I wanted to setup extensions on my Free PBX system. This will allow me to transfer calls to different users, fantastic. I am not keen on spending extra cash in extra handsets, I am keen to use mobile phones we already have as our extensions, I can only talk to one person at a time. The technical word I need is soft phone. I can also use these types of phone through a laptop too.
We have iPhones I am advised that the. X-Lite is great on Android phone and PC but it won’t work in background on iPhone. By background, I mean when the app isn’t active – so potentially no incoming calls.
Instead we are using Media5-fone Pro VoIP SIP Mobile Softphone, it is the unique SIP Softclient with Wideband and HD Voice Audio Quality for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, it requires Requires iOS 4.3 or later. The Media5 Facebook page has up to date information about the product too.
You install the Media5 fone on your iPhone like any other app. When you open the app it looks like you are using a normal handset, except the Media5 phone is linked to your FreePBX. You can still come away from the app and use your mobile phone as usual.
Linking the Media5 fone to the FreePBX was easy. I had to enter my username (extension) and password / secret and was away.
Skype have recently updated their iPhone application to work over 3G. When combined with Skype For Asterisk from Digium it is now possible to call in to your Asterisk server for free over 3G. Unfortunately though this will only last for a short time as Skype are planning on charging for Skype to Skype calls over 3G (I’m not sure how the mobile operators feel about this as they will be the ones losing out on the call revenue!)
Skype on the iPhone is not really useful for receiving calls as, unless the Skype application is running, it is not logged it. Roll on iPhone 4 and multi-tasking!
Once the Skype for Asterisk software is installed and configured it is possible to create Inbound Routes in FreePBX as normal to route the incoming Skype calls to their destination – Continue reading →
It works over WiFi only (obviously, as the mobile providers don’t want you using VOIP rather than paying for their minutes!) and it works pretty well. It was easy to get it registered as an extension on my Asterisk server and start making calls as you would with any other SIP or softphone.
The quality was very good although it will obviously depend on how good your Wifi connection is. I had some trouble getting it to stay registered with my Asterisk server although that will be to do with my setup. My Asterisk server is on a public IP address and my Iphone was on my home WiFi connection, which is behind a NAT router.
I probably could have got it to stay registered by playing around with port forwarding on the router but is wasn’t really worth it due to a bigger problem. Apple do not currently allow 3rd party apps to run in the background on the Iphone. That means as soon as you come out of the SipPhone application it’s no longer running, so you’re no longer connected anyway.
So while it’s great for firing up and making outgoing calls it’s probably not practical for incoming calls. This may change in the future if Apple allow applications to run in the background.