Monday, 19 January 2015

WebRTC - Mozilla Firefox "Hello" Tutorial


In my previous article, I introduced the recent Mozilla Firefox WebRTC feature called "Hello".

I'm intrigued with Firefox "Hello" because of how simple Firefox has made the process to create almost instant browser-to-browser voice and video calls, or conversations using its built-in ready-to-go WebRTC technology.

There are no accounts to sign-up for.  No groups to join.  No registrations required.  If you have a Mozilla Firefox web browser installed on your PC, a webcam with microphone, speakers, and/or a headset, you are good to go.  And, all calls are encrypted, by default.  So, no worries about 3rd party or man-in-the-middle conversation snooping.

In this tutorial, I will provide some step-by-step instructions of how to setup your own peer-to-peer WebRTC multimedia conversations between your Firefox browser and any other Firefox or Google Chrome WebRTC enabled browser.  So, let's get started.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

WebRTC - Mozilla Firefox Takes It To The Next Level


WebRTC is an open source project that was released by Google back in 2011.  The WebRTC project (Web Real Time Communications) is currently supported by Google, Firefox, and Opera.


WebRTC provides for direct browser-to-browser (peer-to-peer) multimedia communications without installing any 3rd party software or plugins.  That's a big deal!  All one needs to setup a Voice or Video call is a WebRTC enabled browser, a webcam with microphone, speakers, and/or headset.  And, most important is that by default, ALL calls and connections are encrypted with HTTPS protocol provided by the web browser just the same way we connect to our bank accounts with an encrypted connection.

Currently, it is my impression that WebRTC is one of the hottest growing technologies on the web and in the telecommunications industries. Literally, dozens if not hundreds of companies are working on some kind of WebRTC implementation with their own spin in an attempt to become competitive in this fast growing space.

Back in mid 2013, I posted an article about WebRTC and how I thought it would be the future of telecommunications and multimedia over the web.  I think this is still true, perhaps more so now than ever before.  In a sense, WebRTC is still in its infancy, yet growing by leaps and bounds.  I can't begin to keep up on all the happenings in the area of WebRTC developments.

Up until recently, if we wanted to initiate a direct WebRTC connection with another PC's browser, we were dependent on 3rd party web sites (acting as a kind of proxy) to setup the multimedia connection between the two browsers for us.  (Kind of like the way VoIP customers use a proxy server to setup VoIP calls.) Some examples of WebRTC enabled web sites that can do this for us are:

In this article, I want to point out one development that really intrigues me - the Mozilla Firefox "Hello" implementation.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Updating Firmware on the Grandstream DP715 IP Phone

In previous articles, I explained how to login as admin, perform a factory reset, and configure the Grandstream DP715 IP Phone with various BYOD VoIP providers. So now, it's time to cover another useful procedure:  updating the device firmware.

Knowing how to update the firmware on your VoIP phone is a very important topic.  It's not as sexy a subject as how to configure the phone with VoIP service providers (VSP's).  After all, most people just want to start making phone calls once they plug-in their shiny new VoIP box.

The fact is, most devices ship with old(er) firmware installed.  Thus, if it isn't the latest release of firmware that's installed, it's old.  Or, if your device was up to date when you first installed it, but some period of time has passed, then you will want to check with the manufacturer periodically just to see if any updates have been issued in the interim.

So, who cares?  Well, you do if you are experiencing unsolvable performance issues.  And, the reality is, all software/firmware has bugs, or performance deficiencies to some extent.  And, this is why manufacturers periodically issue firmware/software updates.  If not to fix bugs, certainly to enhance or improve device performance and the user experience.

So, let's get started with checking and updating the DP715 firmware...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Configuring Cisco SPA301 With CallCentric - Quick Guide



The Cisco SPA301 VoIP IP Phone is an affordable generation of SIP based (Session Initiation Protocol) IP Phone that is marketed towards the small business and home office user.  However, I think this could be a good starter Phone for anyone wanting to give VoIP a try.

This is a basic 1-Line IP Phone and is a great way to get started with BYOD and DIY VoIP.  The phone is an all-in-one VoIP Phone that doesn't require any other adapters.  Some people may find it a good outbound long distance calling phone due to it's lack of a call display.

In this Quick Guide, it is my intention to walk you through the basics of how to quickly (relatively speaking) configure your newly acquired SPA301 IP Phone directly with CallCentric, one of my preferred BYOD and DIY VoIP service providers.

To achieve this goal of quick and easy configuration, I will begin with the SPA301 as configured with it's factory default values as a starting point.  Then, I will only point out the essential settings that "must be edited" in order to connect and achieve reliable service registration with CallCentric.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Configuring Grandstream DP715 With CallCentric - Quick Guide



The Grandstream DP715 is a VoIP IP Phone base station with a built-in DECT wireless transceiver that comes with one cordless DECT handset, and is expandable up to 5 handsets (with model DP710 handsets).

I like the DP715 because it is a fully self-contained cordless IP Phone and doesn't require any other analog telephone devices as is required with a typical VoIP ATA ( Analog Telephone Adapter) such as Grandstream's HandyTone 286 or Cisco's SPA112.

In this Quick Guide, I will illustrate the bare bone essentials that I used to configure my DP715 IP Phone base station and its associated handset with CallCentric.

CallCentric is a BYOD and DIY VoIP Service Provider (VSP) based out of New York City, USA.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Configuring Grandstream DP715 With Voip.ms - Quick Guide



The Grandstream DP715 is a VoIP IP Phone base station with a built-in DECT wireless transceiver that comes with one cordless DECT handset, and is expandable up to 5 handsets.

I like the DP715 because it is a fully self-contained cordless IP Phone and doesn't require any other analog telephone devices as is required with a typical VoIP ATA ( Analog Telephone Adapter) such as Grandstream's HandyTone 286 or Cisco's SPA112.

In this Quick Guide, I will illustrate the bare bone essentials that I used to configure my DP715 IP Phone base station and its associated handset with Voip.ms.

Voip.ms is a Canadian based BYOD and DIY VoIP Service Provider (VSP) with PoP proxy servers (Points of Presence) across Canada and the USA.

How To Factory Reset The Grandstream DP715 IP Phone


There can be various reasons as to why someone may want to perform a factory reset.  However, I make it a practice to perform factory resets on any new VoIP ATA or IP Phone device before configuring it with a new or different VSP (VoIP Service Provider).

Why?  Because this is the only way I can be sure that there are no surprises either via corrupted settings or previous configuration setting changes that may or may not cause unknown problems when setting up a new or different VSP on the device.  It's just a good way to insure we are all starting from the same reference point.

Performing a factory reset on the Grandstream DP715 is a very quick and easy function to perform.  Once completed, we are then assured that we only need to change a few essential non-default settings required to configure the phone with a VSP of your choice.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

How To Login To The Grandstream DP715 As Administrator

I recently purchased my first Grandstream VoIP device:  the DP715 DECT Cordless IP Phone. And of course, the first thing we all need to know about configuring a DIY VoIP phone is - how to login.

Logging into the Grandstream DP715 VoIP IP Phone base unit is accomplished via your PC and web browser.   All you really need to know in order to login to the DP715 is the IP address assigned to it by your router's DHCP server and the IP Phone's Administrator Password.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

How To Configure Cisco SPA301 With Voip.ms - Quick Guide



The Cisco SPA301 VoIP IP Phone is an affordable generation of SIP based (Session Initiation Protocol) IP Phone that is focused towards the small business and home office user.  However, I think this could be a good starter Phone for anyone wanting to give VoIP a try.

This is a basic 1-Line IP Phone and is a great way to get started with BYOD and DIY VoIP.  The phone is an all-in-one VoIP Phone that doesn't require any other adapters.  Some people may find it a good outbound long distance calling phone due to it's lack of a call display.

In this Quick Guide, it is my intention to walk you through the basics of how to quickly (relatively speaking) configure your newly acquired SPA301 directly with Voip.ms, one of my preferred BYOD and DIY VoIP service providers.

To achieve this goal of quick and easy configuration, I will begin with the SPA301 as configured with it's factory default values as a starting point.  Then, I will only point out the essential settings that "must be edited" in order to connect and achieve reliable service registration with Voip.ms.

How to Update Firmware in the Cisco SPA301 IP Phone

I can't think of a time when I purchased a new VoIP ATA or IP-Phone that didn't need to be upgraded to the latest firmware version.  When you purchase a new VoIP adapter, expect and plan to upgrade the firmware version before proceeding to configuring your phone with your favorite BYOD VoIP provider.

I just purchased my new SPA301 in April, 2014.  As of this date, the latest firmware available for download on Cisco's web site is version 7.5.5, which was released in June, 2013.  However, my new phone came with FW version 7.5.2 installed, which was released almost two years ago in July, 2012.  It definitely needs an upgrade.

In the following procedures, I will explain how to download and install the latest firmware version into your Cisco SPA301 IP-Phone.

How To Factory Reset The Cisco SPA301 IP Phone


Performing a Factory Reset is an important procedure for when you want to make sure you have a clean and fresh start before you begin configuring your VoIP IP-Phone from scratch.

I will always recommend that you perform a factory reset on your VoIP device before proceeding with my VoIP configuration procedures.  This is good practice to ensure that all settings are initialized to their factory set values.  This will avoid the pitfalls of trying to configure your VoIP device with a new service and not being aware of previously set values that may conflict with your new service provider settings.

How To Login To The Cisco SPA301 IP Phone As Administrator


For new unlocked phones, there are no passwords assigned to the Cisco SPA301, by default.  By default, the SPA301 IP Phone will allow you to access all the Basic, Advanced, and Administrative settings without password access.  However, once you have configured your IP Phone, it is always a good practice to set a secure admin password to protect your configuration settings.

Monday, 25 November 2013

DIY VoIP Isn't For Everyone


Why Do People Want VoIP? 
The main reason people typically make the transition to VoIP is.... to save money, of course.  That is why I started playing with DIY VoIP many years ago.  We've all felt a bit taken advantage of by the incumbent Ma Bell type Telco's when we received those big phone bills each month.  Who in their right mind wouldn't want to save 50 to 75% on their monthly phone bills?  These days, VoIP seems like a no-brainer way to go.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Voip.ms Now Supporting +888 U.N. OCHA Disaster Relief Call Routing



Today, Voip.ms has informed me that they have now implemented and are supporting +888 international disaster relief call routing.  Voip.ms is now among a growing number of VoIP service providers facilitating world-wide emergency communications by routing +888 calls over the IP networks riding on the backbone of iNum and Voxbone IP communications network, for free or very low cost.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Global Disaster Relief Communications Essential for United Nations OCHA Teams

Major disasters like the recent Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is another one of the many global disasters that sets the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) into action.

Reports like this one posted on OCHA's reliefweb site indicates 1200 people are feared dead as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.  Another reliefweb report indicates that cities like Tacloban have no food, water, or electricity.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

WebRTC - Is This the Future Of VoIP?

It was almost ten years ago when I started dabbling with the first PC-based IP-Telephony services; some of which I can't even recall their names.  This was perhaps around, or even before Skype was born.  Back then, if I used the term "VoIP", almost no one knew what I was talking about.  I had to spell it out:  "Voice Over Internet Protocol".  Even then, many people didn't know what it was without a full explanation. Now, everyone knows about VoIP, and large portions of society are using it on a daily basis at home, work, and on the go with their smartphones and tablets.

So, here I am ten years later and now I'm hearing a lot of commotion about a new kid on the block known as WebRTC.  Now days, because we are all Internet savvy, the word about anything new spreads fast. And, from what I'm seeing and reading, the news about WebRTC is spreading like wildfire.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Manually Configure Voip.ms on the OBi100 VoIP ATA - Quick Setup


In this article, I will walk you through the basics of how to quickly (relatively speaking) manually configure your shiny new Obihai OBi100 ATA directly with Voip.ms, a well known BYOD VoIP Service Provider (VSP) with proxy servers in both the USA and Canada.

To achieve the goal of a quick and reliable setup, I will recommend that the ATA be initially "factory reset" to it's default values (this way, we're starting on the same page, literally).  Then, I will point out only the essential settings that "must be edited" manually, in order to connect and achieve service registration with the Voip.ms servers.

Manually Configure CallCentric on the OBi100 VoIP ATA - Quick Setup



In this article, I will walk you through the basics of how to quickly (relatively speaking) configure your shiny new Obihai OBi100 ATA directly with CallCentric, a well known BYOD VoIP Service Provider (VSP) based in New York, USA.

To achieve the goal of a quick and reliable setup, I will recommend that the ATA be initially "factory reset" to it's default values (this way, we're starting on the same page, literally).  Then, I will point out only the essential settings that "must be edited" manually, in order to connect and achieve service registration with the CallCentric proxy servers.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Free Obihai World-Wide In-Network Phone Calling Using the OBi100 VoIP ATA


The Obihai line of VoIP ATA's (Analog Telephone Adapters) have a very unique feature which allows you to call directly from one OBi ATA to any other OBi ATA, for free, with zero configuration.  And, this is just one of three powerful service options that make the OBi line of ATA's attractive, from my perspective.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Obihai OBi100 - How To Update Firmware - Manually

Knowing how to update the firmware on your VoIP ATA is a very important topic.  It's not as sexy a subject as how to configure the ATA with VoIP service providers (VSP's) or Google Voice.  After all, most people just want to start making phone calls once they plug-in their shiny new VoIP box.

The fact is, most ATA's ship with old(er) firmware installed.  Thus, if it isn't the latest release of firmware that's installed, it's old.

So, who cares?  Well, you do if you are experiencing unsolvable performance issues.  And, the reality is, all software/firmware has bugs, or performance deficiencies.  And, this is why manufacturers periodically issue firmware/software updates.  If not to fix bugs, certainly to enhance or improve device performance and the user experience.

So, let's get started with checking and updating the OBi100 firmware...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Obihai OB100 - Backup - Restore Procedures


Being able to backup and restore your OBi100 VoIP ATA configuration settings is an invaluable tool.  Performing a configuration backup or restore procedure is a strait forward and simple process on the OBi100. While the OBi100 can perform two types of backup operations:
  1. System and service provider settings backups.
  2. Auto Attendant backups
this tutorial will only focus on method one (1.) above.

So, I'll get right to it.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Obihai OBi100 - How To Reset/Restore Factory Defaults


In this article, I will outline three methods you can choose from in order to perform a System Restore to Factory Defaults.

Once in a blue moon, you may feel the urge to restore your Obihai OBi100 VoIP ATA to its factory set default values.  I can only speculate as to what might bring these feeling on.  Whatever your reasons, I explain below how to do it.

Why Perform A System Factory Restore? 
  1. Your ATA is plagued with mysterious problems that don't seem to be resolved by a simple system restart/reboot procedure.
  2. You suspect the mysterious performance issues may possibly be caused by a configuration settings corruption.
  3. You have been doing lots of fiddling around with configuration settings and can't remember what the default values were way back when you first bought your shiny new ATA.
  4. Other reasons I haven't thought of yet...
Whatever the reasons may be, sometimes there is nothing like a fresh new start in life.  And, that goes for VoIP telephone adapters, too.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Obihai OBi100 - How to Login as Administrator


I'm writing this article to help clarify the requirements needed to locally log into the OBihai OBi100 VoIP ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) from your local LAN network.  As well, in future articles when I need to refer to logging into the OBi100 ATA, I will just refer to this article for the instructions on how to do so, rather than repeating the same information for each article that requires administrator login access as part of a procedure.

I have also included instructions for performing a factory reset for situations where you may have forgotten your custom set administrator password.  And, I have included instructions on how to set the IVR phone system access password, in case you find that of any use.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Google Pulls Plug on Free iNum +883 Calling

In June of 2012, I reported that Google was finally allowing direct and free routing of calls, from Gmail, to numbers in the Voxbone hosted iNum +883 network.  I considered that to be a great initiative on the part of Google and their support for the iNum initiative.

I often made calls to the iNum Echo Test number at +883-5100-0000-0091 from my Gmail accounts just to test that everything is working AOK.  As well, I also have iNum numbers with Voip.ms, CallCentric, and Spout Canada (thespout.ca).  I also often call the iNum Echo Test number through them for testing, too.

Well, today I tried to call the iNum Echo Test number via one of my Google Apps Gmail accounts and the calls failed.  The error message indicated that I didn't have sufficient calling credits to call this destination (+883-5100-0000-0091).  "Sorry! You do not have enough credit to make this call. Add credit."

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Configuring Cisco SPA122 For Bridge Mode



By default, the SPA122 VoIP ATA is configured to function as a NAT-Router and DHCP server.  This allows the SPA122 to act as a suitable Internet gateway device for your local home or small office network.

However, there may be times when you don't need or want to use the SPA122 in NAT DHCP server mode.  For example, if you will be using the SPA122 behind an existing NAT-Router, you will likely be better off disabling the NAT functionality within the SPA122 ATA.  In which case, you will change its Network Service Mode from NAT to Bridge.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Cisco SPA122 VoIP ATA - How to Update Firmware


Updating firmware in the Cisco SPA122 VoIP ATA is exactly the same procedure as with the Cisco SPA112 VoIP ATA.  After all, they both use the same common firmware versions and .bin files; and thus, all common functions work the same on both ATA's.... even the firmware upgrade  procedure.

Cisco SPA122 - How To Login As Administrator


For the most part, the Cisco SPA122 VoIP ATA, with built-in NAT-Router, is very much the same as the SPA112 ATA (but, without the NAT-Router).  They even share the same firmware (router features turned on, or off).  So, it's not surprising that all their common features function exactly the same - including logging in.


I've already written an article on "Cisco SPA112 - How To Login As Administrator".  And, if you read that article, you will have most of the information that you need to know about logging into the SPA122.  However, there are a couple of differences worth pointing out.  Thus, I will only highlight the details and connections that distinguishes the login similarities and differences between the SPA112 and SPA122 ATA's.

Cisco SPA112 - SPA122 VoIP ATA - What's the Difference?


Last year, Cisco obsoleted the well known PAP2T and SPA2102 VoIP ATA's and has since replaced them with the next generation of VoIP adapters: the SPA112 and SPA122.

In actuality, there are more similarities than differences between these two VoIP boxes.

So, with that in mind, I'm not going to waste time and space here comparing item for item specifications. You can do that on Cisco's product web site.   My objective here is to briefly point out only their significant differences (and similarities) and why you might choose one over the other.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Configuring Cisco SPA112 ATA With Voip.ms - Quick Guide


In this article, I will walk you through the basics of how to quickly configure (relatively speaking) your Cisco SPA112 ATA for connecting directly with Voip.ms.  They are a SIP-based VSP (VoIP Service Provider) that offers BYOD and DIY  SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) connectivity.  Voip.ms has POP servers (Points of Presence) throughout the USA and Canada.

In order to keep this configuration guide straight forward and simple, I will begin with the ATA preconfigured with it's factory default values;  and, I'm recommending other users do the same.

Then, I will point out only the essential settings that "must be edited" in order to connect, achieve service registration, and a dial-tone  with Voip.ms VoIP service.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Configuring SPA112 With CallCentric - Quick Guide


In this article, it is my intention to walk you through the basics of how to quickly configure (relatively speaking) your shiny new SPA112 ATA for connecting directly with CallCentric.  They are a SIP-based VSP (VoIP Service Provider) that offers BYOD and DIY connectivity.  I've used CallCentric for years with good results.

With the aim of keeping this article straight forward and simple, I am starting with the ATA configured with it's factory default values;  and, I'm recommending other users do the same.

Then, I will point out only the essential settings that "must be edited" in order to connect and achieve service registration with CallCentric.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Configuring Cisco SPA112 VoIP ATA From Scratch - The Basics


The Cisco SPA112 VoIP ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) is the next generation SIP based (Session Initiation Protocol) ATA that replaces the Linksys PAP2T.

In this article, it is my intention to walk you through the basics of how to quickly (relatively speaking) configure your shiny new SPA112 ATA directly with most any cloud SIP-based VSP (VoIP Service Provider) that offers BYOD and DIY connectivity.

To achieve this goal, I will be using the ATA as configured with it's factory default values.  Then, I will point out only the essential settings (typically) that "must be edited" in order to connect and achieve service registration with your favorite BYOD DIY VSP.

Cisco SPA112 - Quick Setup Page - Good Idea - Poor Implementation


The Cisco SPA112 is the successor of the Cisco-Linksys PAP2T analog telephone adapter (ATA).  The SPA112 does have a few feature enhancements that weren't available in the PAP2T.  Among those enhancements is the Quick Setup feature.

I started this blog page with enthusiasm and the impression that Cisco really did it right this time with the implementation of the Quick Setup page.  I thought to myself, "this will make for a great article to explain how to quickly configure the SPA112 ATA from scratch, in just a few minutes, without having to sift through all the mountains of configuration data, like in the past".   I was wrong.

Cisco SPA112 VoIP ATA - How to Update Firmware

Knowing how to update the firmware on your VoIP ATA is a very important topic.  It's not as sexy a subject as how to configure the ATA with VoIP service providers (VSP's).  After all, most people just want to start making phone calls once they plug-in their shiny new VoIP box.

The fact is, most ATA's ship with old(er) firmware installed.  If it isn't the latest release of firmware for the product that's installed, it's old.  Actually, I was astonished to find that the firmware installed on my recent shiny new Cisco SPA112 ATA was version 1.0.2.006 - released 14 Dec, 2011.  When I checked to see what the latest released version was on Cisco's web site, I saw that it was version 1.3.1(003) - released 10 January, 2013.  That means my ATA was shipped with firmware ~ 13 months out-dated.  And, there have been 3 version updates since it was manufactured.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cisco SPA112 - Backup - Restore Configuration Settings

Being able to backup your configuration settings is an invaluable tool.

The predecessors of the SPA112 VoIP ATA  (i.e. the PAP2T) did not have this built-in function.  So, I'm happy to discover that Cisco finally did the right thing this time around.

Performing the Configuration Backup and Restored procedure is now a strait forward and simple process on the SPA112.  So, I'll get right to it.

Cisco SPA112 - How to Restore to Factory Defaults

In this article, I will outline three methods by which you can choose from in order to perform a System Restore to Factory Defaults.

Once in a blue moon, you may feel the urge to restore your Cisco SPA112 VoIP ATA to its factory set default values.  I can only speculate as to what might bring these feeling on:
  1. Your ATA is plagued with mysterious problems that don't seem to be resolved by a simple system restart/reboot procedure.
  2. You suspect the mysterious performance issues could possibly be caused by a configuration settings corruption.
  3. You have been doing lots of fiddling around with configuration settings and can't remember what the default values were way back when you first bought your shiny new ATA.
  4. Other reasons I haven't thought of yet...
Whatever the reasons may be, sometimes there is nothing like a fresh new start in life.  And, that goes for VoIP telephone adapters, too.