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I'm looking into this VoIP stuff and I'm awefully confused. There must be a million options. When reading about any given solution, how do I know if it'll allow me to use a regular handset rather than require a computer program to make and receive calls?

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I don't think you actually need a "router" for this.

There are devices called "ATA" (Analog Telephone Adapter). Technically- they enable every "regular" analog phone to be used with VOIP services.

For example, Vonage uses "Phone Adapter"s, which you can use with your home router.

VOIP routers are just Routers with embedded ATAs.

Just make sure that the VOIP protocol is supported by the ATA, and your regular handset will work with your VOIP provider.

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If you want to use a regular handset without "computer program" you'll need a VoIP or SIP router.

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With a SIP router you can use your regular handset to make VOIP calls, nobody has to sit at a computer, in fact the computer doesn't even has to be turned on.

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I won't mind having to run a server 24/7 at home, but more precisely what I don't want is for my family members to have to sit down in front of a computer to make a call. Does this affect your answer? – James05 Nov 7 '09 at 19:27
And didn't you mean "if you want" rather than "If you don't want" – James05 Nov 7 '09 at 19:28
my bad, edited my answer :) – Molly7244 Nov 7 '09 at 19:42
This answer is just wrong. Aside from the obvious pinout differences, there is a huge mismatch between analog and digital signals. a VoIP router acts as a gateway and does the voice routing for the phone, or in cheaper routers (ones that are not actually VoIP routers but market themselves as such) just have VoIP options in them that interfere more than help. – MaQleod Sep 7 '11 at 18:41

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