Everyone wants great Wi-Fi. That much is a given. Our homes occasionally make achieving this difficult, either by way of their sheer size or manner of construction. This is a cautionary tale about a project I undertook around our home, and its unexpected impact on our Wi-Fi.
In recent years wireless mesh networks have become quite fashionable. And why not? Providing reliable coverage in a large home may require multiple wireless access points. Pulling Ethernet cable to each of those locations (yeah, baby!) is beyond all but the most ambitious of DIY homeowners.
For the average Joe installing one central router, then plugging in a couple of more distant wireless repeaters seems so much easier. That’s a Saturday morning chore that might well ingratiate you with the family.
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.
Not to spoil the punch line, but the phone can be paired to a mobile phone via Bluetooth, making it effectively a great handset for his iPhone. So it’s genuinely useful even without having a SIP line registered.
Other companies like Mocet & Invoxia (review) offer similar capability in dedicated function devices, but these cost considerably more than the GXP-2160, which is currently listed on Amazon for just $99.
I wish I could do the same with my Polycom VVX-600!
VUC529 on Friday, February 20th will feature Grandstream Networks addressing issues of security and surveillance. Phil Bowers, Global Marketing Communications Manager, will be discussing their range of security cameras and new NVR-3550 network video recorder. One of the key things he will highlight is the natural synergy between SIP telephony and the video surveillance requirements common to business installations.
This appearance arises in part from my own recent effort to install a couple of surveillance cameras on our property. We now have several of their GXV3672-FHD “bullet” cameras monitoring the area around our home & office. Our goal in this effort was primarily to keep watch on our vehicles, which are typically parked on the street.
This is the start of a series of posts that I’ll be crafting documenting how we came to select the gear deployed in our installation. If all goes as planned the collection will comprise a “SOHO/SMB Guide to Video Surveillance.”
Last week I received a question via email from reader Marshall Wilgard. It seems that he is having trouble with a Grandstream BT-200 desk phone.
For five years, I used a Grandstream BT-200 IP phone without any problems. Six weeks ago, a loud hum appeared on the phone as soon as I picked up the handset. About 10 days later, the hum vanished, for no apparent reason. However, about 10 days after that, the hum came back, for no apparent reason. Despite my rebooting the phone three times, the hum remained. Then approximately 10 days after the hum returned, it vanished again, for no apparent reason. My phone has had the latest firmware for more than a year, and my VoIP provider says the problem is not with it.
Hum like Marshal describes is usually an analog phenomenon, not something that I’d associate with firmware. It sounds to me like a problem with the hardware. Issues of hum tend to revolve around a problem with the power supply. Given the age of this phone I’d guess that most likely some kind of capacitor is failing.
Grandstream has today introduced a pair of new cordless SIP/DECT phones. According to their press release (broken link removed) the DP715 is the basic system, including the DECT base/charging stand and one handset. The DP710 is an additional handset with a simple charging stand.
Looking into the details I see specifications typical of the current generation of consumer DECT systems. A DP715 base supports five registered handsets and up to four concurrent calls.
The claimed cordless range is also typical of DECT systems…that is very good indeed. I’d expect excellent battery life as well.
The handsets have a built-in speakerphone, which can be handy in a home office.
They are described as having three ring-modes:
“Linear Mode, all phones ring sequentially in the predesignated order
Parallel Mode, all phones ring concurrently and after one phone answers the rest phones may place new calls
Shared Line Mode, all phones ring concurrently and always share the same line, similar to an analog phone”
The system supports remote configuration via a web portal or provisioning server. That last part is critical for uptake by ITSPs who want hands-off provisioning at an end-user site.
What I don’t see in the specifications is any support for HDVoice. They list support for all the usual suspects (G.711, G.723.1, G.729A/B, G.726 and iLBC) with respect to narrowband codecs.
The company’s web site lists support for TR-069, IP v6 and Skype as “pending.”
Grandstream has long been a price/performance leader. Priced at $85 and $49 respectively, these new devices extend that pattern. They should prove interesting to SOHO users on a budget.