VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology converts voice to digital signals for internet telephone service. Although VoIP service can use standard telephone handsets (with an adapter), a number of dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) telephone handsets for VoIP service are available for business and personal needs. Choosing the best VoIP handset depends on factors including cost, added features and the intended use of the equipment. In view of these considerations, leading VoIP handset providers Polycom, Snom and Cisco offer options ranging from basic cordless telephones to sophisticated systems integrating telephone, video and networking.
IP Telephone Handsets and DECT Technology
Although VoIP service can be accessed using an adapter with a traditional landline phone, dedicated VoIP handsets contain the IP components needed to convert voice to digital signals. Manufactured according to the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone (DECT) standards, VoIP handsets are available in desktop, cordless and wireless versions similar to their analog equivalents. Because VoIP service relies on internet connectivity, some VoIP phone handsets contain additional components for video, internet access and networking with computers and other devices as well.
Polycom: Business VoIP
Polycom's VoIP handsets, available from numerous VoIP service providers, range from a basic cordless version with a charger cradle to larger, corded desktop models with conferencing capabilities. Primarily intended for business use, Polycom's IP telephone options include speakerphones, Skype videophones and numerous versions of the corded office phone, at prices starting around $100.
Snom VoIP Phones
Snom provides VoIP DECT phones for office and personal use, with a variety of corded desktop models as well as cordless phones with charger cradles, available singly or in pairs. Snom's VoIP phones can display tweets, control non-IP devices and monitor weather. Snom also offers the Snom 870, the first touchscreen VoIP phone. Based in Germany, Snom provides products in more than 50 countries.
Siemens VoIP Phones
Specializing in cordless telephones, Siemens offers cordless VoIP phones for home and small business use. With DECT standard technology, Siemens VoIP phones can be used as a land line as well as with VoIP service. Siemens phones can be configured using a web interface, and can be expanded to include up to six handsets on the same line. Prices for Siemens' basic IP phones begin under $100, with business models and additional features available at higher prices.
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