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40 posts

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Topic # 106729 30-Jul-2012 20:15 Send private message

Hello,

I'm looking for feedback on my VOIP setup plans. Giving $47 dollars a month to Telecom for the privilege of a dial tone is annoying. That's more than I give my ISP (Fyx) at the moment.

Some constraints:
  • We have an alarm. It isn't monitored right now but it does call nominated numbers if it gets set off. The alarm uses pulse dialing for this.
  • I don't want to get a new alarm and there doesn't seem to be any modules available to support GSM based text messages instead.
  • Ideally I would like to be able to carry on using this setup when / if UFB arrives in our area by just replacing the modem.
  • If we end up selling I need to be able to revert to "normal phones" easily.
  • The Hubble phone module we have is in the roof space, so the modem and ATA will probably have to go up there as well.
  • Needs to be flexible for VOIP provider.
So, the plan.
  • Telephone line off pole gets connected to the ADSL2+ modem.
  • Modem connected to switch.
  • Cisco SPA112 connected to switch.
  • DialGizmo connected to Cisco SPA112 (DialGizmo supports REN of 2). Configure for NZ pulse dialing.
  • Connect the other end of DialGizmo to the incoming blue phone line of the Hubble phone module.
  • Alarm connected to the RJ31X port of the Hubble phone module (for line seizure)
  • Rest of the phone lines connected to Hubble phone module on outgoing blue lines (just 2 phones physically connected).

I'll probably use Kiwilink as the VOIP provider initially. We don't need call waiting or anything like that and they only charge $5 a month for plain vanilla VOIP.

If this works, in the future I'll connect the Cisco SPA112, ADSL2+ modem and switch to an Eaton 3S UPS so we'll still have phone (and conveniently internet for our battery powered devices) if we do loose power.

Other options considered:
  • Getting an ATA that supports pulse dialing. Few and far between by the sounds. Minivar MVA11A came up as one that might work, but isn't listed as a supported ATA for XNet (which I heard good things about).
  • Getting a new modem that has VOIP support and supports pulse dialing (or just use the DialGizmo for that modem as well). Fritzbox looked good but very $$$. Any other options I should look at?

Is there anything in that setup that might not work? I wasn't sure whether the DialGizmo would just work even if normal DTMF phones were plugged through it.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.








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69 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 668764 7-Aug-2012 10:40 Send private message

The dial gizmos work fine, I have used a few of them now for old pulse dial phones.

It should be straight forward to connect the DG to your alarm panel and then to an ATA.

I installed cat5 into our home for our asterisk pbx, phones and pc's and left the 2 wire phone cabling intact except for:

1. Ran cat 5 to the utp outside and connected to telecom 2 pair cable(both pairs put through)
2. Terminated cable on plate with 2 RJ45 jacks and terminated phone cabling to 2nd RJ45 jack
3. I have an ADSL splitter and WiFi router in the roof along with a 2 port ATA.
4. The house wiring is connected to the first port of the ATA
5. If we get an alarm it will be connected to the 2nd port of the ATA
6. If we move I just need to run a cat5 cable between the 2 jacks to put the cabling back to standard

I don't recommend the roof space as ideal to do this but we use ours for storage and can walk around in it plus the WiFi coverage is better.

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  Reply # 669227 7-Aug-2012 19:27 Send private message

vespaman: The dial gizmos work fine, I have used a few of them now for old pulse dial phones.



Have you it with VoIP though? From what I have seen almost all alarms that have a dialer don't transmit the 'alert' signals with DTMF but rather a low speed data service. Because of this I think you will fine using a VoIP line to connect to the alarm it just won't work. same deal for Sky decoders. They use a low speed data service to communicate through the line and not just a standard DTMF tone.



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  Reply # 669268 7-Aug-2012 20:35 Send private message

The Cisco SPA112 arrived a few days ago and that's now all hooked up to Kiwilink.

I've ordered the DialGizmo after I heard back from the technical rep at DialGizmo. They claimed that it should work fine passing through all of the phone lines.

This Technical Service Note from Bosch gives me some confidence that what I'm proposing will hopefully end up working. I guess time will tell.


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  Reply # 669282 7-Aug-2012 20:50 Send private message

chevrolux:
vespaman: The dial gizmos work fine, I have used a few of them now for old pulse dial phones.



Have you it with VoIP though? From what I have seen almost all alarms that have a dialer don't transmit the 'alert' signals with DTMF but rather a low speed data service. Because of this I think you will fine using a VoIP line to connect to the alarm it just won't work. same deal for Sky decoders. They use a low speed data service to communicate through the line and not just a standard DTMF tone.


ContactID is the most common alarm protocol and uses DTMF tones. Many higher spec alarms used IRFast (modem) because it allowed significantly more data to be transferred.

My personal view is that running any alarm over VoIP is a complete and utter waste of time and should not be contemplated unless you're running alaw or ulaw in a non RFC2833 environment with no RFC2833 DTMF conversion occuring at any point along the path or interconnect. Sure it will work 97% of the time, but it will never ever be 100% or anywhere close to it with the setup planned above.

IP or GSM are the best approach.




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  Reply # 669360 7-Aug-2012 23:33 Send private message

sbiddle: ContactID is the most common alarm protocol and uses DTMF tones. Many higher spec alarms used IRFast (modem) because it allowed significantly more data to be transferred.

My personal view is that running any alarm over VoIP is a complete and utter waste of time and should not be contemplated unless you're running alaw or ulaw in a non RFC2833 environment with no RFC2833 DTMF conversion occuring at any point along the path or interconnect. Sure it will work 97% of the time, but it will never ever be 100% or anywhere close to it with the setup planned above.

IP or GSM are the best approach.


I've located a copy of the installation guide for the alarm we have. It uses ContactID (not that it matters as the alarm isn't monitored at present - it's just configured to dial a number if the alarm is triggered).

I've also found that the alarm does support DTMF dialing despite the User Manual stating that it supports pulse dialing. Seems that statement meant that it supports decadic (Australian or Reversed) dialing OR DTMF (Australian or International) dialing based on configuration. Now I just need to find out what the Installer Code is for the alarm so I can check what it's configured to use.

I've configured the ATA to use G711a (pretty sure this is alaw). What determines whether there might be RFC2833 DTMF conversion? Is that something related to the SIP provider settings or related to the variety of DTMF related options in the Audio Configuration for the Line on the ATA?

I'm going to call the company that installed the alarm tomorrow and see if there is a GSM option for the alarm. Pretty sure there isn't based on internet research though.



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  Reply # 669376 8-Aug-2012 06:24 Send private message

If the alarm is just dialling a number (ie a mobile) and sending DTMF tones to you it should work OK over an ATA. Much of the problem lies with ATA's being unable to cope with the fast DTMF sequence that ContactID uses.

If you were ever going to get the alarm monitored my original comment above stands - just forget about it. You will never get an alarm working with 100% reliability using 2talk and a Cisco/Linksys ATA. The solution is to buy an IP module for your existing alarm for ~$180 and your problems will be solved completely.


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Master Geek


  Reply # 669551 8-Aug-2012 11:57 Send private message

dtierny,

my apologies if I have mislead you.

the gizmo would do what you wanted - convert pulse to dtmf.

using an ATA "should work" to dial a number ie your cell phone.

for monitored alarm panels -pstn connectivity is always, preferred until the alarm companies update to IP. some alarm companies wont use pstn ddi numbers - go figure.

It wasn't too long ago where eft-pos had to be on a pstn line

good on you for thinking out of the square and trying something different.



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Geek
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  Reply # 669857 8-Aug-2012 22:20 Send private message

I tracked down the company that installed the alarm (it shuffled hands a while back) and they don't have any record of what the Installer Code for the alarm might be. The only way to change anything is apparently to get someone out on site for $196 + GST to reset the alarm and re-program it.

No idea why the installer didn't put the installer code somewhere where it could be retrieved by me. I thought I had all the codes I would ever need, e.g. Master Code.

Have plan, send $NZD50m
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  Reply # 669869 8-Aug-2012 22:57 Send private message

dteirney: I tracked down the company that installed the alarm (it shuffled hands a while back) and they don't have any record of what the Installer Code for the alarm might be. The only way to change anything is apparently to get someone out on site for $196 + GST to reset the alarm and re-program it.

No idea why the installer didn't put the installer code somewhere where it could be retrieved by me. I thought I had all the codes I would ever need, e.g. Master Code.


I would give the guys at Alarmnz a call - 09 303 0303 - Ask for Brian and tell him I sent you! :)

I wanted to move to VoIP, I was faced with paying $75 a month for alarm monitoring and iirc $500 for the gear to make my alarm talk IP.

Alarm NZ helped me track down a manual for my alarm system and supplied me an "Postx" box that talks ContactID to IP and provided a new monitoring service for $15 a month, which has more than recovered the cost of the PostX box.

That was then...

Next I needed to add a new zone, and two new pads...  So I called Brian and he recommended a local contractor who helped me get the bits at cost, let me wire it up myself and then he just came in and did the programming for me.

That was 3 months ago...

Then the PostX packed a sad on me...  No problem, Ben from Alarm NZ just sent me a new one.  (No idea what the warranty is on their stuff, but there were no questions asked they just sorted it.)  The new unit is very cool.  No only is it IP, but it also has a bunch of relays on it to do stuff like fail over to a mobile BB if the main BB fails and power cycle the DSL modem/router if it fails to talk when asked to (which is very useful if you've got a cheap DSL router and poor power which can cause stuff to hang).

Then the neighbours cat turned up and upset the shed sensor...  which doesn't bother me to much except when I'm on site and it goes off at 2am.  My experience with my last alarm company was that they'd have just told me to call the installers and I'd pay a fee.  Alarm NZ's monitoring guys have all the manuals on hand, and just talked me though isolating the impacted zones, so now I get sleep while I figure out what we're going to do about the cat problem.

Now I pay for SMS monitoring.  To me, that means if my alarm goes off I get an SMS.  If my panel doesn't talk to them then I might get an SMS...  No... these guys follow up and just don't give up calling me until the service is back on line.  Given that I have very few problems, $15 a month must be profitable.... but I'd have thought the $45 I was paying the other guys was more profitable but they didn't care that my panel had been off line for a week! 

Ok, so this is all a bit off topic to a point and I read like an infomercial, but my point is that, having read your OP and a few of the posts, I really do recommend giving these guys a call and having a chat.  I don't know if they'll be able to help you, but it's worth asking!

Disclosure:  No, I'm not paid by these guys, I was just mucked about by their competition, they have honestly provided me with a great product and service and I like to tell others about it! :)







Promote New Zealand - Get yourself a .kiwi.nz domain name!!!

Check out mine - i.am.a.can.do.kiwi.nz - [email protected]


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  Reply # 669871 8-Aug-2012 23:00 Send private message

dteirney:

No idea why the installer didn't put the installer code somewhere where it could be retrieved by me.



dteirney: The only way to change anything is apparently to get someone out on site for $196 + GST to reset the alarm and re-program it. 



.. or maybe I'm overly pessimistic ;)



40 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 671256 12-Aug-2012 01:18 Send private message

@DonGould, thanks for the information re AlarmNZ. I seem to have gotten lucky though. I connected up the Alarm to the ATA today and tested the Domestic Dialing and my mobile rang straight away so it must have been configured to use DTMF dialing rather the decadic dialing already. I don't plan on having any monitoring at the moment and I wouldn't feel comfortable calling up a company asking for help or advice without any plans of spending money with them. I guess that's why we have great sites like geekzone where we can ask for help without any commercial interest involved.

@blair003, not leaving a record of the Installer Code so the customer has to spend lots of money if they want anything changed down the track did seem like a business gathering venture. Needless to say if I need any work done I won't be going back to them.

@vespaman, thanks for the info on the DialGizmo. I think I understood your first post just fine. Turns out I won't need it after all.

@sbiddle, thanks for the information re the RFC stuff. That helped figure out what I should search for and then turn off, e.g. turn off Jitter correction, turn off Echo correction, use In Band DTMF, so the outgoing call from the alarm sounds almost identical to what it was with a POTS line (basically a siren sounding thing with tones every now and then). For a while all I was getting was silence when the alarm dialed me.

Now that the alarm is dialing out fine I've run into a problem with being able to acknowledge the call. This is done by holding down the * key for between 1-3 seconds when there is a pause in the transmission. Without this acknowledgement being received it happily dials my mobile 6 times, which is getting a little bit annoying.

Does anyone have any advice on what might cause the inbound DTMF tones to not be received properly?





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  Reply # 671285 12-Aug-2012 08:36 Send private message

dteirney:
Does anyone have any advice on what might cause the inbound DTMF tones to not be received properly?



Here's some info about some solutions I went through when I had the same problem. I tried a few other things to get it to work, however, it turned out to be a problem with the phone. I couldn't get it to work through the mobile, however, 1 day I held up another phone to the mobile to generate the dtmf tone and the alarm handshake worked. My current phone has an option to generate short or long dtmf tones, however I haven't tried it.
Basically, the problem could be with your mobile phone not generating a suitable dtmf tone and not the voip system.



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  Reply # 671302 12-Aug-2012 09:38 Send private message

dteirney: Does anyone have any advice on what might cause the inbound DTMF tones to not be received properly?



I'm presuming you haven't updated your SPA to the latest firmware and are still running older firmware. These devices are unbelievably atrocious with the current factory firmware with a large number of features that are broken including some major DTMF issues and CallerID.





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  Reply # 671360 12-Aug-2012 11:32 Send private message

sbiddle:
dteirney: Does anyone have any advice on what might cause the inbound DTMF tones to not be received properly?



I'm presuming you haven't updated your SPA to the latest firmware and are still running older firmware. These devices are unbelievably atrocious with the current factory firmware with a large number of features that are broken including some major DTMF issues and CallerID.




I did have the factory firmware. I just installed the 1.2.0 beta from the other forum post here at Geekzone. Unfortunately it's still not working.

I'm using an iPhone 4. I've been able to use this phone to acknowledge the alarm in the past. I did find a lot of posts about people with iPhones being unable to correctly trigger IVR phone systems so I wonder if this is related.

Does anyone know if it's possible to see whether DTMF tones are coming through in the ATA log?



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Geek
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  Reply # 672499 14-Aug-2012 21:03 Send private message

I've been testing some more with an analog phone and an answering machine on the VoIP line and vice versa to see if I can diagnose further.

I've reconfigured the ATA so it's using AVT for DTMF tones as per the instructions for Kiwilink.

For outgoing calls the DTMF tones last as long as the key is held down, awesome. However, for incoming calls the DTMF tones only last for a fixed, and very short, period of time. I've tried changing the DTMF Playback Length in the Regional settings but this doesn't seem to change anything. This explains why the alarm isn't acknowledging anything because that needs a tone of at least 1 second to trigger.

Upon reading the Known Issues for the 1.1.0 firmware "Changing the DTMF Playback Length value does not take effect." Doesn't seem like this is fixed in 1.2.0 either. Bah.

Are inbound DTMF tones supposed to be played for as long as they are held down? Based on the protocol it seems like that is how it is supposed to work. Reading the Cisco documentation it seems to suggest that's not what the SPA112 will do though.

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