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Category Archives: Networking

SkypeOut free to all US and Canada phones!

Skype just announced that all calls from Skype to any phone in the US and Canada will be free until the end of the year!  This is great news for some.  I have posted about my Linksys CIT 200 Skype Phone before.  I use it to save me a bundle on calls to South Africa using SkypeOut.  Now we can use it to call in the US too.  We currently spend $59.02 on our SBC, now AT&T phone bill of which only $19.89 is for local and 911 service.  The $39.13 is for long distance.  Removing that part of our service from the phone and using the Skype Phone instead for outgoing long distance calls is going to save us $273.91 by the end of the year.
Then at the end of the year, if Skype does not extend their offer, we’ll simply add long distance back to our plan with AT&T.
 
Thank you Skype/Ebay for saving us a bundle!!!
 
Later
C
 
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Posted by on May 25, 2006 in Networking

 

Linksys CIT200 Skype Phone

OK, so I love my gadgets.

But then again, which techhead doesn’t right?

Anyway, I was surfing around and came accross what I thought looked like a pretty cool new gadget…

 

The Linksys CIT200 Skype Phone

 

Why do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…

  1. A snap to install.
  2. Works just like a normal cordless phone.
  3. Sound quality is very good.
  4. It’s easy to use.
  5. It saves lots of money!

The best part about this little wonder is the fact that it seamlessly integrates with Skype.  I used to spend a fortune on calls to South Africa.  You know what I mean.  There is no way anybody can call their mom and get off the phone in anything under 30 minutes.  Even with long distance "special" rates that the phone companies give me, a typical call (which in my case is always more than an hour) would cost me anywhere from $50 on up.

 

With my little Skype phone I just make sure my account is topped up with about $10 and off I go.  A 1 hour and 10 minute call the other day cost me the earth shattering amount of $5!!!  SWEET!!!

 

The other thing that is really great about this phone is the fact that it works just like a normal cordless phone so technology "challenged" users don’t even need to know it’s using Skype and VoIP and all that techno junk!

No, as far as they are concerned, it’s just a phone… a very CHEAP PHONE!

Later
C

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2006 in Networking

 

Linksys snafu with v5 routers

I started my home networking out on Netgear equiptment.  In the beginning it was a very basic network with just a couple of hubs.  Of course this was in the time before broadband.  At the time, using dial up internet was not only slow, but sharing it was near impossible.  As a result, routers and switches was not a consideration and the only thing we were concerned with was hooking PC’s together for a game of Age of Empires (the original), Birth of the Federation or Civilization.
 
Then came broadband.  Suddenly all computers needed access to the internet.  Initially I used multiple IP’s via the hubs, but over time I decided to eliminate multiple IP’s and use a router instead.  Suddenly routers became the new craze.  Before I bought my first router, I investigated a little bit.  I found the best performance/price value from Linksys.  Furthermore, their WRT54G router was Linux based so there were many community BIOS upgrades to be had.
 
My little WRT54G version 1 hummed along piecefully for several years until recently I just quit.  We had a pretty bad storm and I’ve seen electricity do some weird and wonderful things.  All my equiptment is UPS protected so the only way I can figure it got knocked out was through the cable line.  Of course it jumped the cable modem and hit the router… not impossible… of course, the router may simply have died too.
 
Whatever the case, the bottom line was that my router died and I needed a new router.  I immediately looked to Linksys again.  I had several wireless cards, so I couldn’t switch to the SRX router, but I found the WRT54GS that had speed booster technology and would work with my existing wireless cards.  I forked over the cash and brought it home.  I had to get this one directly from Best Buy since 1.  I could not get on-line to order one and 2.  I really wanted it right now!
 
I installed the new router and then went out to my favorite firmware site for Linksys routers… LinksInfo.org!  On the site I searched for downloads for the WRT54GS version 5 which I now had.  Then I found to my dismay that the version 5 routers, both for WRT54G and WRT54GS, was VxWare based and not Linux based.  That meant no 3rd party firmware!
 
Well OK, so I can’t use 3rd party firmware.  No problem, I’m sure it will work just fine… WRONG!
 
I’m not the first to report serious problems with the new version 5 hardware.  It worked for a short while and then it totally quit on the land line connections allowing only wireless clients access!   I tried everything.  I upgraded and flashed the firmware with the latest version from the Linksys site but there was simply no way to get it working correctly!
 
Then I started the search for version 4 routers.  I eventually even bought one off Ebay.  When it arrived, it was also a version 5.  After fighting with the company, they conducted a search with Linksys and it turned out that version 4 routers was simply not to be found.  Right when I was ready to give up on Linksys as a whole, I found the solution…
 
Linksys WRT54GL
 
Yep, you guessed it… the "L" is for Linux.  Linksys found such a strong backlash against their decision to move away from Linux based firmware that they created an entire new router just to satisfy the 3rd party firmware community.
 
So instead of going out and buying used routers off Ebay, I was able to go out and get a couple of WRT54GL’s to replace the version 5’s.
 
My recommendation, forget the WRT54G and WRT54GS.  Get a WRT54GL instead!
 
Later
C
 
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Posted by on March 31, 2006 in Networking