Vonage goes Voice-over-WiFi..almost

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Hardware vendors, Linksys and Netgear are trying to desperately distinguish themselves from all the clones that are flooding the market. These two companies and their new best friend, Vonage, are hoping that adding VoIP adapters to their routers and making ATA adapters is just another way for these companies to make them *different* from several others. The good news is that one can walk into Radioshack, but the hardware and literally start making the phone calls, which is good for VoIP and Vonage, at least in the near term. The not-so-good-news: Vonage is adding about 25,000 new customers a month. Double that, and still 50,000 boxes don’t really make dent in the financial bottom-line for either Linksys or Netgear. So expect them to start supporting other VoIP providers including AT&T’s CallVantage. It is sad, but true. Vonage is paving the way – others are going to cruise on it! In related news, Vonage has started selling its service in Staples. It was only yesterday we heard that AT&T was going to Best Buy. The retail channel is turning out to be quite a battle ground.

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Ninad Mehta

With the price of home wifi routers falling into single digits (after mail-in-rebates), vendors like Netgear and Linksys have little choice other than bundling more and more stuff into their routers. Although, initially both will attempt to build/sell separate gears, I can see that down the road, ATA functionality will become an integral part of a home wifi router.

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