Review of the Obihai OBi110 VoIP device, Part 2: The OBiTALK portal, documentation, and using the device as an FXO port with Asterisk

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40 Comments

  1. Ben said

    Very nice two reviews so far, thanks a lot, keep them coming please.

  2. DaveSin said

    I’m curious about extending the capabilities of the OBi110, by plugging one unit into the another 110 FXO port. Or plug a SPA-3102/SPA-3000 into the FXO. Is there a way to for instance have access from the Phone port of the OBi100 to the Gateway accounts. Line 1 Sip account and or the PSTN on the SPA-3102/SPA3000 (daisy-chaining).

  3. DaveSin, I’m not sure what you’re asking. You can connect the FXO port of the OBi110 to the FXS port of another device, or you can connect the FXS port of the OBi110 to the FXO port of another device, and I suppose you could connect the FXS port of the OBi110 to its own FXO port, though I can’t conceive of any reason you’d want to do either of the last two.

    Please, folks, I ask that you use complete sentences and explain what you are trying to do, preferably using a real-world example. I can say that something is theoretically possible but unless you mention the specific application you have in mind, I can’t tell you if the device will work in that particular scenario (maybe I can’t anyway, but the chances are much better if I understand what you’re trying to do).

    Also, I came across a comment by user “obiliving” on BroadbandReports.com that mentions the following: “… the OBi admin guide has not been fully updated yet. The latest firmware (ver 1.1) does support 8 gateways. A gateway is just another OBi device. The OBi110 communicates with a gateway using the OBiTALK protocol, while each gateway is addressed using its built-in OBi number (the OBiTALK protocol will take care NAT traversal issue automatically).” So depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, it might be possible to do it using multiple OBi110 devices and the OBiTALK protocol to send calls between the devices. If you want further clarification on that, I’d suggest you post your question in that thread.

  4. Computer Outlet said

    Is it possible to use this device and have google voice ring my cell phone and the OBi110 phone at the same time when the call comes in because your instructions are to only have chat selected?

  5. I don’t see why not. The main thing is that Google Chat must be selected for the call to reach the OBi110, but I suppose that you could have something else selected as a destination as well, and Google Voice would ring both destinations and then connect the call to whichever answers first. That’s a good question and it’s a scenario that just didn’t occur to me when I wrote that. I probably should edit that! :)

    EDIT: On further refection I’ll add one caveat — because of the way this works, you MIGHT get a false incoming call on your cell phone whenever you place an outgoing call on the OBi110. I don’t have a cell phone linked to the account I’m using to test the OBi110 or I’d try it and let you know. But I think that what happens behind the scenes is that whenever you place an outgoing call, Google Voice places a callback to your device, which the OBi110 quickly answers. IF that is true, I suspect the answer would be quick enough that your cell wouldn’t ring, but I don’t know that for a fact. If it does give you a short ring and you don’t want that, there may be a solution if your cell service allows you to block calls from certain numbers — you could block calls from your Google Voice number and that would screen out the callbacks, while allowing all other calls to come through.

  6. Thanks For All The Fish said

    Thanks for the GREAT articles,

    FWIW, I have successfully and uneventfully had my CellPhone and OBi110 ring simultaneously for incoming calls. No callbacks, etc.. are in play here; instead the Obi110 seems to have a direct IP connection to Google servers, using the same protocols that Google Chat would use from your PC.

    I have 2 Google Voice numbers assigned and configured using the direct to OBi110 method. Also, I have a PSTN line plugged in and it works perfectly if I prefix the outgoing cals with **8 … (since I have GVoice 1 as the default)

  7. MJ said

    I know that you can configure 2 different VOIP providers for outgoing calls, but what about incoming? Can you get incoming calls from both providers? If yes, then does the device register itself with both providers simultaneously? I’m assuming that incoming calls to FXO (“line”) port will always be available. So, in total, can I RECEIVE calls from all three providers?

  8. MJ: The answer to all your questions is yes — and actually, you can receive calls from FOUR sources: Service Provider 1, Service Provider 2, the OBiTALK network, AND the Line port.

  9. RobF said

    Thanks for the info here! I’ll be setting mine up in a few days.
    Once question… Can the FXS port on the obi110 register as an extension on an asterisk server?

    I’d like to manage all of my trunks with asterisk including the FXO trunk and use the FXS port as one of my many extensions.

  10. RobF said

    Whoops.. nevermind.. just found one of your other articles.
    https://michigantelephone.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/how-to-use-the-obihai-obi100-or-obi110-voip-device-as-a-gateway-between-asteriskfreepbx-and-google-voice-andor-the-obitalk-network-%E2%80%94-part-2-using-the-phone-port-as-an-asterisk-extension/

  11. Frank M said

    Thanks for the useful walk-throughs and technical information. I’ve enabled my cell phone as a destination in Google Voice, and have set up an Obihai 110 as described here. Dialing the Google Voice number from another phone rings both the Phone port on the Obihai, and the cell phone. Dialing out from the Phone port on the Obihai also seems to work fine.

  12. [...] started with a couple VOIP phones on my computer for testing, but then I stumbled upon michigantelephone‘s blog, which had a lot of related information, and linked the rest of what I needed to [...]

  13. Jeff S. said

    I bought this device because of your review and it works well! thank you.

    My only fear is what happens if the Obihai servers go down? I doubt calls would still work. It seems like an interesting business model, as they don’t charge to access the Obitalk network.

    But as long as it lasts until the end of 2011 it was more than worth it!

  14. If the OBiTALK servers were to go down, only Obi network calls would be affected. Your Obi device would still work with Google Voice, or any service provider you have programmed into one of the Service Provider slots. As you probably realize, the “end of 2011″ date is only how long Google Voice has guaranteed their service would remain free. Last year they extended it for another year (to the current “end of 2011″ date, and they may do that again this year, or they may not – no one outside Google really knows what Google’s ultimate plans are for Google Voice.

  15. ObiNewbie said

    Great how-to. Have been up on my new Obi-100 for a couple of days now. Mostly bought it so I could dial out from my handset. Was feeling a little cramped having to always use GV to dial. Funny how something so simple can become like a quest…

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out to any other heretics out there that don’t listen to good sense and do your testing w/ a temp Gmail account, if you have enabled the newly available “two-factor authentication” you will have a problem getting your Obi to connect. The solution is to enter as your password, not your normal gmail password but the long, alternate password that Google gives you for times like this when the app you’re trying to use doesn’t understand how to get around the extra authentication. Took me a while before I figured out what was going on. As soon as I put in the alternate, the LED came on and it’s been perfect ever since.

    Great little device. Looking forward to checking out what other cool stuff it can do.

  16. smaccona said

    Great reviews. I recently acquired an OBI110 and have been using it almost without issue (I suspect any issues I have are to do with Google Voice, rather than the OBI110).

    A question to which I suspect the answer is “no”: is there a way to use two handsets with this device? I know one of the ports on the back is FXO, for plugging into an existing line. I guess what I am asking is whether this can be used as a second FXS port, to connect a second handset. My goal is to provision two Google Voice numbers and have them ring separate phones. I can’t think of a way to use the single port to simultaneously make (or receive) two calls, hence my desire for two handsets.

    Thanks!

  17. smaccona, unfortunately your suspicion is correct — there is no way to make the FXO port function as a second FXS port. Sorry.

  18. smaccona said

    Thanks.

    Not knowing enough about FXS, let me ask a slightly different question: is there any way to connect two handsets (i.e. two physical phones) to a single FXS port, and thus handle two calls simultaneously?

  19. smaccona, not on the Obi devices. If there were a way to do it, you’d see two phone port configuration pages, and you don’t. Both Obi devices (the OBi100 and the OBi110) each support only a single phone line. Several people have requested a multi-FXS port model (I’d personally like to see one with either 4 or 8 FXS ports!) but so far no response from Obihai.

  20. Marc said

    I wonder how this recent announcement will affect the Obi devices?

    Make or receive multiple calls in Gmail –

    http://on.mash.to/MultipleCallsInGMail

  21. Anonymous said

    What will happen if you were to put a line splitter on the FXS port and connect a 2-line phone to it?
    Nubie

  22. RobF said

    you would have 2 phones connected to the same phone line.

  23. Anonymous said

    Has anyone configured this to work with 3cx? I am wanting to use this as a GV Gateway for my 3cx PBX. So far I am just connecting the FXO to another gateway.
    KJ

  24. Anonymous said

    One of the biggest disappointments of GV for me is that it doesn’t allow call forwarding to international numbers. I wondered if there is an app or a way to create this functionality with the Obi. Perhaps with calls coming into the FXO port? Anybody know anything?

  25. Well, in theory, with any currently-available Obihai device you could get two Google Voice accounts, or a Google Voice account and a SIP provider account, and forward incoming calls from one to the other. In theory that would work in either an OBi100 or an OBi110. The only even slightly tricky part would be setting up the dialplan to forward the calls (assuming that for some reason the regular call forwarding feature didn’t do it for you) and I’m sure that if you needed it you could get help with that in the OBiTALK forum.

    Don’t forget that the OBi100 has two Service Provider slots (either or both of which can be used for Google Voice or SIP accounts) PLUS a connection to the OBiTALK network. The OBi110 also has those and adds the LINE port. So basically all you need to do is decide how you want to place the international leg of a call. If the other person will also have an Obihai device then you can just send it over the OBiTALK network to the destination, and the international leg of the call won’t cost you a dime. Otherwise you can send it out via a second Google Voice account, via a SIP provider that has a good rate to your destination country, or you could even place an international call using a landline if you have the OBi110 (probably NOT what you want to do, but… remember that instead of a “real” landline it could also be a VoIP service provider that insists you use a device they provide, rather than directly accessing them using SIP, in which case you could run a short cord from the PHONE port of their device to the LINE port of the OBi110). So, you have several options here.

  26. Wish I had seen this three weeks ago :) I started my VOIP experience two years ago with Magic Jack. OK call quality, but ended up hating leaving my computer on all the time, dealing with soft phone etc. Purchased Nettalk Duo 3 weeks ago. Call connection can drop out even though I have it prioritized in Linksys 3200 router.

    Have GV professional as well as gmail GV (one with my xxx@xxx.com and other at xxx@gmail.com.

    Like “ObiNewbie” I am in the quest of not having to use computer to place a call (so my GV numbers displays). Netduo makes me do this. However, I would like the option of using my computer as my phone like if I am out of town and don’t want to use my cell phone.

    Since Obi integrates to GV through Chat, Can I still make calls through my computer or answer calls on computer if for some reason I need to?

    Second question, It seems based on this post, that I can have two GV ring through Obi but can one of them be a Google Apps GV?

    I do not endorse any of the products I mention, just wanted to give you the history :)

    My question is this

  27. David: You can still make calls, no problem. But if you have both the computer and the Obihai device online at the same time and the computer is logged into Google Chat, then I think only one of the two will get the call and it likely depends on which connected to the server most recently (in other words, it will be random as far as you’re concerned). If you disconnect power to the Obihai device then of course the calls would go to the computer if that’s online. There might be a workaround for this; you could always ask in the Obitalk forum.

    Note that if your computer runs Windows, you could run the OBiAPP for PC software on it, and then when a call comes in on your Obihai device you could set it up to ring at both the device and on a softphone on your PC (see reply #3 of this thread – while they are talking about two Obihai devices there, the same principle would apply if the second “device” were instead the Obiapp software running on a PC).

    For your second question, see http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=70.0 and specifically the last page or two of that thread. Or just see the document OBi Device Set-Up for Google Voice™ Using the OBiTALK Portal which includes a section on “Using Non ‘@gmail’ Usernames”. What I am reading there would lead me to believe that as of on or about April 1 of this year, using a Google Voice account that has a non-gmail.com address was possible, assuming you have firmware from after that date (which is very easy to upgrade if you don’t).

  28. [...] my research, I found this great review over at michigantelephoneblog.com: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Part 3 covers how to get 911 service, which you don’t get with Google Voice. [...]

  29. [...] my research, I found this great review over at michigantelephoneblog.com: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Part 3 covers how to get 911 service, which you don’t get with Google Voice. [...]

  30. Ken Bonner said

    Seems like there’s always an astrick these days….sheesh.

  31. denon said

    Hello there,been reading your review of obi110 for a while;I want to use LINE port to connect a gsm FWT (Fixed Wireless Terminal)phone to make and receive cellular gsm calls via obi110;is this do able?said FWT has FXS port thru RJ-11 phone socket:
    example here:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/404544/210739790-510040035/gsm-fwt-g3-fax-Ericsson-brand-stocks-sale-.html
    best regards
    denon

  32. denon, as long as the FWT provides dial tone and can be used to place and receive calls, it should work just as well as if you connected a PSTN line to the OBi110 LINE port (because the FWT is essentially simulating a PSTN line). So I think this is very doable and you should not have any problems making it work. Of course I can’t be 100% certain without trying it (so don’t blame me if by some odd chance it won’t work) but from what I’m reading on the link you sent, it sure looks like that device would work quite well with an OBi110 and you should not have any problem at all.

  33. denon said

    Hello there Said,thanks much for your reply,i will test and post results.this blog rocks. Cheers to you all

  34. denon said

    I just bought a OBI 110 ATA device .It needs to be set up remotely to use GV(googlevoice) and a FWT(fixed wireless telephone)with a sim card connected thru line port. FWT has a FXS capable port.
    I want to be able to call my gv number and access the sim card in FWT thru OBI portal to make another call or simply receive a call.
    I also want to be able to call sim card in FWT to make a call thru OBI110 portal .
    Finally I need to be able to connect a second FWT2 thru phone port of OBI110 to call FWT 1 and make another call.
    I am fairly knowledgeble and can supply DETAILED links to every one of these devises including their specifications and connection diagrams.
    This is a fairly easy job but I do not have the patience to learn and do it myself
    I believe 30 minutes should be enough for he wo knows and maybe 1 hour for newby. Willing to pay for it

  35. “Finally I need to be able to connect a second FWT2 thru phone port of OBI110 to call FWT 1 and make another call.” Sorry, that is NOT possible, the FWT is an FXO device and if you plug it into the PHONE port you may permanently damage your OBi110. You may be able to do what you want using a second OBi110. Try posting your detailed description of what you want to do at Installation and Set-Up (Devices) and maybe they can tell you what you need to do, but I am almost certain you’ll need a second OBi110 to pull it off, unless I’m totally misunderstanding this.

  36. denon said

    Hi,ok for step 2.
    thanks for the reply,what of first part?any leads as to achieve that?my gv number is up and running ,cheers

  37. I don’t understand why some folks seem to have an aversion to using the OBiTALK forum. Given enough time and effort and sufficient motivation (no, I do not mean money) I could probably figure out exactly what you need to do (it would be a lot easier if I had access to your OBi110 and FWT, because then I could try what I think would work and see if it actually does), but there are guys in the OBiTALK forum who live and breathe these types of configurations. Look for existing threads that talk about how to bridge Google Voice and PSTN calls, because you’re essentially wanting to do the same thing (your FWT is emulating a PSTN line). For example:

    http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=2496.0

    If you need to, you can start your own thread, and you’re a lot more likely to get an answer there than here. Please remember, I am NOT your technical support, and just because I tell you that it’s possible to do something does not mean I’m going to do it for you. The OBiTALK forums and Docs & Downloads section are there for a reason — use them!

    In all likelihood you just need to make simple edits to the OBi110 dialplan, and there are people in the forum that are much more familiar with those than I.

  38. denon said

    Dear Said,thank you very much for your input:heading to the obi forum to the attached link above have answered my querry partly.i will open a new thread there to solve my other querry.THANK you very much indeed.

  39. denon said

    Hello again Said,in REREADING your last answer I noticed that you mentioned that (it would be a lot easier if I had access to your OBi110 and FWT, because then I could try what I think would work and see if it actually does) I am more than willing to do that if you tell me what it will take to get you motivated aswell as do?I do have need for my 1st request to connect this FWT to OBI and if needed I have 2 OBI110 on hand thanks

  40. denon, you’re not getting the hint. USE THE OBITALK FORUM. There are people there who ENJOY doing this stuff, whereas for me its a bit of a struggle because I do it so seldom (and my memory is so short) that I basically have to learn the process all over again each time I do it. Also, when I made the comment about having access, I meant PHYSICAL access, by which I meant, having both devices in my hand so I could observe how calls are going out, and maybe connect a phone in parallel and hear what was happening. That’s just the way I like to do things sometimes. But really this is a simple dialplan problem, and there are people on the OBiTALK forum that love to solve those.

    Also I think part of it is you haven’t really defined what you want to do in a way that I really understand it. But that may be more a failure on my part to understand than a failure on your part to state what you want. That’s another reason I wish you’d take it to the OBiTALK forum, because if somebody there truly “gets” what you are trying to to, they will be better able to help you than I will — and if they don’t, at least maybe they will ask you the right questions to help you clarify what you want to do. It may just be that my brain isn’t functioning on all cylinders today, and if you’d asked this a week ago or a week from now I might better “get it” (then again, I might not).

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