Hi folks. I always am actively seeking ways to reduce outgoings. This comes of a man who has now converted to the millionaire mindset. One of my recent conquests has been to knock around £30 off my BT phone bill. This may not sound a lot but the phone bill was around £40 to start with. This is a huge saving.
Why should we pay high call charges to BT (especially when calling international numbers) when we can do this cheaper via other means. The future of the telephone is voice over IP. It hasnt taken off yet but I assure you in a few years time everyone will be using VOIP in their homes.
Im not talking about skype or any PC based solution. I think it would be a hassle turning on your PC everytime you want to make a call. Not everyone knows this but VOIP doesnt even require a computer. You will however need an internet connection. The majority of people reading this are likely to have one of those :-)
I will try and explain this in as simple a way possible. I dont want to get too geeky.
The cheapest way to do this (and the easiest) for the non-geeks among us is to purchase something called a SIP ATA. This is basically a small box. One end is plugged into your internet connection or router and the other end lets you plug your house phone in.
You can pick these up online and they are even on Ebay
Once this has been purchased you need a SIP provider who essentially will be your new phone company. I use the great service at voipcheap.co.uk. They offer free calls to several international countries. Other countries are a low low rates far lower than other solutions such as skype. My bill has dropped from £40+ a month to around £10 a month using this provider.
Once you have signed up for an account with voipcheap you need to top up your account online with a credit card. I tend to top up with £10 at a time.
Once this is setup you can view the sip login details for your account and choose a phone number.
Armed with the sip login details you can update your SIP ATA device with these details. Several of these devices allow you to enter these details using voice commands.
Once the login details are added to the device you never need to enter them again. Just plug in your standard phone to the ATA and away you go. The phone will act like any other phone. Receive and make calls but pay a lot less.
Also because the ATA is not locked to one phone company you can always change to another sip provider in the future if you need to.
NOW non-geeks look away..
For the Geeks out there you can use an advanced solution like myself
I purchased a Draytek Vigor2800VG wireless 108Mb router from Draytek.co.uk.
Here is my router and a mascot to go with it :-)
This fantastic router has two voip ports and enables you to attach two phones. You can even set each phone to use a different sip provider. The router also manages QOS (quality of service). Quality of service ensures that your voip lines are guaranteed a percentage of your bandwidth so means you can still surf the web and continue to download off the net without causing your phone line to degrade causing noise on the line. When using a router with VOIP it must always have QOS. The routers two phone sockets are shown below. As you can see Ive connected two standard uk phones into my router.
You can log on to the router and configure all sip details in the VOIP section of the routers admin panel. You can view incoming and outgoing calls in the logs and duration of calls etc.
I must recommend this router if you need to replace your wireless router but also want good support for voice over IP.
If your friend gets one you can even set up direct connections between the routers over the internet so you can call them FREE anytime without even using a SIP provider.. This is documented in the manual. I wont go into it here.
Wireless SIP Phones
As Im a gadget freak I also wanted to dabble with wireless SIP phones. I purchased a wireless sip phone (the UTStarcom F1000G). This enables you to add all your SIP details into the phone and then connect to a wireless network to make a call. The phone will even scan for open wi-fi networks and connect to them.
Ive also heard great things about the Linksys IPhone. This is a wireless VOIP phone and it even has an integrated web browser so you can browse the web. Nice huh..
Linksys iPhone WIP330 – Wireless VoIP phone – IEEE 802.11g (Wi-Fi) – SIP, SIP v2
The possibilities are endless. For example I can use the phone at home to make calls internationally for free (australia and u.s.a being two of the free call locations).
I can also walk down the road and sit in an internet cafe connected to their wi-fi lan receiving and making calls to the U.S (again for free). :-)
Hopefully one day starbucks and other companies will allow free open access wi-fi networks to cater for voip users like me..
Note: You may of seen Skype promoting Netgear wireless phones. Id avoid these as these phones do not use SIP. They are locked to Skype so you have no flexibility with your phone provider. Skype have recently increased their call rates by 50%!!!
I think I may invest in some voip companies as I see this as an exciting market going forward..
Thats it for now folks. Comments are welcome.
Good book for introduction to VOIP – VoIP for Dummies (For Dummies)