Whole-House VoIP Unwired

Uniden's UIP1868, set to be released in the second-quarter of this year, may revolutionize the residential VoIP space. The 5.8 GHz device, which can work with up to 10 wireless handsets, will include two VoIP lines, one optimized for fax applications. Uniden has already announced bundling agreements with three service providers and has promised to make an unlocked version of the phone directly available to consumers through retail channels.

One of the barriers to VoIP for consumers is the problem of getting the signal to every room in the house.

Fort Worth, TX-based Uniden's integrated “whole house” VoIP system aims to make putting a VoIP phone in every room as plug-and-play as a conventional phone.

“The more we can make VoIP look like what people are used to, the more we’re going to increase user acceptance,” says Brett Morrison, Uniden National Sales Director in charge of IP and Business Communications.

The Uniden UIP1868 is an integrated VoIP home phone system that deploys VoIP capability to up to ten handsets. The system’s base station is a corded phone that plugs into a broadband Internet connection and converts standard telephone signals into a VoIP digital signal.

Because Uniden is one the largest manufacturers of cordless phones, Morrison said, there’s a good chance that consumers already have a compatible handset.

The UIP1868 features both forward and backward compatibility with Uniden’s current line of TRU 5.8GHz digital phone systems — including the company’s new color display phone — and will be forward compatible with future 5.8GHz offerings.

The base station includes a full-functioned router with QOS support and two VoIP lines, one of which is intended as a connection to a standard fax machine. The fax connection will employ the T.38 protocol to facilitate fax transmissions over the IP protocol.

The UIP1868 also offers some handy features. The handset can be used as a room monitor. Using DirectLink two-way radio, handsets operate as walkie-talkies. And calls can be transferred between handsets.

The suggested retail price for the UIP1868’s base unit/speaker phone and one handset is $199.

Uniden will be selling the UIP1868 through service providers, retailers and distributors. An unlocked unit, which can be used with any VoIP provider that shares its registration credentials with its customers, will be available through retailers.

The company has already announced partnership agreements with three Internet telephony service providers — Lingo, BroadVoice, and SunRocket — to provide what they say will be a complete and cost-effective consumer VoIP offering.

The unit will be configurable via web-based GUI, though customers purchasing the unit though Uniden’s service provider partners are likely to receive the phone’s configuration settings locked and unavailable to he user.

According to Morrison, the time is right for an integrated device solution to VoIP.

“Just as caller ID and voicemail began as adjuncts to the phone system that are now integrated into the phone system, VoIP is moving from terminal adapters that are adjuncts to the system to an integrated solution.”

Uniden will be releasing the UIP1868 during the second quarter of this year. The product will be shown in several service provider’s booths at the VON show, scheduled for March 7-10 in San Jose, CA.