Portech GSM Gateway: Observations Based On The First 20 Calls

The first part of this week required that I be in Austin, TX working at a customer’s site. This is the sort of trip where I drive to and from as opposed to flying. It’s three hours drive each way, which means listening to XM radio and making phone calls.

A number of times during the period I had to call the UK to consult with associates. As much as possible I tried to do this via the newly installed Portech MV-370 GSM gateway. I’ve made around 20 calls to the UK through the gateway so far.

Remember from our prior installment that have it setup for two-stage dialing, passing incoming cellular calls out through Junction Network’s OnSIP hosted PBX.

The MV-370 installed & running
The MV-370 installed & running

Of the twenty calls that I made around 60% went through on the first try. The rest failed to an error tone. The gateway always answered the incoming cellular call, but failed to transfer it to the Junction Networks OnSIP proxy. When retrying these failed calls immediately they almost always went through on the second try.

Ultimately I found that the two-stage dialing was susceptible to DTMF errors. Of course, I was dialing from my Blackberry Pearl which has tiny buttons and it turns out that I’m prone to mis-dialing from that device.

I also found that I could reduce the complexity of two-stage dialing process by further entering speed dials into the gateway. It has 10 positions for speed dials. When using these you only need to enter one digit after hearing the second dial tone. This has proven very reliable and lets me call the ten of my UK associates very easily.

Hopefully this coming weekend I can get the MV-370 interfaced to my Astlinux server. Then the dialplan logic will provide additional flexibility.