Skype WLAN phone in July

by Volker Weber


We talked about the Netgear Skype phone before. Now Skype is listing it as available in July:

Coming July 2006... NETGEAR’s Skype WiFi Phone is the world’s first wireless Internet phone that can make free calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world, anytime you have WiFi access, without a PC.

Read the fine print in the picture above: 210 € inkl. MWSt or ¢ 140 VAT incl., depending on your shop. It also says Available in USA 250$. If you look into the US Shop however, it says $300 (minus 1 ct).

In any case, it slipped to the third quarter. Can't wait to test one.


Asterisk == Open, use any phone or software that is also open, open source.

Skype == eBay == PayPal == Closed, no SIP, No IAX2, no control over routing.

I still use skype for chat and occasionally voice, but wouldn't spend money on it.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-05-23

@Volker: Would be interesting to know if it would work in secured WLANs as well. Also: might there be a SIP option?

@Andrew: It's gravity. If all my usual contacts are on Skype?

:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2006-05-23

How about the new AVM "FRITZ! Mini" WLAN phone (Web-Link) presented on the CeBIT this year? It's probably coming out this fall, but has a lot more features like hybrid DECT/WLAN phone, mp3 streaming and RSS-Feeds - and - last but not least its' price tag should be under € 100 as stated by AVM. Well I think I will definately wait for this one...


Eric Bredtmann, 2006-05-23

This thing is build by netgear?

Who is leader in Wifi phones?

I wonder if it supports radius by FON

It is only getting exciting if these phones can roam.

DECT phones cost less than 30 Euro and just work ;)

Pierre Kerchner, 2006-05-23

I find it absoluteley amazing how everybody tries to talk me out of this thing. ;-) Lets start at the top.

Andrew, I don't care that eBay is closed. It helps me sell stuff I don't need anymore. Likewise, Skype just works. From everywhere. Unlike SIP, which is broken by the simplest of firewalls.

Eric, why would I want an MP3 streaming, RSS-capable thingamagic that only works in my home, where I have a plethora of MP3 streaming devices, RSS-feeds out of the wazoo, yes, and DECT phone as well as others?

And Pierre, why does it have to support "radius by FON"? And why do I need to know who the leader in wi-fi phones is?

Volker Weber, 2006-05-23

@Vowe - Doesn't change the following:

1. Skype refuses to allow a SIP or IAX2 interconnection, or to publish an interface. The only two ways people have gotten it to work are by using homemade cables to cross the i/o ports on their sound card and actually use skype, or with a hardware device that looks like a phone to skype. Each can handle a single call at a time only.

2. True, SIP is broken with firewalls. IAX is not, and works in almost the same way. It is open, published, and there are libraries available. I know, I'm using it daily in custom software I've built for my SecondSignal venture.

3. There are already WIFI SIP phones similar to the one you describe for Skype. Uniden has one of the first from a well known company. I think SNOME has one also.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-05-23

Andrew, not a problem.

Ad 1: I don't need SIP or IAX2 interconnections. I don't want to run an Asterix server either.

Ad 2: Sounds nice, but does not solve my "problem".

Ad 3: As described above Wi-fi SIP phones won't work, since they are tackled by the first firewall. Skype never is. It does not even need DNS to work.

I want to sit down at home, or in the office, or in the Dolphin lobby and see the presence of my buddies. I want to call them for free on Skype, or I want to place a call to a POTS line for a few cents. For everything else I have a mobile phone and email.

Volker Weber, 2006-05-23

In the Dolphin lobby during LotuSphere you would have been able to use a SIP phone for just doing that. There have been people doing it with ePhone, which is SIP based. After Skype has eaten up some of my money without delivering the promised services, I am just banning anything, that has to do with Skype and will involve costs, and am shifting away from Skype as much as possible.

Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-05-23

I think the market will decide its success. The link with Netgear will undoubtably mean a change to the netgear router OS to support the phone (I wonder if they will allow routers from other manufacturers to support the phone?). The other question is over the cost. In the UK Vonage are offering a solution which allows you to plug a phone transmitter into your existing router at a cost of ¢7.99 per month. This is much more paletable for most users than the circa ¢150 figure for the Netgear phone. It depends whether Skype extend their free in-country calls to the european markets as to whether this phone will be a success. Also in the UK BT have a "fusion" solution which is a mobile which works over WiFi in your home and jumps onto the mobile data network when away from your WiFi - that sounds great but the call costs are not as cheap over WiFi or on the mobile network as they need to be.

Stu Downes, 2006-05-24

It is safe to assume that this phone will work with any Wi-Fi access point. It is a full Skype client and connects directly to the Skype infrastructure, via any router sitting inbetween. And there is no computer or "base station" inbetween. They only thing it needs is access to a WLAN which routes somehow to the internet.

Volker Weber, 2006-05-24

I´m thinking about the Skype phone for a while and think it adresses two main issues around free VoIP calls, at least for me:

1. doing Skype calls without need for PC/Laptop running in parallel (for me, especially when on travel with WLAN access in hotels, offices, airports)

2. having a good WAF, so no need to train my wife in handling Skype on a PC to call me when she sees that I´m available (yes, works both ways ;-))

With a reasonable uptime and a improved price-tag worth to consider...

Armin Auth, 2006-05-26

How about a mobile phone running windows mobile 5? would that not run Skype? Vodafone for instance has the V1240 rolling out, which supports WLAN (its a HTC of course) and would eliminate the use of getting another carry around talkbrick, as it would replace your existing mobile. Its currently priced at 199€ here in Ireland with a normal contract (yes, i know, thats not a like with like comparrison), which makes it the better option for me, as I am looking to upgrade the phone I have anyhow, incl. a renewed contract.

All of that of course hinging on the question, does Skype run on Windows Mobile 5?

Mike Voss, 2006-07-13

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