Can I Use an Analog Phone on VoIP?

To companies and individuals still using an analog phone system, the switch to VoIP can seem like a lengthy and expensive process. We completely understand; new technology is often associated with higher prices. But what if we told you that you can use the hardware from your analog system on a new VoIP phone system? In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between analog and VoIP and explain the technology behind using analog phones with digital phone lines.

The difference between analog and VoIP

Analog phones are likely the home-phones you grew up using. They are built on copper wires and run on the plain old telephone service (POTS). To take it even further, this type of system works by taking your voice and translating it into electronic signals. From there, it's delivered across wires where it is re-translated back into a recognizable voice that the receiver can understand.

VoIP, on the other hand, runs over the Internet. A VoIP phone system works by taking your voice and translating it into data packets that are delivered over the Internet. After the data has been delivered to the receiver, it’s re-translated back into voice.

While the two are similar in the sense that they send and receive voice, the differences in their translated formats are important to note when we're combining pieces from both systems. The way these two systems communicate begs the questions, can they work together?

Can I use an analog phone on VoIP?

There are several ways that analog and VoIP systems can work hand-in-hand. The ability to use analog phones on a VoIP system is one of the most popular.

An analog telephone adapter (ATA) is used to create a connection between an analog phone and a VoIP system despite their technological differences. There are several different types of analog telephone adapters and the one you need will vary based on your specific analog phone and VoIP connection. However, a majority of analog telephone adapters have a connection for VoIP (using an RJ-45 jack) and for your analog phone (an RJ-11 jack). Most analog telephone adapters communicate directly with your VoIP service so an additional software isn't needed on your computer.

Flexibility for the modern VoIP user

The ability to use an analog phone on VoIP opens up a world of flexibility for its users. It gives almost anyone the ability to take advantage of the benefits of VoIP phone routing features without investing in specific VoIP equipment. However, it's important to note that your phone's capabilities will be limited based on the phone you use. That is why a majority of VoIP users eventually make the switch to an IP, VoIP specific phone.

As you can see, the switch to VoIP doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your current equipment. A majority of it can be programmed to work on your new, Internet-based system. If you're interested in using your analog phone with your VoIP phone service, talk to your provider about the switch and the solutions they'll provide for your system.