GoIP? What the %^&* is a GoIP?

HyberTone-GoIP-SIP-to-GSM-GatewaySometimes I see technical terms that cause me confusion. So it was when I saw Matt (@calltopology) tweet about “Using a GoIP with A2Billing for outbound calls.” My initial reaction was , “WTF is a GoIP? It sounds a bit like a disease.”

Of course, it isn’t a disease. Clicking a little further, I found that Matt has recently been exploring the use of a HyberTone GSM-toSIP gateway device. That company brands their GSM gateways with the rather obtuse “GoIP” monicker. I suppose it was predicated upon FoIP, another persistent term that I find to be something of an abomination.

My own language preferences aside, Matt does a nice job of describing how to setup the GSM gateway with his preferred Asterisk distro and billing solution. What he describes is a bit like the project that I undertook, so long ago now, when integrating a Portech SIP-to-GSM gateway with a local instance of Asterisk.

Back then SIP-to-GSM gateways were still relatively rare. Most of the affordable interface hardware terminated into an analog line jack, requiring an FXO interface to bring it into Asterisk.

It seems that there are a lot more options for SIP-to-GSM hardware, from freestanding boxes line those from Portech, HyberTone or 2N, to Sangoma W400 modular add-in cards for use within an Asterisk server. I see that the single-port GoIP gateway is available from Amazon for $290 or on Ebay, shipped from China, for $117.99.

The price on such things seems to have dropped by over half in the years since I undertook the project. That very fact may bring a single port gateway into the realm of mad money for some users.

New TDM-GSM Module For Asterisk

A short while ago Nir Simionovich noted an interesting new piece of hardware on his blog. It’s the embodiment of a novel approach to adding GSM based cellular trunks to an Asterisk server. As opposed to a freestanding external SIP-to-GSM gateway that I installed last year, someone has devised a new TDM-GSM module that emulates that FXO daughter card on a Digium TDM400P card. According to the companies web site two modules can be installed to a TDM400P card, providing Asterisk with two GSM trunks. No drivers are required beyond those loaded for the TDM400P.

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Finally, We Have A 311 Solution

Figure 3: Portech MV-370 SIP-GSM gateway

In the spring of 2008 I installed a SIP-to-GSM cellular gateway as a means of backing up our wholly IP-based home and office phones. The installation of the cellular gateway allowed me to route calls to and from T-Mobile should our DSL circuit go down. In addition, it provided us access to 911 and 411 services that were not at the time provided by our ITSPs.

The one thing we wanted that it did not address was access to 311 service. In Houston a 311 call rings a non-emergency city call center that is intended to take notifications about city services. For example, we call 311 when we see a street light out, a broken fire hydrant, large fallen trees in the roadways or packs of wild dogs roaming dangerously.

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