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More Questions About VoIP

Common questions we receive about VoIP telephony, with answers from our technical support team.

Q) What is the difference between hosted VoIP and premise VoIP? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

For a hosted VoIP provider, a business is basically outsourcing its phone system to an external service. The phones, gateways, ATAs and other essential endpoints are at the business. However, the phone system or PBX is at another location. This saves businesses from having to maintain their own phone system, but a monthly fee is often associated with hosting their telephony services on an external service.

A premise-based VoIP phone system means that all of the hardware is on-site, at the business. This includes the endpoints and the PBX appliance. Purchasing and maintaining the phone system is entirely up to the business.

Telephony features can differ between a hosted and premise PBX. Also, options to scale the system or customize it can vary. The size of the business can also make an incredible difference.

Q) If I have an old analog phone system, can I use my old phones with the a new VoIP phone system?

Usually, yes. Analog phone adapters (ATAs) and gateways can interface your existing analog devices with the new IP-based system. These analog devices can include fax machines and modems, as well as phones. Compatibility is dependent on the phone system, however.

Q) What is an FXS port?

This port connects the telephony appliance to an analog endpoint. For example, an FXS port on a gateway would connect to an analog phone, fax machine or modem. FXS is an acronym for "Foreign Exchange Subscriber."

Q) What is an FXO port?

This port connects to the external telephony provider. For example, an FXO port on a phone system appliance would connect to the analog carrier, operator or PSTN. FXO is an acronym for "Foreign Exchange Office."

Q) Can I use my existing phones with a hosted VoIP service or my new VoIP phone system?

If your existing phones are analog, they will require an adapter to interface with the new VoIP provider. These adapters include ATAs and gateways. Compatibility may depend on the hosted or premise-based system.

For IP phones, they are usually compatible with a VoIP phone system as long as they are based on the same protocols. Check interoperability beforehand, just in case.

Q) Can I use my existing paging equipment with my new VoIP phone system?

Analog paging equipment requires ATAs or gateways to interface with VoIP. So, yes, it is possible.

Q) Can I use my existing phone lines with my new VoIP phone system?

Yes, as long as the VoIP phone system features the correct connectivity types. The VoIP phone system will require a T1 port if your existing phone line is based on T1. Likewise, the VoIP phone system will require an FXO port to connect to an analog phone line.