Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Internet voice hits a time warp...

I just made a bid to catch up with the rest of the world, and found myself travelling back in time. I made a VoIP call from a public hotspot - And found myself using an old-fashioned red telephone box, and a phone that resembles my old 1990s Nokia, in a manner resembling the 1980s Rabbit network, where customers could make phone calls hanging around on street corners.

I've got a Vonage Wi-Fi phone on test, which can make calls from my home Wi-Fi, or any other hotspot that doesn't require a web browser and password. The Cloud has a deal to let Vonage calls through without any registration, so I can use this phone - at least in theory - at any Cloud hotspot.

I'm at the Techworld office in Gray's Inn Road, so I search for local hotspots, and try The Puzzle pub first. No joy there - there's Wi-Fi, but it claims to be BT OpenZone. So I head for a BT payphone in Bedford Way, where the Cloud also promises service.

Sure enough, there's not just a payphone, but an old fashioned callbox. My phone detects an access point, and I make a call.

I'm still unsure though. There's no visual evidence that this phone box is actually providing the Wi-Fi (it's metal - shouldn't there be an antenna on the outside?). And, though the phone did detect a Cloud hotspot, it's hard to tell whether it connected to that or another one...


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10:30 AM  

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