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The Pitch and Product

Vonage Wi-Fi Handset

Vonage Wi-Fi Handset
Summary OEM'd UTStarcom F1000 locked to Vonage service.
Update None
Pros • A one-stop portable VoIP solution
Cons • Difficult to set up for encrypted APs
• Menu system is somewhat counter-intuitive

So you have a Wi-Fi network and want to quickly get on the VoIP bandwagon without having to rework your network? Or want a VoIP phone that can travel, without having to take apart your own network just to bring your phone with you?

Vonage has a great idea, but as yet poorly realized with its Wi-Fi handset. It looks like an ordinary cell phone but it has the ability to glom on to your Wi-Fi signal so you can use it wherever you can find an open access point.

The handset is actually a UTStarcom F1000 phone (Figure 1) that weighs about four ounces and is about the size of a largish cell phone.

Vonage Wi-Fi Phone

Figure 1: Vonage Wi-Fi Phone
(click image to enlarge)

Figures 2 and 3 show views of the back and front of the phone's circuit board. They're pretty fuzzy, but if you look closely, you can see part of the Agere logo under the radio module labels to the left of Figure 2. The pictures don't have enough resolution to determine the processor used.

Board rear view

Figure 2: Board rear view
(click image to enlarge)

Board front view

Figure 3: Board front view
(click image to enlarge)

Vonage isn't the first to offer such a device, which go under the moniker of WiSIP or VoWLAN phones. Zyxel offers its Prestige 2000W model [reviewed here] and Siemens has recently introduced its Gigaset SL75.

Unfortunately, the product, which is still in beta, has its quirks. Battery life is abysmal, configuring the phone will give you fits, and if your AP has any security features enabled you will have trouble getting connected.

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