Analog Telephone Adapter aka ATA, the little box which plug into the broadband modem on one side and a plain old phone on the other is going to do a vanishing act, especially now that the market is soon going to be flooded with IP handsets, especially the WiFi handsets, start hitting the market, we will see ATA vanish into the blue. Packet 8 service will come pre-configured on Uniden handsets and whole-house VoIP phone system in May. Vonage is working with V-Tech and will soon offer, “VTech’s ip8100 5.8Ghz cordless VoIP phone, which, like the Uniden device, integrates the terminal adapter into the base station.”
BroadVoice CEO David Epstein calls the new phones “a kinder, gentler ATA,” which will increase the momentum of VoIP acceptance. “It’s not obvious to consumers how to distribute VoIP,” said Epstein. “Multi-handset cordless systems are a familiar solution. It’s another sign that VoIP is getting easier.”
Other service providers are going to be working with other vendors to bring same non-ATA plug-and-play VoIP to your digital home. I for once, am happy with my Zyxel.
7 thoughts on “End of the ATA”
No detail information is available about all the three phones. It is possible that these new phones have new and revolutionary features compared to a standard ATA and a connected cordless phone. But I have a nasty suspicion that these phones are no more than an ATA and a cordless phone set housed in a single unit. If that is the case, then these phones will be more expensive than a standalone ATA and an already available cordless phone. So instead of being a category killer, these phones may be ignored by the consumers.
i think it is going to be simplified to the extent it can be. i think the movement away from ATA is pretty good because i think that is still a big stumbling block in adoption of VoIP at home. i think if you can get a seamless experience of plug and play, we could see a sharp increase in the number of users.
I agree with Mr. Malik. I have had Vonage for a few years now and have tried to explain to some of my non-tech friends (who have laptops and DSL or cable modems) how the Cisco ATA box that they ship works with a router and with a cable modem, yet they sill have a hard time understanding (I do my best to explain and I try to talk slow and put things into simple words but most people have a paralyzed look in their face when I try to explain to them the role of the ATA box — they say, “a phone and the cable modem can both plug into this thing?” So many of us so often forget about, as Om pointed out a few days ago, the “Mom test” and its not just Moms and Dads. There are a lot of people even in their 40s, 30s and some even in their 20s who have other things in their lives to do besides sit around and beta test Skype! And lets face it — America’s and Europe’s (the Western world’s) population is getting older and if you are a tech company and you want these older people to put money into your pocket, you better learn how to cater to them rather than expec them to become super tech savvy overnight (hey, even Steve Jobs admited in the recent Forbes (or was it Fortune?) cover story that he felt like a dope because he almost missed the MP3 CD ripping / burning stuff that was going on among mostly younger people and that’s why the first few generations of iMacs and iBooks didn’t have CDRWs built into them). I hate to say it, but perhaps this is why Silicon Valley has a difficult problem grasping telephony and consumer electronics, etc. because culturally and historically the Valley did not grow up on this (and the grown ups are well, kind of getting old and stody in their ways)? I can understand Russ Beattie’s frustration as a result. But there is youth among the valley, too and let us not forget that people like John Doer who get it!
To elaborate my point, would the new phones have wider frequency range for mic/speaker or will it continue to have only 3 kHz as “Bellheads'” phones? Do we continue to remember and key in access codes to invoke features? Will we be able to dial SIP URIs?
If these and other such features are not included in these new phones, I maintain that the only thing that has been done is negligible and whose success is iffy.
When they get the base unit to also be a wireless router then they will really have something….think about the number of power cords and jack cables will be eliminated to clean up the mess all of this creates just to make a phone call….
Phone: 2 = Power and phone jack
ATA: 2 = Power, CAT5 to Router
Router 2 = Power, CAT5 to Modem
Take 6 down to 2…Power and CAT5 to modem…and voila…you have cordless phone and 802.11….people pay to upgrade all the time so I don’t see actuially having to buy something for $100 as an obsticle for retail…there wouldn’t be 4 home networking brands out there if people were afraid to buy…
good point dan. i agree with you wholely. i think the whole process is too complicated right now when it should work seamlessly. i think voip handsets with wifi are a good fix, but that’s on an assumption that most people have wifi networks. and anecdotally speaking only one in ten of my friends have wifi. these are not luddites, except folks who just have desktops and have not found a reason to spend $50 a wifi router yet.