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VoIP

Mark Edwards
23-07-2006

I finally took the plunge and started using VoIP.



I have resisted the urge to use VoIP up until recently because, from what I had heard, the call quality was not as good as for a standard line. However, recently, I was talking to clients in Melbourne who were considering switching their whole office to VoIP.



I took a look at the provider they were going to use www.engin.com.au



They made a pretty convincing case for the quality of their product and the potential savings on international and interstate calls were substantial. Calls within Australia are 10c untimed and international call rates start at 3.5c per minute. The full details can be found at www.engin.com.au/public/callrates.htm



I settled on their basic $9.95 per month plan www.engin.com.au/public/plansfeatures.htm.



I chose to use the Voice Box Series 2 www.engin.com.au/public/tVoicebox2.asp which had the handy feature of working through your existing telephone handset whilst still allowing you to use your Telstra line if you wanted to for certain types of calls. This was quite important as I currently get a much cheaper rate on calls to mobiles through Telstra than Engin was offering.



The product was delivered on time, the setup was simple and the support staff were very friendly and helpful. Within a few hours of receiving the product my account was connected and I was able to make VoIP calls.



So how did it rate? My assessment after more than a month is that it is OK but not great.

I understand now why Telstra have not released a VoIP retail service. The technology just is not there yet.



My Internet connection is via Telstra Cable Extreme which offers a 17Mbps download and 256kbps upload which is 4 times the recommended minimum for Engin.



Call quality is not as good as a Telstra line even with my high speed cable plan. Calls sometimes drop out and a couple of times I called and could hear the person I called but they could not hear me. This is OK for calling friends and family and perhaps for friendly clients but I no longer use it for local calls even though they are cheaper.



The way I run it now is to leave it unplugged unless I am making a distance or international call.



I am certainly saving money but I won't be throwing away my landline just yet.

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