Over the past few days I’ve been trying out a telephone from Zyxel, a provider of various telecommunication gear, including telephones which use the Internet to carry voice traffic.
I used Zyxel’s P2000W WiFi phone which connects to the Internet via a WiFi connection. The VOIP service provider I used was TGlo. Although there were a few problems getting things setup, none can I specifically attribute to Zyxel’s phone. The overall experience helped me realize, how powerful and useful VOIP is for businesses.
The P2000W is like what you would expect in a good cordless phone. Not too big but not too small that it can get lost in your pocket. The phone fits comfortably in your hand when talking and can easily fit into the inside pocket of a suit jacket. It is a bit too big to place into the pocket of your pants. It’s 22 hours of stand by and 3.5 hours of talk time won’t let you have a round of conference calls throughout the day on battery power alone. But if you are in an office, you can always keep the phone fully charged.
Setting up the phone was relatively easy and only complicated due to the security of my own WiFi network and not reading the short Zyxel manually thoroughly. If you have a network that can automatically assign an IP address to wireless clients and is not locked down with WEP (a popular security protocol for WiFi networks) the Zyxel P2000W can automatically obtain its own IP address from your network.
Since my network uses WEP as one of its security features I manually entered the WEP encryption key and for good measure manually assigned the phone an IP address and other necessary network information.
Next, I went to the web site of VOIP provider TGlo and entered the phone’s telephone number and MAC address (a MAC address is a unique identifier for all hardware devices on a network, different than an IP address).
After a few seconds the phone was registered on TGlo’s network and ready to make and receive phone calls.
My Alexander Graham Bell moment came moments later when I called a few friends!
For some reason the voice quality was not that great. People could here me just fine but sometimes I heard static in my ear.
This could have been due to the inferior quality of my own WiFi network or TGlo and not necessarily the Zyxel P2000W.
Costs: From Office Depot the phone costs $199.00 and when you sign up for Tglo you receive a $50 rebate
When using VOIP understand that there are VOIP networks which use a standard protocol, SIP for VOIP telephone calls and
others like Skype which use proprietary technology.
SIP providers include BroadVoice (www.broadvoice.com), QuantumVoice (www.quantumvoice.com), TGlo (http://www.gloconnect.com/), and USA Datanet (www.usadatanet.com). Any SIP based phone, as Zyxel’s P2000W is, can connect to these VOIP providers.
Overall I’m impressed with VOIP and think that for two main reasons you should definitely consider it for your business:
1) to save money – VOIP phone calls are so much cheaper than traditional telephone calls
2) advanced telecommunication features – any WiFi network your phone can access and get Internet connectivity through means you can make and receive phone calls just as if you were in your office.