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Author Topic: Obi110 plus SPA8000 as Poormans Analog PBX  (Read 25440 times)
stooba
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« on: March 31, 2012, 03:47:27 pm »

Is it possible to use the Obi110 as an FXO port for an SPA8000?  My hope is that I can use these two devices to make a poormans analog PBX.  I have eight analog phones hooked into the SPA8000 and they are able to call between themselves perfectly.  As archaic as it sounds, unfortunately there are a number of reasons that I need to stick with analog phones.  But I'd now like to tie my SPA8000 to the outside world.  The Obi110 looks like an interesting device that could possibly provide an FXO port for a PSTN connection and also a GoogleVoice connection (not to mention the Obinetwork connection as a bonus). 

Based on my limited knowledge, I am assuming that I would need an Asterisk/Trixbox/PBXIAF PBX hairpinned into the network to direct outgoing calls from the SPA8000 to the Obi110 and also to provide an auto-attendant that asks incoming callers which extension of the SPA8000 they are trying to reach.  I've read a couple of threads that talk about how to set up the Obi110 as an FXO port for Asterisk, so I'm sure that there is a SPA8000 - Asterisk - Obi110 solution to this problem.  But I do not know the capabilities of the Obi110 well enough to know if the PBX can be circumvented so I have only a SPA8000-Obi110 solution.....less devices means less issues.
   
Thanks.
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RonR
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 06:15:18 pm »

If you configure an OBi110 with a Google Voice account, a SIP provider, and a PSTN Line, your eight SPA8000 extensions should have access to 4 outside 'lines' for incoming and outgoing calls.  The SIP provider is not a requirement, but you cannot use a second Google Voice account instead.

If you don't mind a rather simple Auto Attendant, I think you can get by with just an OBi.  The dialog would go something like this:

Welcome to Acme Widgets

Press 1 for the Receptionist
Press 21# for Sales
Press 22# for Customer Service
Press 23# for Shipping
Press 24# for Returns
Press 25# for Technical Support
Press 26# for Human Resources
Press 27# for Accounts Payable
Press 28# for Accounts Receivable

The numbering scheme is very inflexible.  The eight SPA8000 extension numbers must start with 2, followed by one or two digits (1-99), followed by a # (the caller MUST press the # key).
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stooba
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 09:24:45 am »

Wow, thanks RonR!  This is exactly what I was hoping to hear!
I don't want anything more complicated than your example for the auto attendant.
Numbering the analog extensions with a 2xx# format is not an issue either. 
For right now, I would be thrilled to get things configured so that just the analog phone to PSTN line connection would work for incoming and outgoing calls.  The Google Voice and ITSP connections are a secondary requirement....although that's the reason I'm using this equipment instead of just a simple analog PBX. 

The way I picture this setup is that the SPA8000 will just act as the "analog - SIP converter/gateway", making my analog phones look like any other IP-phones that might be connected to the network.  The Obi will be the device providing all of the call management and Auto Attendant functions to connect these network phones to the outside world.  If this is correct, then I need to spend more time learning about the Obi110.  After reading the guides and using the web-admin I guess I still don't understand the full capabilities of these devices. 

Are there any similar threads or sample setups that I could read to help me understand this better? 



 
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RonR
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 09:49:28 am »

You're the first that I know of to want to use an SPA8000.  If I understand the SPA8000 organization correctly, it's basically four PAP2's in a single box.

Each line of the SPA8000 would make outbound calls using unregistered SIP URI calls pointed towward the OBi.  Inbound calls via the Auto Attendant would work similarly, with each of the eight SPA8000 destinations having a separate SIP userid and/or port.  When the caller selects an extension, he's actually dialing an OBi Speed Dial which is pointed to that extension.  The receptionist can be a phone connected to the OBi PHONE Port, or one of the eight SPA8000 extensions.  I assume inter-office calling is currently handled by an SPA8000 dialplan, which would be enhanced to route outbound calls to the OBi.

This is totally uncharted territory, but I think it has an excellent chance of success.  It will be some work, as the Auto Attendant prompts have to be re-recorded.  Assuming you have a reasonable understanding of the SPA8000, we should be able to make it work.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 12:25:45 pm by RonR » Logged
Stewart
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 10:34:46 am »

I'll throw out a few alternatives here:

You could avoid the IVR, if you had a number for each extension.  If you don't care where the number is, you could use eight free IPKall DIDs.  They could be pointed directly to the phones, though that setup would not have voicemail.  Or, you could have the OBi relay the calls, sending unanswered ones to a voicemail service.  DIDs where you can pick the city are not free, though there are some inexpensive choices.  Localphone is $0.99/mo./number for "unlimited" incoming, but quality is not the best.  Anveo "Value" DIDs are also $0.99 and are top quality, but after 40 minutes per day, you're charged $0.015/min.  With either paid option, voicemail is included.

With a VoIP service that includes PBX features such as VoIP.ms, your phones could register as eight sub-accounts and you can set up an IVR with options as desired.  A straightforward setup would cost $5 to $7/mo. for an unlimited DID; there are some tricks to avoid the charge, though they may impair latency / quality / reliability.

With any of the above you could still send outbound calls via GV or your landline, as desired.
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QBZappy
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 12:08:28 pm »

stooba,

Here is the original thread discussing this topic.

99 Virtual extensions available via the OBi (possible since v 1.30)
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=1734.msg11140#msg11140
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Owner of the 1st OBi110/100 units in service in Canada & South America. 1st OBi202 on my street. 1st OBi1032 in Montreal.
stooba
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 09:46:56 am »

Yes, the SPA8000 has much the same functionality as other Cisco ATAs (PAP2T, SPA2102, SPA3102, WRTP54G, SPA8800).  The way I have it set up right now, the analog extensions can call directly to each other very easily, but that is the end of it.  At one point, I temporarily had the SPA8000 connected to a friend's Trixbox network in a nearby building and each extension was able to connect to the ip-phones on that network and also call out on the Trixbox device's FXO ports.  That worked well, but I am not able to put a Trixbox setup in this other building at this time, so I need to figure out a new solution.  

So I am trying to use a $200 SPA8000 and a $50 Obi110 to make what is basically an analog PBX with a load of features like:
  - connection to up to 8 existing analog phone extensions (more by linking additional SPA8000 units)
  - ability to send calls over PSTN, ITSP, GV, or ObiTalk networks
  - ability to add a switch and some additional IP-phones
  - very basic custom auto attendant to direct incoming calls to analog phones or IP-phones
  - power failback to PSTN for a "House" line (plugged into PHONE port)
  - and plenty more as I learn more about these flexible devices

I'm not sure if it's a practical solution for other installations, but it will fit my needs quite well.  Will eventually post all of this as a step-by-step procress just in case it helps anyone.  I'm not afraid to do a bit of work or wander off into uncharted territory...I don't know a lot about these devices yet, but I'm a quick learner and don't give up quickly.  Besides, it seems like this forum has some really good moderators and contributors that will help.

Thanks for the link QBZappy.  Looks like that discussion will step me through the creation of my custom auto attendant. Then, as RonR described, I can create "speed dials" for the Obi which point to the extensions in the SPA8000.  That end of things should be pretty straight forward now.

The next bit of info that I'll need to research for my project is how to setup the Obi110 to "accept" a SIP session from one of my IP-phones and direct it to one of the 4 outgoing networks.  I'm starting with my IP-phones because I think that should be the most straightforward configuration (and well discussed in forums like this).  Once they are working, the SPA8000 should be easy to set up because I think that it makes each analog extension work just like an IP-phone. 

I'd like create a dialplan that uses the typical hotel that lets users make room-to-room calls just by dialing the room number (phone-SPA8000-phone).  It could also let them make local, toll-free, or calling card calls via the PSTN line by pressing '9' (phone-SPA8000-Obi110-PSTN).  Similarly, they can press '8' before making long distance calls, but I think I will just block them for now until I get an ITSP set up (phone-SPA8000-Obi110-ITSP or PSTN).  Without a PBX, I don't think I can do easily call-accounting to charge the long distance calls back to the room, so I'll need an ITSP to make the calls are as inexpensive as possible.  Then again, as I become more knowledgeable about the Obi110, I might find an easy way to create call detail reports.  Or maybe I can set up the Obi110 to require a PIN number in order to make a long distance call so that I can charge users a flat fee for a PIN number to recoup my expenses.

Stewart - Thanks for bringing up a very interesting alternative.  I don't think it will work out in the extremely rural location where this building is located - local numbers are definitely not available out there.  But this idea seems very feasible for another small office that we have in an urban center.  No one at that office has any tech abilities, so I really like the idea of using a VOIP service instead of setting up a PBX.  I will have to look into that idea further once I get this building up and running.
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RonR
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 10:25:01 am »

The next bit of info that I'll need to research for my project is how to setup the Obi110 to "accept" a SIP session from one of my IP-phones and direct it to one of the 4 outgoing networks.  I'm starting with my IP-phones because I think that should be the most straightforward configuration (and well discussed in forums like this).  Once they are working, the SPA8000 should be easy to set up because I think that it makes each analog extension work just like an IP-phone.  

Starting with a single IP-phone is an excellent approach.  The information you'll need to implement this is already described in Single-Stage Dialing Through Any OBi Trunk Using SIP.  Don't worry about the dialing format not being what you ultimately want as this can easily be changed once proof-of-concept is accomplished.  I would recommend starting out with a free Google Voice account on SP1 and a dummy SIP account on SP2.

I'd like create a dialplan that uses the typical hotel that lets users make room-to-room calls just by dialing the room number (phone-SPA8000-phone).  It could also let them make local, toll-free, or calling card calls via the PSTN line by pressing '9' (phone-SPA8000-Obi110-PSTN).  Similarly, they can press '8' before making long distance calls, but I think I will just block them for now until I get an ITSP set up (phone-SPA8000-Obi110-ITSP or PSTN).  Without a PBX, I don't think I can do easily call-accounting to charge the long distance calls back to the room, so I'll need an ITSP to make the calls are as inexpensive as possible.  Then again, as I become more knowledgeable about the Obi110, I might find an easy way to create call detail reports.  Or maybe I can set up the Obi110 to require a PIN number in order to make a long distance call so that I can charge users a flat fee for a PIN number to recoup my expenses.

Call routing in the OBi should not be a problem.  Call History from the OBi can be exported to an XML file, which might lend itself to being processed for billing purposes.

One thing to keep in mind is that an OBi is limited to four simultaneous calls (inbound and/or outbound).
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 10:40:28 am by RonR » Logged
Ostracus
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 10:47:47 am »

A plug computer could run Tribox. You have two of the prerequisites, power and Ethernet.
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stooba
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 08:29:19 am »

Thanks for the link, RonR.  That should be a big help in getting an IP-phone working.

I'd love to set up a Google Voice account, but since I'm from Canada that's not as easy as it should be.  I've heard rumors of work-arounds that might let me get an account, so I'll have to look into that more closely.  Maybe QBZappy, who appears to be a fellow Canuck, has some experience with this?

In the mean time, my main concern is to get the IPPhone-Obi110-PSTN connection working in & out.  Then I will want to extend this to my SPA8000 setup so that I can get the AnalogPhone-SPA800-Obi110-PSTN connecttion working in & out.  Thirdly, I'll expand my dialplan to tap into the internet...once I get a GV or ITSP account.

Actually, I thought the Obi was limited to two simultaneous calls, so the fact that it will do four makes it even better for this application.  XML dumps of the Call History is just another great feature.  These Obi's continue to amaze me.  

Ostracus - Those PBXPlugs are great devices, but it looks like the cheapest I can get them to Canada is $250.  That means I can get an ATOM-based netbook for not much more.  Still the plugs would be a really cool way to make a PBX system very portable and maintenance-free.  Hopefully the price comes down.


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QBZappy
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 10:03:29 am »

stooba,

This might help you get Google voice account in Canada + bonus info on how toget a cheap voip service provider. (Freephoneline) BTW the service from Freephoneline has been very good.

One time charge of $50 for a SIP Acct at freephoneline+How to setup GV in Canada
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=93.msg217#msg217
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Owner of the 1st OBi110/100 units in service in Canada & South America. 1st OBi202 on my street. 1st OBi1032 in Montreal.
Ostracus
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 01:18:48 pm »

@ Stooba:
A capable router can be pressed into PBX duty.
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ProfTech
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 08:23:44 pm »

You mention Power Fallback to the analog line. It is reported in this forum that the latest release of 110 hardware does not include the fallback feature. So at a minimum you would need battery back up for the Obi. Not sure how all of this might affect your end configuration.
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stooba
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 01:51:45 pm »

Oh no, is it true that they removed the power fallback (PHONE to PSTN) feature?   BOOO!   That was one of my biggest reasons for buying these devices!!!  I understand the need for continual product improvement, but removing one of the features that distinguished it from other competitive products seems like a strange decision.  In the rural area where I intend to use this device, power failures are frequent enough that an internet-based phone system was never practical.  I though this would be the device that I could use to help non-tech people switch to VOIP while having an automatic PSTN backup with their internet or power failed.

I just did a search on this forum and found conflicting reports.  Does anyone have a definitive and proven answer on this?  I'd just go test mine, but I don't have it configured yet.
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QBZappy
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 02:00:10 pm »

stooba,

Nothing to configure. Takes a second to see for yourself. It takes less time than writing this post. Make sure the phone is connected to the phone port and the line port is connected into the OBi. Unplug the OBi from the power outlet. Pick up the phone and listen for dial tone.

What did you get?
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Owner of the 1st OBi110/100 units in service in Canada & South America. 1st OBi202 on my street. 1st OBi1032 in Montreal.
stooba
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 02:18:44 pm »

Haha, yes, thought of that as soon as I hit "Post".  Did the test and found that the PHONE line DOES NOT fall back to the PSTN LINE jack as advertised.  BOOO! 

I plugged the LINE jack of the OBI110 into the CO jack on my wall, plugged an old analog phone into the PHONE jack, plugged in the OBI AC power cube, and heard a dial tone.  Hung up the phone, disconnected the power, waited 3 seconds, picked up the phone and heard nothing.  Problem confirmed!

For the first time since buying this device, I'm not at all happy with Obihai! What a dumb decision to remove this feature.  Am going to take it apart now and see if it is just an "unpopulated" fail-back relay or if the circuit was actually revised to remove the device.  I hope it's just unpopulated and Obihai will tell me the component specs so I can solder it in myself. 
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stooba
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2012, 02:42:20 pm »

The following is taken directly from the ObiAdminGuide:

Powerful Call Routing & Voice Service Features:
         SIP Support for Voice and Fax Over IP from Internet Telephony Service Providers
         OBiTALK Managed VoIP Network for OBi Endpoint Devices & Applications
         High Quality Voice Encoding Using G.711, G.726, G.729 Algorithms
         Recursive Digit Maps & Associated Call Routing (Outbound, Inbound)
         Service Continuity in Case of Power or Network Failure (Configurable)

I've gone through the web-admin screens three times and can not find where this Configurable feature is set. 

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RonR
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2012, 02:47:52 pm »

I've gone through the web-admin screens three times and can not find where this Configurable feature is set. 

That's always been in documentation, but there's nothing to configure.  It was all based on a relay dropping out when the power failed, connecting the PHONE Port directly to the LINE Port -- until Obihai removed the relay.
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stooba
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2012, 06:27:45 am »

The good news is that the PCBs still have spaces for the missing relay (and associated components), the devices are just not populated.    

Here is a link to a shared folder of pictures of the Obi110 PCB:
https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=e09e9b91a0c8f298&resid=E09E9B91A0C8F298!129&parid=E09E9B91A0C8F298!104&authkey=!AO953AL5VowTwN0
<< :-\Sorry if I'm doing this wrong or should have posted this folder in another thread....I'm new to forums>>

There is a picture showing the missing Relay (K1) along with Capacitor C99, Transistor Q206, and Diodes D203 & 204. There is another picture of the bottom of the board showing missing Diodes D150 and D151 (not sure yet if they are part of the relay circuit).

At first it looked like they made a mistake by overlapping the pads for D203 and D204, but now I'm not sure. There is a magnified photo which shows this clearly.  It could be a PCB layout mistake - one that would make it difficult to populate both devices (which might be why they decided it was easier to drop the feature than rework the boards).  Or it could be that the overlap was done intentionally because only one of the diodes is necessary and this layout would leave them flexible to specify a diode in either a SOT or a 0603 package.  It's difficult to follow the tracks because it is a multi-layer PCB, but I will try again when I have more time.  My best guess right now is that it's not a layout error and that only one diode needs to populated D203 or D204.  

So where does all this leave us?  Happy because the possibility exists to populate these components ourselves, but still frustrated because we need an Obihai designer to tell us what the missing components are.  
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 11:35:15 am by stooba » Logged
QBZappy
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2012, 01:14:59 pm »

stooba,

Perhaps someone with an Obi that has a relay can take pictures and you can compare.
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Owner of the 1st OBi110/100 units in service in Canada & South America. 1st OBi202 on my street. 1st OBi1032 in Montreal.
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