All this is pretty easy and works quite well, but everything isn’t perfect. I came across a few issues that I didn’t seem to be able to figure out. First of all, if you don’t have your phone socket close to your PC, you might have to run two extensions from your phone socket to your computer. The reason for this is because my ADSL router would not connect to the Internet if I passed the phone signal through the Internet Phone Wizard before plugging it in to the ADSL router.
Neither would my cordless Philips DECT phone ring when I had an incoming Skype call, but this could have been because it wasn’t plugged in to my landline at the time. The audio quality was far better than I expected, although using a normal headset connected to my PC produced even better sound. I have to admit that I’m a Skype virgin which might sound strange for a technology journalist, but I have really cheap international call rates on my normal land line. I therefore haven’t paid too much attention to Skype until now.
There is one other problem with the Internet Phone Wizard and that is the fact that you need to have your PC switched on with Skype running at all times to be able to use it. But then I guess if you’re already a Skype user, you’re accustomed to having your PC on whenever you’re chatting. There is of course the possibility to set up a second PC and use it as a Skype gateway, but this does add a lot of additional cost.
Actiontec has put together an interesting product with the Internet Phone Wizard - it’s not perfect - but it is a step in the right direction. The future will tell if this is the way to go, but Skype has acquired an enormous following in a very short time and even my parents are using it now. I think the Internet Phone Wizard would make it a lot more accessible for users like them that aren’t too confident when it comes to using new computer software. As once set up they could just pick up their phone and with a few key presses call their Skype contacts.
However, I do think that this box of tricks is quite expensive at £39.95. If Actiontec knocked off a tenner and give it a built in speaker so it rings at the same time as your telephone, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. As it stands, the Internet Phone Wizard is a decent enough product, but you could just as well use a Bluetooth headset, which would provide the same mobility as a cordless phone.
The Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard is an interesting product that makes it easy to use the Skype VoIP service. For less computer savvy users this product has merit, as long as they know someone that can set it up for them.