Analog Telephone Adapter Explained
An analog telephone adapter (ATA) turns any standard analog phone into a device capable of completing calls in a Voice Over IP (VoIP) network.
For outbound calls, the ATA converts analog signals to digital ones, which local computer networks and the internet can understand. It also does the reverse for inbound calls — by turning digital signals into analog ones.
Our Dash Business Phone Plans use a VoIP network to send and receive calls. Therefore, our customers either need to use IP phones or connect their analog phones to ATAs. In some cases, the latter path can provide an easier way to get started with Dash.
Ready for an in-depth look at IP phones, ATAs, and digital phone systems? Check out our detailed guide, What is VoIP?
Benefits of Using an ATA
The principle benefit ATAs offer businesses is the ability to use phones they already own. Whether it has one or dozens of non-IP phones, a business can sometimes save money by purchasing an ATA for each employee’s desk rather than an entirely new phone for every desk.
Works With Many Devices
Customers can use any type of analog phone with an ATA. Corded phones and any type of wireless headset should be compatible with an ATA. If you want to go old-school, you can also bring an rotary phone into this century.
Most of our customers who opt for ATAs have a set of analog phones they already own. However, a few have extended the use of ATAs by hooking them to fax machines so they can continue to send paper faxes by way of VoIP. Our Dash Plans offer Electronic Faxing support, but some of our clients still use traditional faxing as part of their workflow.
You can also easily add a phone number to your Dash plan to keep the fax machine and phone lines separate.
The Downside of ATAs
Although an analog telephone adapter can let you keep your existing phones, it can’t transform those phones into the full-featured IP phones available today.
Your trusty cordless telephone won’t have access to a touchscreen or be able to visually show directories or call logs. It probably won’t have a direct-to-conference call button or speakerphone capability either.
Just keep that in mind when deciding to save a little by choosing an ATA. Your old phones could last for years to come, but they’ll never gain the features common to even the most basic IP phones we have in stock.
Buy an Analog Telephone Adapter
VirtualPBX sells and supports the Cisco SPA112 Analog Phone Adapter. Other ATAs may work with our service, but we’ve found that some don’t handle faxing well.