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Do I have to have a special router or modem to enable VOIP?

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VoIP is a tricky subject with a lot of options and a lot of varying protocols and services. A lot depends on exactly what you want out of it and how you want to place and receive calls. For example, there are solutions like Edgewater routers with SIP phones that will manage all the SIP communications for the phone and has a unix interface for easy troubleshooting and superior traffic shaping and QoS settings for voice traffic. There are also home routers that are considerably cheaper but usually interfere with VoIP signaling and their QoS is marginal at best. – MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 5:24
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No, you can use a VoIP application (e.g. Skype, VoipStunt, VoipBuster, etc.) from your computer without a 'special router or modem'.

Unless you want to use your regular telephone, in which case you'll need a SIP gateway.

alt text

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Will I need any other hardware, or is a headset/mic, either wired or wireless enough? Thanks a lot! – Xavierjazz Sep 29 '09 at 20:51
not at all, a normal headset will suffice. i do, however, recommend a USB headset or USB telephone, as they're installing an additional audio controller, thus they won't block/interfere with the default sound card. – Molly7244 Sep 29 '09 at 20:55
@molly - I have another question on SUser regarding the Microsoft wireless headphone/Mic. It is wireless toa usb "dongle". Is this what you are referring to? Thanks – Xavierjazz Sep 30 '09 at 0:18
You should however keep in mind that many routers employ functions that can interfere with VoIP. ALG, SPI and any other form of intrusion detection can cause one-way audio, lack of audio or random breaks in audio. Poor NAT traversal can cause problems with dialing or picking up a call or registering with a voice server. I should also point out that a SIP gateway is not necessary for using a regular telephone, all you need is an analog converter (such as the linksys spa 2102). This is because VoIP isn't always SIP, but it is always digital. – MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 5:08

No, (and if related to your last question...) VOIP is a protocol on top of TCP/IP and works over any standard network equipment.

That being said, modern routers are much better tasked for VOIP as they generally have QOS (Quality of Service) features that can give higher bandwidth to VOIP traffic, so if you have anyone that does a lot of downloading, your call quality will not suffer.

The only extra you need is any VOIP Softphone (a software based phone) or standard SIP Phone (that typically plugs wired or through wireless straight in to the network).

alt text

Softphone above.

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Typical standard phone above.

If you want to use a real phone, you will need to get a SIP Gateway

alt text

Sip Gateway above.

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Can I not just use a wireless device to communicate voice messages? Do I have to have this add-on? – Xavierjazz Sep 29 '09 at 20:49
Yes, you can buy wireless VOIP phones, like the phone above, you type the settings in to it and it wirelessly connects to your router. – William Hilsum Sep 30 '09 at 7:20
VoIP does not use TCP/IP, it uses UDP. Most routers do not handle VoIP QoS very well and they will not offer higher bandwidth, just prioritization, an only up to the router, not on the rest of the path - all bets are off when it hits the first ISP router, unless they are providing your VoIP service too, then they often will prioritize on their network as well. VoIP is also not always SIP, it depends on the provider. – MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 5:14

While any old router should work fine, depending on your traffic volume and type, it may be helpful to have a router that supports QoS, to prioritize VoIP traffic as highest priority.

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You can use various voip applications, no need of special modem or router. Teleconferencing applications like skype, gtalk etc can be used.

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No, VOIP simply means "Voice over IP" Wiki. You can use any internet connection to use VOIP services, like Skype. Some telecoms services that use VOIP can also be accessed with a PSTN (phone) connection, like ConferenceLabs.

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