Whether for home or office use, at some point you might find yourself needing another phone line. The good news is that low-cost VoIP service and the high availability of SIP devices has made installing a new phone line simple and affordable.
In this tutorial, I will be using a Linksys SPA1001 Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and a regular landline telephone (Motorola L402C). I will be using Callcentric as the VoIP service provider.
There are a few reasons I’ve gone with the SPA1001, such as:
- Reliability – I’ve used Linksys/Cisco VoIP products almost exclusively and have found them to be dependable.
- Affordability/Availability – This particular model is especially easy to find for sale online. You can purchase a new unit, complete with power adapter, for about $25 on eBay. Used models typically go for even less – but make sure you are getting an “unlocked” unit, which will allow you to configure the adapter with any VoIP provider.
- Ease of Use – Although the many different options and features offered in the backend of this device may seem overwhelming, configuring this adapter is actually easy. I find it provides a good balance between ease-of-use and simplicity to operate.
The adapter needs a 5v DC power supply, which usually comes with the device.
For this tutorial, I have chosen a Motorola L402C phone system. You can use just about any household or office landline, though.
You will also need an Ethernet cable (e.g. Cat5) and a telephone cable (RJ11) long enough to reach between your home or office router and telephone, respectively. (Not pictured but necessary: broadband internet connection and router.)
I’ve chosen Callcentric for VoIP service because that’s typically what I use. By and large, I’ve found their rates to be competitive and their service reliable.
Setting up a VoIP Account
Most VoIP service providers make it easy to get started; for instance, you can setup an account with Callcentric in minutes through their website (callcentric.com). During this process, you will have the ability to choose a phone number (DID) from a variety of area codes in a number of different country codes. Again, this is typically how you setup an account with any VoIP service, although some may vary slightly.
Setting up the Hardware
The setup process for the ATA hardware is remarkably simple; just plug the Ethernet cable, phone cable, and power cable into the device. The other ends should be plugged into your router, telephone, and power outlet, respectively.
Configuring the Device with your Account
Linksys/Cisco VoIP devices typically have a web-based admin area that is accessible from a computer on the network. For this, you simply need the device’s local IP address. When using an IP phone with a screen, this is found by going through the menu on the device itself. Since the SPA1001 does not have a screen, we will need to have it read to us.
After connecting the device to the network and a phone and giving it power, wait a minute or so for it to connect. Then pick up your phone and press the star key * four times in a row. This will bring you to the device’s IVR menu. After entering 1 1 0 # on your keypad, the device will read you its current local IP address (for example: 192.168.1.12)
Enter this IP address into the web browser of a computer on the same network as the device. This will bring up the “Linksys Phone Adapter Configuration” backend. Click “Admin Login” then “Advanced” so you can configure the device with your account. At this point, you are ready to enter in your account information.
Beyond entering your username and password, each service provider will have different configuration instructions to use. For example, the correct values for setting up this device (SPA1001) to work with Callcentric can be found here: http://www.callcentric.com/support/device/linksys/pap2