I haven’t blogged about VoIP recently. If you look back through my blog, you’ll see that I started dabbling with voice over IP (VoIP) technology at the end of December 2004 and bit the bullet and started using my Unlimitel number as my main phone number in May 2005. I’m happy to report that the savings I wrote about realizing in an entry I wrote at the end of the first year of the experiment continue to be realized. I still have a Bell Canada phone line, primarily as a backup in the event of an emergency. Though my Unlimitel service does include 9-1-1 access, I haven’t had occasion (thank goodness!) to test it out. If there’s a prolonged power or ‘net outage I know that I can still call 9-1-1 if I need to. (Of course, I have a cell phone that I can call 9-1-1 from, too.)
Currently, my setup sees me using Unlimitel for my local service in Ottawa and all on-net calls (calls to numbers in their service area) at 1.1/¢ per minute in and out. Their voice quality and technical support continue to be top-notch and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a VoIP provider in Ontario or Quebec. For calls to places other than Unlimitel serves, I use a combination of Vitelity and Link2Voip.
Since I don’t have a calling card anymore, I have a tollfree number from one of my providers that I can use to dial into my system and then dialout. It’s been working quite well.
Also, when I travel I usually bring my wifi IP phone and a travel router and set it up so that it’s an extension of my system. If someone calls my Ottawa number, it’ll ring my wifi phone. Very similar in concept to people using something like Skype wheb they’re on the road. And, of course, I have my cell phone with me which I can use when all else fails.
Speaking of phones, I bought a Cisco 7960G on eBay recently. This is an IP phone with a robust feature set and very good audio quality. I can configure it to access information on the ‘net through a built-in web browser. I paid about $100 for the phone, including the power cube, which is about what you can expect to pay for a new IP phone with fewer features.