Thursday, 23 December 2010
The Fritz Box 7170

fritzI've always had a problem choosing ADSL modems. They've had a habit of letting me down and just being downright unreliable. As my wife works from home, reliable internet access is essential and we in the past have faced many issues with our Internet access, most of these issues being down to the BT Home Hub which for reasons only known to BT will drop the connection and suddenly choose to run an upgrade patch on itself. It did this without asking and with no thought to what important work was being done on the Internet at the time.

Other times Internet access would drop completely and the only way to get it back was to reboot the dreaded BT Home Hub. What was worse is that I had two SIP phone lines coming through my Internet connection. The BT Home Hub was awful at routing any traffic to the phones making them unreliable. 

Having put up with this issue for such a long time I told myself enough was enough and decided to trawl around the Internet to find the best solution. Just about everyone complained about the popular makes of ADSL routers when reading the reviews on Amazon. Then I spotted something called a Fritz! Box on Sipgates website, it was definitely more expensive than the others but doing more research found that people had nothing but good things to say about it. I decided to see if I could get it a bit cheaper. Searching Amazon I found the above model the 7170 for £73. It appeared to be an older model, but it still had many of the features found in the newer models so I placed my order.

The Fritz!Box was simplicity itself to setup. I moved the box over to the IP range I use at home unplugged by BT Home Hub, plugged in the Fritz!Box and it just worked! So far so good, I then decided to setup my SIPGate phone numbers on the box, in order to do this I turned advanced settings on the box on first. Then I entered my SIPGate details and tested calling the numbers, they worked first time and were crystal clear! There was no need to configure any ports on the box's in built firewall everything just worked out of the box. It was the first time I had ever managed to setup a SIP device so easily. I then decided to open port 80 on the firewall for my web server and that worked without any issues. The only thing I had left was my old BT Hub Phone number, after a little bit of research I found I was able to set this up on the Fritz!Box with no problems and it also worked first time. Not bad, not bad at all..

Looking through the screens for the Fritz!Box I realised it had a lot more to offer than I thought actually came with the box. It had built in multiple answer phones, a fax machine, NAS drive interface, UPNP Media Server, USB print server interface and a VPN client! The answer phone was easy to setup and I discovered I could also route calls based on caller id. So in theory I could route calls that withhold their numbers to an answering machine as they are more than likely sales calls.

A month on and the Fritz!Box has been nothing but reliable. Where we have had Internet problems the box has seamlessly detected them and reset the Internet connection in many cases without us even realising it. I suppose the old adage, you get what you pay for is so true with the Fritz!Box. The Fritz!Box has also reminded me just how reliable German engineering really is.

posted on Thursday, 23 December 2010 13:51:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 26 August 2007
Getting Sipgate to work with a Cisco ATA 186

I thought I'd write this article because of all the trouble I had to go through getting Sipgate to work properly with my Cisco ATA 186. For those of you not in the know Sipgate is a service that enables you to subscribe for a free phone number over the Internet with no line rental. A Cisco ATA 186 is a clever little box you plug into your broadband connection which you then plug a normal phone into. When people call you on the phone number you get from SipGate this phone plugged into the Cisco ATA theory. Ok its a loverly service when it works but to get it configured can (especially with my device because I am not using a standard Sipgate supported device) be a pain in the proverbial.

Anyway lets get started.

My Cisco ATA is setup with a static IP address on my internal network and I am using the firmware version Version: v3.1.0 atasip (Build 040211A) don't ask me how I got onto this version I haven't got a clue all I know is I got hold of a download from a friend in the past. Right Sipgates site shows you how to configure the Cisco ATA for use with their service. You can see this sample configuration by clicking here. Remember to get to the setup page of your ATA go to http://<ip_address_of_your_ATA>/dev. After you have copied these settings from SipGate change the SIPPort from 5060 to 5061 and change the Media Port from 5004 to 5005. In addition to this turn the OutBoundProxy on by typing 1 in this box. I found these little tweaks actually helped my ATA to work properly with my BT Home Hub as I suspected the original ports were being used by the Hub phone.

Once you have followed SipGates configuration for your ATA you will need to setup some rules on your firewall. I use a BT Home Hub and you can access these settings from the start configuration page of the Home Hub by clicking on Advanced and then clicking on Continue To Advance and then selecting Application Sharing from here you will be given the option to create new firewall rules. If you have changed firewall rules and setting in the past its pretty straight forward on how to create new rules an assign them to a device which in this case will be the IP address of your Cisco ATAT 186. The rules are as follows.


Protocol Port Range
UDP 30000 - 30021
UDP/TCP 3478 - 3478
UDP/TCP 5061 - 5061
UDP/TCP 5005 - 5005
UDP/TCP 10000 - 10000


The above rules are all forwarded to the IP address of my ATA.

Anyway I started it up and it all worked beautifully. If you have any questions please drop me a line and I'll do my best to help you out.

posted on Sunday, 26 August 2007 16:17:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]