the grandstream (which is IP addressible so kinda sorta acts like a computer)
OK, thanks, finally starting to sink in :p (I'm thick).

So say if jom has a softphone and I have a softphone, with the free service that was linked above, we could talk to each other. If I wanted to talk to someone who just had a regular phone I would have to get Vonage.

So, it seems that if you wanted to replace your phone line with Vonage (i.e. get rid of your local phone service) then Vonage would be the way to go. If you wanted to keep your phone line and just call "computer to computer" with a few select people that had the same service, then the softphone route is the way to go.

Is this correct? Thanks for all the explanations by the way :huh: .
BraveSirRobbin said:
A system like Vonage can replace your POTS line, but without that pstn gateway, you are restricted to talking to other computers?
rocco, can you repeat that in English please? :p
POTS = plain old telephone service. ie: simple caller to caller telephoning with landlines
PSTN = public switched telephone network. So called because it is you (the public) that does the switching by dialling a number yourself.

The thing about services like Vonage is that they have access points where they go from IP telephony to regular telephone lines. These are known as voice gateways. If you call say from Las Vegas to New York to call someone with regular non-IP phone service, the call will be sent over the internet up to some gateway in New York, where it will then be a local call away from the final phone number that you are calling. The final leg of that call path is known as the "off net" portion of the call.
...and don't get into the rut of thinking that Vonage is the only alternative. There are hundreds of gateway providers. Each has their own niche. Personally I use iconnecthere.com. The plan that I have is for outgoing calls only. No monthly charge, nada. Only pay for what you use. I give them $15 every few months, and I'm set. I can use an ata, any of my computers, or my X50v.
The next thing is going to be sull support for video. I already use eyeBeam for videoconferencing, and it works great!

Also.... calls between computers are actually much better in quality than PSTN terminated calls. Using speex wideband with a good set of speakers, and you would swear that the person is right in front of you.