Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Manually Configure Flowroute In Obihai OBi200

In this article, I will walk you through the basics of how to configure your Obihai OBi200 directly with Flowroute, a well established and reputable BYOD DIY VoIP Service Provider based out of Seattle, Washington.  

I myself am using Flowroute.  While at the time of this article I have only been using them for just under a year, I am quickly considering moving them up to my "primary" VoIP service provider status, which means Voip.ms would then become my number two alternate/back-up provider, and CallCentric will remain my number three alternate.

Flowroute is a no-frills VoIP service provider.  They mostly appeal to companies that have their own IP-PBX's to connect to their VoIP SIP trunk service.  I have chosen to use them for myself because they offer a high quality service at rock-bottom prices.  And, they went out of their way to supply me with DID phone numbers for my area in which I live, when they previously did not have any in stock (i.e. Kelowna, BC, Canada).  They may also appeal to other BYOD DIY VoIP users who don't require the extra cloud PBX type frills that others may offer.

The OBi200 is a feature-rich Voice Bridge/VoIP Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) capable of simultaneously registering with up to 4 VoIP service providers, plus the OBiTalk proprietary network.  So in essence, the OBi200 is capable of making and receiving phone calls via any of 5 VoIP service networks from this one tiny little box (2.9" x 2.9").  

While only equipped with a single FXS RJ-11 analog telephone jack, the OBi200 is capable of directing all inbound calls from any of the 4 configured ITSP VoIP services (and the OBiTalk network) to the one single FXS phone jack.  As well, it can also make outbound calls via the same set of 4 configured VoIP service providers and OBiTalk network via the same FXS phone jack.  The OBi200 has many more talents for which I don't have space to cover at this time.

In this article, I am only focusing on the very fundamental basics of "manually" configuring a single VoIP service  provider (Flowroute) into the OBi200 ATA using ITSP-A and SP1 as its voice service pair.  I will start with the factory default settings and then only add, edit, or modify the most essential required setting parameters to successfully achieve reliable SIP registration with Flowroute.

Once successfully "manually" configured and registered with Flowroute, you will then be able to make and receive VoIP calls via your Flowroute account on your OBi200,

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 all 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 reliable service registration with the Flowroute servers.


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NOTE:
My procedures outlined here are based on the premise that your OBi200 is not, and will not be linked to the OBiTalk Dashboard web portal at www.obitalk.com using their "Add Device" feature.  If you "add your device" to the OBiTalk portal, the portal will takeover remote administration of your OBi device via the cloud (which is fine, if that is what you want.  However, my tutorials are not based on that premise).  Thus, if you are connected to the OBiTalk Dashboard portal, any local administration settings that you do here to your OBi200, via local LAN side administration could and likely will be over-written by the OBiTalk remote administration portal periodically, or upon device reboot.  Thus, to proceed with my procedures outlined here, and if your OBi200 is/was previously configured via OBiTalk portal, then I recommend you "unlink" and remove your OBi200 from OBiTalk portal (remove from "Add Device" list) first, and then followed by a local factory reset to ensure that you are starting with fresh default configuration values and no remote administration links or remnants left behind.

Please remember, the premise of all my tutorials are to allow you to locally and manually configure your ATA without any interaction with 3rd party control - which is how I configure all my VoIP devices.


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Trying to manually configure the OBi200 may at first appear to be a daunting task (which it can be for someone not familiar with it's configuration settings and layout).  After all, there are over 1,000 configurable settings inside the OBi200...


The good news is that the OBi200 ATA can be manually configured and making phone calls with your existing Flowroute account in less than 10 minutes.   (Once you have read and understand all the information outlined below :)

In order to proceed, a few assumptions must be made and prerequisites met:

Assumptions and Prerequisites
  • You need to know how to login to the OBi200 -  I explain how:  HERE.
  • The OBi200 has not previously been "locked-down" by a VSP (VoIP Service Provider).
  • The OBi200 is not linked to OBiTalk Dashboard portal via "Add Device" method on OBiTalk website.
  • Make sure the OBi200 is Ethernet connected to a LAN port on your NAT-Router/switch.
  • Your NAT-Router must be set to issue DHCP IP addresses to LAN connected devices.
  • You should have an analog telephone plugged into the OBi200 Phone port.
  • You know how to perform a Factory Reset (Reset Configuration to Defaults) - I explain how:  HERE.
  • Once you know how to perform a Factory Reset, I recommend that you do so before proceeding with my configuration directions.   (This is an important step to be sure that what works for me will also work for you, too.)
  • Your OBi200 is running the latest Firmware version.  Don't know?   I explain how to check/update:  HERE.
  • Your OBi200 is powered-up and ready to be configured.
  • If you like, you can test that your OBi200 is working properly by placing an ECHO TEST call to the Obihai Echo Test Server, by dialing **9-222-222-222 from your telephone that is connected to the OBi200 Phone port.  (The OBi200 can magically make this call over the OBiTalk network without any configuration changes from the factory defaults.  :)
  • You have previously setup a Flowroute account and have your SIP account login Username/AuthUsername and password credentials handy.

Now that all the assumptions and prerequisites out of the way, we are all set.



So, lets get started

  • Login to the OBi200 configuration utility using your PC web browser.
  • Navigate to (click on) the "Service Providers" menu option.
  • Click on ITSP Profile A menu option.
  • Click on "General" menu option (located just below ITSP Profile A).

Note:
When making configuration "Value" changes, you must "uncheck" the associated items "Default" check box to make value edits and changes.

  • You can set the "Name" of this ITSP A profile as "Flowroute", if you like (optional).
  • Change DTMF Method from Auto to "RFC2833".
  • Enable:   X_UseFixedDurationRFC2833DTMF  (checkmark its Value box).
  • I'm recommending the following Digit Map for most people using Flowroute:

(911|1[2-9]xx[2-9]xxxxxx|<1>[2-9]xx[2-9]xxxxxx|011xx.|xx.|(Mipd)|[^*#]@@.)


With this dial plan (digit map), I included the addition of "911".  This will enable speedy 911 dialing should you decide to enable e911 service with your Flowroute account.


As well, I modified the North American dial strings to agree with NANP standard format:
i.e. NXX-NXX-XXXX for 10-digit dialing, and  1-NXX-NXX-XXXX for 11-digit dialing (E.164 standard), where N allows only digits 2-9 (represented as [2-9] in the digit map.  X represents any digits 0-9.

You can copy and paste the above recommended digit map complete text string into the "Digit Map" text box in the ITSP Profile A section as a replacement for the default OBi200 digit map. (Delete/erase the entire default digit map first before pasting the new digit map.)  
(After copy/pasting the above digit map, carefully double-check it for pasted accuracy)
(You must uncheck the "Default" check-box first before editing.)

Note:   (911 service must be purchased and enabled via your Flowroute user account dashboard in order to have 911 service access).



  • Once you have finished the above edits, click the Submit button at the bottom of the ITSP Profile A window.

  • When a pop-up "Submit Changes" dialog window appears, click the OK button to proceed; 

  • You will then be greeted with the Configuration Update Successful screen.

    Once you have clicked OK above, you could reboot.  However, the previous submission has been temporarily saved until we finish making more changes, and then we will Reboot.
    In the meantime, you will see the gold colored "Reboot Required" icon in the upper-right corner of config windows, reminding you that changes won't take full effect until you eventually do reboot.
  • Next, on the left side of the window,  click on the SIP menu item, listed under ITSP Profile A.


  • Now, we will be editing the VoIP proxy server settings in the SIP section of  ITSP Profile A:

While in ITSP Profile ASIP settings window, edit the following fields:
  • Set Proxy Server:                             sip.flowroute.com
    • Set Registration Period value to:      360 (seconds) (i.e. every 6 minutes) 
    • Set Registration Expires value to:    360 (seconds)

    When finished editing the SIP page, scroll to the bottom and then click the SUBMIT Button before proceeding to the next page.




    • When a pop-up "Submit Changes" dialog window appears, click the OK button to proceed; 



    After clicking Submit, and then the OK button, you will again be greeted with the Update Successful window.

    You do not need to reboot, just yet.  We will do that when finished with all our configuration changes.

    • Next, click on Voice Services menu item in the left navigation window pane.
    • Now, click on SP1 Service menu item, located directly under Voice Services menu.
    • For reference purposes, note that the parameter:  X_ServProvProfile is defaulted to value = AWe will not be changing this setting.  At this time, we want SP1 to be paired with ITSP-A;  so no change is currently required.
    • Enable:  X_KeepAliveEnable  by un-checking its  Default box and then checking its Value box to Enable it.
      This setting should help ensure that your NAT-Router SIP ports don't time-out in between the periodic server registrations, and thus allows the SIP ports to remain open for incoming calls through the proxy server at all times.
    • For reference purposes, note that the parameter:  X_UserAgentPort is defaulted to Value =  5060. This is the default and standard VoIP SIP port used by most VoIP User Agents (i.e. your ATA or IP-Phone).  If you have conflicts with other VoIP devices on your network, SIP ALG conflicts, or prefer to use a non-standard port, this is an option you that can alter as required, or desired.  You can change this value, but is not usually required (depending on circumstances).


    Locate and scroll down to the SIP Credentials section located in the middle of the SP1 Service page.
    • In the text box labeled AuthUserName, enter your Flowroute account number (Tech Prefix), assigned to your Flowroute account dashboard for your VoIP device to use.
    • In the text box labeled AuthPassword, enter your Flowroute SIP password.
    • Set the URI value to be the 11-digit DID phone number you purchased through Flowroute.
      (This field will determine your Caller-ID being transmitted with your outbound calls.  If you have not yet purchased a DID through Flowroute, then you can optionally enter another phone number that you will be able to receive inbound phone calls on (e.g. your cell phone#). If you don't enter any changes to this field (leave default box checked), then your Flowroute Tech Prefix/AuthUserName number will be the CID transmitted.)
    • Enable:  X_EnforceRequestUserID  by check-marking its Value check box.
    • In the Calling Features section, you can Enable and insert your personal Caller ID Name.  This is an optional setting.

    • When finished editing this page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Submit button.
    • Then, click on the OK button to proceed with submitting the changes:

    • Once again, you will be greeted with the Configuration Update Successful window screen.
    • This is the final step to complete our quick and easy OBi200 configuration settings for service with Flowroute:   Click the REBOOT button located in the window upper-right corner:


    Rebooting your OBi200 only takes about 15-20 seconds.

    If you made all the above required edit changes correctly, your OBi200 Phone port LED should now be On and GREEN.  (Actually, all three LED's should be GREEN.)   When the Phone port LED is green, this means you have successful service registration with Flowroute.

    If the Phone port is not GREEN (not lit), then take this opportunity to review all settings that we changed earlier for correct values.


    Start Making Flowroute Enabled Telephone Calls

    If you started with the OBi200 configuration default values, and only changed the values and entries described in the above bullet points, you should now have SIP registration and be able to make and receive phone calls with your OBi200 using Flowroute as your default VoIP service provider.  Following, I provide some numbers for testing calls via Flowroute using the OBi200.


    The test numbers listed below are Free Calls, via Flowroute and/or your OBi200 ATA phone:
    • Test your OBiTalk network connection by calling OBi Echo Test server:  **9-222-222-222
    • 1-800-FREE-411  (1-800-373-3411)   Directory advertisement based 411 serviceThis will allow you to test 11-digit dialing.
    • 888-FREE-411  (888-373-3411)  Alternate number for Free411This will test your ability to dial 10-digit dialed numbers.
    • 1-866-210-2157    Plantronics Audio Tuning Wizard - Toll Free Plantronics Automated Sound Test Machine for Wireless headsets

    • iNum network Echo Test:   011-883-5100-0000-0091#
    • iNum network Caller-ID Talk-Back:   011-883-5100-0000-0093#  
    • iNum network DTMF digit entry Talk-Balk Test:   011-883-5100-0000-0092#  

    Otherwise, call any 10 or 11 digit PSTN or mobile phone number of someone you know for test calls through the PSTN network.  Your Flowroute cash balance will be decremented by about 1-cent/minute for outbound calls.

    Notes:
    1. Calling 1-8xx toll-free numbers are free via Flowroute.
    2. Calling to PSTN landlines and mobiles phone numbers requires Flowroute calling credits.
    3. With the procedures outlined in this article, you will still be able to make free OBI-to-OBi in-network VoIP calls to other OBi ATA's.
    4. e911 service is available with Flowroute - but must be activated with a paid subscription.

    That's it, we are done!


    Obviously, there are numerous additional settings for tweaking the configuration and performance of your ATA.  But, configuring and enabling the bare bones basics was the theme of this article.   It's working for me.  I hope it works as well for you, too!

    Enjoy!

    Jeff - VoipDIY