A Simple Test For Verifying Mobile HDVoice

nexus-5-200pxT-Mobile has been supporting mobile HDVoice for over a year. However, my sense is that not very many people are actually experiencing HDVoice. If they are, they might not even know it.

For example, two of my associates have the Google/LG Nexus 5 handsets on T-Mobile’s network. Both are the sort of people who would hear and appreciate the difference that HDVoice makes. That said, both were initially of the impression that the Nexus 5 did not support HDVoice on T-Mobile!

This gave rise to the idea that we should devise a simple way to verify that a call was in HDVoice. If convenient, this would allow anyone interested to make a call between two handsets and know with certainty that the devices and call path was actually delivering HDVoice.

Devising such a test turns out to be very easy in a world of smart phones. All you need is a tone generator or a recording of a specific continuous tone.

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Hello, T-Mobile. We need to talk.

We’ve been together quite a long while. I’ve always liked underdogs, and you’ve come such a long way, especially since that nasty breakup with AT&T.

You’ve been a member of the family a long time. In fact, my last five cell phones have graced your network. We still like what you do, but we need to discuss our current arrangement. It’s just too costly.

Oh, it’s not your fault. It’s mine. I was smitten by that legacy unlimited data plan that you once offered, reluctant to give it up. I now realize how wrong I’ve been. Times change. I don’t need all that data the way I once did.

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The Talking Dead: T-Mobile@Home

LinksysHiport-Router.jpgI recently received a promotional email from Amazon offering the Linksys Tmobile @ Home HiPort for just $15.99. This was the internet router device that has a UMA interface on-board. Add a T-Mobile SIM card and you have cellular trunk line for home use with a traditional wired telephone.

This device was the CPE for their long-dead T-Mobile@Home service. While that service is not longer offered, it remains functional. My brother-in-law still has the service locked in at $10/month.

The fact that these devices remain available is a curiosity. T-Mobile still supports UMA calling. That makes me wonder if they could be used in some novel way around the house. I have too many unfinished projects already, but these do seem interesting.

Solving A Cellular Signal Problem

Wilson Electronics zBoostMy wife’s family is from Thorndale, TX. Bert, her oldest brother, lives at the family’s homestead. In his late 60’s Bert recently got his first cell phone. It’s as pretty basic flip-phone. It’s exactly what he needs. However, he’s having trouble receiving calls when he’s in the house.

The rear portion of the old house has a steel roof. That’s also where Bert’s bedroom is located. As far as I know the cellular signal is ok in the yard, and even in the front portion of the house. But if Bert is in the rear of the house his cell phone loses it’s connection to the nearest tower.

Bert’s cell service is a prepaid account. I don’t know what company provides the service, but Googling for the phone number I see it belongs to Cingular. That suggests that the service provider is using AT&T’s network. This tells us what kind of network it uses (GSM) and the frequencies involved.

A week ago I tweeted an inquiry about cellular signal boosters. Rakesh Agrawal replied, telling of a good experience with Wilson Electronics Wi-Ex signal boosters. Apparently Rakesh’s company, Snapstream, had cellular connectivity issues in their former location. He described that building as a metal box.

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Review: Zelher P20 Bluetooth Headset

Zelher P20 BT Headset 200 Some time ago I made it clear that I actually prefer a headset with a boom mounted microphone. The Etymotic ETY.COM is an example of such a device, as is the now defunct Plantronics .Audio 615m. It’s also true that the current trend in Bluetooth wireless headsets leans towards designs that are much less conspicuous.

Some months back I became aware of Zelher, a small company that offer a pair of what appeared to be very interesting Bluetooth headsets. I emailed the company inquiring about the products, specifically whether they supported HDVoice. Their response indicated that the company was going to offer a stereo headset for music use later in the year, but said nothing about support for wideband voice in the existing products.

I looked on Amazon to see that the Zelher P20 listed at $99, but was typically offered for around $60. At that price I wasn’t about to buy one just to satisfy my curiosity. A few weeks later I found the P20 offered by a daily deals web site for just $40. That was a bit more tempting.

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It’s Time For Wireless Carriers to Get Real Or Get Lost

Mobile-company-logos This past week I spent a few days in Milwaukee WI. If Boston is Bean-town then Milwaukee is quite likely Beer-town. I actually drove past the Pabst Brewery. I didn’t know that they still made Pabst, or that anyone would actually drink the stuff. I took it to be like Lone Star in Texas, just something to offer the tourists.

Initial impression of the suds aside, I saw something in Milwaukee that gave me pause. I saw the signs, and they were worrying.

To be more specific I saw a few of the newer T-Mobile billboards. I still mostly like T-Mobile. And heck, Carly-of-the-patterned-magenta-dresses is certainly easy on the eyes, so billboards should be a good thing…but these were cause for concern.

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