Category Archives: UC&C

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.

Cisco 7960 & Asterisk – This is what IP telephony should be!

Folks who know me will understand I have this passion for most technology items that are either telephony or network related.  This goes back to my youth where I was enamored by the magic of 2400 baud modems and BBS’s.   It is also one of the reasons I went to work for Nortel for so many years.

 

For the past 2 years I have been running my own IP PBX using Asterisk and a combination of interesting telephony devices to make and receive PSTN calls.  I have been using a Bluetooth headset for work-related calls, but, after having my 3rd headset die in under two years, its clear they are not meant to be daily drivers.  So, I went out and picked up one of the IP phone products that my customers use quite frequently.  The Cisco 7960 IP Phone.

 

Yes, I am a HP guy, and I tried to get one of the HP 41xx series phones, but, no dice.  The HP products are great, they just require the use of MS Lync 2010.  While I do support Lync here, in an effort to have a wrking phone for work I went with the Cisco eBay route.  For $100 including the power brick, I have a almost new phone on my desk.

 

The difference between this IP phone and my other ATA’s and softphones is clear.  Not only did the phone require less than an hour to get running in SIP mode, I have had people comment on the quality of the sound in both speakerphone and handset modes.  The sound is clean, clear and crisp.  I usually had some complaints of echo, not so with the Cisco phone.

 

Using Endpoint Manager in Asterisk and FreePBX made getting the phone up and running in a cinch.  I already had all of the SIP firmwares for the 79xx series, so it was just grab and go.  Only had to change the extension to “nat=no” and viola the phone registered no problem.

 

My only complaint so far.. no backlight!  I do wish the screen had that, and more expensive phones do have the feature, but for $100 I’m not going to complain.

 

All in all, this is what IP telephony should be.  Simple, and easy to use!