brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

9Oct/050

Free World Dialup

I spent some time this weekend playing around with Free World Dialup. What is that?

FWD allows you to make free phone calls over any broadband connection using devices that follow current accepted Internet Standards. This can be a “plain old telephone” with an IP adapter, an IP based phone or any number of free soft-phones (software for your PC or PDA like Pulver Communicator). However, FWD is more than just free phone calls. FWD is a complete IP communications network.

I mucked around with this a bit in the past when I was experimenting with Asterisk. But let's face it, using a laptop to do phone calls was just... well... I'd rather use a real phone. To do that, I needed some sort of SIP adapter. Interestingly enough Linksys is making zillions of these, specifically the PAP2, which are generally sold locked to Vonage, one of the cheaper and best known VOIP providers. They are cheap (Staples had them for $50 with a $50 rebate, and the one I got from Best Buy was $35 with a $10 rebate), so it's kind of a pity they are locked.

Well. You can get around that. It's not a complete nobrainer, so I don't recommend this process unless you are fairly comfortable with screwing with things, but I did manage to get it to work. Once you've got it unlocked, you can use Sipura's instructions on using their adapters with FWD to retarget it (it turns out that the PAP2 is identical to an Sipura 2000, except for minor software differences).

So now I've got an IP phone. It doesn't really interface with the PSTN, but it's a cute gadget. I will probably use it to play around with Asterisk. Should be fun.

Besides, it's got blue LEDs in it.

Anyone whose using Free World Dialup can call me at #709654 and leave me a voice mail.