Gearhead Extra: hybrid telephony products

The following notes apply to the Gearhead column "Hybrid telephony products."

1. As enthusiastic as we are about the Actiontec VCC, the company’s Web site and documentation are subpar. The Web site mixes content in different languages, content on the site is missing, and the VCC documentation is sloppy (it refers to the VCC as the "IPW," the name of the older product, in several places).

2. As a quick and dirty way to integrate one or two Skype lines with a PBX, the VCC could be used on a POTS line. The downside of this would be the requirement of having a PC permanently up to run the VCC software. Setting up the PBX to handle the specifics of the VCC, such as toggling between the POTS line and the Skype line, could be interesting.

3. Centrepoint Technologies provides a good Internet-service speed test that reports on the capabilities of your connection when it comes to handling multiple simultaneous VoIP calls.

4. The TalkSwitch 284vs is tricky to use with softphones, which are software-only SIP phone implementations. We tried a number of these, but although all of the softphones could register with the TalkSwitch they couldn’t make or take calls for reasons we are still researching.

5. The softphones we used for testing were Counterpath’s X-Lite, the 3CX Phone and NCH Swiftsound Express Talk.

6. Although we only had a single unit and therefore couldn’t test the ability, you should be able to directly connect TalkSwitch PBXs together to create a private phone network over the Internet.

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