Well, after receiving the Internet Phone Wizard (sometimes referred to as VoSKY, but made by Actiontec), I managed to find some time today to hook it up. Amazingly simple!
The whole adapter is a small box with two phone line hookups and one USB connector. The USB connector goes to the computer (USB1.1 or USB2.0), one phone hookup goes to your analog phone handset, and optionally one phone hookup goes to your phone line. With this last line hooked up, you can make both Skype and regular calls, and your handset will ring when someone calls your regular phone number.
I decided to first install it on my regular PC, which has a 1.4GHz AMD and plenty of memory.
The installation steps for the Internet Phone Wizard are
- Install Skype
- Add a contact
- Assign a speed-dial number for your contacts
- Connect your phone to the Internet Phone Wizard’s phone port
- Connect the USB port on the Internet Phone Wizard to your computer
- Insert the installation CD into your computer when Windows XP detects the device
- Choose Install software automatically, and ignore the warning that the software hasn’t passed Windows Logo testing.
- Register the software
- Allow the Internet Phone Wizard to use Skype.
… Oh, I forgot to mention this only works with Windows XP or Windows 2000…? Sorry, Mac and Linux users…
All in all, the installation took a little under 10 minutes, mainly because I had to hunt for a handset. A few test calls later, I’m thoroughly impressed with the sound quality: indistinguishable from a regular phone call.
Next up was a lowly Dell with a 450MHz P4. Same painless installation, but I was a little worried about the processor in there. It turns out I worried for no reason (something that has happened to me before): the call quality on the Dell was identical to the AMD!
Combined with the free SkypeOut in the US and Canada, this is a winner. The unit cost me a little over $50 including shipping, and seems to work perfectly.
The only drawback is that apparently I need to add SkypeOut contacts to my dial list, and assign a speed dial number. The ##00-1-xxx-xxx-xxxx sequence described in the manual doesn’t seem to work… A small price to pay for cheap calls!