Thursday, 29 December 2011

3CXPhone 6.0 SoftPhone - Installation - Configuration

When it comes to BYOD user-configurable softphones, the 3CXPhone SIP VoIP Phone has been my top pick for the past few years, now.

3CX Corp. has recently upgraded their VoIP Phone from version 5 to version 6.0.  This article outlines the process and procedures I used for downloading, installing, and configuring version 6.0 on my Windows 7 SP1 desktop.

Besides the fact that the 3CXPhone just works and doesn't crash like some of the other well known brand of softphones, the 3CXPhone VoIP Phone is FREE.

In this tutorial, I will focus on how to install and configure the 3CXPhone with CallCentric VoIP service, which I myself use.


I'll begin by downloading the Windows version directly from the 3CX website.  It's a 13.6 MB installer file.  The specific build version I will be using for this tutorial is Version:  6.0.20943.0 .  The correct download link may not be obvious on their web site.

Note:  (Update March 2015)
 3CX Corp. no longer promotes this version 6 phone.  But, as long as the download link works, it is a reliable stand-alone softphone for direct connection to your preferred BYOD VoIP service.

The file name of the installer file is:  3CXPhone6.msi (download directly from this link).
( www.3cx.com/downloads/3CXPhone6.msi )

Once downloaded, start and run the installer file to begin the installation:

 

Once the Installer runs, it will start the 3CXPhone Setup Wizard.

Click Next to start the Wizard.            Accept the License Agreement. Click Next:

 

Accept, or move, the Installation Folder file path default.
    Click Next                                           Click Install

 

Installing...                                                Click Finish

 

That's it.  The whole process actually takes less than 1 minute.
Click FINISH and Launch the 3CXPhone.

Security Warning - Some users may have security software that may pop-up a warning the first time the 3CXPhone is run.  This happens so you can validate that this is a new software application that needs your approval before running and allowing to connect to the Internet.

The first time the 3CXPhone is launched, it may present you with a "No SIP Profile found" message, or "No Active Accounts Configured" and "Not Set" status on the phone.

In my case, I upgraded from an earlier version.  Even though I uninstalled the previous version, the un-installation did not remove the previous account configuration settings. This is very useful for people like me who just want to uninstall to upgrade without losing previous account registration settings and phone books.

However, if this is the very first time 3CXPhone has been installed on your PC, you will likely see the following pop-up message:


At this point, you would typically click on the "Create Profile" button.
This will Open the "Accounts - Manage SIP Accounts" window.



However, for the purpose of this tutorial, I'm going to suggest that you click on the "Cancel" button, for now.  (We will configure the CallCentric account later.)

At this point, because there are no VoIP accounts configured, as yet, you will likely see the "No active accounts configured" message on the 3CXPhone screen:

  

 Click on the "Options" button.   This will open the MAIN MENU window on the phone.

Before setting up VoIP Accounts, I'm going to suggest some "essential" Preferences settings first.  Without making the following suggested Preferences settings, your VoIP calls likely won't work properly.

 

Click on "Preferences" icon.                        -  Default - Preferences -

Be sure to select your preferred Sound Devices for the Microphone input and Speaker output, as well as Ringing device.


It is always recommended to use a headset with built-in microphone, for best results.
In my case, I selected my Plantronics USB DSP headset:

If you will only be using pure VoIP like me (for now anyway), then you can disable Video functionality.

General Network Settings:


RTP Ports:
This is a very important setting to consider.

The default setting of 40000 - 40019 is apparently for the 3CX IP-PBX system.  However, most WAN side SIP VoIP services (to my knowledge) use RTP ports in the 10000-20000 range.  This is the case for CallCentric.  Keeping in mind, whatever you set here may also need to be Port Forwarded or Port Triggered to pass through your NAT-Router Firewall.  (I myself use Port Triggering on my routers.)

I'm using the RTP range of 16384 - 16538 which is what my NAT-Router is already set to trigger on, and is also the range my Cisco SPA504G IP-Phone and SPA2102-NA ATA use.

By default, the 3CXPhone is set to use Any Local Port.  The screen capture above shows port 5070 (greyed out) as a default local port, I'm presuming this is the SIP ports setting.  SIP ports commonly use the range between 5060-5070.  You can leave the default setting set to Any, or try setting it to 5060. (Be sure your router is forwarding or triggering on this port, or range value.)

When finished, click the OK button to save your settings.

Once you have completed configuring the "Preferences" page, it is now time to configure the CallCentric Proxy and Log-in credentials into the "Accounts" page - Manage SIP Accounts.  This is where you create your 1st SIP VoIP provider Profile.

   

When you click on "New", you will see the following default Account Settings window:

 

In this tutorial, I will be configuring the Account Settings Profile for CallCentric.

Account Settings Summary:
Set the Account Name as "CallCentric" (or, whatever you like).
Set the Caller-ID value as your CallCentric account number (i.e. 1777xxxxxxx).
In the Credentials section, make the following settings:

     Extension:  1777xxxxxxx  (set to your 11-digit CallCentric account number)
     ID:              1777xxxxxxx  (also, set to your 11-digit CallCentric account number)
     Password:   Set to match your CallCentric account login PW (or SIP login, if set different)

Set My Location to be:  "I am out of the office - external IP"
Enable:  "Use Outbound Proxy Server"

Enter the name of the Outbound Proxy Server as:  callcentric.com

Click on the "Advanced Settings" button (lower left-hand corner of Account Settings window).
The following are the Default settings of the Advanced settings dialog box:


The only change (or addition) here is to set your Voice Mail access code.  For CallCentric, the Voice Mail access code is "*123".


As far as codec settings go, PCMU is the equivalent of G.711u, which will give you the best audio quality.  If you have bandwidth issues, you could move GSM up to the top of the list as the first choice codec.  This would lower your bandwidth usage (and lower your voice quality).

Using RFC2833 DTMF Support is typically the best option for DTMF handling.  However, you can change to "Support INBAND DTMF" if using PCMU (G.711u), but not while using GSM codec.  As well, I do not recommend enabling more than one DTMF handling option at a time.

The 3CXPhone utilizes a STUN server to help with NAT-Router traversal.  It defaults to stun.3cx.com, which should be fine.  (Keep in mind STUN utilizes port 3478.  You may want to Port Forward or Trigger your Firewall to include port 3478.... if you have connection/registration problems.


Click OK button to accept all changes to the Account Advanced Settings window.
This returns you back to the Manage SIP Accounts window.


Click OK button at bottom of Accounts - Manage SIP Accounts page.

At this point, the 3CXPhone will attempt to register with the CallCentric.com proxy servers.
If all settings were made correct, and if your firewall(s) aren't blocking any ports, the phone should successfully register and appear as follows:


If you see the "On Hook" status message just below the 3CX logo, you are all set and ready to make test calls!!!

Making Test Calls
Ok, now it's time for the big test..... making a call.
You can dial by clicking on the phones keypads with your mouse, or just type the numbers directly from your PC keyboard.

CallCentric does have a test number to call for call testing.   It's the TellMe Information Services.
TellMe can be accessed by dialing the following CallCentric in-network number:   17771234567
This number is free to call, as all in-network calls are.

The numbers dialed are transmitted by clicking on the "Green" phone icon at the bottom center of the phone, or just by pressing the Enter key on your PC keyboard.  (The phone icon is normally grey... until you begin entering numbers, and then the icon changes to Green.  Once in a call, the icon changes to Red.  Clicking the Red icon will disconnect the call.)


You can also test the phone by calling your CallCentric Voice Mail.  A Voice Mail box is free with CallCentric accounts, but you do need to order it just the same as ordering any other add-on service (like a phone number), but for Voice Mail, there is no charge to order, or to use.

Once your Voice Mail is activated (through your online account dashboard when you order it), just Dial:   *123 from the3CXPhone and you will be greeted by the Voice Mail IVR system.  You can also Quick-Dial your voice mail by clicking on theVoice Mail icon located in the lower-right corner of the phone (envelope icon).

Of course, to make test calls to landlines and cell phones, you will need to have prepaid calling credits available in your account.


Free Calls to iNums:
CallCentric supports free calling to global iNum numbers (+883 country code).
I will provide a couple numbers you can dial for testing:
+883510000000093 (announces back your Caller-ID, provided by iNum.net)
+883510000000091 (Echo Test provided by iNum.net)
Note:  the "+" can be replaced with 00 or 011 when dialing from North America.


To END you calls, just click on the RED phone button, during a call.

Free SIP Calling:
CallCentric supports free SIP URI dialing between VoIP peering networks.
To dial SIP numbers from the 3CXPhone, enter the full URI address of the SIP number using your PC keyboard.  This latest version of 3CXPhone does not seem to require preceeding the number with "sip:".

I have provided a few SIP URI numbers for testing (all free calls):

200901@login.zipdx.com  (VUC-VoIP Users Conference - Listen to live conference - Fridays 12 PM EST
883510012394882@inum.net  (VUC - VoIP Users Conference via iNum)
301@proxy.ideasip.com    (Echo Test)
8355@proxy.ideasip.com  (TellMe Information)
8463@proxy.ideasip.com  (Time Announcement EST)
music@iptel.org  (music)

Notes:
You can easily test the above SIP URI numbers by selecting any number with your PC mouse, then copy with Right-Click-Copy, or pressing the PC keys CTL-C.  Then, just Paste the selection onto the 3CXPhone screen by Left-Clicking on the 3CXPhone screen icon and then Paste the number by pressing your PC keys: CTL-V.  Then click the green phone icon to dial the pasted number.

Troubleshooting
If you have set everything up correctly, this softphone should work very well.  The usual problems encountered are typically:

  • Incorrectly entering your CallCentric registration information (1777xxxxxxx 11-digit number, password, server, and proxy server)
  • Firewall issues.  Port blocking by your Nat-Router and/or your PC Firewall (or anti-virus program) are most common issues.
  • And, of course getting your Audio devices to be recognized and set for the phone.
I hope the 3CXPhone works as well for you with CallCentric as it does for me.

UPDATE:
As of September 15, 2012, the latest incremental version of 3CXPhone6.msi is:
Version 6.0.26523.0
I'm not sure what the differences are with this version update.  I can only assume it is bug fixes and/or quality refinements.