Summer review

The summer holiday finally provides an opportunity to write, various family matters having consumed my available time and energy since January. Meanwhile, our Box Broadband pure fibre 200 Mbps connection has efficiently worked exactly as hoped; fast and reliable.

We have had quite a few power cuts over these seven months, and had I time to purchase and install a UPS, it would have avoided any interruption to the service. As it is, sometimes the connection has recovered by itself after a cut, but other times we had to reset the router, perhaps because the power “spikes” as it comes back on. Once reset, connection speed has never decreased, unlike previous services from BT Openreach.

One change I did find time for was the switch to VoIP, so that we could terminate the “copper” phone line rental, and thus bring total monthly costs back to their previous level. We wanted to keep our landline number, and worked out that usage based call charges will be cheaper for us than the call inclusive package offered by Vonage. I also felt confident enough to configure VoIP myself, so did not really need the higher level of customer support available when taking Vonage via the Box web link. I looked at Voipfone and Sipgate offerings, and chose Voipfone because they are UK based and responded to all my questions very quickly and helpfully. But Sipgate does work out cheaper for almost identical service otherwise, and at least two locals are happily using it.

I also had to decide whether to buy a device to interface our existing DECT phones to the Box router, or to buy new phones designed for VoIP. Since our existing phones are a few years old and have some less than ideal features, we decided to buy two new Gigaset C430HX handsets and N300IP VoIP base station from VoIPon. The result is a far more capable phone system. For example, we can take two calls at the same time, voice messages are automatically forwarded by email, and I can take or make “landline” calls on my mobile phone when away from home, thus giving the impression of working from home as usual (since the VoIP caller ID is set to our landline number).

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