Category Archives: Voice over IP

Skype Wi-Fi Phone Closer to Release

As previously reported approximately two months ago, Accton Technology had announced Skype-compatible wi-fi handsets. According to InfoWorld, Accton’s VM1185T SkyFone (which comes with a built-in version of Skype’s popular Internet calling software) is set for release mid-February, potentially beating U.S. rival Netgear to market with the first Wi-Fi Skype-compatible phones.
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Network Neutrality

Daily Wireless has a good article on network neutrality, including a number of good links. While this can potentially turn into a serious problem, hopefully new competition for the telephone company / cable Internet broadband access duopoly – from (i) WiMax, (ii) EDGE/EVDO wireless data, and (iii) power line delivered Internet access – will prevent this from occurring.

It is also possible that this is all hype being put out by the existing operators as a warning to companies like Google to think twice before branching out into the internet access business themselves. But just in case, it is important not to just ignore the coming battle. Jeff Pulver raises some good issues in his recent blog – what if the downgrading of competitor’s voice over IP service results in 911 operators being unable to properly take emergency calls.

UTStarcom GF200

According to PCWorld, UTStarcom’s recently announced GF200 phone (Q2 2006 availability) will allow connection to either GSM (Cingular/TMobile in the US or Fido/Rogers in Canada) networks or Wi-Fi hotspots for use with VOIP. The phone apparently supports WEP encryption but lacks the ability to authenticate through public hotspots that require browser authentication.

Hasbro Chat-Now

Hasbro’s Chat Now product looks like a real winner. Its an FRS type walkie-talkie in a cellphone package and with other cell phone copy-cat features such as the ability to send text messages between units, take photographs with the built-in digital camera and call between units using unique phone numbers. The communication range is listed as two miles but actual distance will likely be significantly less. The product retails for about $80 per pair but they are difficult to find and eBay sellers appear to be getting higher prices. I’ve got a few ideas for Hasbro on turn this “good” product into a “great product”.
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Protecting VOIP conversations

Yesterday I wrote about a new unannounced wi-fi voip phone from Linksys, the WIP 300. I am excited by the fact that it appears to be the first wi-fi VOIP phone out there that has a built-in browser (which would likely allow it to connect through most public hotspots that require users to log in or that require users to click through an initial page). Since then I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts about VOIP security and the difficultly of building in functionality to protect (encrypt) the conversation, particularly when products of different manufacturers are utilized. Here’s a thought – why not build in a PPTP VPN client?
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Linksys WIP 300 / 330 Wireless Wi-Fi VOIP Phone

Linksysinfo has apparently found an FCC application filed by Linksys for a new, yet unannounced, wi-fi VOIP handset. No word yet on product availability. However, I’ve quickly reviewed the user manual as posted on the FCC website and what I am really excited about is that the phone appears to include a web browser. This address the problem have written about before (here and here) that all other current wi-fi voip handset cannot be used at most public hotspots since almost all either require a user to log in or require a user to at least click through a page referencing terms and conditions of use.

Congratulations Linksys!!!

Wi-Fi VOIP Handsets and Public Hotspots

Wi-Fi VOIP handsets are great if they are intended for use either with (i) private hotspots or (ii) public hotspots that do not re-direct users to an initial page where they must log in or at least agree (click through) to some terms of use. However, since these devices lack web browsers, they cannot be used with public hotspots that require the user to do something on a redirected initial web page. I’ve tried two experiments in the hope of finding a work around to this problem. One failed but the other succeeded.
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Vonage’s F1000 Wi-fi VOIP phone now available

What a difference a day makes. I reported yesterday that Vonage was finalizing the beta on its new handset. We’ll they have now apparently starting shipping the UTStarcom F1000 wi-fi voip handset. The phone is available for US$79.99 after a $50 rebate. See Vonage’s site for more details. Interestingly, information about it is also available on the Vonage Canada website. So Canadians may not need to wait for a delayed rollout.