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Mobile Tech Telecoms

Ah, the seductive VoIP telephony allure

This is our latest VoIP configuration for our new offices (which we are now moving into next Friday). I have connected my two office phones to a Linksys VoIP adapter and have configured the adapter with my FNB Connect account. The theory is that the portable phones (we have 2, 1 for me and 1 for Nastassja) can connect to FNB Connect through the Linksys adapter and give callers a single office line to call. Either of us can then pick up the incoming call. The problem is this isn’t working consistently and one issue seems to be multiple devices configured to use the same number.

Ah, the allure of modern VoIP technology. If only it actually worked consistently
VoIP options

This is a fairly frustrating work in progress and the only thing making this worth pursuing is that calls to my Skype online number are reportedly not terrific quality (soft and a little bit of an echo). Also, making calls from Skype is about twice as expensive as FNB Connect. Otherwise, Skype works on multiple devices which can be logged into the same account.

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Mobile Tech Telecoms

Skype or FNB Connect (SIP VoIP)?

We’re testing VoIP options for our office. Both Skype and FNB Connect give us local numbers people can call us on. FNB Connect’s call rates are cheaper than Skype’s although Skype is already pretty entrenched in our office from an IM perspective and we use Skype to chat to clients through Skype to Skype calls.

Which would you recommend and why? Is the one technically superior over the other? Does the one harm fewer fairies and kittens?

On a related note, here is a little poll I created and I’ll appreciate your thoughts:

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Mobile Tech Telecoms

Weird @CounterPath Bria DNS error on WiFi when using FNB Connect

I’ve been exploring VOIP apps for my iPhone and my Mac for a couple days now. We will not use conventional phones in our new offices (we’re moving next Friday). Instead we are adopting VOIP as our preferred telephony option (at the moment we’re going with FNB Connect as our provider). FNB Connect’s iOS app has a terrible interface for incoming calls (see my update below, it’s not just FNB Connect). It presents you with a general app alert message rather than what you would expect to see when you have an incoming call (in other words, a phone interface where you can tap a button to accept or decline a call, along with information about the incoming call). To answer a call you have to unlock your phone the moment the notification comes in, open the FNB Connect app and hope the caller is patient enough for you to answer the call. Fortunately FNB Connect’s VOIP solution is a SIP solution so its possible to use other SIP-based apps to handle the calls instead.

I looked at a couple options and have been trying them out. Bria, from CounterPath, is well regarded but it is a paid app. I took a look at Zoiper, based on a recommendation from Imel Rautenbach, and it seemed to work fine on both my Mac and my iPhone (free apps for both). I had a little issue with the iOS app not staying registered (I understand this to mean being logged in and registering on the network) so I finally bought Bria for my iPhone after chatting to Chris Clark. I don’t mind paying for good quality apps, especially if it could form the basis of my office telephony requirements going forward.

Weird Bria error on wifi

Unfortunately when I set Bria up last night, I kept getting this odd DNS server error when connecting on WiFi though my Afrihost ADSL service. I switched to MTN 3G and the app registered just fine and seemed to be working. I messed around with a couple settings without really knowing what I was doing but nothing seemed to help. The error keeps popping up on my home ADSL connection. I still need to get in touch with FNB Connect’s support team and CounterPath’s support people and, hopefully, one or the other can offer a solution. It’s just such a pity FNB’s own app isn’t better designed.

Update: It looks like that notification-based UI for FNB Connect isn’t just the FNB Connect app. Bria does the same thing (I received a call on 3G), as does Skype for incoming calls directed at an online number. So this isn’t an FNB thing. It seems to be an iOS thing.

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Mobile Tech Telecoms

Android ICS natively supports SIP

I’m doing some research on VOIP apps for iOS and Mac OS and I came across this interesting tidbit:

Google’s newest mobile operating system version, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, natively supports SIP accounts in the Phone dialer app.

That is pretty cool! I have a little more Android envy.