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An Installation Tale

BroadVoice arranged to have partner Sipura (since purchased by Linksys) provide a SPA-2100 ATA for my testing. This turns out to be a supported device and actually the one that BroadVoice supplies for its normal accounts. Once the 2100 arrived, I found that it had a BYOD installation process, which I dutifully followed. But after a couple of runs through the process, I still had no dialtone.

I next tried using the generic SIP settings that I found after digging through the various screens in the BroadVoice account portal. But given that I'm a newbie at SIP configuration and that the terminology used in the SPA-2100 interface and the BroadVoice SIP settings didn't match up, I didn't have much luck there either.

I then tried telephone help (on a Saturday), but after sitting on hold for about 5 minutes with no indication of how long my wait was going to be, I fired off an email support request and then started Googling. It didn't take me long to find the SIPURA section of the Voxilla forums, where I first tried the SPA configuration wizard for the 2100. But I struck out there after the site threw an error page each time I entered all my information. I finally was able to get a dialtone after digging through the Voxilla forums and using the configuration and terminology clues I found there.

But I wasn't home yet. When I tried some test calls, I was only able to get long pauses and fast busies. In the end, I finally got straightened out with the help of a very helpful and knowledgeable Tier2 support person who my press contact connected me with. She patiently pointed out that my problem was some incorrect settings in the 2100 (that I had made), and explained that the BroadVoice configuration process had failed because I hadn't supplied a MAC address during registration and BroadVoice hadn't generated a proper configuration file!

Once I emailed her my 2100 MAC address, and the config file was generated, the BYOD process worked like a charm...sorta. The way the process was written (it's since been changed for the 2100 only), it told me to use the WAN IP address of the 2100 for certain steps. But since the computer I was using was connected to the 2100's LAN side (it has a built-in NAT-based router), I knew I had to use the adapter's LAN address. Once I made the proper substitution, the process worked like a champ and I finally had dialtone and was able to make and receive calls.

The main reason I've made you suffer through the story above is to point out that providing something like a BYOD service - which is unique to BroadVoice at this point - has its challenges. BroadVoice CTO, Nathan Allen Stratton, told me that BroadVoice is "working to certify as many devices as possible so that we can auto provision the customer's BYOD device". He added, "This not only lowers our support cost, but offers customers a much better experience." Stratton also said that they currently have "over 200 different user agents on our network", a number that includes both supported / "certified" devices and generics.

Tip Tip: A minor downside to BroadVoice's fraud-prevention methods is that you can't change your BYOD SIP device without first making a change request to BroadVoice. But the company recently changed its customer portal so that this request can be done on-line for many devices.

Note, however, that If you change your device without notifying BroadVoice, you'll find your account temporarily disabled.

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