For about the past week I’ve been making a lot of use of the Polycom C100 in conjunction with a copy of Eyebeam provided by ZipDX. The C100 is a great little USB speakerphone device. It was one of the first devices from Polycom the supported wideband audio, providing that you have a similarly capable soft phone client.
I must admit that mine is the C100S model which is designed to work with the Skype client, although there are models that are not client specific. As a practical matter the only functions that are client specific involve the use of the five buttons on the device. The buttons support volume up, volume down, place a call, bring the soft phone client to the foreground and mic mute.
On my laptop I have a newer, wideband capable Eyebeam release courtesy of ZipDX. Earlier this week I made a test call to VUC’s Randulo. We were able to confirm G.722 interoperability between Eyebeam and the Polycom IP650 desk phones*. Even using the C100 the call quality was markedly better in G.722 mode, as one would expect.
For a mere $110 the C100 seems like a very affordable means of getting started with wideband audio calling. I bought it as a speakerphone solution for times when I was traveling, but these days it stays mostly on my desk. Of course, you’ll need the soft phone client as well.
X-lite is free and works well, but not in G.722 mode. Eyebeam is a solution if you can buy it from someone other than Counterpath. The version that they sell from their web site is NOT G.722 capable. They only sell the G.722 capable version to companies licensing a quantity to resell for their own purposes. Their Mac-based soft phone doesn’t support G.722 either. Counterpath seems to be very counter-intuitive in some regards.
I’m still on the hunt for another wideband capable soft phone. There’s talk that FWD may add G.722 to their Communicator offering. If that software is any good then widband capability alone could justify the $30/yr annual fee.
* Update – In fact we did not have G.722 interoperability between the IP650 and Eyebeam. We must’ve both been using the same end-point at that moment.