A claim of VOIP and its salesmen is that VOIP to the Desktop can help create better opportunities for work-life balance. The expectations and concepts behind work-life balance may not be entirely agreed upon; however, for those of you who think going to work should not necessitate going into the office – I’ve begun a very important test. I’ll spend the next few months living in Paris, working from an apartment using WiFi. Disclaimer: No one asked me to actually work while I am here (but they didn’t stop sending emails and leaving messages either).
Week One: Setting Up Shop
As of now, my tools are all setup. I have a Toshiba Satellite Laptop, a Kensington Bluetooth USB Device, and a Motorola Bluetooth Headset. I am using the 3CX Softphone on my laptop and have successfully connected to Telewebtech’s voice server for both voice and video calls. Yes, video calls.
Both the video and voice calls have been consistently high quality from the apartment. I had issues connecting to the server at a hotel in Dublin, but have been able to test voice calls from Paris, Strasbourg, and Lyon. The key difference has been that the other connections were not at hotels and I was able to adjust the router settings when necessary. In Dublin, I was able to connect to the server using a different softphone, x-lite. Also, the company voice server had to be set up properly to allow the connection from abroad.
The key to the quality may be the connection speed at the locations. The apartment I am at now requires 18 hops to the server back in the USA and has a consistent connection speed of just under 1Mbps up, and almost 13 Mbps down. The hops are interesting because after France, my call is normally routed via New York, whereas I expected Chicago because it is home to Level3 and closer to Indianapolis.
I’ve also used my iPhone with softphone apps for 3CX and Skype. I’ve set up a French telephone number for people to contact me locally through Skype. The charge was roughly $15 USD for 3 months. For locally calls, I’ve set up my Skype account with an unlimited Europe plan for roughly $9 USD / month. That means the cost for me to keep my business running from Europe over the next 3 months is essentially composed of an internet connection, rent, and about $14.00 USD / month.
Not bad for working from anywhere! I am sure most of Europe offers connections speeds capable of handling the needs of VOIP. Also having lived in Tokyo, I can say it could be quite easy to set up there or in Hong Kong as well.