In modern telecommunications, staying connected is no longer a mere luxury; it’s an absolute necessity. This is why, the integration of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has become a linchpin for smooth communication in the IT landscape.
The surge in VoIP adoption among businesses underscores the significance of strong networking devices, with SMB VoIP growth expected to exceed 15% by 2025. This surge reflects a paradigm shift from traditional telephone systems, leveraging circuit-switched networks, to the innovative realm of VoIP.
A VoIP router has become a key element in this evolving communication network. This specialist networking device ushers in a new era in which digital packets replace traditional speech signals by facilitating the transmission of voice communication and multimedia data via the Internet or other IP-based networks.
But what exactly is a VoIP router, and how does it fit into this modern communication landscape? This blog will dive into the fundamentals of VoIP routers, exploring their functionalities, and significance in shaping modern telecommunication.
Wired and Wireless VoIP Routers
VoIP routers are typically divided into two main categories: wired and wireless. This section will explore the main differences –
Wired VoIP Routers
Wired VoIP routers serve as the sturdy backbone of a network, forming the foundation of most office setups, and facilitating the efficient transmission of voice packets between VoIP phones and service providers.
Wired routers often come equipped with Quality of Service (QoS) features to prioritize voice traffic, guaranteeing crystal-clear voice calls even during peak network activity.
Wireless VoIP Routers
On the other hand, wireless VoIP routers provide a degree of mobility that wired counterparts can’t match. These routers facilitate device connection without the need for physical cables, ideal for businesses looking for flexibility in office layouts and remote working arrangements.
However, maintaining consistently high voice quality over Wi-Fi can be challenging, which is why advanced wireless routers include, Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) and traffic shaping to mitigate potential disruptions.
Different Types of VoIP Routers
VoIP routers are available in a variety of configurations, each adapted to individual communication requirements and network complexity. These router categories address many areas of communication, including a wide range of operations and capacities –
- Wireless Routers: These routers provide the convenience of mobility, allowing VoIP phones or softphones to communicate wirelessly.
- Integrated Services Routers: Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) combine routing, switching, firewall, VPN, and VoIP capabilities into a single device.
- Core Routers: While not directly handling VoIP traffic at the user level, core routers direct data between subnets and networks within an organization.
- Edge Routers: These routers manage traffic entering and exiting the local network, enhancing security with features like Network Address Translation (NAT) and firewall rules.
- VPN Routers: VPN routers establish encrypted tunnels between remote locations or devices, ideal for remote workers or branch offices connecting to the main office’s VoIP network.
- Wired Routers: The foundation of most network setups, wired routers transmit voice packets between VoIP devices and service providers while offering Quality of Service (QoS) features to prioritize voice traffic.
The Top 10 VoIP Routers in 2023
As of 2023, the VoIP router market is flooded with products designed to meet a wide range of requirements in terms of network connectivity. Here, we present the top 10 VoIP routers, each excelling in specific areas –
Sonicwall TZ Series – Best for its QoS capabilities
When it comes down to VoIP router vs. traditional router, the Sonicwall TZ Series secures its position at the top with its remarkable Quality of Service (QoS) features. By giving voice traffic first priority, a VoIP router QoS settings help to reduce delays and improve call quality.
Sonicwall’s advanced security measures and cloud-based sandboxing provide peace of mind in an era of increased cyber threats. Setting up Sonicwall routers with a VoIP router setup guide offers optimal performance, with a focus on VoIP router configuration and compatibility.
NetGear Nighthawk X10 Router – Best for Speed
For those who demand unparalleled speed in their VoIP communication, the NetGear Nighthawk X10 Router is the ideal choice. With Quad-Stream Wi-Fi and MU-MIMO, it offers ample bandwidth for both VoIP calls and data.
With its adaptive QoS, VoIP traffic is prioritised in real-time, so calls remain clear even when the network is busy. Additionally, Plex Media Server VoIP router compatibility adds versatility to multimedia-rich environments.
Asus RT Series – Best for Performance
Asus RT Series routers have earned their place at the forefront of VoIP router performance. Equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi and AiRadar technology, they promise excellent coverage and stability for VoIP communication.
Improved security features, such as AiProtection with Trend Micro, safeguard VoIP communication from potential threats, while the user-friendly interface significantly simplifies router setup and management.
NetGear ProSafe – Best for Business-Class Network Protection
When it comes to safeguarding your business-class network, the NetGear ProSafe series stands out. It offers top-notch business-class network protection through advanced VoIP router security features such as a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall, an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), and an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).
This router’s robust QoS settings also ensure excellent call quality by focusing on voice traffic over other data, allowing you to enjoy crystal-clear voice calls without disruptions, even during high network activity.
Linksys EA8300 Max Stream – Best for Power Users
For power users who demand the best in VoIP communication, the Linksys EA8300 Max Stream router doesn’t disappoint. It offers fast tri-band wireless speeds, backed by powerful quad-core processors, making sure that your voice calls are transmitted without lag.
To prioritize VoIP router call quality, this utilizes Adaptive QoS settings that place voice traffic above other data types. Moreover, Beamforming technology improves signal strength and coverage, which is highly beneficial for maintaining reliable voice communication throughout your network.
Cisco 900 Series – Best for Small and Midsize Business
Small and midsize businesses require a router that provides the right balance between communication quality and network protection. The Cisco 900 Series routers offer dual-WAN capabilities, featuring both redundancy and load balancing – effectively maintaining the reliability of VoIP communication, even in the event of network failures.
Security features like VoIP router firewall settings and VPN support protect your VoIP traffic from potential threats, adding an extra layer of security. A VoIP router for small businesses aims to guarantee secure VoIP communication with minimal administrative effort.
Sophos UTM – Best for Minimizing IT Security Risks
Sophos UTM earns its spot as one of the best routers for VoIP calls by offering top-tier network protection. With features such as a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall and an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), it excels at minimizing IT security risks, making it an ideal companion for your VoIP router network protection.
When it comes to VPN performance, Sophos UTM shines for VoIP users, maintaining constant, high-quality call connections while communicating with remote or branch offices.
ZyXEL ZyWall – Best for Faster VPN and Firewall Performance
If your VoIP network heavily depends on VPN connections, ZyXEL ZyWall stands out as the top choice, allowing for faster VPN and firewall performance – perfect for businesses that require constant communication between remote locations.
Moreover, ZyXEL ZyWall’s robust network protection features, including content filtering and deep packet inspection, act as a shield, safeguarding your VoIP calls from potential threats.
WatchGuard Firebox T35 – Best Call Quality
At the heart of any VoIP call lies the quality of the call itself, and the WatchGuard Firebox T35 excels in this regard. Call quality is given first priority, so you can count on having conversations that are clear and uninterrupted.
This router is made to efficiently manage network bandwidth, always giving VoIP traffic the upper hand. This assurance of high call quality holds firm even in the face of heavy network usage.
FortiGate 52E SMB Firewall – Best for Enterprise Branch Security
When it comes to securing enterprise branch networks, the FortiGate 52E SMB Firewall takes the lead with an extensive array of security features to protect your VoIP communication. With its combined emphasis on network protection and performance, it emerges as the preferred option for larger businesses with sprawling branch networks.
The FortiGate 52E SMB Firewall’s security arsenal includes firewall capabilities, VPN support, intrusion prevention systems, and traffic shaping. Together, they assure the safety and dependability of your VoIP conversations.
Key Features to Look for in VoIP Routers
As the backbone of your Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication, a VoIP router must be equipped with specific features to guarantee top-notch call quality and reliability. Let’s explore the key features that should be on your radar when selecting a VoIP router.
Quality of Service (QoS)
Quality of Service, the defining characteristic of a VoIP router, assures that your phone calls will be given precedence over all other network traffic. This feature minimizes latency and guarantees clear, uninterrupted voice communication, even during network congestion. A strong QoS is a must-have for VoIP router troubleshooting and for ensuring an optimal VoIP router for home use.
Coverage Speed and Bandwidth
Exceptional coverage, speed, and bandwidth are essential for a smooth VoIP experience. A strong VoIP router should offer extensive coverage for wireless connections, which allows you to interact easily throughout the premises.
High-speed capabilities, including Gigabit Ethernet connections, help facilitate high-quality voice calls. VoIP router best practices for enterprises and households alike center on increasing coverage and increasing speeds.
Virtual LAN (VLAN) support allows you to segment your network into isolated zones, improving security and performance. This is an especially useful function for businesses concerned with the security and reliability of their VoIP communications.
WAN & LAN Ports
The number and types of WAN (Wide Area Network) and LAN (Local Area Network) ports on your router significantly impact connectivity. Having multiple ports allows you to connect various devices to your VoIP network, making it adaptable for different scenarios.
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access)
OFDMA is a cutting-edge technology that optimizes data transmission by dividing channels into smaller sub-channels. This architectural approach reduces latency, interference, and contention for network resources, making it especially relevant in modern high-demand network environments, where multiple devices compete for bandwidth.
MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output)
MU-MIMO technology is the multitasking champion of VoIP routers. It allows your router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, eliminating bottlenecks and offering to keep VoIP calls smooth and uninterrupted, even when numerous devices are connected to the network.
H.323 and SIP Support
H.323 and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) are fundamental VoIP protocols responsible for initiating, negotiating, and terminating VoIP calls. Router support for these protocols is non-negotiable, as it facilitates smooth interoperability with a wide selection of VoIP devices and services.
The world of VoIP routers has never been more dynamic, offering a vast array of options for both businesses and home users. From business-class network protection to power users and small to midsize businesses, the top 10 VoIP routers in 2023 encompass a wide spectrum of features and capabilities.
As you explore the world of VoIP routers, keep mindful of the value of staying at the forefront of technology. That’s where VoIPElements, the Australian tech trailblazer, comes into play. Leveraging its open-source roots, VoIPElements provides cutting-edge VoIP solutions that not only meet but exceed the demands of modern communication.
Don’t just settle for just any router; invest in your communication’s future with VoIPElements and the best VoIP routers in 2023.