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Appeared on: Monday, October 16, 2006
The ZyXEL P-2000W V2 VoIP WiFi Phone


1. Introduction

zyxel logoFounded in 1989 and set up in Taiwan, ZyXEL is now one of the leading providers of complete broadband access solutions for service providers, as well as business and home users.

As one of the early modem makers, ZyXEL has undergone many transformations in the fast-paced networking industry; and its mainstay products have also evolved from modems, ISDN TAs and routers to broadband access devices serving the needs of the individual, small business and corporate users, and even large-scale central offices. Today, ZyXEL is a company offering complete networking solutions ranging from DSL customer premise equipment, central office equipment, Internet security appliances, switches, WLAN equipment, network-attached storage and centralized network management systems.

Thanks to the combined force of 10 sales offices and 3 design centers worldwide, ZyXEL successfully passed NT$12.9 billion (US$391 million) in annual revenue in 2005. The company currently has over 2,300 employees, and distributors in 70 countries reaching over 150 regional markets. ZyXEL WiFi Phone

zyxel phone
The ZyXEL P-2000W V2 VoIP WiFi Phone

We have all seen the ads on TV or on the Web - VoIP phones are all the rage. Voice over Internet Protocol phones allow phone calls to anywhere from your computer and the pricing policy is aggressive and much cheaper than land lines or cell networks.

Enter the ZyXEL WiFi phone – it is sort of VoIP with a twist.

What if you didn’t need a cell phone? With WiFi just about everywhere – what if you had a WiFi phone that could call anywhere using any WiFi hotspot or connection? The idea sounds like a great one…. but in theory.

This is the possibility of handsets like the ZyXEL P-2000W. This phone is based on the SIP (version 2) open standard and should allow you to do just what I suggested in the previous paragraph.

The Technical Data is a little overwhelming – but here is the “official line” from the manufacturer:

Mobility and Availability
The call control protocol of the P-2000W is based on SIP v2 (Session Initiation Protocol version 2, RFC 3261) open standard, which is interoperable with major SIP-based call servers, IP-PBXs, and other standard SIP-based client devices. The P-2000W_v2 is compliant with the IEEE 802.11b standard and interoperates with any existing 802.11b or 802.11g wireless AP and gateway. It may be used as a cordless handset for residential users or for business users in an office environment. The small form factor of the handset is easy to transport and allows users to place VoIP phone calls in public 802.11-based environment.

High Voice Quality with Low Communication Costs
The P-2000W_v2 is capable of tagging features that support a service provider's QoS (Quality of Service) planning, such as ToS (Type of Service). It allows gateways or central side equipment to identify and prioritize voice and data traffic. By supporting G.711 and G.729 voice compression technology, the P-2000W_v2 effectively reduces bandwidth consumption caused by voice traffic.

Travel Charger Design for Mobile Users
The P-2000W_v2's travel charger design makes it easier for users to carry and use the phone in different site. The mobile phone style design also let user to have similar and better experience to use VoIP service.

Direct IP-to-IP Call and Ad-hoc Intercom Mode Support
By configuring a remote IP address in the built-in phone book, the P-2000W_v2 provides a direct IP-to-IP call feature when there is no intermediate SIP proxy server available in the network. The P-2000W_v2 an also establish an 802.11 ad-hoc network (computer-to-computer network without Access Point), which allows users to use the handsets as wireless intercoms.


2. Design and Setup

Specifications

Wireless Voice NAT Traversal Network Management Physical Specifications Hardware Specifications Operation Environment System Requirement

Design

The ZyXEL looks like an older generation cell phone. The phone measures 5.4 by 1.8 by 0.7 inches and weighs 3.8 ounces. It is comfortable to hold - but a little big to stash away. If your goal is to use a WiFi phone in your home - then the size really doesn’t matter that much.

The phone feels like it is quite sturdy - the construction is good and the feel of the buttons is satisfactory. The phone sports a monochrome screen which gives the user all the data needed. In today’s world of nice, colorful screens - it is a little amazing to me that ZyXEL chose to go with an old fashioned monochrome screen.

There are the traditional Green send and red end buttons, a modified D-pad for navigation and two sort of "soft keys" below the screen. One brings us the menu and the other lets you scroll through stored contacts.

Setup

Let’s just say that setup is incredibly complicated. The Instruction manual is very detailed about how you first turn the phone on, do a site survey, search for access points and then attempt to connect.

If that works - you are in business. If not, the procedure is very technical and frustrating and will most likely necessitate a call to technical support.

These paragraphs come from the ZyXEL web page and attempt to explain the benefits of this kind of setup and the options it allows the user. If you can make heads or tails out of what this means - then you are more technically savvy than I and will most likely not have any problem with setup issues.

The call control protocol of the P-2000W is based on SIP v2 (Session Initiation Protocol version 2, RFC 3261) open standard, which is interoperable with major SIP-based call servers, IP-PBXs, and other standard SIP-based client devices. The P-2000W_v2 is compliant with the IEEE 802.11b standard and interoperates with any existing 802.11b or 802.11g wireless AP and gateway. It may be used as a cordless handset for residential users or for business users in an office environment. The small form factor of the handset is easy to transport and allows users to place VoIP phone calls in public 802.11-based environment.

The P-2000W_v2 is capable of tagging features that support a service provider's QoS (Quality of Service) planning, such as ToS (Type of Service). It allows gateways or central side equipment to identify and prioritize voice and data traffic. By supporting G.711 and G.729 voice compression technology, the P-2000W_v2 effectively reduces bandwidth consumption caused by voice traffic.

application diagram

Ease of Use

Once the ZyXEL is set up, it was actually quite easy to use. A simple turning on of the phone and it obtained my IP address, connected to my router and I was ready to go.

Calling is as easy as dialing the number. The cool thing about this phone is that it works like an actual phone…. you know what I mean. It makes calls, receives calls and stores numbers like a typical home phone handset - but it is all done over a WiFi connection.

Call Quality

This was a mixed bag with the ZyXEL. Sometimes, I heard an echo on my end. Sometimes, people on the other end said I sounded “far away.” Other times, call quality was clear and loud.

I did have some issues with drop outs every so often. Instead of a complete disconnect - I found that my caller was still on the other end and I needed to repeat what I had said.

Options

When hitting the “menu” button, a list of sub menus (each with separate options) is displayed - these were:

I found than unless the user has trouble with the connection - it is best to stay away from most of the sub menus. Just let the thing do its job as a phone.

Battery Life

Along with the complicated set-up issues, this was the achilies heel of this phone. Battery life was a paltry two hours MAX - whether I was using the phone or not. This meant that for all practical purposes, the phone needed to be plugged in when not in use. This is not a big deal if you use it as a WiFi phone in your home - but if you are a mobile traveler trying to use this in HotSpots - I would imagine the short battery life would be a problem.


3. Conclusion

zyxel logoThe ZyXEL P-2000W is fascinating technology. This is a first generation, true WiFi VoIP phone. It has issues. It has set up issues, battery life issues and call quality issues. That being said, it is small enough to travel with you and it connects to wireless routers and the calls are cheap through many VoIP providers.

If you are an early adapter and want to hold the “future” of wireless communication - then maybe this is for you.

If you are not technologically savvy and want dependable call quality and good battery life - then you might need to wait for the next generation. zyxel phone

Pros:

Cons:

The ZyXEL P-2000W is available at: http://us.zyxel.com

Prices range from US$150 - US$199 at many On line merchants.



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