Setting up the FritzBox router with VoIP capabilities, which we’ve used for this walk-through, is a straightforward process, but there are more steps to take and more cables to plug in with this device than with a conventional Wi-Fi router. Thankfully, you don’t have to work it all out for yourself. Follow the step-by-step wizard on the CD-ROM.
Connecting to the ADSL phone socket may not be quite as depicted in the Fritzbox wizard. You will need to buy an ADSL microfilter, too. Plug a grey RJ45-to-RJ45 network cable and a short RJ45-to-RJ11 adapter cable at the socket end into the standard blue RJ45 network socket. The Power LED will now blink.
As well as handling a pair of conventional phones, if you have an ISDN PBX line you can plug this into the FritzBox. Use a thin black cable with an RJ45 plug at one end and a standard BT phone plug at the other. This will then equip the FritzBox with a common-or-garden analogue phone connection.
To complete the analogue phone connection you’ll need a standard telephone handset. Plug in the RJ11-to-BT-phone-socket adapters (supplied with the FritzBox) to either the FON1 or FON2 socket. Your phone can be plugged into both. Lift the receiver to check whether there’s a dial tone – it may take a few seconds.
If you have ISDN PBX hardware, plug it into the RJ45 socket labelled FonS0. Next, we’ll set up an internet connection. Select either a PPP connection (the most common) or the less common RFC1483 connection. To establish the connection, you then need to enter the ADSL login and password details you use for broadband.
The FritzBox can monitor how much time you’re connected to the internet or how much data you download – useful if you’re on a capped tariff with, say, a 2GB download limit. Select the rate that best describes your broadband connection and, if you wish, request an alert when you reach your limit.
Your internet connection is now checked. Assuming that it works, all is well. The wizard will then ask you for any internet telephone number you may have obtained previously. If you don’t have such a number, you can leave this field blank for now and click on Exit Wizard Now.
Open a browser and navigate to the FritzBox’s home page at 192.168.178.1. Here you can see detailed information about your internet connection speed, a list of which ports are in use by various devices and how long your internet session has been open. You can even check what your SIP internet number is.
The FritzBox comes with the offer of 333 free minutes from Sipgate. Register for this at www.sipgate.co.uk, specifying the country and the town or area code you want to use. You can choose an 0845 or 0870 number if you want to charge for incoming calls. Select a number and click through the registration process.
Check everything is set up correctly at www.sipgate.co.uk/setup/fritzbox (although some information is in German). Dial the special Sipgate phone numbers listed and you should hear an automated message. You should call your internet number from another phone to confirm you can receive incoming calls, too.
You are now ready to make VoIP calls. They aren’t routed via the internet by default, however, so you’ll need to specify which ones will be called via VoIP and which using a landline under the dialling rules tab. Alternatively, dial *111# to use a fixed line or *12# before a number to make a VoIP call.
VoIP is attractive because it offers lots of control over your phone calls. You can program how you make or receive calls and track call costs. You can get in-depth data logs which help you keep an eye on the kids’ phone use and list all of your missed calls – not just the last one that the BT 1471 service offers.
You can block calls from certain numbers, set up call diverts dependent on a number of conditions and cut off the phones when no one will be around to answer them. Use the Click to Dial feature to set up quick-dial shortcuts. You can even specify which telephony network, fixed or internet, each phone port uses.
Should you have a problem with either your VoIP service or the broadband connection, check where the problem lies using the diagnostic tools included on the installation CD. A real-time graph displays your broadband bandwidth. These tools are grouped together in the FRITZDSL Start Center front-end.