Moving to the Cloud – Part 3 – SIP Telephone system

As part of my on-going series of moving as much of my IT / Life into the cloud I have spent the last few weeks trying to get a Cisco 7960 IP phone working with Sipgate.

Since I work at home I wanted a better solution for my many conference calls that I have each day.

I started off with Skype and a USB headset, but that doesn’t really work for me.  I tend to have VPN / Citrix sessions open at the same time as sharing with Live Meetings, etc so I often end up sounding like I am in an underwater tunnel, and doesn’t give a very professional experience to my clients.

I decided to purchase a Cisco IP Phone because, well, because they are pretty cool and I have used many in offices and just like them.

They are not initially designed to work with SIP providers, so the first task is upgrading the Firmware to the latest SIP version. I am not going to go into great detail on this process as it is already well documented here:

It took quite a bit of time getting my configuration files right, but once I did get my head around the settings, everything was looking good.  I could make calls out of my home network and the call quality was far better.

Unfortunately I consistently had a little “x” symbol on the line identifier on the screen indicating that the line wasn’t registered with Sipgate, even though I could make outgoing calls.  I soon realised that I was unable to receive incoming calls either.  Telnetting to the phone tells me that it is constantly sitting in a “REGISTERING” state.

A lot more playing around with settings, port forwarding on my BT Home Hub 2 router, disabling BT Broadband Talk, etc didn’t help at all… and after a few days I even lost the ability to make outgoing calls! Great.  Now I have a large grey doorstop… one that makes the CTU tone on demand though!!

I think I have finally tracked the problem down to the BT Home Hub 2 and the way it handles SIP connections.  Because they build in a SIP gateway for the Broadband Talk features it messes up the port forwarding.  As such I have just purchased a “Draytek Vigor 2710n” modem and router which offers much more configurable options and will even let me register multiple SIP gateways, so I can have multiple lines from different providers.

Once I have the new router in a few days, I will post a follow up to let everyone know if it is working or not.

[UPDATE: 24/08/2011: The new router has made almost all the problems go away. The phone now registers with sipgate and I can make calls out again. The only remaining issue is that when I receive calls, it looks like the other party can’t hear me speaking. Hopefully just a minor config issue.]

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Mark Stokes

I am a SharePoint Server MVP and the founding Director of Red Plane, a Microsoft Silver Partner in the North West of the UK. I am interested in Travel, Extreme Sports, Photography, Technology, Gadgets, Raspberry Pi and, of course, SharePoint! Note: This is my personal blog and entries may not represent the views of my employer.

7 thoughts on “Moving to the Cloud – Part 3 – SIP Telephone system”

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