Saturday, March 24, 2007

Linksys CIT400 Skype Phone

I just got around to posting a review of the dual-mode (Skype and land-line) CIT300, and now Linksys in Singapore has released a further twist on the idea with the CIT400.

All the Skype phones released up to now have required a PC to be on, and a base station to be connected through a USB port. A piece of software is required to tie the base station to Skype. This mostly works, but it does mean that you have to leave your PC running all the time.

Now, with the CIT400, Linksys has released a new Skype cordless phone and base station that connects to a land-line and and Ethernet connection. As long as you have an active Internet connection, the CIT400 is active and you can use the Skype phone.

I was skeptical at first, because connecting a base station without a PC means that all network settings have to be done through the handset. Entering logins, IP addresses, and other necessary data for an Ethernet device can be very tedious with just a numerical keypad.

To their credit, Linksys has done an excellent job with the user interface. The screen on the phone is high res and beautiful to look at. The colours are rich, and the text looks like it is written on paper. The menu choices are logical and clear.

It took only a moment to connect the base station and register the phone. Using DHCP, the base station obtained an IP address automatically and the phone prompted for location and then a Skype user name and password.

And that was it. I was online with a fully functional Skype phone.

If you want to do more sophisticated network setups or to upgrade the firmware, the base station of the CIT400 provides a web interface that gives access to all the settings. It just requires pointing a web browser at the IP address of the base station.

We have now seen Linksys evolve the phone from the first model, the CIT200,which was Skype only, to the CIT300 which supported land-line as well, and now to the CIT400 which eliminates the need for a PC completely.

It is hard to argue with good product evolution, I just wish they had started with the CIT400, and I would have saved some money and time.


Anonymous said...

The CIT 400 is a great product, but units shipped before Sept 2007 seems to be affected by a "freeze" bug.
Linksys released a firmware update in Sept 2007 that seems to solve this (and a few other) issue.
Upgrade highly recommended!

tin said...

is there a newer edition of this now? How much does this retail in the SG Market? thanks!

madraskaari said...

waleed -- where can I buy this phone in Singapore, is it available in Mustafas?

whanafi said...

I bought mine at Challenger in Funan, but that was some time ago.

I just checked the Linksys web site and there is no longer any evidence they ever produced a Skype phone. There is no mention of voice at all.

I wonder if Cisco has decided to focus on VOIP as a business technology and abandon the home market for Skype/Wi-Fi phones.

I am pretty sure there are still some off-brand models at Challenger.