Monday, 25 February 2013

OBi202: First Impressions

If you've been reading my previous posts, you'll know that I've just replaced a (fake) Linksys PAP2T with a shiny new Obihai OBi202 box, for running my analogue telephone handset and house alarm through the internet. *

It arrived from Amazon on Saturday in a plain-looking white box, but it looks smart, it's compact, and everything plugged in as I expected it should.  The on-line device admin guide (pdf) is long, but easy to follow, and 90% of it you'll never need anyway.

The web administration site (find the IP from your router or by entering ***021 from the attached phone) is much prettier, more detailed but easier to follow than the PAP2T. After a minor hiccup everything was set up without any trouble.  So far it doesn't seem to be randomly dropping the SIP registration like the PAP2T did.

It supports up to 4 different SIP profiles, as well as Google Voice (if it ever makes it to the UK properly), and usefully, different profiles for things like tone settings, so you can mix and match providers, codecs, ring settings, etc.  It'll even allow you to set up a IVR system ("press 1 to speak to Rich") if it takes your fancy. The only improvement I'd like to see is an option to set the ring voltage, caller id, etc automatically to UK settings - you're basically given USA, Nordic, or create-your-own...

Most importantly of all, the call quality of the '202 is very good indeed.  How much of this is due to the OBi and how much to the changes my ISP made ("upgraded firmware on your section of the network") I will never know, but I'm happy.  The unit also sports a USB socket, so you can hook it up to WiFi, share files or link it to your phone by bluetooth.  The bluetooth option initially appealed to me, except the dongle doesn't seem to be available in the UK, and it's the wrong-way-around for my needs - it'll allow you to use your mobile network as a backbone, rather than using your mobile phone as an additional home phone.

I've also edited the phone book entries (prepend *68) on the connected telephone so that caller id is un-suppressed for my grandma, so she knows who's calling.  It remains suppressed for everyone else.  All I need to do now is figure out how the digit maps work, so I can call 123456 without having to prefix the area code (01234).


* As I have WiMax broadband, I have no need to have a BT landline for broadband, and no need to pay £13/month for the privilege.  I've got a free account from Sipgate.co.uk for calls.

Disclaimer: These opinions are entirely my own, I have no affiliation with sipgate or obihai, and paid for the box like everyone else.