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VoIP Gateways vs. VoIP Routers: Key Differences and When to Use Each


Today, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is becoming a preference for many medium and small enterprises. A VoIP gateway is a hardware device that transforms phone calls into packets of data which is then transmitted over the internet. A VoIP router is a device that directs the IP packets that are transformed by the VoIP gateways between different networks. 

What are the types of VoIP gateways?

There are two important types of VoIP gateways:


  • Analog VoIP gateway

An Analog VoIP gateway connects the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to your VoIP phone network. There are two types of Analog VoLT gateway:

  • FXO gateway

A Foreign eXchange Office (FXO) gateway connects your fixed telephone or fax to the VoIP telephone, Analog telephone system, and Private Branch eXchange (PBX) system.

  • FXS gateway

A Foreign eXchange Subscriber (FXS) gateway connects the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to your IP phone system.

  • Workings of the FXO and FXS gateways

Through the FXO and FXS gateways, you can make or receive calls from Foreign Exchange users and Foreign Exchange bureau ports by connecting them. An FXO port is similar to a plug on a fax machine or an office phone, and an FXS port is similar to a wall plug. The FXS port receives a signal from the FXO device to begin the call whenever you would like to make a call. The FXO port receives a signal from the FXS port to initiate the phone’s ringer when you want to answer a call. 

However, the process is distinct if you are using a distinct network like a VoIP system. Here, both gateways are required. You need an FXS gateway to connect the FXO devices for VoIP calls, and an FXO gateway is necessary for connecting the VoIP to your analog phone line.

  • Digital VoIP gateway

It serves as a link between your IP network and the Private Branch eXchange (PBX) and works with E1/T1 (ISDN). You should consider deciding the number of FXO or FXS ports and devices that you need when planning for a VoIP gateway. The high-density models require more ports in comparison to the low-density models. 

Types of VoIP Routers

A VoIP router is a special device for making and receiving online phone calls. Setting the VoIP router relies on the device that you have. It can improve the quality of your VoIP calls by making it faster and better. 

There are three main types of VoIP routers:

Virtual VoIP routers

You can simply install VoIP routers into your PC. To add VPN protection to devices like Smart TVs, Apple TVs, etc., many people choose Virtual VoIP routers. You can also get access to the content that is available for other countries only.

Wireless VoIP routers

As the name suggests, through a wireless router, you can enjoy internet coverage in your office and home without using wired connections. The only disadvantage it has is slow internet on the devices that are used a little far from the router. Because the wireless VoIP routers are confined to the office and home only.

Wired VoIP routers

These VoIP routers won’t give you the comfort and ease of wireless and Virtual VoIP routers, you have to connect the router with your device physically. But they have other benefits. If you are a fan of high-speed internet access with instant downloads, then this router might be a great choice. 

VoIP gateways vs VoIP routers

VoIP gateways and Routers have some key differences:

  • Use

VoIP gateways transform spoken communication into IP data packets. On the other hand, the main use of VoIP routers is directing the transformed IP packets between the networks.

  • Efficiency

VoIP gateways not only transform the voice traffic and call routing, but sometimes they also provide functions like call forwarding, voicemails, etc. When talking about VoIP routers directing the IP packets, they also add safety such as NAT, firewall, etc. Some other features that they provide are VPN and QoS. 

  • Type of Traffic

VoIP gateways work only with VoIP traffic. And VoIP routers work with all kinds of IP traffic. 

When can a VoIP gateway be used?

If a business does not want to change its current phone system and still make and receive VoIP calls, then using VoIP gateways is a good option. As, a VoIP can connect a phone system to the internet.

When can VoIP routers be used?

If a business wants to create a network that is private and not available on the internet publicly, then it can use a VoIP router. It will help connecting to multiple number of networks altogether. 

There are some routers that have the feature of VoIP gateway built into them. This can help the businesses to serve both the purposes, of connecting their phone system with the internet as well as directing IP packets between the networks with a single router.

It eventually depends on the type of business. Whether they need VoIP gateways or VoIP routers, it is according to their requirements.


VoIP gateways and VoIP routers can both be beneficial to the business in their own ways. VoIP systems offer quality services to businesses in cost-effective ways. They are also more scalable in comparison to the Private Branch eXchange (PBX) System. On one hand, the VoIP gateways help businesses get benefits of VoIP calls without replacing their existing phone network, and on the other hand, the VoIP routers help ensure the security and quality of the VoIP calls by providing the VPN support and security features like Network Address Translation (NAT) and firewalls. 

It is necessary for the business to recognize its specific communication needs and then choose the particular VoIP network to fulfill its needs. Also, having proper knowledge about the features of the VoIP devices might help the business to effectively use the VoIP gateways and routers.


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