Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Review: netTalk Duo WiFi

Trends are suggesting that now more than ever people are opting to cut the cords from their traditional telephone services in favor of mobile phones or VoIP devices. By way of its well advertised TV commercials, magicJack is likely one of the best-known USB VoIP devices on the market today. However there are several alternatives including one we previously reviewed, the netTalk Duo.

Looking to step-up its game a little further neTalk recently introduced the new netTalk Duo WiFi. Similar to the netTALK DUO the new netTALK DUO WiFi allows a user to use a traditional handset to make telephone calls (even international calls) through their current internet connection. Much like the DUO the new DUO WiFi allows a user to establish a connection without the need of a computer as it has the option to connect directly to your router via RJ-45 network connections and now thanks to the addition of WiFi support you can connect directly to any existing WiFi network wirelessly.

  • Complete Plug and play compatibly via Ethernet port
  • WiFi enabled (not sure if its Wireless N compatible or not) Works anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection
  • 1 x RJ-11 port (telephone), 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port, 1 x Mini USB to PC or Power port
  • Free calling to the US & Canada or DUO to DUO
  • No computer needed / No contracts / No monthly bills
  • Low cost international calling rates
  • First year of service is included. $29.95 each additional year
  • Live US-based technical support and personalized customer service
  • Free 411 directory assistance, Enhanced 911, visual voice-mail, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, conference and video calling, conference bridge, and fax friendly

Standard netTalk Duo WiFi Setup

neTtalk has recently officially released the Duo Wifi and improved some of the setup as well as the setup guide. Here are a few links our readers might need:

Just like our review of the netTALK DUO setup via wired Ethernet port really is just as simple as plug and play. You shouldn't need to open any ports on your firewall or make any changes at all. Plug the adapter into one of the open ports on your router, wait a few minutes for the blinking orange light to turn green and your device should be ready to go. All you need to do then is log onto the NetTalk site and register the device and you'll be ready to make phone calls.

If you choose to connect the adapter to your PC you'll need to do download the USB drivers. Once downloaded and installed you connect the device and again wait for it to sync and the lights to turn green. Once you register your device you should be up and running and you should be ready to go.

Wireless setup for the netTalk Duo WiFi

For wireless setup you will need a PC in order to make the needed changes and select the appropriate wireless network!

Update 4/04/2012: Following our initial review we received a bit of tech support that helped us get the ball rolling. For starters I should note that the instruction we were given were "pre-release" and are still being revised, so they weren't entirely accurate.

NetTalk has since sent us the latest netTalk Duo WiFi FAQ's (PDF) which gave us more accurate instructions. They have also updated the installer for the WiFi management tool to include the USB drivers. With these new drivers we were able to get almost everything working correctly. We still can't use WPA2 encryption but we did get WPA working.

Since the Duo WiFi still isn't widely available and netTalk is still working on the kinks we will continue to update our post and work on getting everything running smoothly. So please check back often as we'll have more details to follow!

Wireless setup for us wasn't working well. I'm not sure if it was the security settings on our Linksys E4200, the Duo WiFi or a combination of both but we ran into nothing but issues. To make things worse the early draft of the setup instructions we were given gave us some information I'm not sure was accurate. For starters the rough draft of the instructions we received detailed setting up the adapter via USB. When we tried this we could not get the device to sync to the netTalk servers at all! Either the Duo WiFi management tool doesn't have the needed drivers or there was a step missing in the rough draft that we couldn't find.

We tried downloading and installing the older drivers and not even that worked. So we went ahead and followed the instructions given one the Duo WiFi Management page. This involved connecting directly to the router and running the WiFi tools, which still wasn't working well. The netTALK DUO WiFi did not automatically detect any networks in the area (even though there are several), so we had to go through the manual setup process. Even though I entered all the correct information, SSID and password, upon attempting to reconnect via wireless the adapter wouldn't connect. It wasn't until I turned security off on our router that we were able to get it to sync up correctly.

I tried a few different settings on the router and a few on the DUO WiFi and still we couldn't get things to work right. This might be a case of user error, a setting we are simply overlooking or something else. At this point we really aren't certain.

netTALK DUO WiFi call quality and features

The netTALK service hasn't changed much, if any at all since our previous review so I'm not going to spend much time here. The call quality even on the few international calls I've made was quite good. There was no echoing or background noise, nothing noticeable that would make you think you were on anything but a standard land line. With the netTalk service I've never experienced issues with dropped or missed calls and with the netTalk Duo WiFi I never noticed issues with dropping connectivity.

For features nothing has changed except for the addition of WiFi of course! So you can expect all your basic services like: Caller ID, call waiting, 411 directory assistance, Enhanced 911 and voice-mail. The device is also fax friendly for those that still need that option.

netTALK offers the following calling plans for the netTALK DUO and netTALK DUO WiFi (prices do not include tax):
  • Basic Call Plan: Free calling to US and Canada; one full year included FREE with netTALK DUO and netTALK DUO WiFi and just $29.95 for each additional year
  • North America Add-On: Unlimited calling to the US, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico as low as $5.99 per month
  • International Add-On: Calling to 60 countries, including China, India, Brazil, UK, France, and more for as low as $9.99 per month

The netTALK DUO WiFi will be priced at $64.95 and will be available in 1,600-plus Target stores across the country starting in early April.


  1. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Curious to see if you had any issues connecting the netTalk Duo WiFi directly wired into the E4200. My wired connection works initially, but then it loses its signal after about an hour or so. Any thoughts? BTW, I was also unable to get the WiFi connection to work (same issue with being unable to see secure networks).

    1. I actually had no issues at all with the wired connection. Everything has worked just fine there. It was only getting the connection setup via wireless that wasn't working right. NetTalk support said they might need to upgrade the firmware on our device. To do that you'll need to contact support and give them the mac address.

  2. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Thanks, I'll check in with NetTalk support next. I thought I had it figured out last night by upgrading the E4200 firmware to v1.0.04 (Build 11)and then tweaking the SIP ALG, UPnP, and QoS settings, but I lost the connection by the morning.

  3. Nettalk worked for me through my router, but Nettalk is not unlimited, they only give you 3000 minutes a month, and then your phone is shut off! That's 3000 minutes incoming and outgoing combined!!! Deceptive advertising!!!

    1. Hmm I never noticed that before. But I guess it does say that in the TOS

  4. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Thanks for mentioning the issue with WPA2, on my Airport extreme I dropped down to WPA and now I get a dial tone via the wireless network.
    In the short time I've had the NetTalk Duo WiFI (24 hrs) I had no issue with the wire connection, but I was unable until now to get the wireless to connect.

    1. I was originally told the device might need a firmware update. I couldn't find a manual way to do this but support told me you'll have to have the device connected to the net, then contact NetTalk support with your MAC address and they can push out the update.

    2. Richard: I have gone through the WIFI connection issues. My connection ts now working perfectly except that it drops out every 24 hours requiring power off power on reboot. I am told that a firmware update 4.66 from 4.58 is needed to correct this. NetTalk Techs haven't had any luck with that yet. For now I'm using a digital AC timer to handle the daily reboots.


  5. If you have the issue the nettalk duo wifi is connected to the system only for a few hours and never connects again only if you remove the power connection (usb) and replug, then you need a firmware update. Unfortunately you cannot do it yourself, you need to call the support. It could be a loooooong wait, I waited for more than 90 minutes, but after that the support guy was nice, and he knew the problem and how to fix immediately. He called me back on my mobile and made sure the update was successful.
    Now I'm testing if it resolved the issue.
    There is an option to create a "ticket" by email, may be it is worth to give it a try to ask for a fw update, so you don't need to wait on the phone.

    1. I thought my little missive was quite helpful and innocuous. I guess it didn't pass the sniff test.

  6. It is so good to see that everyone's issues have been resolved. This certainly makes me feel better about choosing NetTalk.


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