After being announced to much fanfare at CES 2011 it seems that MagicJack Vocaltec is finally shipping their new MagicJack Plus. The MagicJack Plus device still has a USB plug permitting its use with a computer. However, it also has a network jack allowing it to function as a freestanding FXS device, not unlike a traditional ATA.
This dual-mode operation offers greater flexibility in the face of competition from the like of NetTalk, whose “Duo” interface device doesn’t require the use of a computer. It also answers the wishes of people who have been hacking thin clients to provide a low-cost, low-power platform to host their Magic Jack service*.
The New York Times’ Gadgetwise makes mention of Magic Jack Plus in a piece that is largely focused on Skype’s new home phone line interface device. Over at the Unofficial Magic Jack Support forum users have reported the MJ+ devices started to arrive mid-August.
Normally something like Magic jack doesn’t even appear on my radar. However, the company claims that with the Magic Jack Plus they are supporting HDVoice between Magic Jack users. Further, they claim to have developed their own codec based upon legacy G.711.
I must admit that I’m tempted to purchase a MJ+ device just to Wireshark the SIP traffic and see what they’re doing. However, between announcement and delivery the MJ+ device went from $49 to $69. That’s a little steep just to satisfy my curiosity about a service that I won’t actually use.
A related thread over at DSL Reports suggests that someone has already captured some MJ+ SIP traffic and found that they were not passing wideband media. Nonetheless, it would be good to do that experiment myself and know exactly how it was done. Perhaps I can do it using the companies MagicTalk soft phone service and see what that reveals?
Quite recently TMC announced that Vocaltech CBO Michael Tribolet will be one of the keynote speakers at IT Expo West. So perhaps we’ll find out more about what the company is doing in just a couple of weeks.
* my own use of recycled HP T5700 series thin clients in various roles has been referenced many times by people seeking a convenient little embedded host for their Magic Jack interface device.