Friday, October 31, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Got Softphone Working with Packet8

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Got Softphone Working with Packet8: "Got Softphone Working with Packet8
Based on some info found on the Asterisk mailing list, I've got Packet8 working great with a softphone on my computer. I've tried several of them, and the only one I've found with a free trial that can do g.723 is the eStara phone, available from »www.estara.com. Several others work, but don't include g.723, so you can call out but can't receive calls (which fits with what people have been saying about changing the codec setting in the DTA310 and no longer being able to receive calls). But, if all you need is to make calls, you can use the free X-lite softphone from »www.xten.com.

On to the settings!

These are for the eStara phone, but they are generalizable to any SIP softphone.

Friendly name: {Anything you'd like.}
SIP domain: packet8.net
SIP proxy: packet8.net
Leave everything else at the default.

When you login, it will ask for a username and password.
Username: {Your Packet8 phone number, including leading '1'}
Password: {The 10-digit PIN code they emailed you that you entered during activation.}

And it's as simple as that. I can make calls -- in fact, multiple calls at once. And I can receive calls; both my DTA310 and my computer ring (though my computer sometimes doesn't ring; this will have something to do with a re-registration interval that I'll need to tweak at some point.)

I don't know how this will work with NAT traversal; my computer has a 'real' IP address. But it works great for me. I'm off to RadioShack to grab a headset this afternoon ."

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » P8 over dialup, yup it works!

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » P8 over dialup, yup it works!: "P8 over dialup, yup it works!
My wife unfortunately is in the hospital and of course you can't call anywhere but right around the hospital. Being the techno geek that I am, I brought her laptop, a switch and the p8 box (switch was to allow sharing the net connect to my lappy)

At first I was sure that it wasn't going to work cuz the best connection was 21k I enabled ICS and lifted the receiver and found I had dialtone! I made a quick call to my folks out of state and they thought we were at home! The sound quality was very good imho... (with that narrow bandwidth, don't expect to do anything other than call tho)

Very impressive... Now if they could get the dta to self heal like the ata does (i.e. when IP changes etc) then It would be really really cool!"

Sunday, October 26, 2003

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Packet8 Faxing

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Packet8 Faxing: "Packet8 Faxing
I know that there are random threads that have info about Packet8 faxing, but I've found none that focus directly on the subject...

Sooo... since I've had SOME luck with faxing on P8, Im going to start this thread.

I've gotten ONE fax through on Packet8 using the G711U codec with the silence suppression OFF. I really wnated to make it work so I tested ALL the settings and this was the only one that went through. I don't know what silence suppression does, but it seemed to work, but only ONCE.

I was also using Symantec Winfax to fax from my computer to my Efax account. Not sure if the combination of all these things was what made it work.. but I just thought I'd share.

Has anyone else had luck with faxing on Packet8?
What was YOUR recipe?"

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » packet8 ~ Audio/CODEC Configuration QUESTIO

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » packet8 ~ Audio/CODEC Configuration QUESTIO: "I received my DTA310 and started playing with the CODEC options. From what I have read it seems the best options for someone with a lot of bandwidth is to have G711U, G711A, and G723 selected and Silence Suppression off. I was wondering, by having all these selected how does the DTA310 decide which one to use on a per call bases? "

Monday, October 20, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Vonage SoftPhone Available

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Vonage SoftPhone Available: "Hmm... for $20 a month I get broadband phone AND a softphone AND all of their features. Have fun with your overpriced Vonage 'Texas phone number'. Vonage has shown their customers nothing in the past six months that even compares to VoicePulse and P8.

I used to criticize P8 but at the very least they are consistent. I used to criticize VP but at the very least they listen to their customers and give the features we ask for. I used to criticize Vonage and... hmm, what do we get? An expensive softphone, a questionable regulatory fee, more expensive business lines, spam to people who signed up for coupons, search engines filled with referral garbage and in the past 6 months most of their upper management has left a company that had the potential to 'revolutionize telecommunications'.

But you're right, obviously Vonage is the better choice."

Many believe that Internet-based phone service will revolutionize the telecom industry

Many believe that Internet-based phone service will revolutionize the telecom industry

By Jennifer Davies
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

October 19, 2003

The phone system that has defined communications over the last century could become obsolete in less than two decades.

That's if telecommuni- cations pioneers like Vonage have their way.

The New Jersey company uses the Internet to provide phone service at a fraction of the cost of the traditional system of copper wires and circuit switches.

In less than two years, Vonage has signed up some 60,000 customers and estimates it will have 100,000 by the end of the year.

It's no wonder the company has made such inroads. For $35 a month, customers get unlimited local and long distance calling plus features such as voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding and call waiting. Similar packages from SBC Communications or MCI typically go for about $50.

"Fifteen years from now, it is not inconceivable that the traditional phone network will no longer exist," said John Rego, Vonage's chief financial officer.

The result could be a revolution in the telecommunications market, breaking the near stranglehold that traditional phone companies, such as SBC or Verizon Communications, have on the local calling market.

Until now, competition in the local phone business has been difficult because it relies on a complex network, which would be expensive to build from scratch.

Now companies, large and small, will be able to bypass that system by installing the new technology, called voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP for short, for a fraction of the cost that it would take to rent space on the old phone network or build a new network.

The increased competition, coupled with lower technology costs, could result in much cheaper phone bills for consumers.

No one questions that VoIP is ushering in a new era in telecommunications but this is not the first time VoIP has been heralded.

In the late '90s, a lot of hype surrounded VoIP but it was cumbersome to use and riddled with glitches. Jeffrey Kagan, an independent telecommunications analyst, said the early version of VoIP mostly appealed to techie types.

"It was two people staring at their computer screens with headphones on giggling because they were beating the system by not having to pay for phone calls," he said.

The service that is now being offered has little in common with the earlier incarnations of VoIP. The proliferation of broadband connections and software improvements have made VoIP a viable alternative to traditional, circuit-switched networks. VoIP, which translates phone conversations into packets of data, now works with regular phones and the scratchy voice quality has mostly been eradicated.

"The barbarians are at the gate. VoIP is knocking at the door," Kagan said. "It is just starting to be embraced by the mainstream world."

VoIP is still not for everyone. To get the service, customers need a high-speed Internet connection like DSL or a cable modem. Subscribers then plug a so-called gateway box into a computer router and a phone into the gateway box.

Eric Warner, a Rancho Bernardo resident who uses Packet 8, a VoIP service offered by 8X8, a Silicon Valley company, said it is not as confusing to install as it may sound. In fact, Matthews liked it so much that he signed up his mother who lives in West Virginia for the service, too.

"My mother was able to do it and she is about as anti-technical as they come," Warner said. "It is one of the most simple installations I've seen."

Because of its simplicity and low cost, Rego said traditional phone companies should be worried about their new streamlined competitors. Vonage has been able to quickly sign up customers with only about $15 million in funding and 150 employees.

It is not just small companies like Vonage and 8X8 that are looking to harness this new technology. Heavy hitters like AT&T Corp., Time Warner and Cox Communications see the opportunity and cost savings the technology provides and are offering or planning to roll out VoIP in the near future.

Despite the competition, SBC is supportive of the technology and plans to start incorporating it alongside its current phone network, said Dorothy Attwood, the company's senior vice president for regulatory affairs. The company already uses VoIP for much of its long-distance phone service.

Kagan said telecom giants are backing the technology because it makes economic sense.

"VoIP is not really a threat to the traditional phone companies but to the technology that they have used," he said.

Cox, for instance, already offers phone service, using traditional technology, in many of its cable television markets such as San Diego and Orange counties. But in other markets, the company is closely looking at using VoIP because it is easier and cheaper to install.

Time Warner, which also provides cable service in San Diego County, rejected the idea of providing phone service with traditional technology, waiting instead until VoIP technology improved enough to be offered on a commercial basis.

Time Warner already offers the service in Portland, Maine, and plans to roll it out in Rochester, N.Y., and two markets in North Carolina. It has not yet announced its plans for 2004 or when the service will be available in San Diego.

Keith Cocozza, a national spokesman for Time Warner, said its VoIP service has done well in Portland, besting the growth the company saw when it introduced its Road Runner high-speed Internet service. When it introduced Road Runner, it had 3 percent penetration after six months. With its VoIP service, it has 3 percent penetration in just three months.

"Response actually has been very good, surprisingly so," Cocozza said.

But with success comes scrutiny. So far VoIP companies have been able to offer phone service almost free of regulation. Now, however, state utility commissions are beginning to take a hard look at the technology – and the companies that use it.

"Voice over IP is finally here, but the regulatory implications of that are less clear," said Mark Kersey, an industry analyst for Current Analysis, a market research firm with offices in La Jolla.

Wisconsin and Michigan were among the first to take a hard-line stance on the issue, arguing it was within their utility commissions' jurisdiction to oversee the VoIP companies as they are essentially offering phone service. Florida, on the other hand, has passed legislation saying it will not regulate VoIP services

The regulatory question is getting ever more murky. Just last week, a federal judge issued a decision preventing Minnesota's utility commission from regulating the technology.

That decision hasn't stopped California, however. Last month, the state's Public Utilities Commission sent letters to several VoIP companies, telling them that had until Oct. 22 to apply for the right to offer phone service in the state. The PUC estimates there are some 10,000 VoIP customers in California.

Vonage and 8X8 are taking a wait-and-see approach and haven't decided how, or if, they will respond to the letter.

Asking VoIP companies to comply with traditional phone regulations is tricky. The biggest issue centers on 911 service. While traditional phone networks work with 911 service and can pinpoint the address of the call, VoIP services like Vonage's cannot.

The 911 limitations of VoIP also are part of the technology's strength and prove how difficult it may be to regulate. The VoIP gateways that come with Vonage and Packet8 are portable, so users can plug them in anywhere there is a broadband connection. It also means that someone in San Diego can have a number that uses a New York City area code. Warner said his mother chose a San Antonio prefix so that her daughter who lived there could call her for free.

"The Internet is vast and nobody knows where you are," Rego said. "We are not bound by geography."

Because of the new technology's promise and pitfalls, many in the industry say the rush to regulate is seen as a mistake. SBC says excessive regulation could kill the budding technology.

"There is no urgent need to impose all sorts of regulation as the technology emerges," said SBC's Attwood.

As more states take different regulatory stances toward the technology, both telecommunications giants and VoIP startups hope the federal government will step in to provide some regulatory clarity. Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, indicated earlier this month that the time may be right to study the issue of VoIP and how it will change the telecommunications landscape.

"We're probably going to hold a hearing this fall and we are probably going to initiate a notice of inquiry to begin examining voice-over-IP issues and proper classification," Powell said.

Kagan agreed that the issue had to be studied. He said the technology is evolving too fast and it is too soon to slap regulation and taxes on the nascent technology.

"It's in motion. It's a work in progress," he said. "Trying to tax it and trying to regulate it is a lot like trying to fix a lawn mower while it is moving. You could get your hand cut off."

Jennifer Davies: (619) 293-1371; jennifer.davies@uniontrib.com

INTERNET PHONE USE IS PICKING UP SPEED

By BEN SILVERMAN
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 19, 2003 -- When Cameron Thomas moves to Oklahoma City next month, he'll take his Houston phone number with him - but he'll leave his phone behind.
Thomas is one of the estimated one million Americans now using their computers' Internet connections to replace or supplement traditional telephone service.

Known to techies as "voice over Internet protocol" (VoIP), Internet telephony doesn't tie a user to an area code, and its growth rates are rattling the nation's phone company establishment.

"When you have that sort of flexibility and add in the cost savings, I think people will be ready to jump on [VoIP]," said Thomas, a technician who services engineering copiers and plotters.

Thomas uses Vonage, which, along with Packet8 and VoicePulse, is one of the handful of consumer VoIP services currently available.

The territory won't be left to the small fry for long. AT&T is prepping its own VoIP offering, while cable companies, including local giant Cablevision, are testing services, as well.

Thomas has already gotten rid of his landline, something Mark Dello Russo said he's considering as well.



"I have a landline, and I backed it down to a minimum local calling plan. The only reason I've kept it is because I like the number, but I haven't touched it in months," said Dello Russo, a Veritas Software network administrator from Somerset, N.J.

Dello Russo said he tried Vonage, as well as VoicePulse, deciding on the later because he likes its options better.

And he's paying $14.99 per month for local calling and 200 minutes of long distance is a far cry from the $75 to $80 he was paying Verizon. "For $15 a month, I have zero complaints."

Free World Dialup offers free calling around the world, but users must make some investment in equipment and they can speak only with other FWD users.

Still, the service has attracted more than 57,000 users worldwide.

"My call cost to England is now zero," said Stuart Friedman, a Detroit-area lawyer who talks to his best friend and former legal partner in the U.K.

"Even as cheap as calling England is - I had it down to four cents per minute using calling cards - we were still racking up $50 per month in bills."

"I'm still using a landline for all my local calls," Friedman said. "As good as VoIP sounds, fiber is still a little better."

NET PHONES: A GUIDE TO DIGITAL DIALING

NET PHONES: A GUIDE TO DIGITAL DIALING
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 19, 2003 -- Here's a wrap up of what you'll need and what it will cost to get started with Internet phone service.
What you need:

Computer.

High-speed Internet connection.

Analog phone adapter (normally supplied by service provider)

Router (for DSL users - sold by service providers).

Any telephone.



Internet telephone providers:

Free World Dialup: Free, but you can only call other FWD users.

iConnectHere: 400 minutes in North America, $5.95 per month; 1000 minutes in North America, $10.95 per month.

Packet8: unlimited local and long distance, $19.95 per month.

VoicePulse: local unlimited plus 200 minutes long distance, $14.99 per month; local unlimited plus 600 minutes long distance, $25.99; unlimited local and long distance, $34.99.

Vonage: local unlimited plus 500 minutes long distance, $24.99 per month; local unlimited plus unlimited long distance, $34.99 per month.

* What is VoIP?

Traditional telephone calls are routed through normal phone lines. VoIP calls go over fiber-optic data lines.

* How much does the equipment cost?

The ATA is usually free from service providers, and a router is $100 or less. The only other cost is a high-speed Internet connection.

* Is it difficult to set up VoIP equipment?

It's usually very simple and just involves following directions and plugging in a few things.

* Are there a lot of hidden fees attached to VoIP?

Presently, VoIP is virtually unregulated, so there are no access fees or surcharges. The FCC may eventually regulate VoIP, and that may add charges.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Packet8 Codecs and voice quality

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Packet8 Codecs and voice quality: "Packet8 Codecs and voice quality
Packet8 has 5 settings for voice codecs, G.723 comes as default but you can change it in the DTA web configuration page I changed mine to G.729 with 10ms Packetization and Silence Suppression on and the result was increased voice quality, I have DSL with Verizon and the G.729 is just perfect, I know that if I have to use dialup I should change it back to G.723."

Friday, October 10, 2003

Internet Telephony Publisher's Outlook

Internet Telephony Publisher's Outlook: "8x8
Remember 8x8? This company was a major player in video conferencing and holds a lobby full of patents in telephony and video to back that up. An 8x8 subsidiary named Netergy Microelectronics recently launched the T2 Audacity chip, which they say allows you to build a Cisco ATA-186 killer. Ok, they really didn’t put it that strongly, but with a name like T2 you don’t expect it to nicely ask the industry leading Cisco personal IP telephony gateway to step aside.
With this chip in their arsenal 8x8 has launched a service that competes head-on with Vonage. Instead of supporting Cisco devices they use their own DTA-310 terminal adapter, which -- you guessed it -- houses a T2 Audacity chip. The new service is called Packet8 and the company tells me the service is high quality and plug and play. I did test the service but in the company’s conference room. I hope to test the service in more depth soon.

The service is not as full-featured as Vonage but the price is much lower at $19.95 for unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee as well. They will soon offer local number portability like Vonage does in many locations. One big differentiator is the fact that you can use their broadband standalone DV325 SIP videophones with their service at $599 each. The videophone is of pretty good quality and definitely sets this company’s offerings apart from the Internet telephony service provider crowd. One final note for comparison is the fact that the company tells me that they need much less bandwidth than Vonage to work. Again, I am looking forward to testing the service myself but can’t vouch for this. 8x8 has always been a very technical company and is definitely a leader in codec design… I have a very easy time believing this claim. "

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com: "``The technology we're offering is different,'' said Huw Reese, vice president of sales and marketing for Santa Clara-based 8x8, whose service is called Packet8. ``It is a data service in that we're using the Internet to carry calls. It cannot be regulated in the same way.''"

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Packet 8 to get call waiting and 3 way calling!!!!

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Packet 8 to get call waiting and 3 way calling!!!!: "Packet 8 to get call waiting and 3 way calling!!!!
I just called packet 8 and they todl me in Nov they should be getting call waiting and 3 way calling. this will be great!!! and I did nto have to wait 40 min on hold as you do when you call Vonage. They also told me they should be fixing the trouble with the voice mail light indcatoer not working properly as well. Packet 8 rules.....they are cheaper and provde much better service then vonage, paying more does NOt allways mean you get more!!!!!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Court's call: Hands off VoIP | CNET News.com

Court's call: Hands off VoIP | CNET News.com: "Internet phone providers have won the first round in a clash with state regulators, providing needed momentum for the upstart industry. "

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Techweb > News > California to VoIP Operators: You’re Regulated > California to VoIP Operators: You're Regulated > October 2, 2003

Techweb > News > California to VoIP Operators: You’re Regulated > California to VoIP Operators: You're Regulated > October 2, 2003: "California to VoIP Operators: You're Regulated
October 2, 2003 (11:34 a.m. EST)
TechWeb News

The party's over for voice-over IP (VoIP) providers. The California Public Utilities Commission has decided to treat Internet Protocol providers like all other telephone providers. Plainly put, VoIP providers will henceforth be regulated in the state.
While a few smaller states--Wisconsin and Minnesota, specifically-have previously announced that VoIP firms would be regulated, California, because of its size, is likely to influence other states, and possibly even federal regulators.
California's telecommunications division said this week that major VoIP providers, including Vonage, VoicePulse, SBC Communications, Net2Phone and Packet8, have been told to apply for telephone-operator licenses. The action is a disappointment for the VoIP companies, which had argued that they should remain unregulated because their traffic moves over the Internet.
The VoIP market has been a brawling affair, and its future course is still unclear, although no one doubts that it will continue to grow rapidly. Market research estimates are all over the place, but the consensus is that the Internet-phone market--now placed at just under $2 billion a year--will double in two or three years.
Equipment suppliers, in fact, are rushing handsets to market. For instance, Cisco Systems Inc. introduced a $600 VoIP handset this summer, and Toshiba Corp. has signaled that it will soon begin marketing a $800 combination PDA-VoIP phone that will also download web pages. More cautious are others like Comcast, which this week said it will begin testing VoIP next year at the earliest. "

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

California to regulate VoIP providers | CNET News.com

California to regulate VoIP providers | CNET News.com: "California regulators have begun forcing Internet telephone service providers to apply for telephone operator licenses, a state official said Tuesday.
The Golden State is the largest state to decide that voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers are subject to the same rules and regulations as all other telephone service providers. In recent weeks, WisconsinandMinnesota decided the same thing."