New Gear: Grandstream’s HT812 Analog Terminal Adapter

In the earliest days of consumer VoIP services the venerable Cisco ATA-186 was the way to connect a traditional analog telephone to one of those new-fangled Vonage accounts and save some loot. It didn’t take too long before our strategy evolved from an analog terminal adapter (ATA) plus a an analog phone or a cordless phone, to SIP desk phones and SIP/DECT cordless phones.

As such, it’s been years since an ATA held any interest at all…until last week. Last week I received a couple of notices about a new pair of ATA’s from Grandstream, the HT802 and HT812.

Grandstream HT812

The first thing I saw was a promotional email from VoIP Supply for the HT812. It described the HT812 as a two-port FXS with a built-in router and Gigabit Ethernet.

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Obi Hai Ships OBi1032 IP Phone

OBi1032-SIP-PhoneObi Hai has been around a long while. Their niche has been ATA-like devices that were sufficiently sophisticated to provide hardware access to Google Voice. As was discussed when they appeared on VUC, the founders of the company were in involved in the earliest days of VoIP. More specifically, they were behind the development of Cisco ATA 186, the very first ATA.

In years past I’ve watched as others have expressed their enthusiasm for the OBi Hai ATAs, especially those who were trying to leverage Google Voice. GV has never been a significant factor in my working life.

Further, I’ve long held that ATA’s  fail to offer many of the advantages of a bone fide IP phone. I do admit that OBi Hai was quite aggressive about extending the capabilities of the humble ATA beyond the demands of the typical ITSP. Nonetheless, ATAs have held little interest for me in recent years.

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magic jack PLUS Now Officially Offering HDVoice

MAGICJACKPLUS-250pxThis morning’s news dump included an email from a marketing service being used by magic jack. Some while ago when I heard a rumor that Vocaltec was working on some means of supporting HDVoice in the next generation of their magic jack product/service. While the new magic jack PLUS started to ship backing August todays email was the first I’ve seen that actually mentioned HDVoice.

According to the web site for the service;

“magicJack PLUS™ service has received rave reviews and many people think it is the best Call Quality they have ever heard. The magicJack PLUS™ has added High Definition Voice. Best Call Quality and it’s FREE.”

The big change from magic jack to magic jack PLUS is in the hardware. The little USB interface device once required the used a computer. With an RJ45 connection to your home network the new version can run completely standalone. No computer required. This was largely a competitive issue driven by the NetTalk Duo.

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Small Office VoIP On The Cheap

This post is the second in a series addressing some thoughts about ATAs. The first dealt with cordless phones and can be found here.

I’m not a big fan of analog terminal adapters (a.k.a. ATAs.) If you’re not familiar with them, these are the devices, like the Linksys example pictured below,  provided by companies like Vonage et al that convert your plain old telephone into a broadband phone. They bridge the old analog world into the digital realm. I accept that these devices have been the lifeblood of the residential VoIP provider world. That’s only logical since they’re cheap and easy to deploy. Continue reading “Small Office VoIP On The Cheap”

Cordless SIP Phone vs Traditional Cordless + ATA


Over the past year I’ve been focusing a lot on cordless phones. The question has often arisen, “Why be concerned about SIP cordless phones? Why not just use a standard cordless phone with an ATA or FXS card?” It’s a good question and merits a good answer.

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Considering ATA Devices

A Linksys ATA Device

I’ve been thinking a lot about analog telephone adapters (aka ATAs) recently. I truly feel that these devices are remnants of an earlier stage in the development of VoIP services. We still have one installed and running in our house, a Linksys SPA-2102. I’m hoping to be rid of it soon. I very much feel that, with one or two exceptions, ATAs should be avoided if at all possible. I’m working to get the basis for this assertion documented. In the mean time, Corey Andrews has some sage advice on how to pick an ATA…if you really must go that route.