There I was, trying to pull a fast one by taking my wife on a gondola ride in Las Vegas. They built an actual canal indoor to make it look like Venice, Italy where you can take a gondola ride while the gondolier is singing. “Wasn’t that great? Now we don’t have to spend all that money to visit Italy”. Of course, that did not work. The following year, I was in a hotel in Rome, booking a train ride to Venice. My wife deserves some credit for not showing a bad mood while I was talking to clients in the United States.
On all those occasions, I was using a Grandstream Wave softphone that connected to a phone system in the United States from Italy. After you download the Grandstream Wave App from the Apple Store or Google Play, all that you require is a wireless connection, such as WiFi.
Softphones are not created equal
Many people do not know that there are two types of softphones:
📶 Internet-based softphone – Uses 100% wireless (eg: wifi, 3g, 4g, LTE and etc). Grandstream Wave falls under this category.
☯️ Hybrid softphone – Use minor wireless data in the beginning, followed by a carrier reception. When I say carrier’s reception I am talking about using cell phone towers as if you are using a non-smart phone to make a call. Examples are Google Voice or On-Call Ma mobile app.
Internet-based softphone has greater flexibility. It can work anywhere, as long as a quality internet is provided. On the other hand, Hybrid does have a number of advantages. For example, there are regions where Internet only softphones experience blockage by the internet service provider. If you are not aware, some countries such as India or Bangladesh do not allow VoIP technology. Softphone falls under Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. Consequently, it can be used to make international calls for free as I did in Italy.
Side by Side Softphone Comparison
The table, below, shows the difference between Internet based and hybrid softphones:
- Must have quality wireless internet to work. It does not need a SIM card if quality wifi is provided
- It was not designed to handle calls while moving very fast. For example, driving
- Voice quality changes depending on the compression. Softphone compresses your voice and decompresses when it arrives on the other end. In voice technology, we call it codec. It is the same process as when you zip a file, send it by email, and the receiver unzips the file.
- A mobile phone needs to provide high-speed computing power to allow the softphone to compress on the fly. A slow phone might not work too well with an internet-based softphone.
- Needs some type of cell reception. This means a SIM card is required. NOTE: Carrier such as Sprint do not need SIM and that is because they use CDMA technology
- It works just like making a call using a non-smart phone. Softphone tells the phone system over the internet to call the cell phone and join the 2nd party like a conference call. When the call comes into the cell, the softphone app makes it look like you made a call. Also, the phone system spoofs the number so the call appears it came from your cell phone or whatever phone number you want to assign (e.g. a business line). Moving at high speeds, driving or on a train to Venice, is fully supported by the cellular-based system.
- The voice quality usually stays the same since the compression is mostly done on the phone system side.
- You do not worry about the phone speed. Phone manufacturers make sure the phone has enough speed to handle calls from the cell tower.
It is also IMPORTANT to know that you should not pick-up your phone during a gondola ride because Return On Investment (ROI), namely your wife’s happiness, will decrease like a recession during the coronavirus season. However, you do not have to take my word for it.
Photo by Antonio Molinari on Unsplash