ATA and SIP Phones
Even though most people aren't aware of it, most telephone companies have been using the Internet as a way to efficiently route their long-distance calls.
The way they do this is by using SIP technology, which is also known as session initiation protocol. VOIP, or voice over Internet protocol, is being offered by way of SIP.
This is basically the same format that is offered online by leading providers such as Skype, Google and AOL.
In recent years, consumers were only able to connect online through devices known as softphones. This term refers to makeshift phones created by connecting a headset to a computer and talking through an Internet connection.
These devices have the ability to convert voice analog sounds and turn them into digital signals that could move through the computer and be transferred over the Internet.
Then a device on the other end closes the digital packets and plays them back in a way that we can hear them. But these weren't real phones in the sense that we know them today.
Nowadays, a similar technology is being placed in devices that can provide the same functionality as regular phones - the only difference being that the Internet transfers the call.
This new technology is known as an analog telephone adapter, or ATA (Analogue Terminal Adapter).
The popularity of ATA SIP devices has soared over the last few years because of both the increased quality of the calls and the widespread availability of the technology.
ATA SIP phones have the ability to connect to a traditional landline in a house or commercial property on one end, while connecting to the Internet on the other end.
In essence, an ATA is an electronic gateway that translates sounds coming from the telephone into an SIP that travels over the Internet.
Then this signal is decoded and translated so that we can hear it through regular telephones on the other end.
There are many recognizable companies in this arena and they only represent a small piece of the iceberg. For every recognizable ATA company you can expect there to be ten much less successful SIP phone companies.
One thing these SIP companies have in common is that they all use large traditional phone carriers like MCI, AT&T and Sprint/Nextel to transfer their traffic.
For these large traditional phone companies, routing this type of technology comes at a much lower cost than routing conventional analog traffic.
So this new phone technology is saving large phone companies millions of dollars a year. For the consumer, this technology also comes at a discount.
It is very easy to find VOIP deals in the range of $10 a month to $25 a month for unlimited long distance service including local calls.
Some popular ATA SIP Devices
The SVG301S is a 2 FXS SIP ATA with a 5 port broadband router.
Cisco ATA 186 is an adapter with two voice ports which supports legacy analog phones.
AZ - VoIP Providers