IP phones and computers are pretty easy to connect from home. So, how difficult is it for unwanted visitors to connect to you? It’s not difficult at all and that’s a problem! There are specific guidelines you need to follow so you don’t inadvertently invite hackers into your remote phones and, by extension, into your office systems.

How do IP Phones Connect?
IP phones work when they can connect through a specific ‘path’ on your router. We call these paths ‘ports’. Your PBX vendor should know which ports need to be open in order for your phone to connect to the office system.

There are two levels of access needed in order for your remote phone to work properly.  The first level is called TCP. The second one is called UDP.

TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol and establishes a link between your phone and the office phone system. (This is no different than connecting to your office computer via a remote desktop program.) When TCP is enabled and working, your phone should power on and register with the office system.  

UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. This piece allows your voice transmission to flow through on top of the TCP connection. When UDP is enabled, you can make inter office and outside calls successfully. Without both pieces your phone will not register and you won’t be able to make phone calls.

Security Concerns
Don’t allow your phone provider to open every port on your home router. Why? By opening every port, you leave your home service and by extension, your office, vulnerable to cyber attacks. Your phone vendor needs to determine which ports are needed for the TCP connection and which ones are needed for the UDP connection. That’s it. The other ports on your router should remain closed – unless your computer or another device need to connect to the Internet as well. Otherwise, you have no chance to keep your home network secure. 

Understand these connection basics. You will have a better idea of how to troubleshoot your remote phone. Additionally, by following these security tips, your phone and your computer will be more secure from cyber attacks.






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