A few times I’ve seen people complaining about unacceptably low volume being provided by one of the Gigaset handsets. Most recently this was being said about the S67H handset, but I can recall a similar complaint about the A58H as well. We don’t feel that the handsets we’ve used have a problem in this area.
However, when the complaint occurs more than once it makes me think that perhaps a little investigation is worthwhile. Could this be production variance in the handsets? Is there a difference between the various models of handsets? How do they compare to the output of some respected desktop phones?
So the past two weekends I set about a little informal testing.
There can be no question that Counterpath is the leader in SIP soft phones. From the free offering in X-Lite to my favorite Eyebeam, and finally Bria they’ve long had a diverse offering and occupied a leadership position in the market.
Several of my UK-based associates have used Ipevo USB handsets in conjunction with Skype, some for several years. In fact, these have become a standard item in our packing for trade shows. Our booth has a Polycom Soundpoint IP430 and an Ipevo USB handset. The Polycom phone integrates with our US hosted IP-PBX (OnSIP) to provide calling to anyone and provides a handy, high-quality speakerphone. Alternatively, the Ipevo handsets supports free calling to those back at the home office that use Skype, including co-workers, friends & family.
In mid-July I traveled to the UK, visiting my employer’s head office in Cambridge. Being away from my home office is in some ways a drag. I’m so accustomed to being in control of my local network, which is certainly not the case when I’m abroad. Suffice it to say that I can’t use anything VoIP related from within the office LAN at HQ, with the possible exception of Skype.
At the hotel where we typically stay near HQ there is wired internet access provided by Swisscom. It’s a decent service, reasonably fast and reliable. However, at 15 Pounds Sterling (around $22 USD!) per 24-hour period it’s also very dear. To get around some of this cost one of my co-workers loaned me a company issued Vodaphone 3G USB dongle. This was the first time that I’d used one of these little gadgets.
GigaOm has a nice guest post by FWD’s Dan Berninger. Dan describes the benefits of wideband voice encoding, as well as the obstacles to its more widespread acceptance. He rightly points to internet connected devices as being the only way to reap the benefits of wideband voice.
I’m happy to say that in the past year members of VUC have started adopting wideband telephony. From the time when I first reviewed the Polycom IP550 & IP650 to now more and more people are wideband capable, having decided to invest in the hardware themselves. We will soon have access to the Siemens Gigaset range in the US, which include some wideband capable DECT devices. And finally, we have a fully interoperable soft phone in Counterpath’s Eyebeam v1.5 for Windows.
We are making progress toward wideband IP telephony.
A short while ago I was informed that Counterpath had issued a new release of their Eyebeam soft phone for Windows. This release, v126.96.36.199 Build 51814 available from their support forum, was supposed to address the interoperability issues I encountered last fall when passing G.722 calls between Eyebeam and a Polycom hard phone.
I downloaded the program and took it with me on a business trip the following week. Upon initial installation I found that the program overwrote the version that I had been issued by ZipDX. I suppose this makes sense as both were in the v1.5 branch. However, the license key that ZipDX had provided would not enable the new release. I contacted Counterpath and they very quickly provided me a license key to enable the new release.