Vonage finalizing beta on Wi-Fi handsets

Vonage is still working with UTStarcom on a wi-fi voip handset. Currently still in beta, the service is expected to be ready before the end of the year. Based on the information made public to date, its hard to see what is so exciting about this offering.

Unless there’s something new, it will likely be just another me too offering. The F1000 has a relatively low power output (only 20 mw) and is limited to only 802.11b (while a number of competitive models also support 802.11g). As well, the F1000 only supports WEP encryption (and not the newer WPA). The big question is whether Vonage has been entering into partner arrangements to allow the phone to be used with commercial hotspots. Since the phone appears to lack a web browser, it would not be capable of logging into a commercial hotspot on its own unless special arrangements were made to open specific ports for VOIP traffic directed to Vonage without prior user authentication using a browser.