New SIP Wifi Handsets: Yawn!

SQ3000Some time back the folks over at VoIP Supply posted something about a collection of new SIP Wifi handsets. Whereas in the past that would make me take notice, even catch my interest, I found myself completely disinterested. In fact, it was surprising how little appeal these gadgets had.

Over the years I’ve tried various SIP Wifi handsets and come to a very simple conclusion. That is, for my home office application they have no merit at all. The fact that I have a solid cordless SIP solution eliminates the possible interest that any of these new products might have.

In everything experiment that I’ve ever tried DECT/CATiq products soundly beat any dedicated SIP Wifi handset. Now that there are affordable SIP/DECT products from sources like Gigaset and Snom dedicated VoWifi handsets just don’t measure up for many applications.

To be fair this is very application specific. Around a home office like my place there’s little reason to use VoWifi vs DECT/CATiq. Setting up Wifi and DECT gives essentially parallel wireless networks. Thanks to DECT 6.0 these wireless two realms don’t even have interfere problems.

There are places of business where Wifi is absolutely required, and setting up a parallel DECT network would be excessively costly or complex. In those cases there’s a strong case for a truly converged network architecture, running VoIP over Wifi along with the data traffic. Large corporate or university campuses are good examples of this sort of operation. It seems to me that the physical nature of the installation will dictate when that makes sense.

Another VoWifi application that keeps coming up is the idea that someone might sit down at a Starbucks or MacDonalds and start making “free” phone calls over the local wifi. None of the dedicated Wifi handsets that I’ve tried accommodate this, primarily because those wifi hotspots require some kind of web-based authentication.

That kind of application seems best met by converged devices, like the Nokia cell phones with Wifi capability. After all, you probably have your cell phone with you already. And your cell phone probably has a browser that can negotiate the wifi login.

So, a herd of new Wifi handsets? Cute, but no thanks. To quote Dennis Miller, “I could be wrong…”

  • Completely agreed. WiFi phones were interesting when I first got in to this industry, but over the years I’ve had so many disappointing experiences with them that I take a very cynical stand with the idea as a whole. DECT just performs so much more reliably.

  • Maxim

    the upside about WiFi handsets is that they work globally as with DECT they were not able to agree on a common frequency.

    I believe though that the future is with combined WiFi / GSM (or 3G, HSDPA, etc) handsets for mobile use.

  • I too prefer Dect tremendously.

    Though the smart cell phone has the potential to change this up a bit. People seem to enjoy turning their cell phones into wifi voip phones – Fixed mobile convergence makes this a bit more appealing assuming you have a battery in your pocket.

  • My personal preference is also for DECT. One of the problems with DECT, from a sales and marketing standpoint, is that it does not register with consumers…at all.

    Consumers and WiFi go hand in hand, thanks to a decade of wifi specific brand building and concept reinforcement, and probably billions of dollars in ad dollars.

  • Back to the future: Dear mobile handset manufacturers, read the signs and please start again to offer combined GSM & DECT devices – that would be the perfect solution for me.

  • @Cory,

    DECT has plenty of marketing visibility…in Europe where, it originated long before Wifi was introduced. Wifi has a strong, well established brand…but that doesn’t seem to be impacting brick & mortar retailers selling DECT systems.

    In our local Fry’s I see that DECT 6.0 hardware has literally swept aside the proprietary 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz & 5.8 GHz systems. The bulk of the shelf space is DECT 6.0 hardware. That transition has occurred over the past 18 months.

  • I would agree that over the last several years wifi phones have either had horrible battery life, sounded like junk or were difficult to program. However, with the increasing number of hotspots and the ability to add virtual numbers to a voip account, not to mention the cost of the calls and the clarity, we’ve created a wifi voip phone that just plain works.

    We’ve been working with a company to release a wifi phone with specs the others don’t have such as: 5 hours of talk time, 100 hours of standby time, 6 WEP 64/128, WPA(2)-PSK logins, 4 SIP accounts, color screen, built-in browser and the weight is under 4oz. The phone also can be used to monitor up to 10 IP video cameras. Login at hotspots or at your home/work is literally instant from power on to full dial-out.

    We are filling orders for these phones in as quickly as we can as once one is ordered and used, typically additional units are ordered for the rest of the employees if purchased for business use.

    Sound quality is exceptional as well as the ease of programming and use.

    The full specs can be found at: Link To Yippz.com or directly to the phone at: Yippz SC-6060S Wifi Phone

    We welcome any questions or comments…

    • No slight against you or your products, but I’ve been burned by VoWifi handsets enough to say that you’ll have to prove what you claim. It might be true, but you need an independent third party verification before I for one will believe. Do you have any customer testimonials to offer? Have you distributed any handsets for independent review? Both are inexpensive ways to get the word out and prove that you product is a real working solution.