The IP phone is similar to a normal phone in its looks with same buttons and cradle. Having an Ethernet connector in the place of a normal wall jack connector is the only difference it posses from the normal phones.
Added: November, 10th 2010
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The three different categories of VoIP
Which would be the next revolutionary wave in the IT field? Undoubtedly it would be the Voice over IP or VoIP as it is widely known. But the drawback is that most of the lay consumers do not know how to make efficient use of VoIP technology.
Basically the callers fall into three categories namely ATA, IP Phones and Computer to computer. Among them, the Analog Telephone Adaptor or the ATA is the most commonly used form of VoIP. You can hook up the phone which is already in your house to your internet connection using this adaptor. The ATA would convert the normal analog signal that is been send by the average home phone into digital signals which can be sent over the internet. The installation process of ATA is relatively simple. First you must order an ATA, take out the cord from your phone which is normally plugged into the wall socket and plug it into the ATA. Later you must plug an internet cord form the ATA into the router or internet connection. The ATA is even capable of being as a router so that even if you don’t have a router, you don’t have to worry. Sometimes certain software should be installed into the computer before the ATA is ready to be used. However the process is relatively simple and easy. The second category is the IP Phones. The IP phone is similar to a normal phone in its looks with same buttons and cradle. Having an Ethernet connector in the place of a normal wall jack connector is the only difference it posses from the normal phones. Hence the IP phone is directly plugged into the router instead of plugging to the wall jacket as you would do with a regular analog phone. This is advantageous in many ways as you would be able to place the call on hold and work just like any office phone that you have probably used. The only difference is that the calls would be going over the internet other than the normal phone line. Here an ATA is not needed since it would be all built in the phone itself. Above all, with the advent of Wi-Fi IP phones, the subscribing callers are allowed to make VoIP calls from anywhere Wi-Fi is enabled. These features have made the IP phones a hot commodity. Computer-to-computer calls are the third category in the VoIP. It would be surprising to know that with some services the calls made in this category would be completely free. The only things needed would be the software which would be easily found for free on the internet, a fast internet connection, a microphone, speaker and a sound card. There is literally no cost for making these calls except for the monthly internet service fee, depending upon which service you pick. You are also allowed to make as many calls too. Only one limitation is that you would be able to call people who have the same computer to computer calling service.