VoIP at Home

Some time ago I bought myself a Netgear TA612V broadband VoIP adaptor. I’d been looking around at Sipura , Broadvoice , Vonage and the like and quite liked the idea of the TA612V. It provides two separate analogue phone lines out, ethernet in from the DSL or cable router and ethernet out with QoS traffic-shaping to give the audio lines precendence. It even came with 555 Minutes of calls from Sipgate (a German company).

If you make less than around £10 calls per month (above which I think Vonage would be cheaper) then the initial layout (around £60 from http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/ ) for the netgear adaptor probably pays itself back under a year. All UK calls via sipgate are around 1.9p per minute at time of writing.

So I signed up for a free sipgate number. I went for 0845 as it’s Lo-Call rate in the UK – that’s to say I make the same savings as with calling out with any other sipgate number, but it also works out cheaper for people to call in. Sipgate’s tech support are pretty prompt and helpful though as with so many support services, don’t necessarily answer the questions they’re actually asked.

Anyway, one thing I didn’t like so much was that the TA612V turned out to be tied to the sipgate service – I was really hoping for a terminal adaptor + router with QoS which was configurable by hand. Netgear’s support also seems minimal and I’ve also developed the impression that only ten of these units have been sold. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a BIOS flash which allows the SIP configuration by hand.

What with VoIP being flavour of the year I’d expected a little more hype from Netgear about their neat little adaptor. I guess they’re keeping quiet to see if it’s all as big a deal as the pundits are making out. Asterisk certainly continues to make a stir.

One other point to note is that my TA612V sits behind my DSL+NAT+Wireless router. Unfortunately my entire home network *apart* from the VoIP adaptor is wireless and that renders the QoS on the VoIP adaptor utterly useless. I guess I’ll need to invest in one of those fancy MIMO access points or something and disable the 802.11G-network on my primary. Maybe when Alex moves back up to Leeds he’ll give me back my old Netgear FM114P wireless + firewall.