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I have been dreaming of the perfect phone for some time now. Since just dreaming about it hasn't made it a reality, I thought I would post my dream in a more public place.
I'm tired of having to list several contact phone numbers. I'm tired of hearing my home phone ring and when I don't answer it, my cell phone rings and when I don't answer it, my office phone rings.
I use the Asterisk PBX at my office and, thanks to my vpn connection from my home to my office and a nice setup with Asterisk, I have an office extension in my home. Now I know that I could set Asterisk up to round robin or even simultaneously ring all three of my numbers. But I would still have a cell phone bill in addition to a VoIP phone bill. And even if I did set up Asterisk that way, it wouldn't stop people from calling each number. I would have to teach those who call me that if you call me at the office, all my phones will ring. And I would have to teach them that, if I don't answer, it's because I'm either unwilling or unable to do so. I mean really! Sometimes I just don't want to talk on the phone while I'm using the restroom, you know!?!?
So here are the basic technical requirements:
1) A WiFi-capable SIP phone in a mobile phone configuration (clam shell or some other equally portable style)
2) The WiFi-capable SIP phone needs to have a built-in means to achieve a broadband internet connection without the need for a WiFi hotspot. But it should also be able to utilize a WiFi hotspot or my home or office WiFi connection when it is available
UTStarcom, Zyxel, Linksys and several other manufacturers already make a suitably styled phone.
And I had a palm device that had a built-in antenna that, for a subscription, would allow my palm to connect to the internet. And Verizon makes a PCMCIA card that will allow my laptop to connect to the internet. And Broadvoice, or a host of other similar VoIP providers will allow a "bring your own device" setup and will give you a local PSTN-accessible phone number.
So what I want to see is a phone that merges all three of those pieces of technology. I want a mobile-phone styled SIP phone that has built-in broadband access to the internet as well as WiFi access to hotspots, public WiFi, or my home/office WiFi that will register with the VoIP provider of my choice or to my Asterisk system as an extension if I so choose.
Obviously, I would pay the mobile broadband provider for my roaming broadband access, or my home/office provider for my stationary broadband access. And I would pay my VoIP provider for my phone number and usage. But I could eliminate my cell phone and my home phone and just give out my "one number". People would know that it is my "one number". If I'm at the office, my "one number" phone would work in conjunction with my Asterisk PBX server. If I'm at home, my "one number" phone would work with my home WiFi and either my Asterisk PBX or my VoIP service provider. If I'm on the road, my "one number" phone would work in conjunction with a WiFi hotspot, public WiFi, or my subscription broadband connection and either my Asterisk PBX or my VoIP service provider.
In other words, once I have the device with those capabilities and "one number" to give out, I have the freedom to decide how I'm going to integrate the phone number into my life and existing technology. But right now, because my cell phone isn't a SIP phone, I'm stuck with at least giving out 2 numbers. And it is just too expensive to make my cell phone my "one number". Not only is it too expensive, it doesn't have the features that my VoIP provider gives me, and it certainly doesn't have the features of Asterisk. Of course, I know I can purchase equipment that will bridge my cell phone into my Asterisk PBX, but that doesn't meet my requirements because when I take my cell phone on the road, it no longer works with Asterisk or a VoIP provider. Again, I could also have my Asterisk phone ring my mobile phone. But again, that doesn't meet my requirements because I still need to pay for and use another number.
A mobile SIP phone with "anywhere" broadband internet access is the solution that meets my requirements.
So when and where can I get my "ONE NUMBER" phone?
The only phone I can take with me that has reliable "anywhere" service is my cell phone. It costs too much to be my primary phone and is lacking features that I have with my SIP phones, whethere they are registered to my sip provider or my asterisk server. (ex. extension dialing, simulring, digital receptionist, call queue, etc).
I suppose you could say that I want a phone that will go with me, but one in which I have control of the features rather than my service provider.