Softphone

soft phonePC-to-PC calling
A softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the Internet using a general purpose computer rather than dedicated hardware.wikipedia
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Comparison of VoIP software

proprietary formatsSIP Softphones
See Comparison of VoIP software
Softphones are client devices for making and receiving voice and video calls over the IP network with the standard functions of most original telephones and usually allow integration with VoIP phones and USB phones instead of using a computer's microphone and speakers (or headset).

Voice over IP

VoIPvoice over Internet Protocolvoice-over-IP
To communicate, both end-points must support the same voice-over-IP protocol, and at least one common audio codec.
Softphone application software installed on a networked computer that is equipped with a microphone and speaker, or headset. The application typically presents a dial pad and display field to the user to operate the application by mouse clicks or keyboard input.

USB phone

telephony
A softphone is usually used with a headset connected to the sound card of the PC or with a USB phone.
It may be used with most softphones and services like Skype, Sipnet, Sippoint Mini, Net2Phone, MSN Messenger, NetMeeting, Xlite, Skype for Business.

Telephone

phonetelephonesLocal Telephone Service
Often, a softphone is designed to behave like a traditional telephone, sometimes appearing as an image of a handset, with a display panel and buttons with which the user can interact.
In addition, many computer software vendors and telephony operators provide softphone application software that emulates a telephone by use of an attached microphone and audio headset, or loud speaker.

Session Initiation Protocol

SIPSession Initiation Protocol (SIP)SIP Trunking
Many service providers use the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
SIP phones may be implemented as a hardware device or as a softphone.

Chatcord

Chatcord
It enables the use of a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) to talk via the Internet away from the computer, after connection is established from the desktop using your specific softphone (such as MSN or Skype).

VoIP phone

IP PhoneIP PhonesEthernet-based phone
VoIP phone
VoIP phones can be simple software-based softphones or purpose-built hardware devices that appear much like an ordinary telephone or a cordless phone.

H.323

RAS
H.323
VoIP requires a connection to the Internet or another packet switched network, a subscription to a VoIP service provider and a client (an analogue telephone adapter (ATA), VoIP Phone or "soft phone").

Software

computer softwaresoftware technologyprogram
A softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the Internet using a general purpose computer rather than dedicated hardware.

Internet

onlinethe Internetweb
A softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the Internet using a general purpose computer rather than dedicated hardware.

Desktop computer

desktopdesktopsdesktop computers
The softphone can be installed on a piece of equipment such as a desktop, mobile device, or other computer and allows the user to place and receive calls without requiring an actual telephone set.

Mobile device

mobile deviceshandheldmobile
The softphone can be installed on a piece of equipment such as a desktop, mobile device, or other computer and allows the user to place and receive calls without requiring an actual telephone set.

Handset

telephone handsethandset receiverphone receivers
Often, a softphone is designed to behave like a traditional telephone, sometimes appearing as an image of a handset, with a display panel and buttons with which the user can interact.

Headset (audio)

headsetheadsetswireless headset
A softphone is usually used with a headset connected to the sound card of the PC or with a USB phone.

Sound card

soundcardsound cardssound
A softphone is usually used with a headset connected to the sound card of the PC or with a USB phone.

Codec

codecsdecoderdecoders
To communicate, both end-points must support the same voice-over-IP protocol, and at least one common audio codec.

Internet Engineering Task Force

IETFInternet Engineering Task Force (IETF)working group
Many service providers use the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Skype

SkypingSkype PreviewMicrosoft Skype
Skype, a popular service, uses proprietary protocols, and Google Talk leverages the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP).

Google Talk

Google ChatGTalkchat
Skype, a popular service, uses proprietary protocols, and Google Talk leverages the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP).

XMPP

JabberExtensible Messaging and Presence ProtocolJabber/XMPP
Skype, a popular service, uses proprietary protocols, and Google Talk leverages the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP).

Inter-Asterisk eXchange

IAXIAX2
Some softphones also support the Inter-Asterisk eXchange protocol (IAX), a protocol supported by the open-source software application Asterisk.

Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling

DTMFtouch-tonetouch tone
A typical softphone has all standard telephony features (DND, Mute, DTMF, Flash, Hold, Transfer etc.) and often additional features typical for online messaging, such as user presence indication, video, wide-band audio.

Digital subscriber line

DSLxDSLDigital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Reliable high-speed Internet connectivity like digital subscriber line (DSL), or cable service.

Internet telephony service provider

ITSPsNet telephonyVoIP services
Account with an Internet telephony service provider or IP PBX provider.

IP PBX

IP-PBXIPBXOn-site
Account with an Internet telephony service provider or IP PBX provider.