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. "


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