This week's How-To is a handy one for the folks out there who use the Vonage Voice Over IP (VOIP) service and happen to have a Pocket PC device with WiFi. We're going to show you how to turn just about any Pocket PC PDA device in to a real telephone with a working telephone number. At the end of this, we're also going to post our phone number so you can test it out (it might be a long distance call for you).
Ingredients for this How-To:
- Pocket PC with WiFi (we're using an iPAQ h6315 and h4100 Pocket PCs for testing)
- Vonage account with SoftPhone
Pocket PCs with WiFi
We recently started using the new HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC
Phone which sports WiFi, GSM/GPRS and Bluetooth. This triad of connectivity allows many forms of communication,
including voice, SMS, instant messaging, and IRC.
Late last week we spotted a post on MobileWhack about Vonage on Pocket PCs and shared it with a few of our Pocket PC-owning, Vonage-using friends, but they needed a little help getting it going so we decided we'd write a how to on turning a Pocket PC in to a telephone with a working phone number. If you travel a lot it's worth the $200 you'll pay on eBay for a WiFi-enabled Pocket PC and a $10 monthly Vonage account. After just a few weeks on the road and they should pay for themselves
What is Vonage?
Basically, Vonage allows you to use your broadband connection (DSL, Cable modem) to place calls from the corded or cordless phone you already have through a special free adaptar you receive when you sign up. Voicemail, call forwarding, call logs, caller ID, are all included. We've been using it for awhile, and we'll never use a "regular" phone line again.
You get a a real phone number in an area code of your choice, even if it's out of state, with plans starting as low as $30 a month for unlimited calling in the USA and Canada. This also means you could use your phone anywhere in the world if it was connected to the web (one of the reasons we like this). But for that, you'll need to add a feature to your account, a SoftPhone account.
What is a SoftPhone account?
A SoftPhone account is $10 extra per month and includes unlimited calling in the USA. This account allows you to use software on your PC/Mac/Linux computer to make phone calls just like you would at home, and you get an additional phone number (calls can be made to and from your PC) so you have full-functioning telephone at all times. Just like your other account you have Caller ID, Call Forwarding, and more.
If you have a Vonage account, just click "Features" in the top menu of your dashboard.
Now that we've got that going, it's time to put all the Voice over IP goodness to task on a Pocket PC.
For our tests we used iPAQ h6315 and h4100 Pocket PCs, both worked well—the Pocket PC which also doubles a real
phone, though of the two the h6315, of course, had better mic pickup as it was designed to be a phone.
SJphone is a VOIP softphone that allows you to speak with any Phone, PC, PDA, stand-alone and IP-phone with your Vonage account. You can download the installer or cab files here.
Once it is installed, we'll need to add your Vonage SoftPhone settings to the Pocket PC.
Setting up the Phone
Open the app by tapping Start > Programs SJPhone.
Tap Menu > Options > Tap the right arrow > Tap Profiles. Tap "New" to create a new profile. We named ours Vonage SoftPhone.
Initization settings (we left these default).
Tap the SIP Proxy tab. In Proxy Domain enter: 188.8.131.52. After the : which is the port, enter 5061. For User domain set it to: sphone.vopr.vonage.com
SIP is left default. Redirection and STUN are also left default.
When you click the OK button at the upper right, it will ask for your account and password. Your account is your Vonage SoftPhone phone number. The password is what you set it to on your SoftPhone account.
If you entered everything in correctly, you now have a working US phone, with a real phone number that can be used anywhere in the world with a net (WiFi) connection. In Japan? In Europe? Someone can call your USA number and it will ring right there on your Pocket PC.
Stepping back, and looking at the device we're using we can use GSM to make regular phone calls through our
provider, or we use our SoftPhone account any time we have Wifi and make unlimited calls. Depending where you live
there tends to be a lot of friendly WiFi spots.
We think as phones get WiFi this should be built in, of course this is a really complicated business thing to figure out, but it has a lot of consumer appeal.
Okay, if you didn't already notice here's our SoftPhone number.
Call us for some hot gadget action.