Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is an ATA?

An ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter is a communication device that connects one or multiple analog telephones to a computer or a digitalized telephone network using VoIP so that users can make fast and efficient phone calls over the internet. ATA's are largely cheaper compared to both normal analog telephone system as well as specialized VoIP phones that are directly connected to the USB port of a computer.

How do ATA's work?

Most ATA's are a small box with an Ethernet port, a power adapter, one or many FXS telephone ports and at times may include a FXO link as well. Users have the provision of plugging in one or more traditional analog telephone equipment into the ATA and all connected analog devices operates independently over a VoIP network. ATA' s generally communicates with VoIP servers using a set of protocols like IAX, SCCP, MGCP, SIP and encodes or decodes voice signal using voice codecs like iLBC, GSM, G.729, G.711 etc. Depending on the brand and model, it consumes around 3-5 Watts of electricity.

Types of ATA's:

Next, there are numerous types of ATA's that create a physical connection between a computer device or a computer and a phone. Some other types of adapters also performs functions like analog to digital conversion by connecting directly to the VoIP server.When used in a commercial setting, in most cases an ATA comprise of a few telephone jacks and an RJ-45 cable connected to a standard 10/100 Base T Ethernet switch or hub which in turn is connected to a LAN. 

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