By Alok Saboo on April 25th, 2010
The ubiquity of the mobile phone makes it the perfect device to access VoIP services. You can make low rate VoIP calls without being restricted to a place (e.g., computer or landline). It is not surprising to see the growing adoption of mobile VoIP (mVoIP) among users. Although lot of VoIP providers provide their own mobile client, the norm is to provide the users with the SIP settings so that the user has an option to use any SIP client. In this series of posts, we will look at some of the SIP clients available for various smart phones (iPhone, Android, Symbian, etc.). We kick off this series with Media5-fone VoIP SIP Phone available for the iPhone and the Symbian S60 platform.
Note: The post it written with the iPhone in mind, but the instructions can be used for the Symbian platform.
Installation and SIP Configuration
If you are on the iPhone, you can buy Media5-fone through iTunes (opens iTunes). If you are on the Symbian S60 platform, you can get Media5-fone on the Nokia Ovi store. The Media5-fone does not come cheap – it will set you back by $6.99. Although you can get a FREE version on the iPhone (calls limited to 1 minute) to try it out. Hopefully, you should find your money worth.
Configuring your SIP account is very simple. Just go to Settings and scroll down until you see Media5-fone. Enter the SIP details and other settings. You can even select the codec that you prefer to use.
In addition to the standard narrow band codecs, such as G711 μLaw, G711 aLaw, Enhanced G711 μLaw, and Enhanced G711 aLaw, Media5-fone is one of the few SIP clients to support wideband codecs such as iLBC (also used by Skype) and G722, thus allowing you to experience HD VoIP on your smart phone.
Media5-fone usage and features
After you have entered your SIP details, start the Media5-fone app (make sure that you have internet connectivity) and you should be connected to your SIP provider. A successful connection is indicated by the green button on the dialer. You can also check the connection status in the About button (inside More tab).
The More tab has some other interesting options. Media5-fone provides SIP Traces for diagnostic purposes. Although you do not need to understand this, it has wealth of information and can be useful if things are not working the way they are expected. The traces can also be used by the company in case of trouble shooting your VoIP connection. Inside the Settings button, you can set your Speed Dial numbers and set your Power Saving options. Also, you can set up different ring tones.
If your SIP provider provides a voice mail option, you can even use that from within the App.
Making calls is very simple. You can dial the number using the Dial tab or using the iPhone Address Book through the Contacts tab. You can also browse your recent calls under the Recent tab.
The following video provides a complete walk through the app.
Media5-fone is a feature packed SIP client, worthy of your attention. The wideband codecs are a definite plus. You need to try HD VoIP to feel the difference (please note that this requires your SIP provider to support these codecs). The app itself was very stable and responsive. The SIP traces are wealth of information.
Like most things, there are some things that can be improved upon. I would like to see the ability to add multiple SIP accounts. Also, personally, I would prefer the SIP settings to be within the app, so that I do not have to close the app and enter the SIP details. Finally, I would also like to see some options to handle calls, e.g., recording calls.
But, in sum, I am mightily pleased with Media5-fone SIP client and I am sure you will not be disappointed. You can try out the free version and see for yourself.