Cordless phone solutions


#1

i’m having a problem deciding which corless phone solution to go with, so i thought that i’d see what others have had success with first…

i’ve got an asterisk phone system running in my small office of about 15 employees. its a manufacturing facility, so most people are not at a desk for very long. cordless phones are essential for about 5 of my users. with our old phone system we were using some panasonic 5.8ghz analog cordless phones. i figured we might be able to get some more use out of these, so i bought a sipura adapter. the thing is i can only register 2 sip channels with this setup, so i can only use the 4 handsets i have for 2 extensions. and even then, extension 1 shows up as line 1 and extension 2 is line 2, and each handset rings no matter which line is being called. i only want the phone to ring if the call is for the particular user carying the phone.

what i’d ultimately like is for 4 or 5 key users to have a phone attached to their hip with its own extension. i know there are WiFi solutions out there, but i’ve got one main concern with these… none of them that i can find support WPA encryption, which is what we use for our wireless network.

i was just on the phone with a guy from voipsupply.com and i asked him about the uniden uip1868. he said that i could treat each expansion handset on this phone system seperately, registering them seperately with my asterisk box so they could each have their own extension. i kind of don’t believe him. i would think that they all work as one unit, much like my old analog panasonic unit. anyone have any experience with the uniden system? if i could address each handset seperately, i think this is how i would go.

anyone have any suggestions, experiences, or problems they would like to share?

thanks


#2

Trust your instincts on the the Uniden system…

According to this list of specifications, it supports only 1 VOIP line.

zalmar.com/details.cfm?modelno=UIP1868


#3

So you have, what, cordless base station connected to sipura spa2XXX connected to ethernet port? I assume each base station is keyed to a cordless handset, and you want each base station to be a different channel?

Seems like the easiest way to get to 4 different channels is to buy another sipura. Less than $100 on voxilla. Each sipura can give you two channels. To get 6 channels, use 3 sipura’s, etc.

Or am I misunderstanding your requirements?


#4

yes, i have the spa2002. this is connected to one base station. the base station supports 2 lines. so line 1 is one extension, and line 2 is another. this is ok, except that all of the phones ring no matter what extension i call. i want each phone to be a different channel, not just each base station.

i could do this, but then i would have to buy more analog phone systems. it’d be more cost effective to buy wifi phones at that point, except they don’t support WPA encryption… you’d think the manufacturers would publish a firmware update to include WPA…


#5

Yeah, I think you’re going to have to do something with the phones to get what you want.

As far as the sipura (and asterisk) are concerned, they see the base station as a single channel. This is exactly analogous to what would happen if you plug the base station into a regular analog phone jack: when a call came in on that line, both phones would ring, right? At least that’s the way my (home) cordless phones work. So I assumed you had a separate base station for each phone that you wanted to treat as a separate logical channel/extension. In that case, each base station goes into a sipura fxs port, and voila, you’ve got your separate extensions.


#6

i agree, this is a simple solution, but its not exactly cost effective. if i have to buy a seperate base station for each extension and i can only have 2 such extensions on each sipura, things will get expensive rather quickly, especially if i buy decent cordless phones.

i’ve decided that i can deal with the WEP encryption problems, but now i just need to find a WiFi phone that has all of the features i need. the UTStarCom WiFi phone looks to be the most inexpensive option, but i’m not sure if it comes with belt clips (or if i can buy optional ones) and i have no idea how good the quality/volume on them is. i’m in a manufacturing environment, so the phones have to be pretty loud.

thanks for the input, any further input is greatly appreciated.


#7

You might just add an “unsecure” Wi-Fi network to the area.

Make it a private network on a new NIC on your your Asterisk server. Lock it down well at the Asterisk server (IP tables), and only allow the Wi-Fi handsets to use that network.

If all the users of the new Wi-Fi network can do is register with the Asterisk server, you’ll run less of a risk of exposing your whole network to unscrupulous sniffers.

Just be sure to properly lock down your Wi-Fi network. An option to not broadcast your SSID, and putting restrictions on which MAC address can use the network are common settings in most Wi-Fi access points sold today. With those in place, you’ll probably be just fine using Wi-Fi handsets.


#8

that’s a pretty good idea. i think i’ll do that. now i just have to decide which handset to use… there’s a nice flip phone looking one at voipsupply.com, which has pop3 access, vibration, color screen, etc. looks pretty nice, but its $300.


#9

I picked up a UTStarcom F1000 to test it out for a similar circumstance. I’ve been using it as my home telephone (running A@H w/ X100P, and connecting over a D-Link DI-524 wireless access point). It is more of a novelty item than an actual business phone. It has no belt-clip (as you suspected), and it has less than optimal battery life. It also has a strange habit of losing it’s connection to the access point, and needing to reconnect and re-register every time that I try to make an outgoing call (Incoming calls work fine). I also hate the fact that it doesn’t do WPA, or 802.11g.

I have a friend who’s tried the Zyxel phone, and has had even worse luck with it.

What I’ve decided to to for my office is pick up some Panasonic KX-TG5421S analog cordless phones (I think they’re about $65 from newegg.com). Each of my cordless users will get a phone with a seperate base station and a headset, and will run off of an ATA.


#10

i purchased some of the utstarcom f1000s last week. i’m afraid i’ve come to the same conclusion as you, mismanccc. the setup of the phones was kind of annoying since there is no web based config (which the sales guys at voipsupply.com assured me there was), they don’t come with a docking cradle or a belt clip, and the sound quality is less than stellar. to me it sounds like a bad cell phone connection. i’m going to try to play with the audio settings and see if i can improve the quality, but i’m not too hopeful that i’ll be able to do much. all of this leaves me wondering why i spent $180 on this phone…

i was happy to find that they do have a vibration alert, which is not mentioned in the manufacturers spec sheets (and again, the guys at voipsupply.com told me they didn’t vibrate).

i’ve also purchased one of the hitachi $320 wifi phones, but i haven’t received it in the mail yet. despite the massive price tag on this phone, i really don’t expect it to work much better than the utstarcom.

i think i may follow suit and simply purchase a bunch of sipura adapters after all. its not an elegant solution, but i’m confident it will work and that’s what is important.

i’ll post here if i have any success with making the f1000s sound better.


#11

There is Beta software available for the F1000 that includes both WPA-PSK and a web interface for admin. It is not formally released yet, but Voip Supply should be able to provide it to you on a Beta basis if you bought the phone from them.


#12

Everything I have read on WIFI phones has said they are not ready for prime time. That being said, looks like Linksys has just released, or is about to release an 802.11g phone that also supports WPA. Here’s a review.

tomsnetworking.com/Sections-article147.php


#13

Not sure if this would suit your needs. You can buy SIP/Analog adapters in 1/4/8/16 port configurations. Basically a 4 port box would let you plug in 4 analog type phone jacks into it and the asterisk can throw a call at each port based on an extension. Just have good cordless phones with decent encryption on it to handle the security.

Specifically we use these little guys:

digium.com/index.php?menu=pr … duct=S101I

We just have one for every analog set we deploy (since they are spread around a large complex). The are pretty easy to configure and pretty reliable.