Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Vonage VOIP in your pocket?

Vonage is known for their voice over internet protocol, or VOIP, phone service that runs over your existing broadband connection. The Edison, NJ company is one of several VOIP phone companies; others providing similar service include Packet8 and AT&T, just to name a few.

Vonage service uses a digital to analog phone adaptor that converts your digital broadband signal into analog sound on your existing phones. Since the service utilizes the internet infrastructure, there are no network costs over your normal broadband service. As a result, you can have unlimited local and long distance for as low as $24.99 per month.

Recently, Vonage introduced a phone that will work on any WiFi or wireless network so you can use their service. Click "Read More" to view the phone and get more information.

The new WiFi Vonage phone is manufactured by UTStarcom and was shown at the recent Consumer Electronics show. Vonage partnered last year with Texas Instruments for TI to provide the DSP chips for the phone.

So, why is a phone company selling their own phone? Simple: to provide more functionality than your regular phone and to extend the services they sell. Here's how the phone works. Since your Vonage phone number is nothing more than an identifier on their network, similar to an IP address, your phone calls can follow you when you are on the road. If you take your Vonage phone adapter with you and plug into a broadband supplier, you can receive your calls on the road. Who wants to lug around an adapter though? What if you could just take the phone itself with you? With this new phone, you can do just that; and you can do it without wires!

The F1000 phone can connect you to phone service via a WiFi network. This means you can find an open "hotspot", connect to the network and then initiate or receive phone calls; all through the public internet. Calls to your Vonage phone number will be routed to you on the network and you don't have the hassle of wires or connecting an adapter to a router!

VOIP will continue to grow as a service in the next few years, and Vonage has smartly positioned themselves to take advantage of the expanding wireless capabilities of the internet. If you are spending $40 or more on your local & long distance, but also have broadband, it might be time to look at Vonage. It's a safe bet that within a few years, you will see a large shift to WiFi (and even hybrid cellular/WiFi) phones.

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