A Complicated Way To Join a VUC Call

counterpathDuring this weeks VUC call I was at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh PA. I was sitting monitoring some equipment in the Art Department, which is  is physically located in the basement of the building at One Gateway Center.

There in the basement my cell phone was only able to get an EDGE connection to T-Mobile. Of course, CBS won’t let me on their network with my laptop or netbook. As a result, all week long I’ve been making use of my now aged Sprint 3G Mifi for general internet access.

Last week I installed the very latest version of Counterpath’s Bria Android Edition on my G2. To this point I’d only used it to make a couple of test calls around my office. This day I used it to join the ZipDX wideband conference bridge.

So, to join the VUC call I enabled Wifi on the G2 allowing it to connect to the Mifi. Then I fired up Bria and logged into ZipDX. Adding one further layer to the mix, I used my Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset.

HDVoice over Wifi-Mifi G2-Bria-VoyagerProUC-600

Support for G.722 and Bluetooth headsets are two new aspects of the very latest release of Bria Android Edition. These two features make Bria much more useful to me. The happy result was the ability to join the VUC call in wideband from my cell phone. The entire chain was wideband, all the way to the headset.

The call quality was a little bit spotty, mostly because of the Mifi’s 3G connection. I found that if I left Outlook running and also connected via the Mifi it would cause choppy audio when an email exchange occurred. Fortunately there’s an easy solution to that problem, I simply closed Outlook for the hour. Problem solved.

I did notice that being on the call for around 90 minutes was taxing on the G2 battery, possibly more taxing than a normal cellular call. Most days the G2 battery lasts me the full day, but attending a VUC call in this matter meant that I was seeing a low battery alarm by around 3pm this afternoon. The Wifi radio on the phone clearly uses more power than the HSPA+ cellular radio. Further the soft phone will keep the Wifi continuously powered.

The topic of this VUC call was on the periphery of things that interest me, so I was not one of the more active participants on the call. Nonetheless I think that joining the call in this manner was a curious and interesting experiment.

  • Three wireless devices for one call? All on battery? That seems to be asking for trouble. I am surprised the battery lasted 90 minutes on a wifi call. I would think an AC connection on the cell would help. You mention Outlook – presumably PC based. Why not put the Bria on the PC? What did the mifi add that the G2 could not do?

    • Since the Mifi is the oldest device it’s battery life is the shortest. It was on the one AC adapter that I had with me. It’s function was to overcome the lack of T-Mo coverage in the building basement. Sprint’s EVDO RevA coverage was solid, so the call went out over Sprints data network.

      I could have used Bria on my netbook, but I was also doing other things at the time. I thought it best to use the cell phone as it could be dedicated to the task.

  • Lifespeed

    I just tried to make a VoIP-over-4G call on Verizon LTE using Bria on Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Fail. Works over wifi, though. It sounded like the audio was just about to start, when it disconnected.

    It would seem very problematic for an internet provider to block internet services. Not sure if there is another explanation for this failure, or if this is an example of the lack of net neutrality on mobile networks.

    • Yes, Todd Carothers from Counterpath tried this with Bria at eComm 2011. He found that the carrier was blocking SIP over LTE.