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Ooma: HDVoice For The Thrifty Consumer

ooma-teloOoma has been around for quite some time. While the core of their service offering is free domestic long distance one you’ve bought the hardware, they have also made some effort to promote improved call quality…all the way to HDVoice.

The companies end-point device, a $199 device known as “Telo”, can be inserted inline with an existing landline, making your traditional home phone both voip and analog-capable. It can also be inserted inline with your internet access. Connected in this manner it provides managed quality of service (QoS) for voip traffic on your network. This is a sensible strategy, well established in many ATA type devices.

Telo is actually Linux-based and runs an instance of Freeswitch to handle its telephony functions. That open source project has consistently moved quickly to deploy new technologies…especially new HDVoice codecs. Ooma leverages this fact in offering what they call “PureVoice.”

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First Look: Gigaset C610A & L410

Gigaset C610AL410_TR_whi_300 Some weeks ago Gigaset sent me a a couple of their newer US offerings to try. The first of these that I’ve unboxed is the new C610A Cordless DECT phone with the L410 Hands-free Clip.

Unlike the various Gigaset systems I’ve considered in the past, the C610A is not an IP-capable system. It sports just one old school analog line interface. Normally I wouldn’t even trouble myself to take such a phone out of the box.

The C610A itself is a pretty basic phone. The DECT base includes voicemail capability, with a small speaker on the base so that you can listen to voice messages at the base even if the handset is elsewhere. The VM system can also be used to record a call in progress.

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Reader Feedback On The Sennheiser DW Pro2

It’s truly a bloggers dream when readers are very engaged. When someone goes to the trouble of leaving a comment, especially asking a question, I always try to provide a response.

Some questions seem to leap beyond the confines of the comment trail on the post that inspired them. This was the case when BillH left a comment after my post on the case for using a headset in the home office.

Bill’s situation provided an array of questions. Some of his concerns may be unique, but most seemed like they might impact anyone. There were so many possible solutions to be considered.

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Affordable Cordless Mobility In The Home Office

Obi-Hai-S12-KX-TSC11-trio-300sqEarlier this week Bill left a comment asking for a recommendation about a phone and cordless headset combination. His requirements seem quite sensible and he expresses some frustration with his existing gear. His situation seems one that could be very common, so I thought it worth highlighting before trying to make some recommendations.

Here’s his comment in full:

Sorry for bringing back an old thread – but am hoping you might have some advice. I am a home office worker & spend a lot of time on the phone with colleagues & customers. I’m not using a speakerphone – but I am currently using a Plantronics S12 headset & Panasonic KX-TSC11 phone connected to an OBi110 for both POTS and VOIP capability. The audio quality is just “ok”, and the S12 creates an annoying hum when I raise the microphone volume.

I would like to upgrade to a better (binaural, over the head, no little buds sticking into my ear) headset, preferably DECT to enable me to stand and move about a bit while on calls (is DECT a safe bet for call quality & consistency?). Also it would be convenient to have a built-in answering machine if the quality is very good.

The *paramount* concern is that my voice quality sound loud & clear to callers. I would also like the devices to be wideband-capable (realizing this only affects VOIP).

Do you have any suggestions for a phone/headset combination for this scenario? Thanks very much in advance!

Bill’s existing gear bears examination. With just a few minutes of Googling I found that the Panasonic KX-TSC11 is a very basic analog phone. They’re available for around $45 and have only one analog POTS connection. Panasonic refers to it as an “Integrated Telephone System” which seems a bit puzzling to me. It’s a bit like calling a pen a “fully manual correspondence creation system.” It’s an entry-level analog phone.

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Revisiting The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC

Plantronics-Voyager-Pro-UC-MDA-300px I’d like to thank William for pointing out the relatively new Plantronics MDA200 interface device. Introduced in October of this year the MDA200
is a device intended to “UC enable” existing USB connected Plantronics headsets.

In the case of a wired headset, like the .Audio or Blackwire series, it allows a headset to be easily switched between use with a desk phone and a soft phone on a computer.

In the case of a Bluetooth headset with a USB interface it allows three-way connectivity between a desk phone, computer and cell phone. That’s very interesting indeed.

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Review: Sennheiser DW Pro2 Cordless Headset

sennheiser-dw-pro2-and-Polycom-phones-250As you may already know, I believe that a headset is an important part of a sound strategy for effective communications in the home office. In fact, I’ve used a number or cordless headsets around my home office. Most of them, like the Plantronics Savi Go and Voyager Pro UC, were Bluetooth devices that were used in two roles; in the office and with a mobile phone. This meant that in the office they were used in conjunction with a soft phone on my desktop PC.

Over time I found that I really preferred to use the wonderful dedicated SIP phone that occupied the other corner of my desk. None of my existing headsets worked with my Polycom Soundpoint IP650 or VVX-1500, the two phones that have dominated my desktop the past few years.

To gain some insight I decided to poll a few knowledgeable people about their preferred headsets. Some of their responses referenced companies and products that were known to me, but one reply was completely unexpected…Sennheiser!

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