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October 02, 2006

VoIP Headsets and Your Cell� An Odd Couple?

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to Plantronics, my life has gotten a lot easier as of late. I have so many wireless headsets connected to my phone it is just unreal. The headsets are connected serially, making the whole contraption a bit of a mess. I just haven't had a chance to do anything with the headsets after I review them and manufacturers generally don't want them back, so they just stay on my desk and the scene is like a giant headset graveyard. The situation with my computer is also messy-- as I have a myriad of wires connecting my phone to the inputs of my sound card so I can record interviews. In short, I probably have as many audio and headset cables as Bill Gates (News - Alert) has cables in his home entertainment system. Of course, his are probably all made out of a titanium platinum alloy coated with diamonds--but you get the point.

So making VoIP calls from my computer gets to be a pain because I haven't connected a switching system to allow me to use a wired VoIP headset and if I want to disconnect the cables from my phone to the computer so I can plug in a headset, I have issues. What issues? Getting a flashlight, digging under my desk, finding the computer, and assembling it all back together when I am done. Also, my USB headset is always at home. When I remember I bring it in to conduct VoIP calls via softphone. But, in reality, I use a laptop for my VoIP calls so the USB headset rarely comes to Technology Plaza.

Recently though I needed to have a VoIP conversation and my laptop didn't have the ability to punch through the firewall with UDP packets, so I had to use my PC. Thankfully, Plantronics (News - Alert) sent me a Voyager 510-USB Bluetooth headset-- that I had been meaning to try for quite some time.

I had a Bluetooth adapter on my computer, which I tried to connect to the headset, but it just didn't work for whatever reason. I then realized I never use the Bluetooth adapter for anything, so I disconnected it and plugged in the Plantronics adapter that came with the headset. I then installed the CD that came with the headset and voila-- everything was connected. A few moments later, I was VoIPing away like a champ and the beautiful thing is I can now use the same headset with my mobile phone.

My daily headset is a Plantronics Voyager 510S and I have beat this thing up something fierce. It has been dropped, twisted by my kids, thrown and who knows what else. It has taken a beating and always kept working. Occasionally the headset is out of sync with my Verizon XV-6700, but a simple reboot of the Microsoft (News - Alert)-based OS device brings them back into sync. So I am looking forward to using the upgraded headset and who knows? The consolidation of the VoIP and mobile headset on my desk may start a trend in my life where I start to get rid of the older headsets I hardly use anymore.

So while you may think it is odd to couple a single Bluetooth device with a mobile phone and computer, I am hoping this Odd Couple will lead me to become more like Felix Unger and less like Oscar Madison.

You want to know about a truly odd couple? Next week the largest event in IP Communications will take place in San Diego, California. Internet Telephony Conference & Expo will be held in the San Diego Convention Center. Under one roof, attendees from up to 70 countries will learn about IMS, IPTV, VoIP, SIP, collaboration, open source, voice peering and more. A truly odd couple will be this award-winning event filled with hundreds of speakers and exhibitors -- without your presence. We hope to see you there. Register now.

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor in Chief at TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best attended VoIP event, Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.


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