What VoIP Hardware is Provided by Service Providers?
VoIP Hardware Bundled with Services
There are as many ways to use VoIP as there are businesses. Every organization has its own unique workflow that necessitates a different VoIP strategy. So when you sign up with an SIP service, what hardware do you need and how much is provided to you?
The answer to the first question is simple – strictly speaking you need very little for a VoIP service. You can either use your existing landlines and convert them into IP phones using an ATA adapter, or you can even make do with your existing hardware by attaching a headset and microphone to your computers. Of course, this wouldn't be very useful except for specific situations but it gets the job done. You will probably want to make use of more sophisticated VoIP features and for this it's best that you get dedicated IP phones. As of this writing, they're still somewhat more expensive than regular land lines but they can be heavily discounted by a service provider if you pick them up in a package as part of a partnership with the related hardware vendor.
So when you sign up for a VoIP service, ask if your provider has a tie up with any existing VoIP phone vendor. You will be able to get them at a discounted rate along with the added benefit of having those phones automatically configure themselves, download and upgrade their software and apply patches without you as an IT administrator having to do any work at all. This keeps your VoIP system secure and allows you to focus your attention on other important matters.
Depending on the service provider, they may also give you specialized VoIP routers that work properly with their services. However, you should be aiming to go with a standardized SIP service that doesn't require any proprietary hardware or software stacks. This allows you to easily interoperate with others should the need arise. In order to optimize your network to receive and make VoIP calls, you probably need to implement a few simple QoS rules. If you have any doubts about how to do this, your SIP provider will be able to give you the best advice since they know what works best with their service.
Remember that unlike the traditional telecom market, this is a highly competitive field and there are plenty of VoIP options available for you if you don't like the services of a particular company. You'll be sure to find plenty of local San Francisco SIP services who will be more than happy to accept your business and give you the customer care you deserve.