Not so long ago we were lamenting the fact that few ADSL router manufacturers were offering solutions that included support for VoIP (Voice over IP) but that looks set to change. ZyXEL now has a range of VoIP enabled routers with the Prestige 2602HW a good example and VoIP service provider Pipemedia aims to deliver cheap phone calls with a complete bundle designed to be up and running in minutes.
The PipeCall ADSL Integrated Router boxed solution brings together a Billion BiPAC 7402VGP router and a deal with Pipemedia that offers one month of free use of its service. Note that although the call set up charge of £14.99 is waived, you still have to sign up for a minimum of three months. PipeCall offers a range of call plans and all look particularly good value. The Home UK Plan, for example, costs £5.99 per month, includes free voicemail and allows unlimited free calls to UK landlines. Each call can last up to 60 minutes after which it will be charged at 2p per extra minute. Calls to other VoIP phones that use the PipeCall service also cost nothing.
The Billion router brings together a decent specification which includes a three-port Fast Ethernet switch, an integral ADSL2/2+ modem and an 802.11b/g wireless access point. There’s much more as you get a pair of phone ports for VoIP operations and this particular model also has a lifeline feature which comprises a PSTN port so you can still make standard phone calls if you lose Internet access.
Installation is a slick process as you connect all your hardware and simply load the supplied CD-ROM. This automatically fires up a routine that searches for the router and then asks for your ISP account name and password. Armed with these details it proceeds to configure the router for Internet access and checks that all is well. Without further ado it moves on to a Phone Wizard which asks if you want to sign up for a new PipeCall account using the supplied voucher or use an existing one. As we already had a PipeCall account we chose the latter. You then pick from a choice of routers, enter your SIP account details and once verified you highlight the displayed phone number to be associated with the account. A quick analysis routine determines the best VoIP settings for the router and you can sit back while a configuration wizard fires up to complete the process.