VoIP Gateways _ What are they ?

What is a VoIP gateway?

A VoIP gateway is a piece of Voice over Internet Protocol equipment that utilizes IP (Internet Protocol) communications technology to interface TDM networks (PSTN), traditional telephones and PBX systems with Ethernet based networks.

Gateways allow businesses to:

    * IP enable an existing PBX system
    * Connect traditional telephones to their VoIP phone system
    * Send/receive calls through the PSTN using a VoIP phone system

There are additional uses for gateway,s but these are the primary ones.

How does a VoIP gateway work?

VoIP gateways basic function is to convert analog voice streams into digital voice packets for transport across a network and the Internet. Voice over IP gateways also perform the opposite of this function.

This means that gateways can also convert digital voice packets into analog voice streams for transport across the PSTN or for traditional telephones.

To do this, gateways use a combination of specialized voice codecs and VoIP protocols. The specific IP communications technology that is utilized is dependent upon the VoIP gateway used and other aspects of the complete set-up.

Why would you use a VoIP gateway?

There are three main reasons that you would want to use a Voice over Internet Protocol gateway:

    * You want to utilize VoIP service with your existing PBX system
    * You want to use your existing telephones with a new VoIP phone system
    * You want to have the PSTN as a failover should your network or VoIP service goes down

In addition to these three main reasons, many businesses use a gateway to:

    * Connect remote office telephones to their central office VoIP system
    * Connect a branch office key system to a centralized VoIP system

For other gateway uses, consult a VoIP gateway manufacturer or certified supplier.

How much do gateways cost and where can you purchase one?

The prices for VoIP gateways vary greatly. Lower end configurations can be had for around $199, while higher end, more robust configurations can cost over $3,000 USD. Like a VoIP equipment, you get what you pay for, so make sure to set a reasonable for a brand like AudioCodes or Quintum.

Finding a place to purchase a VoIP gateway is pretty easy.

The two ways people to purchase an IP gateway are through a VoIP service provider (typically a SIP trunking provider) or through a VoIP equipment supplier (like VoIP Supply). If you opt to purchase your VoIP gateway through a VoIP equipment supplier, make sure it works with your desired VoIP service provider before pulling the trigger.