You can use USB Phones with Softphones to make VOIP Calls


When you are using a SIP based IP PBX / Soft-switch in your enterprise, there is always an option of using IP Soft-phones on your PC along with a headset-mic instead of IP (Hard) Phones. There are many advantages of using IP Soft-phones over normal IP Phones – One of them is the higher price of the IP Phone while a Soft-phone could be freely downloaded from the Internet.

Even though Soft-phones allow you to receive and make phone calls (through your land-line extension number) from your PC itself, there are a few disadvantages of using Soft-phones. If you want to receive or make phone calls, you need to have your headset-mic always connected to the PC. So, when you are playing a song or some music (for example), it goes directly to the headset and not to the speakers. So, you may want to alter a couple of connections frequently.

Secondly, users might feel uncomfortable if they always need to wear the headphone. If they don’t wear the headphone, they may not hear the ringing sound of the phone call if they are slightly away from the PC as they could miss the pop-up intimation of an incoming call. There is nothing like a ring-tone to announce the arrival of a call.

Users may also not feel comfortable if they need to click each digit of the telephone number on their PC using mouse/ keyboard controls, especially if they make calls frequently.

There is a middle route that can be taken by users to get the advantages of both low cost as well as telephonic feel – USB Phones for VOIP.

If you have been using Skype extensively, you might be familiar with this concept but it is not yet popular in the enterprise segment to be used along with a Soft-phone and IP PBX! But it can be used that way too…

The connection is simple – You just plug in the USB Phone to the USB port of your PC (where the Soft-phone) is running. Do note that not all  USB phones are compatible with all Soft-phones. But they are compatible with most of the popular free Soft-phones & Instant Messenger programs like Skype.

The USB phone actually rings (with your favorite {loud} ring-tone) to intimate you when a new call has arrived to your extension number. You can just press the green Answer button and answer the call like how you do with a cell phone. Remember, you are attending to your land line calls! You can have a look at this model, for example.

Some of them might even flash the Caller ID/ Skype ID on their small screen (if there is one). There is also a convenient keypad on the USB phone that lets you dial out a number from the phone itself (instead of those mouse clicks).

Some USB Phones even display a contact list / their availability on the screen. Most of the USB phones are powered via the USB jack through which they connect to the PC. There are some models that support a number of additional features that might be required in an enterprise set up – Like this one.

There are some USB Phone models that support Wi-Fi connectivity to the PC. So, you can even be at a distance of 20-30 meters from your PC and still be able to receive and dial out calls from your Wi-Fi enabled USB Phone! Of course, you need to have the USB phone with you! Some models even have a speaker phone built into them.

If you live in the United States, you can buy USB phones online from Amazon. Click here for a listing of the popular USB phones sold in Amazon.

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