random findings by wt8008
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  • Experience with Obihai Obi110 and Google Voice

    Posted on September 22nd, 2011 wt8008 No comments

    Edit: Google will be shutting down XMPP for Google Voice in May 2014, rendering the Obihai box less useful. I will need to find a new system before then.

    I brought an Obihai Obi110 not too long ago. By connecting a normal PSTN phone to the FXS port and to the internet to the ethernet port, the Obi110 allows for VOIP on your old landline phone. The Obi110 supports up to two standard SIP providers or Google Voice. The Obi110 also has a FXO port so you can also connect your current landline to it. You can receive calls from any of the two VOIP providers or your current landline. (See block diagram.)

    Currently I setup the device to dial out over Google Voice. The second SIP provider is Onesuite used for international dialing purposes. For receiving calls, I am currently using my old landline number. Later, I will port this into a VOIP provider or to Google Voice (via T-mobile). I am going to wait and see what Google Voice does with Google Chat initiated calls, if it remains free or the per minute charges. Call out via Google Voice and receiving calls via the landline works as expected with excellent voice quality. Proper QoS settings may be needed to reduce jitter. (UDP destination port 5060 for SIP and TCP destination port 5222 for Google Talk.)

    E911

    Another issue is E911, I believe most setup with a separate VOIP provider which has this feature. For serious setups, a UPS power backup is also needed. Besides the broadband mode, router, the Obi110 itself, any wireless phones also need backup power.

    Features

    Some features which I now can have access to are caller id, voicemail indicator, and 3-way calling/call forwarding. Google Voice providers free caller id (number only), which is an expensive feature with my landline provider. With new voicemails on Google Voice, the Obi110 can signal the phone to light up the voice mail indicator. Google Voice with the Obi110 allows for 3-way calling and call forwarding from the phone by flashing the phone and dialing the destination number. Any of these features are costly extras if I used them with my landline service.

    Obihai also provides a nice web based site to setup, configure the device and status monitoring. Perhaps, you can use this to configure, setup, and maintain remote clients for family. You can setup speed dials for frequently used contacts.

    The Obi Attendant allows you to call your Obihai device and make phone calls from it by matching caller id. An application is to allow us to access our international VOIP provider via our cell phones.

    Others also setup an Asterisk PBX to do a more elaborate setup or dialing plan, but it is not necessary for me.

    Goal

    With AT&T raising landline rates and fees (disguised as taxes), it would be great to cut off the $20/mo landline bill. Although there will be some short-term hardware costs and number porting fees, it will require 3 to 6 months to become net positive.