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Using VOIP over EVDO - Testing Vonage over EV-DO

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Monday, 21 March 2005
Now that we demonstrated that iChat 2 way video works over EVDO (and tested GPS and WebCam too), now we wanted to test VOIP over EVDO. This article will explain how we did and you can listen to the results.


VOIP or Voice Over IP, allows you to make voice telephone calls to any landline or cellphone in the world. Instead of using your regular landline, your phone uses your internet connection. This requires a broadband connection. Since, EVDO is a wireless broadband connection, we decided to see if it would work. This site will explain all the things you can do with VOIP over EVDO.

The first question, does it work?

YES!

It does work in EVDO coverage, it does NOT work in 1xRTT coverage areas, there just isn't enough bandwidth in 1xRTT. We tried using the bandwidth save (see below), but the quality was poor. Since, EVDO and 1xRTT both share the same upload channel, the speed for uploading is the same when using either 1xRTT or EVDO. So, we plan on doing some additional tests again over 1xRTT.

For our testing, we used Vonage VOIP with the following equipment:

  • Compaq Presario
  • LinkSys RT31P2 VOIP router (included with VOIP server)
  • Crossover Ethernet cable (need this if not using a router)
  • Old fashion dialtone phone
  • Radio Shack power Inverter, power for the router in the car
  • EVDO Antenna (External Booster Antenna)
  • EVDO TurboCharged PC 5220

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I got some really strange looks as I held this old fashion POTs line to my ear while parked in a parking lot. People walking by probably thought I was on the strangest cell phone ever. After making a 15 minute call, I was able to see the bandwidth that the call used:

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Hear Sample VOIP Call over EVDO (WAV 662k)

or

Download a smaller 3GP version of the same sound file (QuickTime 3GP 54k)

So, it works over EVDO without a problem. Next we wanted to get it to work over 1xRTT. Keep in mind, that 1xRTT does not have enough bandwidth to handle this, so we configured our VOIP to use as little as possible in bandwidth. As you will hear below, the quality is not very good.

Hear Sample VOIP call over 1xRTT (Wave 388K)

Thanks to MacMiniColo.net for hosting these files


Keep in mind, that most people will not want to haul their laptop, VOIP Router, and old fashion cell phone in their car to make phone calls, it really isn't that economical. The important point, is that VOIP works and works well. The other way to accomplish VOIP over EVDO, is to use Vonage's Softphone or Skype, which means, you use your computer's microphone and speakers to call a landline (no need for the router, cable, old fashion phone).

When using VOIP, you may need to adjust the bandwidth saver option. The bandwidth save allows you to configure how much bandwidth the VOIP call requires. Normally, when on broadband wired, leaving this on the highest quality is best, however, over VOIP, lowering this, will use less bandwidth and that may be important for your VOIP over EVDO calls.

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In summary, it works! I will be interesting to see how cell phone companies handle this technology - especially as cell phones come standard with EVDO. Why? When placing VOIP calls over EVDO, the cell phone companies do not charge you against your plan or minutes - so it is a way to make unlimited voice calls. I don't think they will like that too much.

EVDO Rev A will bring additional bandwidth and be optimized for handling VOIP.

Although all this is possible, please see Verizon's Terms of Service for more information.

Discuss this topic on EVDO Forums.

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Plug... We have been using VOIP since January 2004 and couldn't be happier. It saves us a ton of money and the features we get are just plain incredible. If you want to see all the cool things you can do with VOIP, click here VOIP. At the end of the form, enter your email address and we will send you an email that will get you free VOIP equipment along with your 2nd month free (we also get 1 free month of service).


Last Updated ( Monday, 25 September 2006 )
 
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