October 29, 2004

VoIP goodness

First Looks: Sipura SPA-3000 :: Voxilla :: A user's guide to the VoIP revolution

This is pretty sweet. Voice over IP has started to upswing again, not the least of which is for the simple reason that it's starting to be cheaper than the Bells.

To understand VoIP, you have to get the basic premise that there's got to be some point where voice, a naturally analog data source, gets translated into computer data, a digital data type. Whether this occurs when you're on your computer, or using some other device, just really depends.

A lot of systems, like Vonage provide boxes which digitize your phone calls, as well as route those calls to the appropriate places. You don't need your computer on for these.

Both of the above have some problems. First, you need to have a form of broadband and power both going to make a phone call -- no phone calls during an outage of either. Second, making 911 calls are either impossible (Skype, most VoIP providers) or don't contain location (Vonage). And finally, if you have DSL, most of the Bells practically require you to keep your POTS -- your regular phone line (I kid you not, the official terminology for your regular phone line is POTS -- plain old telephone service.)

The link above is to a device which takes in not only Ethernet for VoIP, but also a POTS line. This means that you can do the following:

  • Route POTS calls to your VoIP service

  • Rout VoIP calls back over to a local POTS call (you're calling from someplace with cheap broadband, and you want to make a call that's local at home: VoIP to home, out the POTS line to a local call.)

  • 911 and auto-failover to the POTS line

  • Call routing through multiple SIP providers, meaning you can have a call go out through a VoIP provider of your choice. Example: you've got a VoIP plan based in the UK, and another based in the US. You can dial out the UK numbers using the UK service, and the US using the US, and not incur charges.

Talk about neat.

Posted by Ted Stevko at October 29, 2004 01:21 AM | TrackBack