netTALK DUO WiFi: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

October 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM
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netTALK DUO WiFi: Does It Live Up To The Hype?*

 

A Quest to be the Best

In the fierce battle for telephonic dongle supremacy, which is the holy grail of all VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service providers, in the quest to be the undisputed champ of affordable telephonic gadgets, netTALK has just fired the latest salvo: The netTALK DUO WiFi, which netTALK claims offers unparalleled features with respect to Call Blocking and Call ID Blocking, features which were sorely lacking in the previous unit released by netTALK, i.e. the netTALK DUO. Privacy and WiFi (ability to make and receive calls wirelessly) seem to be the selling points. Let’s find out, shall we?

netTALK DUO WiFi

Features and Specifications

In addition to privacy and WiFi, the netTALK DUO WiFi boasts an enviable list of features and specifications: Number Porting, AC Adapter, Ethernet Cable, USB Cable, Instructions, Smartphone App, Videophone, netTALK DUO WiFi English and French Quick Start Guide, Free Calls to U.S. and Canada, Free Calls to Identical Device, Free Phone Number, Free Voice to Email, Free 411 Directory Assistance, Enhanced 911 Service, Free Caller ID, Three-Way Calling, Call Waiting, Live Tech Support, Conference Calling, International Calling, Call Plans, Priority Call Forwarding, Fax Friendly, Free Directory Assistance, Call Forwarding, Call Blocking, Caller ID Blocking, WiFi Enable, etc. For an exhaustive list of netTALK DUO WiFi features and specifications, see the eye-catching and elegant tables @

netTALK DUO WiFi vs netTALK DUOII

netTALK DUO WiFi Green Ports 197x139

netTALK-DUO-WiFi Red Port 206x125

 

 

 

What’s in The Box?

 The netTALK DUO WiFi is compact and neatly packaged. The box contains:

  • User Name, Password, SN and MAC Numbers
  • netTALK DUO Unit
  • Ethernet Cable
  • USB Cable
  • AC Adapter
  • A Time Sensitive Reminder (“Attention Time Sensitive”) to update address and 911/E911 acknowledgment process within 30 days of activation or risk cancellation of account
  • netTALK DUO WiFi Easy Setup Guide in English, French (Français) and Spanish ( Espagñol), and
  • A warning in both English (“STOP”) and Spanish (Espagñol) (“Pare”) advising the customer to call netTALK’s toll free number for assistance before returning the purchased unit to the store it was bought from, should s/he experience any difficulties.

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Installation

Installing the netTALK DUO WiFi is a piece of cake. Activate it first, using username and password, then interlink the different components.

 Modem/Router

Insert one tip of the Ethernet Cable into netTALK DUO WiFi’s Ethernet Port (ETH) and the other into Modem/Router’s Ethernet Port.

Insert the phone cord tip into the netTALK DUO WiFi’s Telephone port (TEL).

Connect one end of the USB Cable into the netTALK DUO WiFi’s mini USB Port (USB) and the other into the charger’s USB Port and plug into an AC outlet. Once powered, a green power light (ETH Port) will turn ON, a yellow registration light will pulsate (ETH Port). Wait for your phone to ring and the dorsal LED red light to turn solid green, and upon hearing a dial tone, your telephonic dongle is ready to make and receive calls.

Laptop/Desktop

First observation.- If you are going to use a handset to make and receive calls, you need not download the new netTALK DUO WiFi Management Tool, the old DUO USB Driver does just fine. However, if you plan on using the netTALK Videophone’s virtual dialpad to dial a number, you’ll see the following message: “Get netTALK TK6000 MAC address failed, netTALK videophone will exit!” 

Get-netTALK-TK6000-MAC-addresss-failed-311x94

So, the previous DUO USB Driver (version 1.34) which does not work anyway (when you call, after 2 rings, the driver hangs up without giving the recipient the opportunity to answer the call) -which netTALK blames on “a firewall blocking the flow of traffic in a network” and for which it claims to have a fix under “Tech Tips” (Make a call, it rings twice and it goes silent.) -must be uninstalled, and the new netTALK DUO WiFi Management Tool installed (Windows XP).

Second observation.- The netTALK DUO WiFi’s micro USB port is different from the netTALK DUO’s mini USB port . The USB cables’ tips (micro USB vs mini USB) are not interchangeable.

Micro-USB-Tip-vs-Mini-USB-Tip 160x190

netTALK DUO WiFi’s Micro USB Tip vs netTALK DUO’s Mini USB Tip 

WiFi

Regardless of your operating system, the netTALK DUO WiFi’s wifi setup boils down to following, after activation, the illustrative steps recommended by netTALK to integrate the device into your existing WiFi network for interface’s sake. There are 4 ways to set up netTALK DUO WiFi, depending on your computer’s operating system: Windows (7 steps), Mac (5 steps), Android (5 steps) or if you want a WiFi Protected Setup (4 steps). Once integration is done and interface established, your are ready to make and receive WiFi calls by powering (via AC Adapter) the netTALK DUO WiFi and connecting a phone to it. Watch the video.

In the process of setting up the netTALK DUO WiFi for WiFi use, you’ll be prompted by the DUO WiFi Management Tool to “dial *41# to retrieve the device IP Address, then enter it”. In our experiment, the given IP Address does not work. To find the device’s true IP Address,:

  • Left click on the blue nettalk phone icon (bottom right of your computer screen), after connecting your netTALK DUO WiFi to your computer, and 2 IP Addresses ( a set of respective numbers like 123.456.7.8 and 123.456.7.9) will be displayed: Adapter IP, and Phone IP.
  • Pick the Phone IP (123.456.7.9 for instance) and enter it.
  • Then, click on Connect, choose your network from the Available Networks, enter your Password (your router’s WEP KEY: 12345G67YW, or WAP KEY: a1b23cdef4gh5i67jk8901234 for instance), and Save.

You’ll see the following message: “You netTALK DUO Wifi has successfully activated”. Go ahead, test it, make a WiFi call, enjoy. Our WiFi call was a delight: crystal clear and no dropped call. Way to go netTALK DUO WiFi, thumbs up!

 N.B.: The above IP Addresses and WEP/WAP KEYS are made up. Yours will vary.

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Energy Consumption

The netTALK DUO WiFi is powered by a Switching Power Supply AC Charger with the following specifications:

Input 100-240V-60/50Hz 0.3Amax

Output 5V—1A

According to our calculation, if the device were to be left ON 24/7/365 @ 0.10¢/KWh, the annual operating cost would be:

$4.38 (about $4.00)

Switching-Power-Supply-RED 197x193.

Switching Power Supply

Modem/Router

Since the telephonic gadget cannot function without a Modem/Router, we must factor in the modem’s power consumption 24/7/365 @ 0.10¢/KWh. Here are the specifications of the Modem/Router’s AC Charger:

Input 100-120V-60Hz 0.3Amax

Output 12V—1A

 The annual energy bill would be:

$10.512 (about $11.00)

Actiontec-Power-Supply 142x129

Power Supply

Modem-Router-Telefonez-Rear 318x166

Modem/Router – 4 Ethernet Ports (Yellow)

Cordless Phone Set

If a cordless phone (as opposed to a corded phone) is used to make and receive calls, the handset must be charged, and the base plugged, hence energy consumption 24/7/365 @ 0.10¢/KWh. The specifications of the phone’s Switching Power supply AC charger are:

 Input 100-120V 60Hz 150mA

Output 6.0V—400mA

The annual electricity bill would be:

$2.1024 (about $2.00)

Cordless Phone Set 211x242

Cordless Phone Set

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Computer (Laptop or Desktop)

If you were to use your laptop to make and receive calls, it would have to be powered, and in turn, power the netTALK DUO WiFi. Since laptops and desktops come with different specifications with respect to AC, DC, Voltage and Amperage, we will refrain from making any calculation. But we think it’s worth bringing it to your attention, so that it can be factored in when estimating the netTALK DUO WiFi’s total energy consumption. If you care to estimate, plug your computer into a Watts UP? AC Power Meter

Here are the formulas used to determine power consumption (see table)

Formulas-to-Determine-Energy-Consumption 468x106

If math is not your forte, plug netTALK DUO WiFi, Modem/Router, Computer (if one is used instead of plugging the NTDW directly into the modem/router Ethernet Port), and Cordless Phone Set into a Kill-A-Watt Meter or a Watts UP? AC Power Meter at once to determine combined energy consumption, or separately for individual readings. Watch the video (coming soon).

Privacy

Prior to the advent of netTALK DUO WiFi and netTALK DUO II, an anonymous call to previous versions of netTALK DUO was an oxymoronic proposition (If it’s a call, it’s not anonymous; if it’s anonymous, it’s not a call) whether the dialed netTALK DUO number was preceded by *67 or the call was from an anonymous or private source, the caller’s ID (phone number) was automatically displayed. We are happy to report that there is, in that regard, a huge improvement: if an anonymous call to netTALK DUO WiFi is placed, the caller’s ID (phone number and name) of the incoming call will not be displayed.

You have, of course, the option to accept or decline any anonymous calls, and blacklist offending phone numbers. To do so, log in your netTALK account, click on phone numbers, then on block a phone number

However, with respect to anonymous calls emanating from your netTALK DUO phone, tough luck: The calls, blocked by busy signals, won’t go through. We are yet to figure out how to make an anonymous call from a netTALK DUO dongle.

Remember: How to Speed up a Slow Computer: Free ways to Troubleshoot and Fix your Virus-infected PC

netTALK DUO WiFi Ubiquity

VOIP Ubiquity can be achieved by having incoming calls ring in different rooms (living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, etc) of your home/office, or forwarded to your cell phone or any phone number of your choice. Watch video below.

 Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit

The ability to use the netTALK DUO WiFi, or the MagicJack Plus for that matter, with a Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit, instead of a WiFi network, adds a layer of versatility to the gadget. Watch the video for illustration. The Powerline Ethernet Adapter kit, if it works, may turn out to be a bona fide alternative to an undependable (frequent call drops) WiFi network. Watch the illustrative video (coming soon).

The Case For VOIP: Why do you need a VOIP Phone?

It’s fashionable nowadays to ditch one’s phone landline in favor of a cell phone, without giving it a second thought as to the implications of that decision with respect to power outage, should it ever occur. Landlines offer one undeniable advantage over cell phones, and that is: in the event of a power failure, landline phone services, independently powered from the grid, do work (provided you use a corded phone set), whereas discharged cell phones (How to charge your cell phone for free and $ave money) do not. That’s reason #1 why a landline should still be considered. Reason #2 is a two-fold one: a) to save money on limited cell phone plans (one feature of landline plans tends to be unlimited calls), and b) to protect your health by shielding your head from cell phone radiation due to SAR: Specific Absorption Rate (unless you use a headset, which is not standard with smart phones and costs extra).

Is extended cell phone use related or linked to brain cancer risk or not?

Two diametrically opposed and equally confounding schools of thought provide a set of confusing answers to that perplexed and controversial question. See the range of answers for yourself : a) Cell Phones and Cancer Risk , b) WHO: Cell phone use can increase possible cancer risk , c) Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones and d) IARC CLASSIFIES RADIOFREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AS POSSIBLY CARCINOGENIC TO HUMANS

While the scientific debates rage on, and regardless of the outcome, take the necessary steps to protect and shield yourself from possible harmful effects of radiofrequency radiation (non-ionizing radiation) emitted by cell phones by using a headset, text messages, a cell phone’s speaker,  a corded or cordless landline phone whenever possible. The next best or closest thing to a landline service is a VOIP phone service. Be it netTALK DUO, netTALK DUO WiFi, netTALK DUO II, MagicJack, MagicJack Plus, Ooma Premier, Lingo, Broadvoice, Viatalk, Vonage, etc., you are almost guaranteed to enjoy a phone service that suits your telephonic needs and meets your frugal budget.

We think we’ve covered just about every angle of the netTALK DUO WiFi: Features and Specifications, Content of the box, Installation, Energy Consumption, Privacy, Powerline Ethernet kit, and the Case for a VOIP Phone. All you have to do is to enjoy, experiment, share with and refer your friends and family to the article, and leave us some feedback, which we appreciate.

Must- read: How to Power Your VOIP and Cell Phones – Blackout or not

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Disclaimer

*The content of this article is for informational purposes only. Although every attempt and effort has been made to provide and convey accurate information to the extent possible, author disclaims any liability with respect to inaccuracies and/or typographical errors, if any. Readers are therefore advised to do their own due diligence to independently verify the accuracy and ascertain the veracity of any information prior to acting on it. 

Any and all cited brands, trademarks, registered trademarks or trade names are the property of their respective owners.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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