This is the introductory article, from a series of five, in which I will write about the main VoIP providers that operate in my country and I have used or I’m currently using.
This will be of much help to those of you who want a free RO number for various reasons (you have left the country, you need a landline number that resembles a pre-pay SIM, etc.)
I will start with some details about the VoIP technology. First of all how is it possible to even get a landline Romanian number without staying in the same country? Well the answer is simple: Internet! The “telephone” – the server that holds your telephone number can be accessed for free* via the Internet thus reducing the install costs of a new line almost to 0.
Look for example at Skype: you can rent a landline number in any country and will last as long as you are paying for it! Wait a minute… With Skype I’m paying, but with these guys I’m not? How’s that possible? Skype makes you pay, because the company has rented these lines from subsidiaries and in more then just our country, so they need a way to cover the bills. But if the company resides in the same country, the access to the numbers is easier, because one can build his own server infrastructure and rent at a minimum price from the local telephone company the phone numbers. Another advantage of this is that usually the providers offer free calls within their network, so you can also make phone calls for free to your family and friends if they reside on the same provider.
Ok, I think we cleared that out. As in the next articles I will treat also some technical aspects of the configuration of each of these VoIP providers, aside from the prices that they have, I will start by defining these terms:
SIP – The Session Initiation Protocol is a widely used protocol for voice and video calls over the IP, as Wikipedia defines it (ENG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_Initiation_Protocol, RO: http://www.3cx.ro/voip-sip/sip-phones.php)
STUN service / server – acronym for Session Traversal Utilities for NAT – basically it’s a server that recognizes your public IP even if you are behind a NAT thus allowing VoIP application to communicate with their server. Most VoIP providers have a STUN server and you will need to configure that on your device (ENG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_Traversal_Utilities_for_NAT , RO: http://www.3cx.ro/voip-sip/stun-server.php )
But at the end of the fair, one still needs to find out the cost of installing and configurating such a solution in his home. This depends of which path you choose:
- The hardware path that does not require a running PC in order to receive or make phone calls – and here the prices vary from 50 E to 200E.
- The software path (softphones) that is FREE, but requires a running PC / Smartphone / PDA. If you shutdown the host PC / Smartphone / PDA, you will receive all the calls to your mailbox (if the provider has one). Some freewares include: X-Lite, 3CX Phone, etc. Also some providers also give you the software preconfigured for their network.
In the end, the choice is yours! I personally own a Siemens C470IP which I’m very satisfied of, but I’m also using the soft phones for tests or when I’m going away from my home.
The providers that I will describe in the next articles are:
That’s all for today,
*Internet access costs via your local provider are not included here!
** Picture linked from http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Can-Phone/
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