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Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Luzern
Pro
Posts: 2,802
Thanks: 211
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Registered: 31-07-2007

Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

It looks like one of my offspring and family will be going to Africa to work for a couple of years and I am looking to lessen the costs of keeping in touch.  VoIP is an option provided the gain on calls is not outweighed by set up costs.
Presently my computer is connected by Ethernet and modem router to a hard wired extension in a room immediately above the master socket’s location below.  Attached to the master socket is the main house DECT answer-phone whilst in the upper room is a slave phone.
I do not wish to be tied to one spot for calls with headphones as would be the cage with Skype.
Would I be able to set up something that will let me use VoIP with my existing phones as freely as now?  How complex would the set up be? How much would it cost?

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,249
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

You could connect your existing DECT phone via a Voip ATA ( something like this http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Shop/ShopSearch.asp?CategoryID=420 ) or you could replace your DECT phone with a Dual Phone ( something like this http://www.home-phones.co.uk/skype-and-voip-telephony/voip-sip-phones/siemens-gigaset-a580ip-phone/ ).
The Dual phones tend to be easier to configure and operate in the situation where you wish to use them for both the landline and voip.
However there is a drawback with using both of the above in that its usually very difficult to make sip->sip calls. Let me explain, your voip account has a normal telephone number allocated to it and also what's called a sip id ( its a bit like an email address ) e.g 0123456@sip.plus.net. Now people can use normal telephones to call you via your allocated number and you can call normal telephone lines ( usually at cheaper rates than your normal landline ). However if the person you wish to call also has a voip account then you can make a direct call to their sip id and its totally free.
Now I would guess that would be extremely useful in your case. The problem is that its usually not possible to call something like 0123456@sip.plus.net from a normal telephone keypad whereas from a softphone on a computer, no problem since you've got a full qwerty keyboard.
Hope that helps for starters, post back with further questions...
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: 10-09-2010

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

If you sign up for Gradwell.com PBX VoIP service (£8 a month plus whatever options you want) then free sip to sip calls a very simple, and you have the advantage of being able to have a UK number assigned to the handset in Africa and thereby allowing your offsprings friends to call them for the price of UK landline call, and for your offspring to be able to call people in the UK for the cost of a normal UK call.
If you need more information, give Gradwell a call, they normally seem very good at grasping what is required, and don't be put off by the "business" labeling of the service.
Luzern
Pro
Posts: 2,802
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Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Thanks Smiley Hmmm a bit to think about Undecided
No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
itsme
Grafter
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

You can go here http://www.sipgate.co.uk/voipshop for options on hardware, also may be ian option if you have not got a PN VoIP account to sign up for a couple of free accounts. I would look at the Handytone deviices they are reasonably priced but have no experience on them.
If you have a free PN VoIP account this will support at least 2 concurrent connections so your offspring can use the same account as you and to speak to each other you just need to ring the extension number and the other phone will ring. The downside is if you use the account for incoming calls as both phones will ring. The other option is to have 2 PN VoIP accounts or add a second number to your existing free account and again you only need to dial the extension number to have free calls between you and your offspring. This get over the problem highlighted by MisterW with sip addresses.
puddy
Grafter
Posts: 1,571
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

it may be better to buy a nokia mobile phone each you can get a second hand nokia E65 for about £35 other Nokia n95 n95-8gb n82 n900 can make voip calls.
doing it this way is free all you need is a unprotected internet wireless signal to make a voip to voip home. There should be quite a few internet cafes bar etc. that may offer internet access  you don’t even need a Sim card in the phone to make voip calls.
ask Plusnet for an extra voip number its free but you do need to put a credit of £5 to £10 on the account to get it.  It will be payg account but plusnet to plusnet voip calls are still free
if any friends need to call your off spring in Africa they don’t have to pay international call charges or dial any international dialling codes plus they can call their friends in the UK because the mobile thinks it’s in the UK
only problem with this I can see if they are working in remote areas without internet access otherwise its worth considering it
may also be better to buy a few spare batteries but they start for about £5
puddy
ps this would work in the same way but i have not used one myself
http://www.sipgate.co.uk/voipshop/utstarcom/gf-210 just enter plusnet settings
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-09-2010

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Quote from: puddy
it may be better to buy a nokia mobile phone each you can get a second hand nokia E65 for about £35 other Nokia n95 n95-8gb n82 n900 can make voip calls.
My own experience of VoIP and Nokia mobiles is that its a very poor implementation indeed, dropped calls, dropped connections, none ringing when apparently connected, phone just not connecting to Wi-Fi unless manually told to, settings vanishing for no apparent reasons, I wouldn't recommend it at all.
itsme
Grafter
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

I have a Pirelli DP L10 and a Nokia 6300i mobile handsets  both work without any problems. May be because both have proper VoIP client firmware.  Admittedly I had to source the 6300i from Germany as there are no sources of it in this country.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

I have an N95 which I use ( occasionally ) on my PlusNet voip account, never had any problems.
puddy
Grafter
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Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Quote from: fourfourdevon
dropped calls, dropped connections, none ringing when apparently connected, phone just not connecting to Wi-Fi unless manually told to, settings vanishing for no apparent reasons, I wouldn't recommend it at all.

I am sorry I don’t agree with your findings have you checked and updated plusnets voip settings? they do change from time to time
My Nokia phones are more reliable than any Grandstream voip phones I have, my Grandstream GXV 3005 cuts all sound on connection yet i have no problems making the same call on any of my nokia phones.
as for Wi-Fi connection put the mobile on standby  in the tools> phone settings and it list all available wi-fi signals a round you and it shows if its unprotected Wi-Fi connection just click on the one you want.
Even some of plusnet staff use Nokia Voip mobiles phones
puddy
I just placed an order for the sipgate mobile phone and will report back when I get it.  
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: 10-09-2010

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Never used Nokias with Plusnet, but attempted to use them extensively with Gradwell (and thats to all intents the same as Plusnet), have over the time setup perhaps 15 different Nokias over a period of about 2 years on 3 different Gradwell accounts, the problem lay not at all with the VoIP service or Gradwell but with the Nokias, its been over a year since I last tried (maybe approaching 3 years), but it was such a hopeless and pointless task, unless things have radically altered (and you guys seem to report it has) I just couldn't and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
puddy
Grafter
Posts: 1,571
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Are you sure the Nokia phones you had are the correct Nokia sip client setup i.e Nokia E65 N82 N95 N95-8GB N97 mini & N900?
If you have tried otheirs that used a 3rd party suport software to make voip calls they do have the problems you may be getting?
(edit have you been having these problems by trying to use fring on a none sip client nokia phone?)
If you dont like the nokia setup and want a brand new sim free voip phone for £50 have a look on sipgate.co.uk.
If you want the up to date settings for the above Nokia phones I can provide them.
Puddy
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: 10-09-2010

Re: Relative going abroad...questions on possible VoIP use

Yep, it was mostly N95's and N95-8GB that I was setting up, several required firmware updates before they would work at all, but even then, although I could configure them OK, but they often dropped calls, often failed to ring, containing popping sounds when on calls, and much more.
It was a huge disappointment for me, the firm I worked for already provided mobile phone and we were running out of capacity on our PBX and VoIP which we already used on Grandstream fixed phones and Siemens Gigasets wireless phones seemed like a great solution, I tried several times over more than a year, both at work, at my home and at the homes of some other employees, I was unable to report a single success, and we had to send many 10's of thousands of ponds on a new PBX.  I should have probably stuck to the Grandstreams and Gigasets, but the VoIP trial was judge a failure and that was that.