I’ve been playing around with VoIP for a while at home to try and cut down the size of our phone bills.
When I signed up with iiNet I got the Belkin F1PI241ENau which is an ADSL2+ Router/ATA, I found it to be quite ordinary as an ATA, one thing in particular pissed me off and that was the fact that although you can (in theory) configure the two phone ports to access two different VoIP accounts, you can in fact only use two accounts with the same VoIP provider!!
The Belkin died a few months ago in a storm so I replaced it with a ZyXel 660RU ADSL2+ modem without VoIP functionality.
A little later I picked up a ZyXel P-2002/L ATA which was almost identical featurewise to the ATA functionality in the Belkin, except that
1) The phone ports can indeed be totally independent with respect to VoIP provider
2) The PSTN overide code (this allows you to dial a prefix to force the call to go to PSTN) actually works
Unfortunately all was not smooth sailing with the ZyXel, I still got random drop outs from the VoIP provider, I tried two and had problems with both. A little reading on whirlpool led me to a post from a guy who claimed to only be able to get reliable performance from his ZyXel when he used it to talk to an Asterisk machine. I had been thinking of playing with Asterisk but didn’t have a compelling reason to until now.
Rather than hand roll an Asterisk setup I looked around and found Trixbox (formerly Asterisk @ Home), this is a purpose built distro that installs a fully working Asterisk setup with AMP (Asterisk Management Panel, a nice web based configuration system for Asterisk), the Flash Operator Panel, Sugar CRM etc
The distro was a piece of piss to install and getting a basic setup running took a little over an hour.
I have had this running for nearly a month now and the results are excellent, I have had virtually no trouble with it and only lost connectivity twice, once from the VoIP provider being down and once from an internet outage.
I would highly recommend anyone with an inclination towards propeller headedness give it a go.
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