A softphone is a software program for making telephone calls over the Internet using a general purpose computer rather than dedicated hardware. 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. 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. A softphone is usually used with a headset connected to the sound card of the PC or with a USB phone.Applications
See Comparison of VoIP softwareCommunication protocols
To communicate, both end-points must support the same voice-over-IP protocol, and at least one common audio codec.Many service providers use the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Skype, a popular service, uses proprietary
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