Should you consider a Bring Your Own Device plan?VoIP adapters are an important piece of hardware pivotal to most home VoIP services. Customers switching between VoIP services might be wondering if they can simply use their own adapter rather than one a VoIP provider offers, while others who are new to VoIP may not understand what an adapter is and the role it plays in VoIP. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are adapters?

A VoIP adapter is the device that connects to your router or modem to your analog phone so you can enable regular phones to access your Internet connection and become VoIP-ready. Contrary to what most think, you don’t need a computer to make this device work. In fact, all you need is a router or modem, which your high-speed Internet service provider usually gives to you after you enroll for its service, and your traditional home phone. While most VoIP providers include an adapter for free when you sign up, there still may be instances when you wish to use your own.

Why use your own adapter?

The main reason someone might choose to use their own adapter is for customization, as having your own adapter gives you more control over the features and functions you have access to. The obvious trade-off is that you’ll have to be more self-sufficient, as most services typically are only able to help you if you’re using the hardware they provide you. As such, usually only individuals with some knowledge or technical experience with VoIP opt to use their own adapters. If for whatever reason you really don’t like the adapter a service provides, your best course of action would be researching what adapters work with the service and talking to its customer support to choose the best one. That way you can be sure to purchase one that will work with the service.

Should you stick with the provider’s adapter?

If you’re brand new to VoIP or don’t have much technical knowledge, going with the service’s adapter is likely your best option. And a lot of services, including VoIPo, BroadVoice and 1-VoIP, offer free leasing options for their adapters, which means you get to use their adapter for free for as long as you have the service. If you cancel the service, you’ll be required to return the adapter within a set amount of days or you’ll be charged for it. Other services, like Vonage, throw in the adapter for free. It should be noted that most services allow you to purchase other adapters through them, which may be a good option if you’d prefer to start learning about the hardware, as the adapters sold through the provider will not only work with the service, but also likely have tech support — unlike an adapter you purchase elsewhere.

Something that you’ll also want to keep in mind is the adapter provided by a VoIP service is easier and cheaper to replace if there are any issues since your VoIP provider can just send you a new one. If you opt to bring your own adapter, you will have to completely foot the bill if any issues occur. Even if you want to use your own adapter, it’d probably be better to accept your provider’s adapter until you find an alternative that’s confirmed to work with your service or keep the provider’s adapter as a backup.

Which services allow you to use your own adapter?

Of the services we review, 1-VoIP, Axvoice, BroadVoice and ViaTalk allow you to use your own device. During the checkout process, selecting the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) option allows you use your own adapter and waive whatever fees (usually shipping and handling) and requirements are associated with purchasing or managing the provider’s adapter. VOIPo is another service that allows you to use your own adapter, but you must first start the service with its adapter in order to create VoIP credentials that you can use with other adapters.

If you opt for the provider’s adapter (either to get started or use it for the long run), here are some examples of the options and pricing you’ll be seeing. 1-VoIP allows you to choose between a free wired adapter or a $89.97 wireless adapter, and shipping and handling for either adapter is $14.95. Axvoice also offers a free adapter, but the shipping and handling fee is waived. BroadVoice offers a free adapter and shipping and handling is $14.95. For ViaTalk, the adapter is free but shipping and handling range between $10.95 to $30.95 depending on what shipping option you choose. Finally the cost of VoIPo’s adapter as well as shipping is integrated into the total cost of the service since you can’t opt out of getting the adapter.

To learn more about these and other VoIP services, take a look at our VoIP reviews. And keep up with our VoIP blog to find out how you can get the most from a VoIP service.