Not yet making use of wideband voice? That’s outrageous! It’s so easy, and I’ve given you so many ways to give it a try. Here’s yet another way to try wideband voice…and it’s absolutely free.
Blink is a relative newcomer to the realm of soft phones. Offered by AG Projects Blink was initially released in December 2009 for the Mac platform. Since it’s based upon the Qt framework they were eventually able to offer Linux and Windows releases as well.
Where AG Projects has departs from the path most often traveled is in their provisioning of Blink. When you download the software they automatically provide an account with their SIP registrar at SIP2SIP.INFO. Thus you can just download a couple of instances of Blink and have a go using wideband voice between computers with no headaches relating to setting up SIP credentials.
This auto provisioning scheme creates something of a software parallel to the Gigaset systems, where you can start making wideband calls immediately based upon the pre-configured Gigaset.Net account. In the Gigaset case you’re limited to dialing other Gigaset users. That’s fine if you’re gifting them to friends and family, but not always useful.
With the combination of Blink and SIP2SIP.INFO you can also access the SIP credentials and use them to provision a SIP hard phone if you like. They don’t restrict you to using only their SIP clients. Of course, once your end point is registered you can dial any SIP URI for free.
If you need to dial PSTN numbers you can fund your account with SIP2SIP.INFO and they will provide outgoing call termination. Their rates seem like nominal retail prices. They charge 0.0280/minute for US domestic calls, billed in 6 second increments.
But there are a bazillion VoIP services that focus on terminating calls to the PSTN. That’s deadly dull and boring. Terribly 20th century really.
The real magic to SIP2SIP.INFO is that it lets you make free calls between SIP end-points, and those calls can be wideband given the proper hardware and/or software. Then they provide you a free, cross-platform, full-featured soft phone in Blink. How great is that?
I’ve done some cursory experimentation using Blink for Windows. To get it installed and running you’ll first need to install the Qt run-time libraries, then Blink the executable. I used the LGPL’d version of Qt run-time v4.7 and it seems to be working just fine.
Blink seems to be a robust and nicely designed soft phone. It supports G.722 wideband interop which I tested sucessfully against my Polycom and Gigaset phones. I especially like the way it displays the current codec and sample rate when you’re on a call.
I also like the fact that it’s not a purely graphical user interface like Counterpath’s soft phone offerings. And it doesn’t demand a massive amount of screen real estate like the latest release of Skype. It’s a classic case of form defined by function. I dig that.
Finally, I appreciate the way that AG Projects has shown support for the VoIP Users Conference by shipping the software with a contact preset to reach the VUC session on ZipDX conference bridge. This makes it very easy for a newby to install the software and click to join our call. In fact, we should be taking greater advantage of this fact to bring our guests into the call!
By default all accounts at SIP2SIP.INFO are referenced using numeric account ID numbers not unlike the PSTN. This is especially handy when you’re using a SIP hard phone since you can dial out to other SIP2SIP accounts using the traditional telephone dialpad. However, using the web admin site you can also setup alphanumeric aliases so that your address is easier to remember. In my case I setup sip:firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s a lot to like in Blink and SIP2SIP.INFO. The combination offer many useful features, certainly more that I can describe here. Now that I’ve made the introduction it’s up to you to explore them on your own. You know you want to, so just get on with it….in HDVoice!