Voice Boards
Voice Software Phone System Auto-attendant/Voice Mail Fax Applications Caller ID Voice/Fax/Modem Boards Database Integration
Voice Boards

Generally, we recommend voice boards from Dialogic Corp. and Rhetorex, Inc. because they are the most widely supported hardware in today's telephony market. Here is the list of voice boards that we recommend to those of you who are just getting started and need a 2 or 4 port system. All these boards are expandable and more ports can be added anytime in the future. The prices are quoted in our PRICE LIST! Please click here to request the complete pricing info Price List.


Proline 2V - 2 port half-length board with Caller ID.
Dialogic/4 - 4 port half-length board.
D/21D - . 2 port board with AEB connection.
D/41D - . 4 port board with AEB connection.


Duet - 2 port half-length board. (Limit 1 per chasis)
Quartet - 4 port board.(Limit 1 per chasis)
432 - 4 port board with MVIP interface.

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Voice Software

First, let's look at what types of voice software are available in the market today.

a. Developer's toolkits that come with the voice hardware: These require programming in very difficult and low-level codes to directly interface the voice card driver. Users will have the maximum flexibilities to tailor-made your system. However, they are only for experienced C programmers and with plenty of time to spare.

b. High-Level Development Toolkits: Users no longer need to interface directly to the hardware but definitely need programming experience in order to understand and use the software library for creating their applications.

c. Application Generators: Generally running in Windows environment with GUI (Graphical User Interface), these packages have built in voice function blocks for users to create their own applications without coding. Some packages also include high-level development toolkit or function blocks so that users can design new functions to create some very specialized applications.

d. Turnkey Applications: They are ready-made voice application packages. It is canned software, where your fill in the blanks to specify your configuration.

  • High-level development tookits and applications generators are the most common tools for users to create voice applications. The prices differ considerably from one vendor to another. Always consider what you need in your application, your budget, your time, and your programming experience before settling for the tool.
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    Phone System

    Whether you need to integrate the voice system with a phone system or not depends on whether your application needs to tranfer incoming calls to extensions. Voice boards do not transfer calls, it is phone system that does this function. If your voice application is strictly for voice messaging, audiotext, Fax-On-Demand, or other functions that do not require transferring phone calls, you do not need a phone system.

    The 3 types of phone systems are PBXs, Hybrids, and KSU (Key Service Unit) systems. Most voice boards only support phone systems that can connect to single line, analog telephones. (a.k.a. POTS - Plain Old Telephone Set) PBXs and Hybrid systems fit into this category. A key system uses proprietary telephones and generally will not be supported by voice boards. Centrex is a service provided by the local telephone company. It is like having a PBX, except that the hardware is located at the Central Office. Centrex will work with voice cards.

    The key to understanding the integration between a phone system and a voice system in the auto-attendant application is to know that the phone system sits in front of the voice system. Incoming phone calls are directed by the phone system to ring at designated extensions that are connected to the voice system. Therefore, when someone calls in, it is the voice system that answers the call. After the caller selects the desired extension, the voice system will dial a hook flash and the extension to transfer the call. The voice system monitors whether the transfer is answered or not and it can retrieve the call if there is no answer and allow the caller to leave a message.

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    Auto-Attendant/Voice Mail

    "I have 10 phone lines coming to my office. Does it mean that I need a 10-port voice mail system?" Well, not necessarily. Think of one voice port as a human operator. You definitely do not need 10 operators for an office of this size.

    The way that the auto-attendant works is that once the caller is transferred successfully, the voice line is free to take another call. If you have 2 phone lines, the chance that 2 calls ring in at the same time is high. On the other hand, if you have 10 phone lines, it is very unlikely that 10 calls ring in at the same time. But 4 calls coming ringing simultaneously is possible. Based on your knowledge of the phone traffic in your office, you can estimate how many voice ports you need.

    Normally, voice boards have 2 ports or 4 ports per board. To increase voice ports in your system, you can add more voice boards to the PC. For example, to set up a 12-line voice mail system, you can install three 4-port voice boards.

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    Fax Applications

    A common voice and fax integrated application is fax-on-demand. It allow users to call into a voice system to retrieve fax documents automatically. There are one-call and two-call methods of Fax-On-Demand. The one-call method requires users to call in from a fax machine. After going through the voice menu and selecting desired documents, callers will be asked to push the "start" button on their fax machine to receive fax on the same call. With the two-call method the voice system will ask the caller for his or her fax number and queue the request for delivery on a separate call.

    The advantage of the two-call medthod is that fewer fax ports are required. With 4 voice ports and 1 fax port in a system, four callers can call in to request fax documents simultaneously. All requests are put on queue to be faxed out through the one fax line. The advantage of one-call method is that the caller pays for the entire call, including the transmission of the fax documents.

    In addition to voice hardware, one or more fax boards are required to add the fax-on-demand feature. Some very popular boards are the Pure Data's Satisfaxtion product line. (Formerly of Intel.) You can install multiple Satisfaxtion boards in the same PC. There are also options for multi-port fax boards.

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    Caller ID

    To integrate Caller ID into the voice system, you can either use voice cards with built-in Caller ID or use a separate Caller ID device. Be sure that the voice software you use supports the Caller ID hardware.

    Dialogic boards that support Caller ID: Proline/2V, D/21H, D/41H

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    Voice/Fax/Modem Boards

    There are many companies that manufacture voice/fax/modem boards which bundle some sort of voice mail software. Many users are wondering if they can use this type of hardware to set up a voice mail system for use in their business. We've found that the voice functions of these type of boards are both unreliable and of less than professional and some even of poor quality. We do not recommend these systems for any serious business applications.

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    Database Integration

    Conventionally, a voice system that provides users access of information in the database is referred to as Interactive Voice Response System (IVR). Since each business has its own very unique database, to set up an IVR system does require customization of the voice software to the database. This means a higher cost for such system.

    That is why we strongly recommend Windows based voice software because it is so much easier to link database to the voice application in this environment. Today, there are all types of Windows programming interfaces and tools available in the market.

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