Analog Telephone Adapter
The Analog Telephone Adapter, or ATA, connects your VoIP telephones to the Internet. A router is also required and many ATAs have one built in.
ATA With Router
The ATA pictured above has a built-in router, three Ethernet ports for computers, and two telephone jacks. Not all ATAs include the router.
Your VoIP telephones must be connected to the Internet through a router in one of two ways:
- If you currently share an Internet connection among several computers you already have a router. You can use an ATA device.
- If you currently have only one computer connected to the Internet without a router then you will need an ATA with a built-in router.
Your VoIP provider will normally furnish the appropriate ATA pre-configured for your account so you can plug it in and talk. Often, the critical settings are "locked down" so they cannot be changed accidentally.
Some VoIP marketing campaigns include a free ATA (after rebates). These are often Blocked so they cannot be used with other services. If you close the account before an established period of service then you may have to repay the rebate and you will be stuck with a useless device.
The VoIP provider should furnish instructions for connecting the ATA and for setting up your account on line. If this is your first time working with VoIP then all of this could seem daunting but it really is not difficult in most cases.
Of course, to a NASA scientist putting a man on the moon is not difficult, either, but I doubt that many of us could do it.
Some providers will let you furnish your own router, however, unless you are technically savvy, or unless you are a glutton for punishment, it is usually best to use a pre-configured ATA, regardless of the price.
If you have bought your own ATA then you are probably a Geek who knows all about this sort of thing. If so, please visit Eagle-Wing.Net and enjoy some of the humor or interesting stories presented there. You certainly don't need to read this page or the following pages.
But if you are new to VoIP, please go to our the next section, where we will explain how to connect your ATA to the Internet. Note that it may take longer to describe than to do it.