Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)

LOOK UP ANOTHER TERM


USB phone

A telephone that plugs into the USB port of a computer for use with a softphone-based VoIP service. The USB phone provides a higher-quality audio device and takes the place of a headset or microphone and speakers. See VoIP.




Is This a Real Phone?
Actually, this USB phone from Eutectics Inc. (www.eutecticsinc.com) is similar to a regular telephone, but plugs into the computer for use with softphone-based VoIP services.






VoIP

(Voice Over IP) A digital telephone service that uses the Internet for transport, as well as private IP networks. "IP" stands for "Internet Protocol." In order that calls can originate and terminate from regular telephones, connections to the public telephone network (PSTN) are also provided. Telephone companies, cable companies and dedicated providers offer VoIP calling for a fixed monthly fee or low per-minute charge. Customers must have existing Internet access.

Telephony Protocols: SIP/H.323 and Skype
VoIP uses two telephony protocols for handling connections (see SIP and H.323), and most VoIP systems support both. Skype uses its own protocol (see Skype).

Handset Based
Regular phones can be used with many VoIP services by plugging them into an analog telephone adapter (ATA) from the VoIP provider or third party. The ATA converts the phone signals to IP packets. Native IP phones are also available.

Software Only = Softphone
VoIP may be entirely software based, which uses an app in a mobile device or a computer equipped with microphone and speakers. Typically free if both sides are on devices; calls to a regular telephone are per minute. In 1995, VocalTec Communications introduced the first VoIP service in the U.S.; entirely software based (see softphone). Skype is a very popular softphone-based VoIP service (see Skype). See SIP provider.

VoIP Features
Voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding and a softphone option (if not a softphone-only service) are typically part of a VoIP package. Phone numbers with area codes outside of one's own home area may also be an option (see virtual phone number). See IP telephony for more details and history of the technology.












Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
BeforeAfter
USB MicroUSB plugs
USB Micro-ABUSB port
USB MiniUSB port replicator
USB modemUSB powerline adapter
USB MSCUSB printer
USB namesUSB RAID drive
USB On-The-GoUSB stick
USB OTGUSB storage device
USB padUSB switch
USB PCUSB thumb drive

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
Audio/VideoGraphics
MainframesSecurity
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design