Affordable Cordless Mobility In The Home Office

Obi-Hai-S12-KX-TSC11-trio-300sqEarlier this week Bill left a comment asking for a recommendation about a phone and cordless headset combination. His requirements seem quite sensible and he expresses some frustration with his existing gear. His situation seems one that could be very common, so I thought it worth highlighting before trying to make some recommendations.

Here’s his comment in full:

Sorry for bringing back an old thread – but am hoping you might have some advice. I am a home office worker & spend a lot of time on the phone with colleagues & customers. I’m not using a speakerphone – but I am currently using a Plantronics S12 headset & Panasonic KX-TSC11 phone connected to an OBi110 for both POTS and VOIP capability. The audio quality is just “ok”, and the S12 creates an annoying hum when I raise the microphone volume.

I would like to upgrade to a better (binaural, over the head, no little buds sticking into my ear) headset, preferably DECT to enable me to stand and move about a bit while on calls (is DECT a safe bet for call quality & consistency?). Also it would be convenient to have a built-in answering machine if the quality is very good.

The *paramount* concern is that my voice quality sound loud & clear to callers. I would also like the devices to be wideband-capable (realizing this only affects VOIP).

Do you have any suggestions for a phone/headset combination for this scenario? Thanks very much in advance!

Bill’s existing gear bears examination. With just a few minutes of Googling I found that the Panasonic KX-TSC11 is a very basic analog phone. They’re available for around $45 and have only one analog POTS connection. Panasonic refers to it as an “Integrated Telephone System” which seems a bit puzzling to me. It’s a bit like calling a pen a “fully manual correspondence creation system.” It’s an entry-level analog phone.

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Panasonic Launches New Range Of SIP Desk Phones

panasonic ucm_stg_cnt_051137-300 After a couple of years testing the SMB/SOHO marketplace with the KX-TGP5x0 SIP/DECT series Panasonic has today launched a new range of desktop SIP phones. There are initially three models in this new range, from the entry level KX-UT113 to the top-of-the-range KX-UT136 (pictured). List prices run from $120 to $270.

Compatible with Asterisk & Broadsoft’s Broadworks they seem to have all the features that you might expect, including POE and support for G.722 based wideband audio.

The support for wideband audio is nice. If anything like the earlier SIP/DECT models it’s a little limited because the devices are fundamentally designed around dialing by PSTN numbers, with no facility for handling SIP URIs.

I’ve always like the feel of Panasonic hardware. They got off to a rough start with the KX-TGP5x0 SIP/DECT series, but with the experience of Asterisk & Broadsoft certification behind them I would expect that by now they are now better positioned to address the SOHO market.

Video Calling Comes Home: Skype On TV?

Modern HDTVs are essentially small embedded computer systems. I was reminded of this fact when I recently purchased a TV for our bedroom. It’s a 32″ Samsung LCD-TV, and it makes little boot-up chimes just like a computer. TV’s are computers…that’s worth remembering.

Recently several large consumer electronics companies have launched new LCD HDTVs in partnership with Skype. This partnership leverages the fact that TVs are computers.

These new model LCD-TVs run an embedded version of the Skype client. When equipped with suitable media handling support (camera, microphone & possibly speakers) these TVs are purported to allow large screen point-to-point video calling via the Skype network.

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Panasonic KX-TGP5x0 Series Now Asterisk Certified

I read by way of TMC that Panasonic’s news-ish KXTGP-5×0 range of SMB SIP/DECT phones are now Asterisk certified. These phones look and feel very nice, and they do have support for G.722 allowing for wideband calling over SIP trunks.

As has been noted elsewhere the firmware for these devices has been a little strange, and Panasonic themselves don’t seem to have been quite prepared to support the phones in the field. Early adopters have had a difficult time obtaining support.

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Dramatic Delta Around Delta Three

Looks like big change is afoot at Delta Three, namely they’ve sold a controlling stake in the company to investment company D4 Holdings. Doug Mohney of Fierce VoIP has the details from an SEC filing.

Delta Three was the white label VoIP service provider behind Verizon’s soon-to-be-terminated Voice Wing offering. Also, the JoIP service bundled with Panasonic’s Globarange VoIP capable cordless phones.

The next question to ask is whether the JoIP will survive or Panasonic needs to allow users to provision the phones themselves. IMHO, that would be great!

Retiring snom’s m3 From Our Home Line

snom_m3_persp_1_typo3_032Since mid-October the snom m3 has been the only phone on our home account. That’s when the old Panasonic KSU finally breathed its last gasp. I’ve been using one of the snom handsets in my office since they arrived in January. In general I’m pleased with the device. It does what I need and it’s been reliable.

About a week ago my wife came to me with one of the little snom m3 cordless handsets in her hand. She wasn’t mad, but she said that the little phone is source of frustration, and she’d like me to replace it on the home line.

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