Thursday, May 8, 2008

Going all the way

I've been frustrated of late with my ISP at home not being able to provide ADSL2. Finally, there was little option but to change ISP's, no big drama there. When I started to think about making the change I also decided that perhaps now would also be a good idea to get rid of the normal phone provided by the telco and go totally VoIP. Would that be possible? Would there be any savings? Read on for the story.


The first step was to have 'naked' ADSL installed. With normal ADSL you need a phone service connected before you can get ADSL. This means that even if you don't use the phone you still need to pay the line rental charges. Now, 'naked' ADSL means that you can have ADSL BUT you no longer need a normal phone line. All you require is a copper connection. The good thing about getting 'naked' ADSL with my new ISP was that they would install the ADSL2 service and disconnect the existing phone for me automatically. No argument there boys, go for it.


On the nominated day my old ADSL service stopped, I reconfigured my modem/router with the new ISP details and bamm, I'm running ADSL2! Nothing could have been simpler. Now, phase 2, a VoIP phone that supported inbound calls.


When you think about it, having a phone line is still a very good idea, especially in case of emergencies whether your own or someone you know. My next challenge to work out the best way to have a phone without having a 'traditional' phone line. Initially I considered a pre-paid mobile phone but decided that being a technology bloke I decided to bite the bullet and get inbound VoIP working. Next stop my new ISP.


I logged into my client console, clicked on the application for VoIP and within a few clicks I had an inbound phone number and a plan that cost me nothing per month in rental and allowed 10c un-timed calls nationally - bonus! So now I had faster ADSL, no line rental and a phone that people can still call me on! All of which added up to a significant monthly saving. The only issue was how to use my existing handset on the new VoIP service.


The solution turned out to be the installation of a Linksys Internet Phone Adapter (model PAP2T around $60). All you do is plug it into the broadband modem/router, logon and configure via a web page and connect an analogue phone and bingo, you're in business. Now, I must admit that it took me a little longer to work out the Internet Phone Adapter simply because I'd never used one before. Once I determined where to put all the login information for the VoIP account I was up and running. I have to say that there are hundreds of settings on this device, I really wonder what they all do? Maybe, one day. The cool think about this Internet Phone Adapter is that it has the facility for two lines. This means I could configure a different VoIP account to work on the second line. I could even get a VoIP account from a different provider. Thus, if someone in your house calls interstate a lot you get the cheapest VoIP provider for that on the first line and if someone else makes a lot of mobile calls you get the cheapest VoIP provider for that on the second line. The potential savings and possibilities here with VoIP are mind blowing.


So bottom line is that I have faster broadband, no line rental, ability to utilize my existing telephone handsets, have cheap calls, will save a packet each month and it was all really, really easy to get up and running. Truly amazing. Now I can say that I have gone all the way with technology at home!