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Android Communications Wireless Networking

Ask Slashdot: Data-Only Phone, Voice Over WiFi? 208

Posted by timothy
from the holy-grail-for-lots-of-people dept.
enFi writes "I want to pay one ISP (only!) for data (only!), and use it for my smartphone and my computer; and until they catch up, I want not to inconvenience the rest of the world — still let them call a phone number. (We all want this, right?) I'm most of the way there: my plan is to get a Clear Spot (their 4G WiMAX coverage is good for me) to use with my unlocked Nexus S (which will only ever use WiFi). I could just use Skype and an Online Number, but talk of Sipdroid+pbxes.org+GV and the recent Google Voice / SIP article make me think I'm only starting to untangle the mess of services and options. Is there a good (not to mention best) way to do this?"
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Ask Slashdot: Data-Only Phone, Voice Over WiFi?

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  • Not anytime soon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kelbear (870538) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:04PM (#35447866)

    Sorry, I don't see this solution out there, and ISPs will do their darnedest to prevent it from happening. They make a a pretty penny on

    • by Timmmm (636430)

      I don't think it is the ISPs fault. Current mobile technology has too high latency to make VoIP usable. Hopefully that will change with LTE, since voice calls are just IP data as far as I know.

      • by Timmmm (636430)

        Oh wait, he's using wifi. That might work then, although I'd still be surprised if the round trip time is less than 0.5s, which is about the limit of usability.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Yes, on Wifi (or even 3g) this will work just fine for high quality voice. I've got a retired iPhone sitting on my desk that I use for precisely this purpose.

          There are any number if SIP providers out there that will give you a phone number for Plain Old Telephone users to call (INBOUND) you with and sell you minutes at ridiculously low rates for you to call OUTBOUND. Any calls to any other SIP numbers are free.

          This is doable now with off apps from both the Android Market and the iPhone iTunes. Most of the

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        Maybe it is because I live in Indiana and there aren't as many people using data, but I jailbroke my phone and got an addon called VOIPover3G and used Skype all the time, worked just fine.
      • Not really. Sipdroid with a low-bandwidth codec like Speex or even GSM (higher bandwidth use kills latency!) works just fine on good old UMTS.

        I've switched to Sipdroid more or less completely - the GSM telephony module in my Android smartphone is nothing more than a backup for when all I can get is 2G... works fine here in Germany. My provider explicitly allows VoIP and tethering within my allotted 5GB per month, so no problems there.

        Call quality is on par with GSM (actually a little better, because Sipdroi

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Actually, latency doesn't matter that much for VoIP. What matters is packet loss and jitter - meaning the average latency between voice packets. VoIP works perfectly fine over high latency links, including satellite.

        Now exceedingly high latency might lead to the awkwardness of both parties constantly attempting to begin talking at the same time, thinking the other party has yielded. Aside from that, VoIP works well over high latency communication paths.

        As it applies here, if it takes 300ms for the first voi

        • As a day-to-day real-world example, I live about 300ms from my VoIP server. I am on the phone all the time. People generally don't notice the delay. The only problem I have is that sometimes the latency is enough to overrun the echo cancellation buffer, so my callers can hear themselves echo on occasion. Some software tuning might sort that out but it hasn't been enough of an issue to worry about it.
      • I make VoIP calls over 3G just fine (even with G.711,G.729 better). My latency to the SIP server is 100ms typically.

    • i actually did something similar to this for about a year and it worked very well. I had a sprint Razr V3M that i used for data and VOIP with Vonage and it worked reasonably well all of the time. I used the cheapest Vonage box i could find, my old landline phone and my wrt54g/ddwrt router. in order to get internet to the router to be shared with the vonage box i turned on internet connection sharing on the computer and plugged it into the router "internet" input. after that i had shared wifi and LAN int
      • by darjen (879890)

        I did it for a few months with Gizmo5 and my old Nokia e71, which can be set up to use SIP out of the box. I had some pre-paid voice minutes as a back up. Voip over 3g was so bad that everyone always complained they couldn't hear me. That was about a year and a half ago. I ended up getting a Droid with full voice and data instead. Yeah I still hate paying that much for the data and voice plans. At least I'm on a family plan for voice so I'm only paying $10 extra for it. So to me that's not too bad.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Sorry, I don't see this solution out there, and ISPs will do their darnedest to prevent it from happening.

      Whilst they'll loathe to see the lucrative voice rip off market go, all mobile telco's in Australia already offer data only plans on a SIM.

      The problem is that none of them have invested in new infrastructure and are now grossly congested so trying to use VoIP would be hazardous at best.

    • You must be BLIND...

      I got Magic Jack. It's now my home "phone line". It's a little USB dongle that plugs into my Mac (which is on, anyway) and my my home telephone line, so all my normal phones work on the MJ. It replaces the phone company. To use my normal phones, I unscrewed the wires at the junction box so my internal wires weren't connected to the telco anymore.

      $20/year, no hassles, unlimited calls, I can plug it into my computer at anyplace with a 'net connection and my phone # stays with it. Whatever

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      There are solutions. Many articles have been written about this very question. I'm not providing details because the author of the article should have simply used Google rather than wasting all of our time with the article.

      Literally, many articles have been written on how to use data only Android smart phone + sipdroid + gv + sip provider for more or less free (or extremely cheap) phone services. The major limitation is you only have phone service when WIFI is available. The second limitation is WIFI is the

  • by cnj (87028) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:04PM (#35447872) Homepage

    My set-up is my N900 using UMTS (or WiFi if I'm at home) connecting to my Asterisk box which handles call routing and voicemail, and which connects to the plain-old-telephone-system via Vitelity. Alternatively, you could skip running your own Asterisk server and just connect to Vitelity directly (or run Asterisk on the N900).

    I believe Android's Gingerbread release also supports SIP, but I don't have direct experience with that. Either way, I use SIP over 3G and WiFi quite a bit since it's significantly cheaper than when I'm on the mobile voice network.

    • I have a similar setup (N900/Asterisk/Vitelity) and I have found the Maemo SIP client to be very laggy even on WIFI. Also T-Mobile's data 3 and 3.5G isn't reliable enough for practical use of SIP calls. Have you encountered similar issues and how did you handle them?
      • I'm not the OP but I use it for SIP without any configuration on the phone side and it works perfectly. Do you control your own SIP server? If so you might want to look into which protocols you allow. I'd disable PCM as it's quite crappy (slow to decode, large bandwidth requirement etc etc). Get the phone to negotiate something better. I'd also be pinging your SIP server even over Wifi just to make sure it's running nicely.

        Also /etc/stream-engine/gstcodecs.conf has various options you can Google about.

        • My SIP server (Asterisk 1.6) is fine. I've got 4 other SIP phones on it, 3 in Houston and 1 in Michigan and they perform great. I assume you mean PCMU/A by PCM, which requires the least amount of encoding/decoding, but has the highest bandwidth requirement (about 90 kbps with overhead). Also, PCMU is what POTS uses so it's as close to perfect as you can get when using a POTS gateway. For comparison, on calls my latency from Houston to Michigan is less than that from my N900 to the PBX on a LAN. I get s

          • I've concluded that most people have a higher tolerance for latency than myself.
            ...
            On a LAN, there shouldn't be any perceivable latency on an echo test, yet I get about .2 seconds at best using Mameo's SIP client.

            Ever call someone on a cell phone when you're standing next to them? The latency (I've measured it) is often close to half a second. Everyone survives that. I wonder if maybe you're just looking for it more in this case because of perfectionist tendencies? No criticism intended, just pointing o

  • Sprint Relay data only plan?
    • by SoopahMan (706062)

      Yeah I'd say just use Sprint - the 4G is easy to tether whatever to, and you get everything you asked for.

      If you really want to be difficult about it and demand there's no cell minutes for calling phones, you're forced to add Skype Out or Google Voice, one charges by the minute and the other is signaling they will next year, so it's pretty arbitrary.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Either of those companys can port-in your old cell phone number. You can answer that incoming call on skype.

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      Care to elaborate? I'm coincidentally in the same position as the original poster. I love when Slashdot copies my life :)

      Trying not to spend money, I was given a car. Yay. But it had no music. Boo. And I had no mp3 player. Boo. My sister gave me her old iPhone. Boo. But hey, it's free, and it's a neat toy, even if I'd never buy it myself, and prefer my wife's Android phone.

      I have no service plan, nor do I intend to have one. I've never owned a cell phone. I have a land line. When I'm out, I'm with my wif

  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:07PM (#35447896)
    The only downside I see to what you want to do, apart from the fact that you'll have to carry two devices, is that Clear's website shows the battery life of the Clear Spot 4G to be only 4 hours - and usually these advertised figures are optimistic. Do you have a way around that, other than carrying a third device, namely a battery?
  • No. Don't do this. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:08PM (#35447906)

    VoIP over mobile networks is nowhere close to being reliable. Yes, it works if you're lucky enough but expect horrible jitter due to bufferbloat, inability to call sometimes because data network is congested, big lags, problems with filtering, etc.

    We've tried it for secure voice communication. It JustDoesntWork(tm).

    • by tgatliff (311583)

      What??? Almost all corporate offices are VoIP now... If you are having problems with congestion, then you might want to hire someone who knows how to setup a network.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:14PM (#35447958)

        What??? Almost all corporate offices are VoIP now...

        Unless they are all on pirate ships, they are not mobile.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        He said _mobile_ networks, not corporate networks. If you've ever tried using SIP on a cellular data network, you will likely understand what he's talking about. There's intermittent dropouts, tons of jitter, etc. It's unusable, at least on Telus in Canada in my experience.

        • by Cimexus (1355033)

          Interesting that SIP would be so bad over cellular data. I use Skype over cellular data (even with video!) quite regularly and it seems fine to me. Obviously Skype is a different protocol but I generally thought that SIP was THE de facto standard for VoIP and Skype was a crappy proprietary protocol (which makes it less attractive to me).

        • Works fine here in Germany, as long as you're not on a train going from asstown to miniholeinthemapville... I've switched entirely to SIP (Sipdroid) and the only times I have problems are when I'm mobile at high speeds outside of city limits, or there's just no decent 3G coverage.

          Hell, I've even gotten my girlfriend an Android phone with the same setup and even she says it works just fine ;)

          Sounds like all you need is a halfway decent network.

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        VoIP over mobile networks

        I had the same gut reaction too, then I reread the comment. He didn't mean all VOIP.

      • by Radres (776901)

        "Almost all corporate offices are VoIP now"... over mobile networks?

      • VoIP works fine over most things, but I haven't tried it over 3G myself. Mobile networks are typically VERY shitty, so I wouldn't recommend it with no experience using it myself.

      • by PatHMV (701344)

        Um, he said VoIP "over mobile networks" is unreliable. Does your corporate office set up and run its own mobile network?

      • by lactose99 (71132)

        VoIP over mobile is an entirely different beast than VoIP over wireline. The OP is right, there's a lot of kinks to be worked-out yet, particularly surrounding jitter/bufferbloat.

        • VOIP On Comcast is worse than VOIP over Mobile. Comcast Sucks. Whatever you do, if you can ever avoid I suggest you do.

          Did I mention, Comcast Sucks!

          • by LodCrappo (705968)

            having lived in a various areas of the country "served" by comcast, I can assure you it sucks ass massively in some places and it is actually quite well done in others. probably due to the fact that comcast is mostly a lot of smaller companies that got consolidated into one horrible thing.... some of the smaller companies did a good job with infrastructure, some did not, and comcast just uses whatever the last guy did. their customer service is universally shit, but i've had a few places where that did no

  • VirginMobile (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:08PM (#35447910)

    Check out VirginMobile's Data Plans. [virginmobileusa.com]

    $25, prepaid, for 300 minutes and 'unlimited data'.

    The LG Optimus V [exstatic.org] is on-sale right now at Target for $130 + $20 Gift Card. Plus, you can get cheap rates on the refills:

    Save an extra 5% with your RedCard. I like to buy my Top Up Cards with my RedCard at Target, since I get 5% off. The best deal is getting the $20 RECHARGEABLE Top-Up card from Target. For every 5 charges, you get $10 free. Plus 5% off with the RedCard.

    • by afidel (530433)
      It's actually a pretty damn good phone too. Bought one for the wife and it convinced me that Android, and Sprint's network around me are good enough that I'm switching my work phone to an EVO Shift 4G on Sprint.
    • by snookums (48954)

      Check out VirginMobile's Data Plans. [virginmobileusa.com]

      $25, prepaid, for 300 minutes and 'unlimited data'.

      The LG Optimus V [exstatic.org] is on-sale right now at Target for $130 + $20 Gift Card. Plus, you can get cheap rates on the refills:

      Save an extra 5% with your RedCard. I like to buy my Top Up Cards with my RedCard at Target, since I get 5% off. The best deal is getting the $20 RECHARGEABLE Top-Up card from Target. For every 5 charges, you get $10 free. Plus 5% off with the RedCard.

      Does any provider in the US offer this kind of service on a GSM network? Last time I checked when traveling to the USA the minimum I'd have to pay for a non-trivial amount of data from AT&T or T-Mobile was $70-80/mo. Kind of crazy when I can get a pre-paid SIM with 500 MB (+voice minutes) for $30 from major Aussie providers, or even less through budget resellers.

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      I have had a Droid 2 since just after they came out. I love it!

      When I saw the LG Optimus for less than half the price, I got one for my Wife, with MetroPCS. It functions almost exactly like my Droid2 - the buttons are even in the same place! The only down sides are that it doesn't have a keyboard and doesn't have as sharp a screen. (still very usable/readable)

      The Optimus is a great phone that I'd recommend to anybody!

  • I have a VoIP service contract which provides me with one or more landline numbers (free incoming calls) that route to my SIP client via Wifi or GPRS. Outgoing calls are prepaid to the same VoIP provider and are shown on caller-ID as coming from one of the landlines. Missed calls are taken as messages and e-mailed to me as .WAV's. SIP to SIP calls are free.

    Scout around for a VoIP provider. I use VoipTalk and never had a problem.

  • I bought an ooma device, which allows me to hook up my phones to the internet over a VoiP connection and provides a telephone number with free domestic calls. There's a non-trivial up front cost ($120-$200), and a very modest monthly fee to cover taxes (~$3.50/mo). So far, it's been really easy, and I have no complaints.

    I can get data only service from my provider (Frontier, was Verizon), though they don't seem to be able to bill me properly...

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I don't think Ooma solves the poster's question specifically, but I do like it. The catch is when you sign up they'll put you on a free trial of their "premium" service. Then a few months later they'll start monthly charges for it, until/unless you call them and ask for it to be discontinued (which is the typical 10 minute torture routine of, "are you SURE you don't want us to charge you every month?"). If you are on Ooma now, I suggest you check your billing history :)
  • You are trying to game the system. But all the ISPs and wireless phone providers have anticipated what you are trying to do, and they don't want you to be able to do it. At least, not in a way that is satisfying.

    You might be able to get it to work, sort-of, but you won't end up with a phone that works very well. Frankly, you're better off buying a pre-paid Verizon data card for data, and a pre-paid "burner" cell phone.

    • In an open network, neutral world, he's not trying to 'game the system'. Yes, the FCC says that net neutrality isn't required on mobile data networks serviced by carriers (a huge travesty), but he's trying to do an isochronous application. If there's toll avoidance, SO MUCH THE BETTER.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have used sipgate on a Verizon Droid for a long time while I was in the U.S.. Way better call quality than what you get out of a regular wireless service.

    Plus, they offer free phone numbers along with unlimited inbound calls. In my case I used one of their European phone numbers and got myself a free European phone service with no roaming charges. Nice.

    You might get yourself a freebie setup that way and be reachable on a phone number for the rest of the world. Calling out you can use Skype etc. or just to

    • by RDW (41497)

      I use Sipgate as my voicemail on Android - the free local 'landline' number certainly beats a SkypeIn rental, is cheap (free on many tariffs) for the caller, and emails the audio file to my gmail account so I can pick it up anywhere in the world I have wifi or 3G (it plays nicely from the gmail client's audio preview). It's also easy to set up Sipgate with Sipdroid without needing to uses PBXes:

      http://www.hutsby.net/2010/03/how-to-sipgate-and-sipdroid.html [hutsby.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am a cross border commuter, and I needed a phone with a data-plan for ~ 12 days in a month. What many people don't know, is that sim cards with prepaid data for usb modems, will also work on a phone and you can even receive calls (making phone calls is very expensive) . You can then install skype to make cheap phone calls. In my case I have trouble with skype but, I think the CPU/RAM is the bottleneck.

  • Sprint has 3G MiFi cover for iPod Touch 79.99 plus 29.99/mo no contract plan. Get Skype and you are free...

  • Use skype on an iPod 4. I know some people who do that and it works great. The form factor is just like an iPhone.
    • I've had some success doing the same. The iPod touch 4 is a good device, but the service of Skype over wifi for making and receiving calls isn't as good as plain old cellular voice. When it's good, it's better than celluar, when it's bad, it introduces jarring audio artifacts or plain drops calls (really bad).

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      He wants normal people with normal phones to be able to call a normal phone number... and have it go to his phone, which has no service plan, but has data connectivity through wifi in his house.
      • He wants normal people with normal phones to be able to call a normal phone number... and have it go to his phone, which has no service plan, but has data connectivity through wifi in his house.

        Which you can do with Skype. A subscription offers you very reasonable rates for making call and an online number (which he mentions) where normal people can call you and if you're offline either get voicemail or forwarded to another normal number.

        There are still quality concerns, as I mention here: http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2031828&cid=35448288 [slashdot.org]

        • by ClintJCL (264898)
          Interesting - so how does the phone know to ring, then? I install a skype app and it monitors for that constantly?

          Oh wait. You said subscription. I guess that means it costs money. Hmmm. I guess I need to look into this more.

          Don't suppose my google voice number [which only goes to my landline currently] could somehow go through Skype, could it?

  • by geniusj (140174) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:38PM (#35448204) Homepage

    Menu->Settings->Call Settings->Internet Call Settings.

    Just get a SIP provider and Android will use it as if it's a cell network, I assume. I'm not sure how the quality will be over a mobile network, but I'd be curious to hear how it works out for you.

    • I've tried out SIP on my hacked up phone running XDAndroid Gingerbread, and the call quality was terrible over SIP, even though I was on wifi. I had it setup using a Gizmo5 account (sad that they're being shutdown), and the call quality on Gizmo5 was fine over the exact same wifi connection from my computer.

      I'm wonder if it's just because I'm running Android on a hacked up phone that was never designed to run it. Does anyone else have any experience with the call quality on SIP on Gingerbread?

  • There's a reason wires are king and that is bandwidth. Wireless bandwidth will never match wired. There are all sorts of problems, signal to noise, more narrow bands, but all that aside there is the problem of contention. Everyone in a given area, using a given bandwidth has to share it. That is just how things work. With a wired connection, each person can have their own dedicated connection. There are wired systems that share, like cable modems and PON, but the level to which they share is highly controll

    • I'd like it if my calls would automatically switch from cellular to wifi as I connect to networks (like wheI come home, or get to work, for instance). Cellular SIM in the phone as a fallback for being on the go, with the majority of my calls being routed over a fixed line after the wifi access point.

      • You can actually kinda get that, by buying your own micro cell. You hook it in to your network and then any cellphone on the network for the cell will switch to it when they get in its range. It is short range, of course, a house or less in size. It is a way to boost signal in weak areas and so on. Works fairly well, but is expensive and the phone companies tend to be more than a little incompetent at getting them set up.

        Straight out "roam to WiFi" would be cool. Only problem is WiFi is rather chatty compar

        • Wifi battery life is no trouble for my Dell Streak. Thing is HUGE, and has a decent battery to match. I get days out of mine, while my iPhone-bearing co-workers pretty much charge theirs every day. I stroll around with wifi on all the time, because I forget about it, and usually have wireless tethering going to my iPad too.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      There's a reason wires are king and that is bandwidth. Wireless bandwidth will never match wired. There are all sorts of problems, signal to noise, more narrow bands, but all that aside there is the problem of contention. Everyone in a given area, using a given bandwidth has to share it. That is just how things work. With a wired connection, each person can have their own dedicated connection. There are wired systems that share, like cable modems and PON, but the level to which they share is highly controllable.

      I agree 100%...

      But the conversation is about mobile VoIP and we don't need perfect mobile broadband for VoIP. We need it to be good enough 95% of the time, that should make it as reliable as traditional voice services. However in Oz, the current state of mobile broadband is laughable, with most people getting less then 1 Mb\s on their phones at 500+ ms pings. This is mainly due to congestion, at 12 AM on a Tuesday, it's pretty fast but at 11 AM on a Friday it's terrible.

      But I do agree on wired vs wire

    • The maximum bitrate isn't of much concern. Certainly in the realm of 3G and 4G wireless the petty 20 or so kb/s it takes to make a voice call is pretty negligable, especially considering what Bandwidth evildoers are pushing over the airwaves, like Youtube videos or farting apps. In fact, doing so would be generally more efficient than older technologies like GSM phones.

  • by rmckeethen (130580) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:55PM (#35448338)

    A few months ago, I decided to ditch my landline and move as many calls as I could to my iPhone via SIP. Here's how I did it:

    ***My Equipment***

    • An unlocked iPhone with a prepaid T-Mobile SIM
    • A copy of the freeware VoIP app. Siphon [google.com]
    • A used Macmini server I picked-up for $200
    • VMware Fusion [vmware.com] running on the Macmini server
    • The Incredible PBX [incrediblepbx.com] from Nerd Vittles
    • A free ISP connection courtesy of my very cute and extremely generous next door neighbor Christina

    The Incredible PBX (I-PBX) runs within VMware and is pre-configured to support free VoIP calls anywhere in the US over Google Voice. The Google Voice service gives me a local phone number (DID), and will route calls to my home-based I-PBX over GTalk. Siphon on the iPhone gives me both in and outbound SIP calling while I'm on WiFi at home. At home, I also have a Cisco VoIP phone I got a few years ago which also handles inbound and outbound calls. When I'm away from home, I can make outbound calls whenever there's a WiFi network available by routing the calls over a VPN connection back to the Macmini server.

    Note that there were a couple of caveats with my setup. The biggest problem is that inbound calls via Google Voice and GTalk don't seem to work reliably; the phones ring, but the voice connection never seems to work. I tend to think the problem is in my configuration though, and if I spent a bit more time troubleshooting the issue, I'm sure I could solve the problem. However, I can still use Google Voice to forward inbound calls back to the iPhone phone via the cellular network. I can then get the call, figure out who it is and how long it will take and, if it's going be be more than a couple of minutes, I can call back via VoIP.

  • pbxes.org is just not reliable enough. In my experience it goes down at least once a month. It's also highly technical and at some point you just want to stop worrying about the technical details and make and receive calls without hassles. You might as well run asterisk on your own server or on a VPS. Also, Google Voice, while having a fantastic interface and good reliability, introduces an often unacceptable latency into phone conversations. My co-workers and I have tried paid alternatives to GV, such

  • not quite what you're looking for, but in the same vein. i'm using the nexus s on t-mobile prepaid with a google voice number

    at my desktop: gmail voice chat over a 1Mbps, $10/month dsl connection
    mobile with wifi: sip on the nexus s
    mobile without wifi: t-mobile prepaid

    everybody sees the same (gv) number. for sip i use callcentric + ipkall incoming, and anveo ($0.012 per minute) for outgoing. i'm using csipsimple instead of the builtin sip stack. i haven't tried sip over 3g. call quality with sip

  • 1) Get a data-only SIM. Here in Canada, $35/mth gets you 5GB for a data-only SIM. In that case it's a Virgin Mobile (which is wholly owned by Bell) android tablet SIM, but there's no reason it couldn't go in an android phone instead.
    2) Get an Android phone supporting 2.3 or later
    3) Get an account and DID at voip.ms (no PBX required, their customer management portal can do most things Asterix can). I assume you're in the US, so that's $0.99 USD per month for the DID, $0.01 per minute incoming minutes (by 6 s

  • As other users have noted, you can accomplish this with Asterisk. If you find wireless internet to be too unreliable, you still have some options depending on your needs.

    If you have a wired internet connection and landline at the house, you could install a sip gateway on your landline so that incoming calls are routed into the asterisk PBX. You can register your handset through a local wlan when you come into range, so that inbound calls on the landline route to your cell phone.

    For a long time I ran this way, with an asterisk-friendly third party voip provider for long distance support. I set asterisk up to route local calls and 800 calls out the landline (Which was usually clearer and had less echo) and send all others to my voip provider. I also set it up so that inbound calls from priority people were routed to my cell phone number if my cell phone sip device was not registered on the local wlan. This just took the call from the land line and dialed my cell phone number through voip. That way no one ever got to know my actual cell phone number.

    If you have a static IP on the open internet, you can establish a sip connection to asterisk from anywhere you have a wireless network connection. YMMV, and that's a lot of crap to expose to the internet.

    You avoid an awful lot of fuss if you can just make a data to data sip call, cutting the PSTN out of the loop completely. Most people aren't set up for this, but if you have just two or three people you talk to on a regular basis and they're willing to set up the software, that's all you have to do right there.

  • and a SIP account with CallCentric.com

    They provide SIP service, starting at per use only (about $3 if you dont use it) and up to full unlimited international. My old cellphone is now a sip line fwd'd to my work cell phone. That way if/when I have to change jobs, I still have my old # and can at least use it on my computers via sip clients.

    With a wifi sip phone, you can input your SIP account info and anywhere you have internets via WiFi, you have fone. If you want, you could get a mifi + usb data card t

    • I can vouch first hand you can do it, as well as the parents sip provider mentioned is a fine choice as I also use callcentric, and its a fair price imho. you can even call port your number to them (ATT however..... will Drag... Their....Feet... then call port you on a Friday after business hours).....

      I have a bit different setup from the parent--mine utilizes a PAYG number when i have no wifi access. If i am not logged into callcentric, they I can make a rule to auto-forward to my PAYG number.

      Get a sip ca

      • by darjen (879890)

        I did the same thing with Gizmo5 and an e71 about a year and a half ago. Call quality was so bad on 3g that voip was often unusable. I also had pre-paid minutes for backup though. Now I just suck it up with a 3G data plan on my Droid for $30 plus family plan voice for an extra $10. I had high hopes for voip at the time, but now I have to admit that it's more convenient to just pay a few bucks extra.

  • yeah. do it. but do your homework on which you can configure for wifi sip, skype and such.

    though, just leaving a sim in so that other people can call _you_ doesn't hurt that much. stupid operators in usa just seem to be in the habit of racking up minutes for receiving calls. that's no good, cellphone popularity goes way up if you don't need to count minutes when answering..

  • My setup was any Symbian phone with Fring and VoIPCheap with 3 UK.

    This is just because phones like the n95, n80, e71, e55 are cheap. The network can be data only if you want by using a dongle sim but little point in that

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