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Vonage Testing Mobile VoIP Service Routers 91

kamikaze-Tech writes "In a Vonage VoIP Forum article titled Vonage Testing Mobile VoIP Service Routers we learn that Vonage is doing customer trials involving a new Linksys Wi-Fi mobile service router. From the article comes the claim: "With the special router and handset, individual customers would be free to roam about their home or office, untethered from a modem or phone jack and without a connection to a laptop or desktop computer." Suggesting the new routers are geared for installation in Wi-Fi hot spots: "In theory, someone should be able to walk into a Wi-Fi-enabled cafe, fire up a laptop, log on to the Internet and start dialing. But that now requires technical know-how and configuration hassles that most consumers don't want to deal with. The new routers are designed to do most of the heavy lifting.""
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Vonage Testing Mobile VoIP Service Routers

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeAlien ( 164869 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:46PM (#12558290) Homepage Journal
    Imagine! Phones without wires!!

    We live in exciting times!
    • right now you might pay for a phone line, a fax line, a cellphone, cable tv and internet.

      there are lots of convergences going on, but this is a big one. the day may be coming when you spend 1/4 or 1/3 of what you are paying now for the whole suite of pipes.
      • The day of lowered costs for phone, TV and Internet should have been here already. The holdup is that the various communications businesses bribe their congress-critters to stay in business.

        AT&T saw this trend and started buying cable TV, and cell phone businesses so that they could be the ones to provide this integrated communications services. Unfortunately, they underestimated the political power that would be used to slow this integration.

        Other countries surpass us in the quality of their services
      • No; the day is coming when you will pay one company one bill at around the same cost for all the functionality of those various services. And you will only have one company in your area providing those services.
    • Why not just use a wired MTA and a standard cordless phone []? Would that not leave them "free to roam about their home or office"?

      People seem to believe 802.11 is required for a wireless home phone but that is not true. The real point behind using 802.11 for VoIP is so you can build the MTA into the phone and use it not just at home but roam from any home/buisness/hotel/coffee shop with wireless internet access.

      • Nothing's stopping you doing that at all, in fact that's exactly what I do with Vonage today, and have done for 6 months. A single base station hooked up to the Vonage box, and multiple handsets located throughout the house. Works very well indeed, highly recommended.
  • So what happens... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:48PM (#12558311)
    Out in public? What happens when this becomes popular and there are a few people using up all the bandwidth at these hotspots? VoIP isn't exactly the least demanding application ever.

    If it becomes that popular, I can see places that offer free wireless access blocking VoIP access.
    • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:57PM (#12558433) Homepage Journal
      At the router level, you can prioritize packet types. It is no big deal to lower the VOip traffic to ensure web users maintain acceptable bandwidth. In most installations, people apply the reverse standard in prioritizing VOIP over http, but in the cafe scenario, I can see it going this way.

    • VoIP isn't exactly the least demanding application ever.

      Yeah, I think ping is the least demanding application. 60-80kbps is not a lot of bandwidth.
      • Apparently you have never done

        man ping

        because if you had you would have seen the -f option. I can't think of anything that uses more outgoing bandwidth. Most targets limit their responses, but even still you can really chew up a network with ping.
    • Mind clueing me into an app that uses less than 13Kbps ( [] )?

      It's very sensitive to latency and dropped packets, but it's not a bandwidth hog. In fact, I can fit at least 50 calls through a t1 using ulaw ( uncompressed voice codec ). Using gsm, that number jumps to over 200.
    • I think VoIP takes about 384Kbps (someone correct me if I'm wrong) of synchronous bandwith.

      Linksys WiFi routers already do 54Mbps... what's the big deal? Your problem is going to be the pipe on the back end, not the WLAN. Most people have issues with VoIP because they are on sucky ADSL lines (and, of course, Ma Bell, Inc. is really anxious to help them out with that).
      • "I think VoIP takes about 384Kbps (someone correct me if I'm wrong) of synchronous bandwith." Your wrong :) No Voip I know of takes up that much bandwidth. Even at its highest bandwidth setting Vonange only uses about 90k. Vonage Bandwidth Settings. Normal Quality: 30k Higher Quality: 50k Highest Quality: 90k
      • My question is why people would bother with VoIP if they have ADSL...they have a phone line running into their house, that they're paying for...i've got a Vonage phone because i dont want to deal with Telus(Phone Company in Western Canada) so i've got cable net and my phone
        • Various reasons.

          1. Cost: I already have DSL, so that doesn't factor into cost, aside from the DSL Vonage is cheaper than the equivalent service from my local Telco. My local telco removes features and adds charges, Vonage adds features and lowers prices.

          2. Flexibility: I can spend an extended time with family and take my home phone with me.

          3. Second Line: While I have dropped most services off the copper line, I can still use it for the DTivo and fax without interrupting voice capability.

      • Linksys WiFi routers already do 54Mbps Ok. Seriously. Have you ever REALLY gotten 54mbits/sec out of a 802.11g access point, of ANY brand?

        I didn't think so.
    • The turkeys that flip open their laptop and have Limewire, Bittorrent, Bearshare and Kazaa all launching and downloading cruft.

      p2p apps + hotspots = inconsiderate behaviour. :(
    • Sorry, but wrong

      VoIP applications properly compressed using SIP should be about 8k (and remember this is just voice were talking about, not video streaming); 10% QoS on a standard 1024/512 DSL connection provides more than enough bandwidth for 6 conversations.

    • Unfortunately, the solution is to charge money for usage. Free wireless access is a classic Tragedy of the Commons. Everyone and their mom will overload free hotspots with their VoIP and P2P warezing.. until they have to pay for what they use!
      • Yeah, just as free toilets, free paper towels, free sugar, free reading of newspapers, etc at cafes are classic tragedies of the commons.
        Yet most cafes do not charge for use of toilets.
        Everyone and their mom might come to read the newspaper at the cafe. But is not a tradegy as long as they buy a cup of coffee.

        I.e. say a 1Mbit/s internet connections is $100/month. A VoIP call on average is 50Kbit/s, the store is open 300 hours/month. Then an hour of phoning cost the cafe 50*$100/300hours/1000 = 2 cents.

        I p
    • Man has the industry missed the boat on this one so far--but not for much longer. Everyone is shooting at broadband for VOIP. But with all the demand, frequently all the broadband can muster is narrow band. KT-Tech can do Video and Voice Over IP (KT-V2OIP) starting at 4 kbps for 1-way (4 FPS QCIF)and 30 kbps for 2-way synchronous real-time (12-16 FPS at 80 kbps- concert quality audio for VOIP is around 60 kbps)...and they do it off a 85 KB software CODEC that also provides visibly superior images to MPEG
  • So what (Score:2, Insightful)

    I have a cordless phone system at home (with Vonage) and I have a cell phone with global roaming. What do I get with this that I don't already have now that is simple and reliable?
    • An extra $40 in your wallet each month that you don't have to spend for those services.
    • What do I get with this that I don't already have now that is simple and reliable?

      You get shoddy business practices, poor customer service and unpaid (but promised) refunds. Welcome to Vonage!

    • Re:So what (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Once they get all the kinks worked out, I'd *much* rather have a VOIP phone than a POTS phone.

      Having IP opens up all sorts of options. With POTS, you're kind of limited in what functionality you can offer. With VOIP, you've got IP, so the sky's the limit.

      This sounds like the first time I showed my dad a spreadsheet -- um, yeah, it does pretty much the same thing you do with a piece of paper and a calculator, but think of all the things it *will* be able to do Real Soon Now...
  • Walk into hotspot.
    Acquire connection.
    Start Skype.
    Make call.
  • Ok, but *why* ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've already been testing a handset that lets me hop on an 802.11b network... Only thing it's missing is a web interface to permit me to click the "I Agree" button on some captive portals, and I've been told its "in the next release" (snicker). It's decent, but still B. I'm looking forward to the G version I can give my boss instead of his desk phone (since he's prone to wandering the office instead of sitting in a chair). I'd be curious to see how this does with consumers, though I think most of us are g
    • One reason I'd use it is in the event that I travelled outside of the MetroPCS service area. It's not that often that happens, but it certainly does occur, and I'm very likely to find a hotspot (Starbucks... even some of the middle-of-nowhere ones have T-Mobile now) or at least an open WAP to use for a few minutes.
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:54PM (#12558401)
    I already use Vonage and think VOIP is great. Not quite "Mom-Easy" to setup but otherwise my complaints are few.

    That said,I'm still struggling to see the market for these mobile versions. How is a VOIP phone through a WiFi hotspot superior to my GSM cell phone? I've got both VOIP and cell service and I don't see the former replacing the latter for mobile communications. VOIP is cheaper sure, but WAY more limited for mobile communications. Much better suited for office work IMO. Even assuming these new devices work reasonably well, my DSL service gets overwhelmed pretty easily if I'm using Vonage and doing pretty much anything else at the same time. I can easily see two or three of these things being brought into a coffee shop and soaking up all the bandwidth.
    • How is a VOIP phone through a WiFi hotspot superior to my GSM cell phone?
      I don't think that it will be superior at first, but it may be cheaper, a lot cheaper, maybe $4.99 extra a month, maybe free with vonage service. If so that will get people's attention. I have vonage it is great, but I like have my cell phone as a backup, if I had cheap bastard syndrom I could see getting the Vonage/WiFi as my only phone. I don't have CBS so having a cell phone makes a lot of sense to me.
    • It's nice to be able to have an always-on phone that you can use to receive phone calls when you are at work or traveling. Why is it better than a cell phone? Lower power, and lower cost. Why is it worse? Hardly works anywhere at all. :'}

      Fortunately, usually I'm in a place where it does work, not in a place where it doesn't.
    • > VOIP is cheaper sure

      A lot cheaper in some cases. Eg. international calls.

      I live in Denmark but use SIP phones when traveling. From the US phoning Denmark is $1.30 to $1.80 per minute (dependig on US roaming operator) with GSM and $0.02 with my SIP phone. Calling a US number is again $1.30 to $1.80 with GSM and $0.03 with SIP (A cent more because it is an internation call for a danish SIP-provider) That is unless I call another SIP number from my SIP phone in which case the call is free.

      Receiving cal

  • "...requires technical know-how and configuration hassles that most consumers don't want to deal with."

    Yup, the 'technical know-how and configuration hassles' of many broadband connections are currently being 'dealt with' by the nice folks at the cable company, which has allowed many Slashdot readers to use their neighbor's Internet for the last year.

    So now we're a year away from being able to use their long distance service too, I guess.

    Vonage's tag line should be "Get your neighbor to sign up!"

  • Sounds nice, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:58PM (#12558447)
    All the WiFi phones I've seen are ridiculously expensive. Maybe if the price on these types of phones comes down it will be worth it. Otherwise it's a better deal to get an ATA for your home/office and use a regular cordless phone--and all your phones can work off the ATA instead of just one phone.

    Being able to walk into a hotspot to use it would be nice I guess, but why not just use a cell phone for these occasions? The good thing is I could see this driving down the cost of WiFi phones.
  • by trailerparkcassanova ( 469342 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @03:00PM (#12558469)
    Next Vonage will offer 56K dialup through wifi.
  • What the heck do we need this for?? As a previous user commented - use a cell phone, use a cordless phone - this makes little or no sense to me. Technology for the sake of technology is not practical!
  • Because you won't get Customer Service to help you at all. I tried for the final three months I had Vonage to get in touch with _anyone_ there about the service issues I was having, with zero luck. I finally went back to Ma Bell, who will at least listen and provides the services I need.

    I'll go back when they get some decent CS skills.
  • Softphone (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Crim-Prof ( 862698 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @03:04PM (#12558509)

    I currently use my laptop and softphone from Vonage quite frequently at the local coffee house that offers free wi-fi and have tried to use it at panera bread which offers free WI-FI. However, I have been able to get it to work rather infrequently at Panera. At the local coffee house I open up my laptop, load the softphone, and then attach my headset. The question people typically ask is why not use your cell-phone.

    I can receive calls for free which would otherwise use my minutes, I can dial 1800 numbers which is what my university uses for its conference calls for free, and most importantly, it is the best way to have office hours when I am away from the university. I recently did my dissertation's first defense using the softphone and system to connect to all my committee members and did not have an issue. Recently, at a conference the second author of the work was unable to attend but had some new data that he wanted to present. I loaded the softphone and dialed into him and using the conference system called raindance and the conferences system, he was able to present the data without an issue.

    I see the progression of Vonage being very useful for those of us that for work have seen our laptops becoming more important then the air we breathe.

  • WiMax (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clovercase ( 707041 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @03:26PM (#12558750) Homepage
    while this might not be too practical right now, consider what happens when WiMax becomes available almost anywhere. no need for a separate internet and cellphone account - its integrated! Vonage seems to be planting the seeds so they are ready when wireless internet is available anwhere.
  • Mobile phones will really start to work for us when they can use any of the radio networks available, handing off seamlessly. UMA [] is the mobile telco's 3G coopt of WiFi. SCCAN [] is the WiFi coopt of 3G. And the IEEE's 802.11e [] makes WiFi itself suitable for heating up spots in the mobile convergence mix. There's even Bluetooth [] routes to global telephony. It'll take a few years to work at all, but we're looking at the ream form of the emerging mobile platform.
  • I'm looking forward to the day where I can use my $30/month wireless phone w/3G service to connect to a VOIP gateway over the data channel and chat with my buddies overseas for some rational fee. As things stand now, you either need to use a phone card or allow your carrier to drive a VW microbus up your nether regions to make international calls.
    • [] I use it instead of a normal long distance carrier. From what I can figure they route their calls over VOIP (they even offer a service to connect a normal phone to your broadband router and call anywhere for a flat monthly fee). If you just use the calling plan, there's only a certain maximum fee you pay. I know for the one I'm on, I talk as long as I like and it's a max of $1 for the New England area and $2 for the rest of the US. The international max rates are pretty nice as w
  • So, this is supposed to allow Vonage users to use Wi-Fi handsets? I'm not clear what these routers do differently than any other router that supports SIP NAT traversal. The article mentions selling this to hotspot operators; what does this router offer an operator? Can somebody explain?
  • Many providers are looking to converge their separate networks into a single network that is cheaper to maintain. Mobile WiFi based phone service is just a step into that direction. Eventually, I see Cell providers switching to a pure IP based service using WiFi type standards. It's not here quiet yet, but it's coming. Has anybody looked into Flarion? ( [] I believe a system like this could be a step into moving to a pure IP based system. A local cell carrier has been beta testing flari
  • Here is another reason to consider this as dubious at best. I don't know Vonage's upstream requirements but Broadvoice prefers 150 kb/s upstream for their service. You have virtually no guantee that these free wi-fi hot spots have that available. Meanwhile, your cellphone service in that area (for better or for worse) will be rather predictable.
  • It's like, meta-wardriving!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I hear "mobile", I think of traveling inside a vehicle. 802.11(*) wireless works like crap when you're trying it from a vehicle moving greater than about 20-30 MPH. Every test I' ve done, we've had to pull over and stop to get the damn thing to lock onto the signal again, and the connection will drop out as soon as we start driving again.

    Other wardrivers might say, "I can find dozens of hot & open access points while driving around". Yep, airsnort can certainly find them ok while moving, but you s
  • Vonage is a beautiful thing and "it just works". We use them at work and it's great.

    I just don't understand what this "new development" offers more than a conventional VoIP router and cordless phone ?

    The concept of Hotspot VoIP is kind of dumb in my view. The magic of Vonage is that you just plug a regular phone into an IP router and it works out of the box. I don't see how they could do that in a wireless environment and I sure as hell don't feel like buying a hotspot-only vonage cell phone when my ex

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern