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mjb



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Topic # 30932 26-Feb-2009 10:08
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Well, if this is how it's gone so far, I'm not very impressed.

We moved house a couple of weeks ago, which meant moving phone, internet, etc. Due to not having broadband with Telecom, the move would take about a week.. same old story - can't have more than one Job request per account in the system at a time, so 1 for phone move, then 1 for DSL move from my ISP after the phone move has been completed. Screw that, time to dump Telecom. Voice line is too expensive anyway, and we don't make that many phone calls. Lets move to:

1) Naked DSL with Snap (awesome, works well, speedy connection, pretty good service from the call centre, etc etc)
2) VOIP with a SIP provider. I decided to go with iTalk from slingshot on recommendation of a friend.

I'm looking forward to when it's working completely and I never have to call the slingshot call centre again....

*) Entered the account application online on the 13th. A friday. probably a stupid idea. This application included the porting of our old number from the telecom line.
*) Account was not actually activated until the 24th, and porting wasn't completed until the 25th. That's appalling. The website for iTalk says a lead time of 2 business days. Should have been the 17th or so. Granted, this is probably Telecom, but come on.
*) The Linksys ATA device I purchased from slingshot was not actually sent to me until account activation. It's mine, I wanted it when it's purchased. Turns out that this is because they don't activate the account until the number is ready from porting, and they pre-configure the device with provisioning data.
*) I could access all of the configuration on the ATA device when it arrived, and I noticed some URLs in the advanced section - a tftp, and https - both referring to slingshot servers. As soon as I'd configured it so it could access the net, it apparently fetched these details and subsequently locked me out of the admin area by applying a password.
*) Calling the slingshot call centre is awesome... "There should be no password".. "What about 'password'?" "'admin'?" etc etc etc.. "I've never seen this before, you shouldn't have to enter a password.." ad infinitum.
*) I repeatedly ask for a copy of the cfg file that the device is fetching. "No, that's privvy to Callplus, sorry you can't have it". Dammit, it's my device, and the config file is specific to my device - it has the MAC address of the unit in the filename. (Yes, I could just fetch the file myself with wget or a browser - but it's https and requires a client cert..)

And finally, the ATA device itself registers with the SIP trunk fine, but will periodically drop off and give a registration status of 'Failed'. Seemingly randomly. With no other SIP clients connecting.

On the positive side, the couple of phonecalls that I *have* made with the VOIP line have been great - clear audio, and featureful - voicemail, caller ID, etc etc..

So in summary, not terribly impressed with the provisioning and service from the slingshot call centre, and somewhat bemused by the fact I cannot get the config that they're provisioning my device with. Unless I'm mistaken, it's my device, not rented (I've specifically asked that on the phone, and both times they've said, "yes, it's yours, you paid for it"). I'd love to get a copy of that config file so that I can actually use it myself, on my own webserver.




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  Reply # 198169 26-Feb-2009 10:19
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Many VoIP providers will lock down the voice configuration section of ATA's or routers if they are using an autoprovisiong system. Why? Simply because it's best practice.

iIt means that end users can't change vital settings in devices or make changes to their devices that could cause issues. While SIP is a standard there are lots of issues that can easily be affected - if you were able to edit your config and made changes that resulted in calls not being disconnected and your bill blew out by hundreds of $ would you blame yourself or iTalk?

iTalk suffered huge amounts of bad feedback in the early days because people would buy their own hardware, configure it thinking they were a VoIP expert and suffer poor call quality or issues which they blamed squarely on iTalk when it was not their network causing the problems. The reality is VoIP is complex and most people don't know what settings do. If you object to this then VoIP providers like iTalk (and VFX who have the same policy) are not for you. You would be better going to somebody else who does let you change things.

Aas for downloading the config file I'm not sure why this really does interest you unless you're wanting to try and fiddle with their system. The file itself is actually encrypted with a public key so even downloading it from their server won't tell you anything.



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  Reply # 198172 26-Feb-2009 10:26
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Your entire message contains more useful information than the total time spent on the phone to slingshot.

Yep, I want to play. I'm in IT, and VOIP is the next thing I want to spend my free time learning about - what better way than with my own line. I appreciate that there are a lot of settings that can be 'fiddled' with to give nasty results, hence why I'd like to get a copy of the provisioning info to ensure that I keep things configured the way that the iTalk guys prefer. Since it's encrypted, that's out - I was expecting it was just xml or something, but ok. Thanks for that info.

As to the billing thing, yeah, I'd blame me if I was futzing around.

(sorry for the bad formatting, coming to grips with this forum's config)




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  Reply # 198187 26-Feb-2009 11:14
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mjb: Yep, I want to play. I'm in IT, and VOIP is the next thing I want to spend my free time learning about - what better way than with my own line. I appreciate that there are a lot of settings that can be 'fiddled' with to give nasty results, hence why I'd like to get a copy of the provisioning info to ensure that I keep things configured the way that the iTalk guys prefer.

In that case, you are better off going with 2Talk or Kiwilink.  2Talk provides "how to" setup guides for many of the popular ATAs such as Linksys PAP2T which is what I am using at one of our properties.  The 2Talk forums contain quite a bit of other useful info. which will give you pointers on how to do most things.

The benefit of signing up through Kiwilink is that they will e-mail you a bill every month, whereas 2Talk require you to keep the account in credit at all times.  Kiwilink also use 2Talk under the hood as it were, but they provide their own front end to the system.

I would suggest ditching iTalk (which I gave up on about 3 years ago) and moving across to 2Talk either directly or via Kiwilink.  If you are IT savvy as you say, you should be able to get things up and running within a few hours.

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  Reply # 198190 26-Feb-2009 11:31
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grant_k:
In that case, you are better off going with 2Talk or Kiwilink.? 2Talk provides "how to" setup guides for many of the popular ATAs such as Linksys PAP2T which is what I am using at one of our properties.? The 2Talk forums contain quite a bit of other useful info. which will give you pointers on how to do most things.

The benefit of signing up through Kiwilink is that they will e-mail you a bill every month, whereas 2Talk require you to keep the account in credit at all times.? Kiwilink also use 2Talk under the hood as it were, but they provide their own front end to the system.

I would suggest ditching iTalk (which I gave up on about 3 years ago) and moving across to 2Talk either directly or via Kiwilink.? If you are IT savvy as you say, you should be able to get things up and running within a few hours.


Cool, thanks for the tip. I'll stick with iTalk for now, and see how it goes for the next little while - Unless I'm mistaken, there's no hard and fast rule about not using your own SIP equipment with iTalk.. I actually intend on using Asterisk in the future, the ATA is more a stop gap until then, but I'll reuse it as an adapter for our old POTS DECT phone with Asterisk.

I should have been clearer about my rant... it's really just that - I'm interested in what other users have experienced in a similar scenario. I'm mostly just annoyed at the 1.5 weeks it's taken to port a number - probably unjustified, since someone I spoke to at Telecom did tell me it's a 'standard' between providers to have something like 10 days delay... *shrug*

Again, thanks for the tip. :)




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  Reply # 198321 27-Feb-2009 08:10
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mjb: And finally, the ATA device itself registers with the SIP trunk fine, but will periodically drop off and give a registration status of 'Failed'. Seemingly randomly. With no other SIP clients connecting.


Aha... for anyone else that may be interested - turns out that this is a DNS thing. When it initially boots, the DNS servers given by DHCP are fine, but the Provisioning configuration from Slingshot set the DNS servers on the device to 202.180.64.10 and 202.180.64.11. Even if you specifically set the DNS servers in the config. Sadly, neither of these servers will answer the ATA's query for the SIP domain.

A bit of judicious use of DNAT and SNAT on my router transparently points it at my DNS server which does work.




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  Reply # 198323 27-Feb-2009 08:27
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iTalk do still provide all the user details don't they?

If so there should be nothing preventing you from doing a fctory reset of the device and then entering your own details. Even if your MAC address was tied to the SIP account this would still work.

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  Reply # 198324 27-Feb-2009 08:31
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sbiddle: iTalk do still provide all the user details don't they?

If so there should be nothing preventing you from doing a fctory reset of the device and then entering your own details. Even if your MAC address was tied to the SIP account this would still work.


Yep, you're 100% correct.. and I plan on doing that, but I'm heading away for the weekend, and don't want to leave the better half without a phone :) ... the small addition of firewall rules is a quicker fix.




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Reply # 198333 27-Feb-2009 09:06
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mjb:
mjb: And finally, the ATA device itself registers with the SIP trunk fine, but will periodically drop off and give a registration status of 'Failed'. Seemingly randomly. With no other SIP clients connecting.


Aha... for anyone else that may be interested - turns out that this is a DNS thing. When it initially boots, the DNS servers given by DHCP are fine, but the Provisioning configuration from Slingshot set the DNS servers on the device to 202.180.64.10 and 202.180.64.11. Even if you specifically set the DNS servers in the config. Sadly, neither of these servers will answer the ATA's query for the SIP domain.

A bit of judicious use of DNAT and SNAT on my router transparently points it at my DNS server which does work.


Is this right? So it just shows that companies locking down their settings on device actually don't help much to have "quality service" then?

I am stumped...




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  Reply # 198341 27-Feb-2009 09:25
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freitasm:

Is this right? So it just shows that companies locking down their settings on device actually don't help much to have "quality service" then?

I am stumped...


There's a very high likelihood that it's because I don't have my broadband with Slingshot, so I'd be coming in from the 'net to those DNS servers, not the Slingshot network.

But yeah, this will probably be affecting all non-SS broadband iTalk users with a SS provisioned SPA2102. I sent in a support request last night, I'll see what happens.




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  Reply # 198350 27-Feb-2009 09:52
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Even so, they should think of that... For example I use VFX and I am not with WorldxChange - I use TelstraClear cable-modem...




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  Reply # 198356 27-Feb-2009 10:36
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freitasm: Even so, they should think of that... For example I use VFX and I am not with WorldxChange - I use TelstraClear cable-modem...


Agreed...

Even after my iptables hack, the device appears to be rebooting periodically - I initially thought this was just it's own monitoring, as in if it can't register it'll reboot after a while. I'm only basing this on the "Elapsed Time" field in the web interface never reaching more than an hour. At least it's staying registered with the SIP trunk now.

(Oh, why is the country flag in my profile an Australian one, when I've set NZ as my country?)




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mjb



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  Reply # 198388 27-Feb-2009 13:52
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freitasm:

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=4&TopicId=12549


Aha, cheers. Right, time for a factory reset after the weekend I think:


http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19525805-viatalk-with-SPA2102-adapter-It-restarts-every-60min

Discussion that a corrupt/incorrect provisioning file will cause the ATA to reboot when it fetches it. Fun.




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  Reply # 198435 27-Feb-2009 20:12
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freitasm:
mjb: (Oh, why is the country flag in my profile an Australian one, when I've set NZ as my country?)


http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=4&TopicId=12549


The database used to determine the IP location is out-of-date.

WxC's 118.90.x.x addresses, CallPlus's 119.224.x.x addresses, and (last time I could check) some of Vodafone's 119.x.x.x addresses all used the AU flag.




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