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Paul Paradise

My VoIP adapter bit the dust

When I moved in to my townhome, it came with a stipulation forcing me into a 3-year monitoring contract with an alarm company at $25/month. Worse still, they can’t monitor without a home phone line, which would add another $20/month. I wasn’t planning on getting a phone line, so now the free alarm installation was going to cost me $45/month for the next 3 years.

In the end, I managed to buy my way out of the contract for $300, and switched to using NextAlarm for alarm monitoring over an IP connection. It works fine, and prevented me from needing a landline. Until I learned how bad the service coverage was on my cell phone. I learned a lot about VoIP service when I was researching alternatives for the alarm, and decided it was worth the small monthly cost to get a “landline” that was really a VoIP connection. At the very worst, it was a cheap way to get a new electronic toy to play with.

For the past year, I’ve been using a Sipura SPA-2002, connected to Telasip. The Sipura gave me no trouble, but Telasip has been spotty at best, and their service always felt a bit fly-by-night. I’d have days when the audio only worked one way, or calls would go straight to voicemail, or the audio quality wasn’t as good as it should be. But I had fun fiddling with my DD-WRT firewall settings, enabling QoS on my home network, all to try to make the “landline” feel more like a landline.

However, things got much worse this past weekend. I don’t get a dialtone. Incoming calls ring the phone, but the audio doesn’t work in either direction. I spent a while tonight with a softphone and discovered that it’s not actually Telasip that’s the problem this time – it works fine through a softphone on my PC. I can access the admin interface of the SPA-2002, but when it comes to letting me talk, it just doesn’t do anything.

Now it’s time to reassess. Do I replace the SPA-2002 with something new and hope it makes things work again? Do I cancel my Telasip service and go somewhere else? Do I throw it all away, and go back to just having a cell phone?