Not sure if Lingo counts as a toy, but it’s certainly a gadget. For $19.95 a month you get unlimited calls to the USA, Canada and Western Europe. For Brits Abroad in the US this is a great deal. I got Lingo in November and it’s working out just fine. Basically, you get a box. This box has two ethernet sockets, a phone socket and a power socket. You connect the box to your cable/DSL modem on one of the ethernet sockets, your PC on the other ethernet socket, plug in a phone and plug in the power. Wait about 30 seconds as the box comes up and the lights flash. When you see the VOIP light, you can pick up the phone and you have dial tone.
Of course, with a nerd score of 97, I couldn’t possibly settle for the default config, now, could I? I have mine configured with a static IP, sitting on an ethernet switch, which is connected to a wifi bridge, which is talking to my wifi router, which in turn is connected to the cable modem. And it still ‘just works’. I’ve been using it as my home office phone for three months now and the only problem I’ve had is when I’m sending large email attachments, the PC steals all the upstream bandwidth, and the person on the other end of the call can’t hear me. However, that’s a ‘feature’ of my particular setup - if you go with the default, the Lingo box is able to prioritise voice traffic over data and you won’t get this problem.
Bottom line - if you’re paying more than $20 a month for long distance/Western European calls, you need one of these. And if you write a comment with your email address, I can refer you to Lingo and we both get $25 off our bills. Can’t say fairer than that, now, can you?
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