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VOIP - Which Provider?

Discussion in 'General Tech & Gadget Forums' started by bradavon78, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    I hear Skype you need a PC to use it so that rules that one out.

    I don't make many phone calls and the idea of having to fire software up and plug a headset in just to make a phone call (no matter how cheap it is) puts me right off.

    I want a telephone (cordless of course)! I have some questions:

    1. I hear Vonage are very good but what about the alternatives?
    2. You can't keep your existing BT phone number right?
    3. What about BB speed, surely it plummets when you're on the phone?
    4. Is Vonage "that" much cheaper than BT?
    5. My modem is USB based what Ethernet modem do I need?
    6. This one will do right? :

    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?product_uid=84060

    I believe my Dad currently pays something like £20 a month and gets free calls (not mobile of course).
     
  2. andrewmc

    andrewmc
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    I would recommend Sipgate (www.sipgate.co.uk) as a free or cheap introduction to VOIP telephony. There are no contractual obligations and you only need to fund your account if you want to make calls to PSTN lines and mobiles, no funding required if you just want to receive calls.

    You get a geographic number of your choice and you can use the X-Lite softphone to try out the service before committing to buying any hardware. The beauty of this service is that there are no monthly rentals. As you say, if you have ADSL then you still need to pay BT for line rental. I think 'naked ADSL' will be available later next year so you will be able to take ADSL without a phone service (it will still be delivered over BT phone cables though). If you are in a Telewest or NTL cabled area then you can take broadband from them without taking a phone service.

    Whether or not the Vonage service is good value depends on how many calls you make each month.

    You can't currently port your phone number onto a VOIP network but I think I read in another thread that this *might* be possible from August.

    Most VOIP adapters use about 40MB/hour in each direction when in a call (something to bear in mind if your broadband is capped). This equates to 11kb/s, not a large chunk of the typical broadband downlink capacity but probably a large chunk of the uplink. If you are surfing or downloading at the same time you may find that call quality is affected, unless your router supports Quality Of Service which allows voice traffic to be prioritised. You can also buy ADSL modem/router devices which incorporate a VOIP ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter) - these would most likely support Quality of Service. I think Draytek make these, there's another one on the Sipgate website.

    That Hayes ADSL Modem/Router looks fine.
     
  3. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks Andrew

    By PSTN you mean UK landlines right? What's left are PSTN, mobile and international calls?

    Is this a software version?

    That would be nice.

    My line isn't capped. I wouldn't pay for a capped service no matter how high the cap was.

    Wouldn't my Internet download speeds drop? Surely if I'm downloading something at 50Kbps a second then it would drop?
     
  4. andrewmc

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    PSTN = landlines (in any country). If you don't put any funds in your Sipgate account you cannot make calls to PSTN lines or mobiles in any country but you can make VOIP to VOIP calls to users of the Sipgate service and to VOIP users of some other VOIP service providers. You can receive calls from PSTN, mobiles, VOIP. You can probably call freephone numbers too.

    X-Lite is a free SIP softphone from from X-ten which can be downloaded from www.xten.net and can be configured to work with most VOIP providers. (SIP= session initiation protocol : this is used by most VOIP providers, with the notable exclusion of Skype)

    Yes
     
  5. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks Andrew.

    This is putting me off getting VOIP until I get 1Mb+ . I'm happy with 512Kbps but then again with 1Mb I'd get more out of it than just telephone calls. So it's probably still worth it.

    p.s - Does anyone know what the cheapest line rental BT charge is? I'm guessing it's one where calls are expensive but of course that doesn't matter and is the whole point.
     
  6. dejongj

    dejongj
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    @Bradavon78: Please note that also with a 1Mb line performing two or more tasks they can affect each other...This is, as forementioned, where QoS is essential in order to maintain the quality of your call, or download or both or whatever you want to do...

    QoS can be seriously complicated to configure depending on the broadband router you have have got....So be prepared to learn or throttle your downloads otherwise if you really want to do them at the same time...
     
  7. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks Dejong1.

    I'll bear that in mind.
     
  8. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks again Andrew.

    I've been reading up on Sipgate through their website and it looks very impressive. Not so much for ADSL users but for Cable users (who have BB anyway) it really comes into it's own.

    Is the geographic number contractually yours for life?

    It's not like you're paying any money for it.
     
  9. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Are you around Andrew? :)
     
  10. andrewmc

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    I don't know if the number would be yours for life. I wouldn't be surprised if Sipgate gets snapped up by some other VOIP company in the future and then who knows what will happen regarding charges but I dare say some other free offerings will appear from other companies...until they are regulated out of existence !
     
  11. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks Andrew

    Sipgate looks like the way to go now. Brad puts his specs on to read up on QOS :D
     
  12. Iggy21UK

    Iggy21UK
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    I have 512k broadband waiting for free upgrade, using a voip telephone connected to my
    Netgear router/modem no problems. Just keep topping up my Sipgate account with £10.00 of credit
    Use it to make cheap calls to USA and Europe
     
  13. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Thanks for this.

    Do you use QOS? You don't find your BB download speed and general Internet browsing gets really slow?

    Do you have to topup first or can you be charged afterwards?

    What telephone do you use?
     
  14. dejongj

    dejongj
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    I'm using 512 ADSL as well, waiting for my 'free' 2Mbs upgrade....The main phone I use is the Grandstream GXP-2000, works great with Sipgate....

    I do use QoS as I find the quality of my phonecall more important that the simultaneous download...Unless your doing some serious downloading you don't really notice the difference....However without QoS I do notice a serious difference in my phonecall quality....Then again I also use PCMA which has the least compression so other people don't notice it is VOIP at all...Its just what you find more important....

    You have to pre-pay....
     
  15. the_sanguine

    the_sanguine
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    I was looking at getting the XDA2s on O2s network. I know that you can get Skype s/w for pocket PC and the device has WiFi capability. I don't know if you can then open Skpe and use the build in mic and speaker? I know it's not a cheap option but it may be a good one and I was thinking about upgrading to an XDA2s anyway.
     
  16. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    I tried that, had the 3MB NTL Cabe connection, but the voice quality was poor, they could hear me, but i could not hear them clearly...
     

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