Voip DECT phone or cordless with ATA? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-28, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
Voip DECT phone or cordless with ATA?


I am a new poster on this forum and a fairly new user of Voip. Some background:

I moved into a new house this August and I decided to take this opportunity to drop my Bell landline and move my number to voip.ms. I got a simple setup with one Linksys SPA3000 ATA (Sipura) and a Uniden cordless with two handsets. The initial setup had some hiccups but my config is stable now.

My Uniden are getting old and replacing the batteries would be expensive so I am thinking of upgrading. I read a few posts where people mentionned how moving to a real SIP phone was a good move and I am considering it.

However, compared to the pleathora of standard cordless phones one can get at Costcos, Best Buys, WhateverMart, etc.. there are not that many Voip DECT phones. I have heard of a handful: Panasonic, Grandstream, Siemens, Yealink, Snom. And those phones are expensive.

Since my usecase is really just a simple household of one dad and two daughters with just one DID (for the moment) would I be better to simply go with a fresh cordless with a modern ATA? I do not really require the feature of a SOHO that most of the Voip phone seem to cater to. However one thing I'd really like to have is a message waiting indicator on the phone. Currently, my ATA only provides audio notification. Are there ATA with better features that permits to connect to standard cordless that would give me that?

I am currently leaning toward the Voip DECT Panasonic. The cost of a new ATA with a new pair or triplet of cordless would probably get close to 200$ so the extra money for SIP phones is probably worth it.

Any better recommendation for Voip DECT phones? BTW, are all those DECT moved to standard AA batteries now? I am tired of being ripped off for custom betteries.

I saw the Grandstream is a fair price but I don't think it has the message waiting indicator.

Any other comment appreciated.
karlB is offline  
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-28, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Alberta
Posts: 867
One advantage to some VoIP DECT phones is that you may make as many conversations as you have phones, limited by your VoIP service provider and your available bandwidth. Each phone can act as a separate "line" if you want it to.

Panasonic and Gigaset were the top two brands for IP phones for home users in a recent poll.

Mango is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-09-09, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 35
I think there is a message waiting indicator on the Grandstream DP715/DP710 base station. On page 10 of the user manual, it describes the blink patterns of the various LEDs on the base station. Pattern LED-17 refers to VMWI which is Visual Message Waiting Indicator.

Grandstream DP715/DP710 user manual at the Grandstream website

There is no mention of a VMWI on the handsets though.

An ATA signals an analog phone with the stutter tone that you hear when you pick up the phone. Some ATAs can blink a status light on the ATA itself. If you want an indicator on the cordless handset itself, it has to be designed into the phone. For some reason, most cordless phones have lousy message waiting indicators. I guess a big blinking light would run the batteries down a bit. They probably want people to buy the models with the built-in answering machines too.

I'm not a voip.ms customer, but a quick look at the website shows that the flat rate DID has 2 channels. The per-minute rate DID has "High Channel-Capacity" number of channels. This would mean that you can take multiple incoming calls to the same incoming number if you have more than one handset. The DP715/DP710 apparently supports 4 simultaneous calls. The Panasonic KX-TGP500/KX-TGP550 can support 3.

I think that VoIP hardware will remain a niche product which will keep the price high. The level of complexity in an ATA or SIP phone is too high for the average consumer. Notice that neither are available at stores such as Futureshop or Bestbuy.
BeeDub is offline  
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-09-10, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Thanks for the reply BeeDub. Since the price is right for the Grandstream, I may go for this.
karlB is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-09-12, 01:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 35
I read up a bit more on the Grandstream around the net and at Grandstream's support forums. While it seems to be the cheapest VoIP DECT phone around, there are missing features and annoyances. The biggest to me are:

There really doesn't seem to be any VMWI on the handset at all. No lamp, on-screen icon or text. To see the indicator on the base station, you'll have to run a long Ethernet wire from your router to a high-traffic spot in your house.

Transferring calls between handsets seems clumsy. It uses old ATA style star codes (*87) to transfer a call to another number. I don't know if it will work right if you set up an in-phone hunt group on a single number since you will need to transfer to your own number. Hopefully, it will ring the idle handsets so the recipient can pick it up. This might occupy extra call channels and might be a charged outgoing call. Setting up sub-accounts and extensions at voip.ms might make this usable.

If you set it to emulate your old system where pressing TALK lets you join the call in progress, you don't have to worry about transferring. This defeats the purpose of a multi-call capable phone system though.

There are other annoyances that affect people with more complicated systems:
  • Two different VoIP providers can be set, but each handset can only have one SIP registration. People who monitor multiple lines are out of luck. Same for people who need to select a particular line to dial from.
  • Phonebook entries can only be made on the handset. They cannot be copied to other handsets. They are not visible on the web interface.
  • Only the base station's handset can be remotely configured via TFTP. The extra handsets have to be configured manually.
BeeDub is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-05-14, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: BC Interior
Posts: 1,681
I would just use obihai 202?? 2 lines with voip, plug in ordinary cordless. My handsets blink message waiting. Voip allows settings for evening to go to whatever.
gzink is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 2015-08-15, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 96
I had a related question.

For personal use, is there any difference between using a special voip phone (IP phone), or using an ATA device plus your own regular landline phone? Is an IP phone just a phone with an ATA device built in?

Any advantages/disadvantages to either configuration?
fovea is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 2015-08-15, 09:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Alberta
Posts: 867
Advantages to an IP phone:

Slightly better audio.
DTMF issues are non-existent. (Although they are also non-existent with a good ATA.)
IP phones typically have more/better/easier call handling features.
Each phone effectively has its own "line", so multiple members of your household can carry on separate conversations.
You can call from phone to phone, or even send a message directly to a speakerphone, and use your IP phones as an intercom.

Advantages to an ATA:

Significantly more cost effective.
Easier/cheaper to supply power backup.
Can use standard household telephone wiring.
Can be configured to operate like any landline - no need to train users to use new equipment.

For what some consider the best of both worlds, you can choose an IP DECT system.

Mango is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 2015-08-16, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 96
Thanks Mango. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

I guess another advantage to an IP phone would be one less device (i.e. ATA) to hook up? For me this probably does not outweigh the higher expense of the IP phone.
fovea is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 2015-10-08, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 32
One issue I ran into with a DECT-IP phone was that I could not pick up a set and join a conversation. This was handy in case someone downstairs picked up a call for someone upstairs. You could technically transfer it, but you never knew what set was in what base. I am wondering what phones do have a "call mixing" feature.
badget is offline  

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