VoIP Gateways Article

Choosing the Right VoIP Gateway for Your Business

January 04, 2017

Now that you have a general understanding about what a VoIP gateway is, you can take a deeper look into the different kinds of VoIP gateways. There are two main types of gateways that you need to concern yourself with, but some companies offer numerous models, and choosing the right one to meet your needs can get pretty confusing. Different types of VoIP gateways are needed for different scenarios, so let’s take a look at what they are, and how they’re used.

The first main type of VoIP gateway is analog. An analog VoIP gateway is used to connect traditional analog telephones to a VoIP phone system. It can also be used to connect a VoIP phone system to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Since an analog VoIP gateway has multiple purposes, it is broken down into two different forms: FXS gateways and FXO gateways. A FXS gateway is used to connect traditional telephones and fax machines to a VoIP phone system, and a FXO gateway is used to connect a VoIP phone system to PSTN lines.

The second type is a digital VoIP gateway. A digital VoIP gateway is used to connect a business’ VoIP phone system to its digital voice lines, such as T1/E1/BRI. This type of VoIP gateway can also be used to connect a traditional PBX (News - Alert) system to an IP network.

At first, the difference between analog and digital VoIP gateways may seem unclear. If it sounds to you like they do the same thing, you’re right. The real difference isn’t the function of the VoIP gateway, but how that function is carried out. Essentially, they are the same except for the interfaces each one uses to connect various solution components together.

Once you’ve figured out whether you need an analog or digital VoIP gateway, it’s time to actually purchase the hardware. This can be a little tricky—sometimes there are hundreds of models to choose from. In order to make an informed decision, VoIP supply suggests that you ask yourself the following five questions:

1. What do I want to do?

Each VoIP gateway has numerous uses, so you need to decide what exactly it is you’re hoping to accomplish before purchasing the hardware.

2. Which protocols and codecs are supported by my other systems?

In order for your VoIP gateway to work with the other components of your systems, you need to know which protocols and codecs are supported. Then you need to make sure the VoIP gateway you want to purchase also supports these protocols and codecs.  Some of the most common protocols are SIP, SCCP, MGCP and H.323. Meanwhile, the most common voice codecs are GSM, iLBC, G.711, G.722, G.726, G.728 and G.729.

3. What’s my budget?

The cost from one VoIP gateway to another can vary greatly depending on its offerings—newer gateways with added functions will undoubtedly cost more than older models. Having a budget beforehand will ensure that you don’t over- or under-spend.

4. Do I know how to configure and install a VoIP gateway by myself?

VoIP gateways unfortunately have a high return rate because a lot of people don’t know how to install them correctly. So, while deciding which model to purchase, also consider having a professional install the hardware for you.

5. What’s the warranty and support like?

Equipment breaks, that’s just a fact of life—so make sure you’re covered. It’s also important to make sure there is good support available. When learning about a new technology, it’s normal to have questions. However, you can’t learn how to properly use a VoIP gateway without having someone there to answer those questions. That’s why it’s important to turn to companies like beroNet that offer tutorials, white papers, and constant support concerning its products.

With a better understanding of what a VoIP gateway is and how to choose the right type and model, you’re set to invest in the hardware that will undoubtedly improve your business operations.

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