As a current resident of the UK, I miss one key thing about phone calls in the US and Barbados – they’re free when local. All calls in the UK, be they local or international, cost money. Enter VoIP in the form of a Sipura SPA-2000 – a packetizer. Plug a phone in the RJ11 jack and an Ethernet cable in the RJ45 jack, add an Internet connection, sprinkle lightly with a provider like Gossiptel, stir gently and presto, free phone calls to anyone else on the provider’s network, and cheap calls to international phone numbers.

Add in peering agreements, and I can dial a friend in the US who uses Free World Dialup just by dialing a prefix. Now, the whole point of VoIP is that it’s mean to be SIP based, so I should really be dialing an e-mail address – but phones tend to have issues doing that. That isn’t that much of a deterrent to me right now though – free calls to close friends in distant countries outweigh my need for standards-compatible deployments. Oh, and a nice benefit of the SPA-2000 is that it has 2 lines, so one is hooked up to Gossiptel, and the other is on FWD. If I need to dial an 800 number in the USA, I just plug in to the FWD side and dial the number. Works quite well, so long as I don’t do a massive download.

The end result? I’ve been talking to my parents for free for several months now, and I’m also able to have multi-hour conversations with a very good friend in the USA without having to worry about the cost, just the battery in the DECT phone having enough charge.

I’ve been trying to convince the powers-that-be at $dayjob that we really should look into a PBX that is IP and SIP based, such as the ones by Zultys. A quick configuration change to my SPA-2000 and I would have an extension on the $dayjob phone system – proper telecommuting. The only issue with VoIP right now with most consumer grade broadband connections is the lack of QOS support to prioritize the voice packets.

Cooking with VoIP
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