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Can I connect my VoIP gateway to my network and then download softphone?

I just opened an Internet Cafe in Monrovia, Liberia. I am using a V-SAT to get my connection. I have five computers for e-mail and browsing. I bought a Cisco ATA 186 VoIP gateway. Can I connect it to my network and download softphone to use it with? Will it help to manage my bandwidth?
The Cisco ATA 186 is a VoIP gateway. It has two analog FXS ports for connecting to analog phones or fax machines. It also has an Ethernet port over which it can run VoIP protocols such as SIP or H.323. A typical connection scheme is as follows:

Analog phones <- RJ-11 cables -> ATA186 <- SIP -> VoIP service provider.

In the example of using SIP, the ATA 186 would register with the VoIP service provider for its two analog ports. The ATA 186 does not accept any registrations so you cannot download a softphone and use it with the ATA 186. The ATA 186 does not do anything to help manage your bandwidth. The ATA 186 simply converts between analog and SIP signaling to set up VoIP calls through the SIP service provider. If you want to support VoIP calls, you should contact a VoIP service provider. The VoIP service provider will be able to set up accounts for you and will be able to recommend softphones compatible with their service.

A single voice call using compressed speech (G.729) requires approximately 24 kb/s upstream and 24 kb/s downstream. You need to decide how many simultaneous calls you will want to allow and order a connection with the appropriate bandwidth. You may want to talk to your V-SAT provider to explain what you want to do. They may also have the ability to prioritize voice traffic on their network.

This was last published in November 2004

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