Posted By RichC on May 18, 2009
I’ve been lax in posting a follow up to my new to me tech gadget since I really haven’t had the chance to use it much until last week, nevertheless, here is my take on the D-Link DPU-50U. I’ve been using the Skype to phones USB device lightly for a few weeks now and will give a brief update on how it works and how I like it.
The interface connects to the USB port of an existing Windows computer and permits the use of an existing home phone to both receive and send calls over the Internet — Skype service. I’ve installed my $18.99 purchase from Buy.com (minus a $10.00 rebate) on an aging P3 Windows 2000 computer that serves as my print and fax server. A few years ago I did use it for Skype so that my Mac and Windows notebook computer would be free from cords and conference call duties, but recently haven’t liked being tethered to my PC by wired headset (a requirement for Skype conference call for the sanity of fellow listeners).
The installation was quick and easy utilizing a mini-cd and a resident taskbar program that interfaces the USB device with Skype. The DPU-50U required 110VAC power and plugs in between your phone and the wall phone jack. In my installation I’ve plugged the base station for my Motorola 5.8 GHz wireless phones (photo above) of which I have three extensions throughout the house.
After running the install, I rebooted my computer and accessed the software through the taskbar icon. The three tabs — General, Call Forwarding and Call Recorder — are used to change the default keystrokes that use the phone to control Skype calls and other feature such as turning the recording features on or off.
Receiving calls is simple as the phone rings normally and the Call ID feature (if available) shows the Skype callers ID on the phone display. Upon answering the call was as clear on my broadband connected Skype service as a phone call, although I did detect the slight delay that occasionally is noticed using some VOIP connections.
Calling out using the DPH-50U is a bit more challenging as the speeddial numbers need to be program on your contact list of Skype callers. Once saved, I used the default ## to switch from a normal phone system dial tone to the Skype dial tone. Then entered the speed dial number followed by the * key to complete the call over Skype. The ring works the same as if you were calling using a computer BUT there isn’t a way barring looking at your computer screen to know if your contact is available or not to receive calls. One hint is to be sure to “end” or hang up the call when finished.
All in all it worked very well for me when connecting to Skype conference calls. I was able to use the wireless Motorola phones with a 2.5 mm headset while muting my microphone and move freely away from my computer. The advanage of always on and a ringing phone on my belt made waiting for a Skype call easy and by forwarding my ‘work’ Skype to my home Skype account (DPH-50U) I was able to take all calls at home.
The only problem I had in using the device was while trying to use a lessor quality DSL connection at a hotel while calling home. (kept dropping the calls) I suspect this was the hotel side connection but it was annoying for my wife using the Skype phone. As for savings, this device is perfect for people talking overseas regularly using Skype. The call cost being zero would make this an excellent $8.99 purchase (after the $10 rebate). With the all inclusive Long Distance available in the U.S. nowadays, I’m not sure it all that critical … unless Skype is used regularly for conference calling. (also … no video with this device)