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How to Set Up FWD With VoIP

Updated on October 21, 2010

FWD and Nova

FWD (or Free World Dialup as it used to be called) has been one of the oldest VoIP companies in existence. It beat Skype to the game by eight years, being formed way back in 1995. In contrast to Skype which used proprietary protocols, it used the open standard SIP protocol which allowed interoperability with other VoIP implementations around the world.

Jeff Pulver who represented FWD, famously got a concession from the FCC that VoIP companies like his own could not be regulated as communication firms which have to adhere to strict regulatory requirements. The judgment was widely seen as a victory for VoIP companies and has been the subject of much debate ever since.

However, FWD now seems to have given up its main communicator project and has put all its weight behind a product called "Nova" which we take a closer look at further below.

Nova Conferencing
Nova Conferencing

How Nova Works

The underlying idea of the nova framework is the Nova server which is the connecting point for two or more communicating parties. The nova server is like a room where people go to meet. Unlike other VoIP systems we've seen, the nova architecture makes no attempt to connect to the PSTN network in order to allow those using legacy systems to join in.

All members on a nova system have to use SIP enabled phones which implement the G.722 codec (which almost all phones and softphones do). This allows people to tune into the room with full HD voice benefits. Users can shop around for various VoIP phones after going through IP PBX Phone Reviews.

The fee for setting up a nova server is $100 per month. As of now, the Nova team is clearly targeting hobbyists and they even mention that on their website. Without the capability to let regular phone users connect, they're locking out almost all their potential customer base. But according to them, their product can be properly delivered only over HD voice which necessitates just IP connections.

Additionally, the concept introduces the idea of connections being device agnostic since anyone can connect to a Nova server in one of many different ways. The concept takes some getting used to, and there's no sign of it becoming a mass product any time soon.

For business, Hosted phone PBX systems offer the best way to get Nova like functionality since conferencing can take place with both SIP based phones as well as those connected to the PSTN network with users receiving HD voice when they're able.

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