Category Archives: VoIP

Follow-Up: Inexpensive FXO/FXS cards and Bell Canada Caller-ID

Caller-IDI promised an update on the status of the inexpensive FXO/FXS card I had ordered.

The card arrived in early May, after some very quick shipping.  The packaging was good, and the card came undamaged.  It is your typical Wildcard AEX410 card.

I mentioned trying this on VMware to see if I can virtualize it.  Well, as it turns out even vSphere 5.5 cannot use this card in VT-d mode.  The card is a PCI design, that sits behind a PCIe bridge.  That’s something VMware says will not work.  I tried a number of settings but no luck. The card would kernel panic the VM every time.

In early August, some lightning storms had the pleasure of taking out one of my trusty SPA3102’s.  These are not the most amazing VoIP gateways, but it was good for Caller-ID.  I have struggled for years looking for FXO system that will work with Bell Canada’s Caller-ID.  So far, out of all the products (AudioCodes, SPA, Grandstream, Wildcard) the only product that reads Caller-ID from Bell Canada is the SPA3102.

With the end of my trusty unit I put a physical server in to host my VoIP PBX, along with the Wildcard AEX410.  The Wildcard works just fine in that system with the same V2P (yes, Virtual to Physical!) converted system.  Since even the Wildcard will not read the Caller-ID, I have  a replacement SPA3102 daisy chained to the Wildcard FXO port.  If the power goes out, the SPA will still et the call work, which is great. So far, this combination gives me clear voice calls on the PSTN line, something the SPA itself cannot do, and I get Caller-ID.

The Wildcard works great, except, if you want Caller-ID in Canada, you will need to go with someone other than Bell Canada.

Inexpensive Asterisk FXO/FXS cards

AEX410Just a quick update to inform folks who could be looking for Asterisk compatible FXO/FXS cards that on eBay. ChinaRoby has them on for the very low price of approximately $130 US for PCI-E versions with free shipping.  The price is less than 50$ for PCI versions of the same.  Apparently there have been many others who have been getting in on this deal.  To put this into comparison, for the same card in Canada is almost $500.  So, there is a tonne of savings here.

I have two Voice gateways that are getting a little long in the tooth.  I decided it was time to spend a little to upgrade to better, hardware-based FXO/FXS solutions.  The devices I have work ok, but a lot of echo at times, even with hours and days of tuning. One device gives flawless voice but Caller-ID does not work.  The other, great Caller-ID but, tin-sounding voice quality.

I am planning to run this in a vSphere 5.5 set up with vt-d passthrough.  Here’s hoping the new card eliminates that, and two ugly power warts from my wall.  I will post an update once I get the cards and I can comment on there performance.