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What are IP Phones / IP Telephones?

An IP Telephone, very broadly speaking, is a telephone designed to work with an IP PBX. The popularity of the SIP standard, however, means that the IP PBX of today has evolved, almost universally, into a SIP-based PBX.

This is good news for businesses and end users because it means that PBX vendors can’t force you into locking in with their proprietary software or hardware. Phone manufacturers can produce SIP phones, and as long as the phones can support the SIP standard, then your investment is protected, and the phones can be used with virtually any SIP-based IP PBX. 3CX tests its software against all major brands to ensure compatibility.
The brands we test against are:

  • Aastra
  • Cisco
  • Fanvil
  • Grandstream
  • Htek
  • Polycom
  • Snom
  • Yealink

3CX also has a softphone for Windows, and it is free. You can use it to make and receive VoIP phone calls from your PC. The advantage of using the 3CX softphone for Windows is that you can leverage low cost or free VoIP calls. There is no contract with it, so it still gives you choice in your providers.

Today’s modern SIP Phones are also able to work without being constrained to a particular office or location. Mobility is the new norm for businesses. So we now can have On-premise phones and remote ones working off of the same systems. Collaboration between team members is made simple with the ease of connectivity that IP Phones bring. Also, today’s mobile phones can run SIP software-based phones, allowing you to take your extension with you anywhere! Whether it is a mobile phone or a desktop IP phone in a new location your phone number remains the same and the connectivity to your clients unchanged.

IP Phones are sometimes called VoIP telephones, SIP Phones or Softphones. These are just different names for a device / software client that is designed to support the transmission of voice over the internet, or what is better known as VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) technology. In almost all cases, the supported protocol will be SIP.

IP Telephones come in several types, and your choice will typically depend on the role of the user. Learn more about the different kinds of IP phones.

Most popular IP Phones are supported by 3CX. Information on which IP Telephones are supported by 3CX can be found on our support page.

What is an IP Telephone and what are the benefits?

Free for up to 1 year! Select preferred deployment:


for Linux on a $200 appliance or as a VM

Get the ISO


for Windows as a VM

Download the setup file

On the cloud

In your Google, Amazon, Azure account

Take the PBX Express