So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
TheBuzz Corp BuzzBox
An innovative way to tap into cheaper phone calls
- Simple to set up, no Internet connection required, no fixed contract required, keeps your regular telephone number, cheaper than landline calls
- Prices not as competitive as regular VoIP offerings, volume could be improved
If you have a broadband Internet connection at home, then the BuzzBox won't be cheaper than a VoIP service. For those without broadband it may be worthy of a look.
Price$ 34.95 (AUD)
A device that enables users to make VoIP calls without any need for an Internet connection, the BuzzBox is an innovative way to get cheaper phone calls. In addition to being easy to set up, the BuzzBox allows you to keep your current telephone number.
Basically a small black box that connects to your telephone and wall-socket, the BuzzBox requires connection to AC power, using the supplied adapter. Installing it is as simple as can be &8212; simply plug your phone into the BuzzBox and connect the box to your wall socket and that's it. A green status light shows when the unit is powered on and connected, meaning you are ready to make phone calls.
The BuzzBox works by communicating with an Internet server (dubbed the BuzzBridge) each time a user makes a call. The server then makes the VoIP call in the background, meaning there is no need for an Internet connection at home to use the service. The BuzzBox is definitely appealing for those without access to broadband Internet in their home — in particular, those in rural areas.
During testing, the BuzzBox worked adequately, though we did note that volume isn't as loud as a regular public switched telephone network (PTSN) call. BuzzCorp states that moving the BuzzBox away from a cordless phone base may increase volume; this was the case for us. Quality of service (QoS) obviously isn't as good as a PSTN call, but we didn't experience too many issues when testing the service at home.
When dialling out, the BuzzBox acts like a regular landline phone, but it can take up to five seconds longer to establish the call. During this time, users receive a message saying "you are being buzzed through", before the call is dialled.
Perhaps one of the BuzzBox's best features is that users aren't required to sign a long-term contract to connect. You simply pay for the actual box and connect to either a Super or Ultimate plans, which can be cancelled at any time for no extra cost.
The downside is that the Buzz service isn't as cheap as most dedicated VoIP plans, though we really think that BuzzCorp is competing with regular telecommunications carriers like Optus and Telstra rather than VoIP carriers. Although there is no monthly service fee, most STD and international calls carry a flag fall; the rate of 17.5 cents for a local call isn't a bargain in our opinion.
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