Talking To Go - New VoIP Phones With Wi-Fi Capabilities

"VoIP really is about mobility," William Stofega, a senior analyst for VoIP services at IDC said. On this same note, Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group said in an interview with Jamie Lendino at Laptop Magazine, "Dual mode cell phones incorporating a wide area technology (GSM or CDMA) plus Wi-Fi is a killer combination. It allows the cellular companies to augment their voice and data offerings in high density areas inexpensively, and it will allow them to eventually displace the wire line incumbents in the enterprise as individuals use their cell phone as their only phone." High density cellular areas are sprouting up all over the world, even in the smaller or more remote countries.

To keep pace with life in the fast lane, new VoIP phones are rolling out of production lines with built in Wi-Fi, which means that you can take your VoIP phone, and phone number to any free Wi-Fi hotspots and make calls.

Both Skype and X-lite will work on MS Windows, Linux, BSD, MacIntosh operating systems. X-lite will also work on portable Pocket PCs as well. Both GnomeMeeting and Kphone will only work on a Linux operating system. Please refer to the chart at the end of the article to compare all the features of all four VoIP software applications.

This article provides a mini tutorial on how to install the four VoIP applications. A person calling himself Speculatrix at the PDA247 forum gave me a tip about a great VoIP company called: sipgate.co.uk. Sipgate is like Skype and has their corporate office in Germany.

Sipgate is a Voice Over Internet Protocol provider. According to Speculatrix, he uses Zaurus running kp/pi. The main advantage to Sipgate is that they provide you with a real telephone number, which makes it very cheap for people to call you. For a free VoIP provider, Sipgate offers a very stable platform.

Below is a mini tutorial on how to install: Skype, X-lite, GnomeMeeting and Kphone on your Linux, Apple Mac or Windows operating systems.

Configuring Skype:

Skype works moderately on all platforms: PC Windows, Mac OS X V 1.0 and Skype for Linux V 1.0. Downloading Skype is easy on any of these packages: SuSE 9, Gentoo 1.4, Debian, Fedora Core 2, Sun Java Desktop System Release 2 and Xandros. To go directly to the down load page, please click on this Skype download link. In this tutorial, I will be using the example of the Linux operating system. Depending on which Linux package you choose, please go to this Skype Linux webpage. Click on the package you want to download, in my case, I clicked on RPM for Endora, and a small window popped open and I hit save to program files. You can save it on the desktop for easy access.

On my desktop, I see the icon that says: Skype-1.2.0. Double click on this Icon. Now you will have to input some information and go through the registration process. Once inside the client, you will need to choose a username and a password, something you can easily recall from your memory.

Next, input your email address. In case you forget your password Skype can email it to you. Once you have successfully downloaded Skype on your computer, restart your computer and click on the Skype icon on your desktop or wherever you stored it. You will see a small window that pops up. Click on the button that says contacts. Select the person you want to call. There is a search feature that allows you to search for the person's name, city, country and phone number as well.

Skype Calls Can Come Through Your Computer Speakers

It is very easy to configure Skype calls to come in through your computer speakers. I recently purchased very high end computer speakers from a company called: Edifier. The incoming call came through loud and clear as these speakers are very powerful. I easily configured my headset to my computer to speak with my caller.

Rating:

I give Skype a 4/10 rating running Linux as my operating system. The free Skype is not very stable. I noticed that the Skype window ran eight times in the background even though I didn't open the application. I kept hitting the quit button, but the Skype software did not recognize this. I also experienced remote sound problems. If you are new at VoIP and want to try out Skype, you may hit the wall and experience a lot of frustration trying to call your contact. The free Skype application allows you to call other Skype customers for free and you can do three-way conference calls as well.

Configuring X-lite:

Please go directly to the: xten download page. Select the operating system you are using. I will select the Linux download link again. I saved the file on my desktop. I would advise you doing the same. After you hit save, you will see the X-Lite_Install.tar.gz icon, please double click on this Icon.

Extract The File:

You can also extract the archive to your home directory folder. You will see the default name as xten-lite. Please double click and open this folder. Now you will see a folder called, xtensoftphone. Double click on that folder.

Make Your First Call:

Right click on the soft phone picture that you see. You will now see the Audio tuning wizard. Please select /dev/dsp1 where you see audio devices. Feel free now to adjust how loud you want to hear yourself over your headset, as well as adjusting your voice recording volume. I would suggest you go to this Counterpath Inc Webpage and read the full features of what you can do with the X-lite software application. Register your software at: support.xten.net and provide your username, password, proxy, etc. You can also set up X-lite through your administrator, or on the Counter Path Inc. Website.

Please select GSM Codec if you are on a very slow 56k dial up connection. If you would like to make a three-way conference call, please select g711a. For just one-way conversations, choose g711u codec.

Make VoIP Calls From Your Pocket PC

Here are the handheld devices that would allow you to make long distance phone calls using CounterPath's Pocket PC SIP Softphone. Once you get to that webpage, please click on this link: Download the Pocket PC SIP Softphone Product Specification here. If you go directly to this Pocket PC Devices Page, you will see that you could use the Pocket PC Sip Softphone on the following Pocket PC devices: AudioVox Maestro, Compaq/HP iPAQ: 365x, 37xx, 385x, 395x, HP iPAQ Pocket PC hx4700, Dell Axim X51, Dell Axim X51v, Toshiba e550 and the Toshiba e570.

Rating:

What I like about CounterPath's X-lite application is that it does not matter whether I am on a slow Internet dial up connection or high speed cable broadband connection. The quality of my voIP calls is very stable. Out the four different software applications reviewed here, I found X-lite to be the easiest to configure and download. I also like the fact that the graphic designer behind X-lite made the skin look like a real cell phone. I give X-lite an 8 out of 10 rating. I don't like having to pay exorbitant hotel long distance charges. On business in a conference at Santa Barbara, I once made a five minute call to a colleague back home that cost $25.00 for that call. Now, with my Toshiba e550 pocket PC and the CounterPath's Pocket PC SIP softphone, I don't have to freak out over my long distance charges when I am away from home.

Configuring GnomeMeeting:

Please click on this: Gnomemeeting Because this is a Linux only application, I choose the Fedora package on the download page. Choose the package that suits you best. Once you click on the download package link, save the program on your desktop. You can either register a free SIP address at : www.ekiga.net or not.

After you have installed Gnome Meeting on to your Linux machine, open up the settings menu. On the left hand side of the window there are directory, general, NAT settings and many more features. Please highlight under devices, Audio devices. Under audio plugin, select ALSA. Under output device and input device, select the headset brand you are using with the pull down menu. In most cases, GnomeMeeting will automatically select your audio device and you will see it appear in the field. Under Quicknet hardware, you can adjust the echo cancellation and output device type. At country code select USA, if you are USA resident. Save your settings.

Make your first call:

Please configure your computer as Lightweight directory access protocol, or active directory if you are using MS Windows operating system. If you don't do this, and attempt to make your first outgoing call, you will need to find out the hostname, host IP address and usernames of the entire database of all the people you are calling. I would advise very strongly that you configure you Linux computer as LDAP or Active Directory. If not, you will keep getting error messages. This way you can access the central Gnome Meeting directory of people in order to call these people in the directory.

Rating:

I rate Ekiga or Gnome Meeting a 6 out of 10. I noticed static during the VoIP connection and could trouble shoot this by adjusting the audio volume. For those who need further support, please go to this website: www.gnomemeeting.org/faq/faq.pdf.

Configuring Kphone:

Click on the Kphone download page link below. Click on the download and use either Synaptics or something. The installation is done automatically for you. After the installation is done, you will see Kphone in your application menu.

Start the Kphone application. You will see a small window pop up. This is the interface. You will also see your SIP address. There is a phone book in this interface. I found it simple to access. The phone book will show the calls you missed and as well the caller ID information.

If you have difficulty configuring Kphone, remove the program and get the latest Kphone release. All the bugs have been worked out on the new version. In the older release, I could not find a place to configure my audio device. The sound quality on the later version is much better than the older Kphone version.

Download links for all four applications:

To go directly to the comparison table please click on this link: VoIP Free Source: The Linux Journal issue 145.

Copyright © 2006 Rene Tse, the founder and president of the website: cell phone deals & comparisions. Rene Tse is on the look out for mobile devices to enhance her productivity. This website cuts to the chase and has valued information on: family cell phone plans and which is the best voIP solution available for your Linux PDA, Pocket PC or smart phone.

There are many great providers for Mobile Voip services like those listed above. If you are a company and are looking for a great voip business provider, Voip Business from Vocalocity can help you eliminate all of the hassles of a standard land-line and finally have a phone system that measures up to ones used by Fortune 500 companies.

If you have any questions regarding this article please submit a comment on my blog at: Cell Phone Review Blog.

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Last edited Fri Jan 13 00:28:52 2012.