A VOIP gateway (or PSTN Gateway) is a device which converts telephony traffic into IP for transmission over a data network. They are used in 2 ways:
1. To convert incoming PSTN/telephone lines to VOIP/SIP:
In this manner the VOIP gateway allows calls to be received & placed on the regular telephony network. In many business cases, it is preferable to continue to use traditional phone lines because one can guarantee a higher call quality and availability.
2. To connect a traditional PBX/Phone system to the IP network:
In this manner the VOIP gateway allows calls to be made via VOIP. Calls can then be placed via a VOIP service provider, or in the case of a company with multiple offices, inter office calls costs can be reduced by routing the calls via the Internet. VOIP gateways are available as external units or as PCI cards. The vast majority of devices are external units. A VOIP gateway will have a connector for the IP network and one or more ports to connect the phone lines to it.
An analog VOIP gateway
Types of VOIP gateways
1. Analog units: Analog units are used to connect regular analog phone lines to it. Analog units are available for between 2-24 lines.
2. Digital units: Digital units allow you to connect digital lines either one or more BRI ISDN lines (Europe), one or more PRI/E1 lines (europe) or one or more T1 lines (USA).
VOIP gateway manufacturers
There are lots of VOIP gateways available today, and as demand has increased drastically, prices have decreased considerably. Analog VOIP gateways start at as little as $200. 3CX Phone System supports numerous VoIP gateways. A list of supported VoIP Gateways with configuration guides can be found here.
They can all be bought online via one of the many VOIP product online shops. More information about VoIP Gateways and VoIP in general can be found in our SIP / VoIP Video tutorials, ’Voip Nuggets’. VoIP Nuggets are short youtube technical training tutorials about VoIP. 3CX Phone System for Windows automatically configures VoIP Gateways to allow you to easily continue using your existing PSTN lines. You can download the Free edition here.