posted by Zachary McGrew on Thu 21st Sep 2006 18:14 UTC
IconThere is a lot of noise about VoIP lately, especially because it can help you avoid a major part of your cellphone bill. The first VoIP handsets released were all USB-based, but now cordless, Bluetooth and WiFi handsets are springing one by one in the market. The most affordable WiFi handset in the market right now, selling for just $150, is the FiWin SS28S that was released at the beginning of the summer by FiWin. Geeks.com sent us in a unit for the purposes of this review.

The Good:
"Always look on the bright side of life" -Eric Idle
Indeed I shall do just that. The SS28S has a very, very, bright side. The best part about the phone is the audio quality. It's simply spectacular. One person I spoke to questioned if I had a new cell phone because the call was so clear. The phone also has some nifty features like SIMPLE support. This allows it to send text messages to other SIP users whose clients support it.

I started by placing a couple of calls using Gizmo to "411" (the info line) and found I had zero problems getting it to identify my selections. I then held an hour long conversation using Gizmo's Call Out, and was surprised to find the phone still had plenty of battery left for another hour long call to someone else! FiWin claims 3.5 hour call time for the battery life, and I can certainly believe it.

Using the phone to send text (SIMPLE) messages made it feel just like a cell phone. I'd have to say better than SMS as I didn't have to pay to send it! The catch of course is that you can only send to someone who has a client that supports SIMPLE. On the other hand, you can only send a SMS to someone with a phone that supports it.

That pretty much sums up the bright side. Unfortunately the phone has a dark side as well. A deep, dark side. So dark that it almost shadows the light.

The Bad:
Where to begin? Firmware? Usability issues? There's so many problems, it's hard to determine where to start!

The current firmware version is 01_02_07, and that's it. Don't worry though, you can (in theory) update the firmware! But there's a catch! To update the firmware you must use the USB cable. This brings on its own problems: the phone didn't come with a USB cable, you can't buy one because it's proprietary, and FiWin doesn't sell it. So you can in theory update the phone if you could get a cable from FiWin. The phone has the option to upload the phone book, sip settings, configuration settings, etc. to a FTP server. This sounds excellent! Edit your phone book on your computer, and then put it back on the phone. Except that all transfers to the FTP server must be done over the USB cable.

So you can't update it, but why would you want to? It's not like there's a giant security hole that would need fixing... Right? Wrong! FiWin left the debug console turned on. Pick your jaw up off the floor, and read on for instructions to access it. I stumbled upon this by port scanning the phone, and noticed that port 23 was open. A quick telnet session revealed that the phone is running VxWorks! It asks for a username and password, which should deter most people from attempting to use it. I'm sure FiWin would pick something super clever and hard to crack, so let's rule out the obvious: phone/phone, admin/admin, root/root, FiWin/FiWin, etc. Oh well... Guess we'll try this the old fashion way. 1/1. Wait... It worked! They actually set their username and password to 1/1! So much for security.

Table of contents
  1. "FiWin, Page 1/2"
  2. "FiWin, Page 2/2"
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