Saturday, March 24, 2007

VoIP phones

A number of people have asked me how do you manage to only pay 1p per minute for calls to England and more to the point how did you get a Manchester phone number in Spain.

Easy - we subscribe to a VoIP service called VoIPtalk (if you use this link please enter 83462157 as the VoIPtalk ID of your referrer) and make our calls over the internet. We pay £3.51 per month for their Silver Service which reduces call costs from 1.8p to 1p per minute and gives us a UK regional number which people can use to call us.

The phone we have is a Grandstream Budgetone 100 which plugs directly into my access point. That means that the phone is available at all times whether the computer is on or off.

We could have used an analogue VoIP adapter combined with a standard analogue phone. In fact these adapters are more expensive than many VoIP phones and quite a few people here have had problems with them. Or we could have bought a wireless access point with a VoIP port built in and again used a standard phone.

Buying a VoIP phone is not as easy as buying an analogue phone. Most of the VoIP phones you find in the shops are in fact USB Skype phones or are VoIP compatible analogue phones. A USB phone will work but only when the computer is switched on and a compatible phone needs a VoIP adapter.

Probably the best solution is to buy a phone with an ethernet Rj-45 connection. That is the plug that goes into your router/access point.

Would this work with the Bigastrel system? I can't see why not. It works with the Wi-Fi connection we have to the Pedrera. You would need a wireless access point with more than one port of course. You'd plug your computer into one port and the phone into another port.

VoIPtalk supply a range of VoIP phones and adapters. They also provide clear instructions for setting them up. Here are two examples from their selection:-

The Grandstream is the cheapest VoIP phone they sell. For the extra 54€, the Siemens is cordless and connects to both VoIP and a landline. So one phone for both purposes at about 40€ more than Telefonica's Domo phone.

Grandstream Budgetone 101
70,49€ inc. VAT
19,44€ delivery to Spain

*NAT traversal using IETF STUN and symmetric RTP (compatible with Cisco’s ATA-186, etc)
*Interoperable with various 3rd party SIP end user device, Proxy/Registrar/Server, and gateway products (e.g., MS Messenger, Cisco IP phone and gateway, etc)
*Advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to ensure superb hi-fidelity audio quality
*Advanced and patent pending adaptive jitter buffer control, packet delay and loss concealment technology
*Popular vocoders including G.723.1 (5.3K/6.3K), G.729A/B, G.711 (a-law and u-law), G.726, G.728. Dynamic negotiation of codec and voice payload length
*Standard voice features such as Caller ID Display or Block, Call Waiting, Hold, Transfer, Forward, FLASH, in-band and out-of-band DTMF (RFC2833), Dial Plans, off-hook auto dial, configurable emergency dialing (e.g., 911), early dial, click-to-dial
*Silence Suppression, VAD (Voice Activity Detection), CNG (Comfort Noise Generation), Line Echo Cancellation (G.168), and AGC (Automatic Gain Control)
*DIGEST authentication and encryption using MD5 and MD5-sess.
*Provide easy configuration through manual operation (phone keypad and Web interface) or personalized automated provisioning via central configuration file for mass deployment.
*Support for Layer 2 (802.1Q VLAN, 802.1p) and Layer 3 QoS (ToS, DiffServ, MPLS)
*NAT-friendly remote software upgrade capability (via tftp) even from behind firewalls/NATs.

Siemens C460IP Dect VoIP Phone
123,36€ inc. VAT
20,18€ delivery to Spain

With the Gigaset C460 IP, you don't even need a PC to start making internet phone calls. If you like flexibility, then you'll love how easy it is to switch between internet and fixed-line calls. Just press a button. It's that easy, especially thanks to plug-and-play convenience too.

The Gigaset C460 IP proves that cutting-edge technology can also be brilliantly easy to use. Without the need for a PC, you simply plug-in the Gigaset C460 IP to your phone connection and in a few steps you can start phoning over the internet to your friends and family around the world. Conveniently select the internet telephony provider you prefer, like VoIPtalk on the handset's illuminated display. No matter what, you're assured Gigaset's Quality of Service (QoS) for superb internet telephony quality. VoIP doesn't get any easier than that.

Main Features:
* One phone for Internet and land line calls
* One VoIP and one land line call simultaneously on multiple handsets
* No PC required for phone calls
* High quality colour display on handset
* Purchase and register up to 6 GAPcompatible handsets
* DECT Transfer calls between handsets
* UK Caller ID
* Multiple ring tones
* Personal address book with 100 entries
* Configuration using handset or built-in web server
* Long battery life:
- over 150 hours standby
- over 10 hours talk time
* Typical handset range:
- up to 50 metres indoors
- up to 300 metres outdoors

Handset Display:
* 101 x 80 pixel backlit display
* 4096 colours
* 3-line display

Handset General Information:
* Standby time: over 150 hours
* Talk time: over 10 hours
* 2x NiMH AAA Batteries
* Indoor range: up to 50 metres
* Outdoor range: up to 300 metres
* Dimensions:
- Length: 140.7mm
- Width: 53.2mm
- Height: 28mm

* Ethernet (802.3) RJ-45 connection
* Land line (PSTN) RJ-11 connection
* SIP VoIP support to RFC3261
* Multiple voice codec support:
* G.711
* G.726
* G729 A/B
* DHCP client
* Web (HTTP) server for configuration
* Quality-of-Service: ToS, DiffServ
* PPPoE Termination

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