Review: Soyo G1681 VoIP ATA

Perhaps I’m missing something incredibly subtle, but it would appear that Soyo’s G1681 VoIP ATA is a solution to a problem you’ve already solved – simply by having the prerequisites it needs to operate.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 3, 2006

2 Min Read

Disconcerting as it sounds, in most cases you’ll only need to tell the ATA how to acquire its IP address on your network. Typically, that will be through DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), which allows your router to assign an address to it, avoiding the possible network conflicts from a static IP address. You can also set it up for PPPOE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet) if you’re using a DSL provider that needs it.

There are also some audio settings you can use to adjust the audio compression algorithm, a selection for using a dial plan or not (should you need a dialing prefix), and even a call forwarding option if your VoIP provider permits call forwarding. There are more options and, all in all, they’re impressively comprehensive not to mention somewhat daunting as Soyo’s manual seems to expect you to already know what the acronyms all mean and how they affect life on the line.

Does it work? Yes, but it couldn’t not work unless it was broken. Effectively, Soyo’s ATA is just a little box that connects your phone to either the Internet or to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). To do that, however, you need a PSTN account and that begs the question of why you need Soyo’s ATA.

If you’re paying for a telephone plan from your local phone company -- and you are if you’re going to use Soyo’s ATA -- why not just directly connect a phone to it in case you need to make an emergency call (or a long distance call if your VoIP provider only permits local calls) and use your separate VoIP connection as you will? Aside from the resulting simplicity of this alternative setup, the obvious benefit is that the audio quality of even an inexpensive headset, assuming you have a reasonable Internet connection, will be far better than that from any telephone handset.

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