Choosing a VoIP telephone adaptor (ATA)

As the developer of Phone Amego, I’ve had the opportunity to use several VoIP adaptors and SIP phones in order to support them in Phone Amego. Ironically, many advanced phones are not very good at CTI, so I’d like to describe some of my own experience here.

A first step for many is to connect their existing cordless analog phones to a VoIP service using an Analog Telephone Adaptor. By far the most popular VoIP adapter is the Cisco/Linksys/Sipura series (such as the PAP2T or SPA-2102) which has earned high marks for call quality, flexible configuration, and general reliability. While very capable, these are rather technical to configure.

More recently part of the original team behind these adaptors formed a new company (OBiHAI) to build next generation VoIP adaptors. Their first products are the OBi100 and OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP adaptor. These are remarkable products loaded with powerful features, but at the same time easy to configure using the OBiHAI web portal. For several of the most popular VoIP providers, it only takes a few clicks to enter your VoIP phone number and password and then let the OBiHAI web portal take care of “provisioning” your device. I’d like to highlight two key features of the OBi devices:

(1) They can be used as a kind of distributed PBX to create your own Internet phone system. If you have relatives oversees with high speed Internet, you can talk all you want at no charge by installing one of these at each location. Using the voice service bridge, you can place calls from any OBi device in your circle of trust. A relative in India could connect to your OBi110 in the US to take advantage of your unlimited nationwide long distance plan.

(2) They interface with Google Chat directly so you can place free calls using Google Voice from a normal telephone without any computer involved.

Phone Amego can work with either of these adaptors to provide on-screen caller ID and call logging, but there is no direct support for dialing at this time. If your VoIP service provider has a click-to-dial service, you may be able to dial using that.

About psichel

I'm an independent Mac developer specializing in networking and communications
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