I heard about the Sipura and started looking around on how to use it, and then I heard about VoIPBuster which provided free VoIP calls to land lines all over the world. I eventually figured out how to actually get a user friendly, transparent, phone solution up running and now anyone in my house can pick up any phone and the Sipura takes care of routing the call the cheapest way.
Let me tell you why the SPA3000 is so interesting. First, it’s not that expensive. I paid about $100 for it and as Sipura was recently bought by Linksys (which is owned by Cisco) I get the feeling that I’m buying quality in a box. Secondly, it has one port to connect to your old telephone line, one port to connect to your ordinary telephone and one port to connect to your network/internet. What does this mean? To start with if someone calls me on my regular telephone line it will make my phone (that is now connected to my Sipura) ring as usual. And if my wife picks up the phone and try to call a local number (or 911, 112, or an 0800/0900 number) then it will connect the phone call over the regular phone line as well. But if my wife picks up the phone and dials any number starting with 00 then it will make the call over VoIP. She’ll never know the difference and that’s what I call user friendly! She (or me for that matter) will not have to remember to dial a 9 or a * first and end with a #. It just works…
Further, if power fails then it will simply bridge the incoming telephone line with the telephone port so that the phone still works. Sure, I can then not call over VoIP but hey that’s the way it works when you loose power 🙂 Another positive thing with this bridging functionality is that if something goes wrong like me forgetting to pay my bill or if the VoIP provider has a problem, the all my wife has to do is to unplug the power to the Sipura and the line is back to the way it used to be. I find these small details very valuable as it has to be user friendly in a household with five people. You simply shouldn’t need to have a masters in telecommunications for it to work.
So what more can this little box do? You can basically set any existing VoIP parameter that exists in the SPA3000. I mean – you have hundreds of parameters you can change to make it work together with for example a Asterisk server (the Linux PBX). You can set it up so that you can call from your cell phone to your local landline (the Sipura’s line in) and it will route your call out over VoIP, and this means that you can call international from your cell phone with local rates. Neat huh? You can have it route calls to lets say France over your landline but calls to Germany over VoIP, or it can hold your telephone book so that you can press a short code for a long telephone number.
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