Switching from a standard system to a VoIP based system is becoming increasingly common in the business world. In fact, around 61% of businesses are making the switch to these updated systems.
What is a VoIP Gateway?
In the simplest way possible, a VoIP gateway is a piece of hardware that can convert telephony traffic into data packets that can be transmitted over the internet. A VoIP gateway is different from that of an ATA because this device will only convert one phone at a time, whereas a VoIP gateway can support around 256 calls at a time.
This is a valuable tool for larger offices that are looking to make the switch to VoIP services but have the infrastructure in place for other phone lines. Instead of businesses getting rid of all the pre-existing installed software and hardware, businesses can use a VoIP gateway to switch some parts of their network for VoIP services, which still utilize other systems.
How do VoIP Gateways Work?
Gaining the knowledge on how a VoIP gateway works is quite easy, and learning the ins and outs of how this tool function is simple. A VoIP gateway acts as a bridge between an existing IP network and a PSTN. Depending on where your business is getting voice traffic from will be the deciding factor in who a VoIP gateway will convert transmissions.
If voice traffic is originating from PSTN networks, then the gateway will convert analog voice signals into digital voice signals. This digital voice signal is then compressed and sent as a series of packets that are filtered through an IP network, to the other end of the line. If voice traffic is coming from an IP network then the VoIP gateway will decompress the digital packets into digital signals that will be converted into analog signals, making it easier to be sent across PSTN.
Both methods are also dependent upon VoIP protocols and codecs. A VoIP protocol will determine how your voice packet is transported across the selected network, and most VoIP gateways will only support a single protocol.
- SIP- This protocol is a standards-based protocol, that is used to support a vast majority of VoIP phone systems and services.
- MGCP- As an older protocol, this isn’t used as much anymore with the new and improved VoIP systems, but can still be widely supported if your VoIP gateway wishes to use it.
- H.323- SImilar to the protocol listed above, this is the oldest VoIP protocol, but can still be widely used and supported by VoIP systems.
Types of VoIP Gateways
Now that you know the specifics of VoIP gateways, we can begin to list the different types of VoIP gateways that you and your business can utilize for your VoIP system. There are two main types of gateways that are worth knowing.
- Analog- An analog VoIP gateway can be used to connect traditional telephone lines to any VoIP system that your business wishes to use. Additionally, this type of gateway can connect your VoIP system to PSTN. Because this gateway is dual purpose, it can come in two different forms.
- FXS Gateway- This type of gateway is used to connect your traditional phones and fax machines to a VoIP system.
- FXO Gateway- An FXO gateway can connect your VoIP system to any pre-existing PSTN lines.
- Digital- A digital VoIP gateway can be used to connect VoIP systems to digital voice lines. A digital VoIP gateway is also commonly used to connect traditional PBX systems to IP networks.
Yes, both types of systems can be interchanged and used for the same things, but all listed gateways come with different features that your business can utilize if chosen.
Features of a VoIP Gateway
VoIP gateways are very useful devices, and most come with the following features. Yes, most of these features are standard and found in the majority of gateways, but depending on which you chose, additional features might be offered as well.
- Most gateways are compliant with multiple protocols, including SIP, H.323, and MGCP.
- All the listed gateways can support all types of codecs that VoIP systems offer.
- Call routing is offered with all gateways.
- Automatic provisioning via TFTP/HTTP
Benefits of VoIP Gateways
VoIP gateways have an important job throughout your VoIP network because they compress and convert all crucial data in order to send over different networks. Besides simply allowing users to communicate, there are many different benefits offered.
- Cost Savings- VoIP gateways allow your business to host fewer lines, and instead of paying large monthly fees and fees for adding lines, you can opt for the cheapest option while still keeping all your employees on the plan. VoIP gateways will also offer businesses lower long-distance calling charges and can give domestic call subscriptions for less than that of a traditional line.
- Call Quality- VoIP gateways can provide such strong call quality that your business won’t even realize it’s not being made through a traditional network. Depending on the codec that’s chosen, your gateway will either compress large amounts of data or small amounts of data, making for good quality based on the network used.
- Simple System- The biggest benefit of using a VoIP gateway is that they are simple to use and easy to learn. Because this gateway allows your business to continue using the same system, all while implementing a VoIP system, you won’t have to worry about learning a whole new system.