So, in an effort to cut down on my monthly expenses, I discovered that my local and long distance telephone service at a minimum costs me ~$150/mo for my four phone lines, before any per-minute usage charges. Now, since I also have a cell phone (that costs me ~$100/mo), I don’t use my landlines much any more, so this is a great target for savings. But, how?
I’d tried various IP telephony product attempts, several years ago, and wasn’t impressed, so I assumed that all the recent VoIP hype was just some new perfume on top of an old stink. Hoping that this wasn’t just some marketing ploy to turn old crap into new sexy, and realizing that it’s probably been at least three years since I last evaluated IP telephony and a lot must have changed since then, as well as a real need to save some money, I decided to give it a try. Especially since today’s VoIP offerings come in pre-paid, no contract terms, it really lowers the risk factor down to zero. When I’ve got things set up the way I like, I’ll write another blog entry about it, but this entry has a particular purpose, which is …
Help me find the perfect VoIP headset (for my own requirements)!
So, what am I looking for? I want a monaural (not stereo), over-the-ear or on-the-ear headset that is ultra-light, with a voice tube or noise-canceling microphone, with either two 3.5mm jacks to connect to a computer’s headphone and microphone jacks or one 2.5mm jack to connect to a cell phone’s headset jack. If it has two 3.5mm jacks, I’ll need a small adapter that joins to one 2.5mm jack so I can interchange the headset with the cell phone, or if the headset has one 2.5mm jack, I’ll need a splitter that has two 3.5mm jacks so I can interchange the headset with my computers. Bonus if all of these accessories can be had cheaply — say, $30-$40 per set.
The closest I’ve come to finding anything that’s suitable would be either the Plantronics Mirage H41 headset (~$80) or, the Plantronics Mirage H41N noise-canceling headset (~$95). I’d need to use these Plantronics headsets that have some goofy looking connector, I’d need to either get a Plantronics 6in. 2.5mm quick disconnect cord (~$10) and the Plantronics Computer Sound Card Cable (~$30) which similar to the 2.5mm quick disconnect cord except it terminates in two 3.5mm jacks.
So, without searching hard for the Absolute Lowest Price Anywhere!™, it looks like one “set” (headset, jacks) will run between $120-$145, well above the target of $30-$40. To be honest, I almost don’t mind paying the premium if the headset really is worth it. Anyone who has one of these headsets, please leave a comment or email me with your feedback. Please be specific as to what product you’re referring to — include model name and number if possible — thanks!
someone told me to google myself and i found myself on your website looking for people from midland. i talk to some. let me know what you need and what you are up to.
kim lewicki (marrano)
VoIP-wise, I’ll tell ‘ya. I’ve been using Vonage for about 2 years now. Even have my folks using it. The clarity + QOS are no less than that of my old Verizon hard-line, and I’m paying n-bull about 70% less. Unlimited US calling, better international rates, all the standard telephony features (3-way, caller ID, call waiting, forwarding, call hunt, etc.) but great Unified Messaging – email notifications of voice mails w/ or w/out the actual .wav as a file attachment. Access voice mail via telephone or web. Real-Time accounting, call logs, etc.
Bandwidth-wise, they have a “bandwidth-saver” mode, but I’ve never used it. At full-throttle, I’ve held uninterrupted two-way conversations while doing 45 separate file d/l’s @ 4.5+ Mbps over my Comcast HSI. The only time I’ve ever had a problem was running Kazaa full-throttle, resulting in the other party having some trouble hearing me due to upstream congestion (Comcast HSI is ~4Mbps down/256k upstream.)
They also offer soft phones, but since I’m not always at a PC, I wanted a reliable, standards-based, hardware, RJ-11 pluggable device with a solid company and not some fly-by-night VoIP with no bandwidth, POPs or SLA (remember, I used to do this wholesale for a living.) I’ve got my Cisco ATA-18x plugged into my fax and a 2-line Panasonic FSSS cordless basestation (just like Rishard’s setup, and my parents,) and I’ve got 3+ wireless handsets that are heatset-capable w/ built-in speakerphones.
And now with LNP, virtual #’s in Canada, UK, Me-hi-co, etc, virtual Toll-Free #’s, FAX LINE (no QoS issues even at 14.4k fax,) etc. etc. etc.
I used to keep my Verizon land-line ($20./month)simply for incoming + emergency outgoing (911, power outtage, etc.) calls. But with my CableModem, LinkSys router, Cisco ATA + Cordless phone asestation hooked up to a 2500KVA UPS – my Inet + phone has NEVER gone down, even with a flooded apartment AND ALL POWER TO MY BLDG OUT (courtesy of stupid car, wet ground, curved road + ground-built transformer.) All was up + working (inet was up due to line power from Comcast.)
In fact, while landline + eventually cell service went down during the Big Eastcoast Blackout 2 years ago, my Vonage was up as well.
Lastly, now that Vonage has made E-9-1-1 arangements with Verizon + other LECs nationwide, 911 is not an issue even if you travel with your Vonage box or soft-phone.
I haven’t used Skype yet (I have no life, time nor Techie contacts to test it out with in recent months,) and I like theire encrypted VoIP capabilities. But irregardless of CALEA legislation (Skype is Euro-based,) to me it’s still a play-thing or 2nd-ary tool. Not a mature residential/business voice telephony product.
As for the competition (Verizon, AT&T + all the big boys trying to get into the game,) Vonage is 100% Cisco/SIP/VoIP designed from the ground up – no playing catch-up to new technology over old wires. They’re Customer Service is exponentially better than dealing with any of the bigger scumbags, and, best of all, I LOVE GIVING MY MONEY TO ANYBODY *EXCEPT* VERIZON, COMCAST, or SPRINT !!!
To me it’s a wonderful thing. I love it. No issues. Great service.
“But that’s just my opinion.” – Dennis Miller
UPDATE: Recently found this headset, the Sony DR-EX150UP Mobile & PC Headset for $29 on Amazon.com. The product description at Sony’s site says it comes with a 2.5mm jack (for mobile phones) and a 3.5mm jack (for PCs), but it says “(mic/headphone)” — in order to correctly work with PCs, you need two 3.5mm jacks, one for the mic input, and one for the headphone output.
Does anyone have this headset? Can you confirm what it actually comes with, and whether it actually works or not for both PC and mobile phone use?