While they may seem a little confusing when you first set up your VoIP system, VoIP adapters (also known as ATAs) are actually pretty simple. Most VoIP adapters have just a few ports, and probably only one button. So what do those ports do? Let's take a look at this Grandstream HandyTone HT502 from Phone Power. This adapter comes in a couple of colors, and sometimes has different labels on it, but it's a pretty common model.

This adapter has five ports and one recessed button. From left to right, we have two ethernet ports (labeled LAN and WAN), the recessed reset button (labeled RESET), the power port (labeled DC 12V), and two phone ports (labeled PHONE1 and PHONE2). In addition to the adapter, your setup kit should include a power supply and at least one ethernet cable. An ethernet cable looks like a slightly larger phone cable. These ports are pretty easy to set up.

Ethernet Ports

The two ethernet ports, labeled LAN and WAN, connect the VoIP adapter to the Internet and pass that internet connection forward to your computer. LAN stands for "Local Area Network." This port goes to your computer, since it is part of your local network. WAN stands for "Wide Area Network." The cable from this port should go to your modem or Internet connection, since the Internet is outside your local network.

Reset Button

The reset button on your VoIP adapter, like those on many electronic components, is recessed so you can't accidentally push it. If you need to reset your adapter, just press the button gently with an object that's thin enough to reach in. Many people choose an unfolded paper clip for this.

Power Port

Your power supply plugs into the port marked DC12V, which stands for "Direct Current, 12 Volts." Usually, plugging in the power supply is the final step in setting up your VoIP system, though you should refer to the official documentation your company provides with your adapter.

Phone Ports

Since Phone Power automatically gives users a second, cloned phone line, this adapter has two phone ports. You can plug phones into these ports just like you would usually plug your phone into the port in the wall. If one line is in use, callers will automatically be routed to the second line. Likewise, if you are already on the line, someone else in your home can use the second line to dial out. The second line uses the same phone number as your main number. If you'd like to have two separate phone numbers, you can add a virtual number to your Phone Power plan and assign it to one of the lines.