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:: VoIP Blaster Roundup ::

VoIP is dead, long live VoIP

To close out my coverage (see one & two) -- such as it is -- of Creative's VoIP Blaster, what follows is the last bit of info.

Creative's product page is still live, but no orders are possible, having depleted their stock just as news of the Blaster broke to the Slashdot crowd. Rumored here, InnoMedia has no plans to build or OEM the units again. All quite mysterious. At the moment, they prefer direct consumer sales of their PCI product. Blaster units are still available on Ebay.

Digium's Wildcard X100P might be similar to InnoMedia's PCI board, but it's principle aim is to take wall signal for virtual PBX use. And another intriguing alternative to the USB Blaster: Vipo USB VoIP Device.

Notes on use

The product has worked reliably for several months, I speak with fellow propeller heads around the country 5-10 hrs/week, saving roughly $170/mo.

The problems. Signaling is inconsistent re phones. DTMF works on some, but not others. Sending & receiving volume is quite different for each phone, requiring constant adjustment for listeners as separate callers are taken. As noted before, it's unfortunate audio is decoded on the hardware, as this prevents easy conferencing. Several times I've had to shutdown/disconnect/reconnect the physical device to eliminate insane behavior, but this could just as well be Fobbit's driver -- I can't debug easily on Windows.

Lost opportunity

Presumably, InnoMedia's InnoSphere network for PC-to-Phone calls (at rates discounted vs common long-distance carriers) failed to make money, where most of the users were using the product strictly for convenient PC-to-PC communications. Seemingly, no amount of interest from the community could make them see this alternate market: sell great, unadorned hardware while maintaining close ties to open source hackers.

I and others were jazzed to help the original, third-party driver/software author create the last word in VoIP communications, but our hearts went cold with news of discontinuation. A SourceForge site was set up in the aftermath, but miseried discussion has been the only work product.

Link | 26 July 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

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