Wi-Fi phone offers IP calls via hotspots

Vonage has launched a Wi-Fi phone that subscribers to its voice over IP service can use to make phone calls using public wireless hotspots.

Vonage has launched a Wi-Fi phone that subscribers to its voice over IP service can use to make phone calls using public wireless hotspots.

The company already allows users to turn their laptops into phones by downloading a software client, but the appearance of the F1000 Wi-Fi phone will give users greater ease of use and more features.

The phone will facilitate three-way calling, caller ID and voice mail, and allow various ring options, including silent and vibrate modes and selectable ring tones.

The F1000 gives five hours of talk time and between 50 and 100 hours of standby time.

Costing about £50, the F1000 will allow users to make calls over 802.11-based public wireless networks, but not initially those which require users to pay for access, such as networks at airports, hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.

Vonage said that as free public access Wi-Fi networks across cities expand, phones such as the F1000 will become more common.

Such municipal wireless broadband networks are already being used in the US, and Cisco recently launched a range of outdoor Wi-Fi access points, wireless controllers and software for this market.

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