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Years ago I bought a Linksys thingy to connect to a voice over internet phone (VoIP) service. For reasons I cannot now recall I never completed the project but over the last couple of weeks demand for this surfaced and so I set to ….

Step 1: internet phone service

I didn’t spend a long time searching for this, quickly alighting on Sipgate. They offer 0845 and 0870 numbers to anyone, if you want a number for a specific town/city you need to register from a UK IP address. I wanted the latter so I switched on my UK proxy service before registering. This is free so I would be able to test the service with my Linksys thingy (technically an Analogue Telephone Adapter, or ATA).

Step 2: install the thingy

My ATA is a Linksys SPA3000, originally manufactured by Sipura. During the previous attempt at this exercise I had unlocked it work with any VoIP service, rather than the one that it was originally tied to. First connect everything together. Next key **** on the attached phone, this triggers the built in menu (with voice prompts), now key 73738# for a factory reset. However, you may be asked for a password, what this is depends upon whichever company the ATA was intended to be used with; search the internet.

Step 3: configure the thingy

Find the IP address of the thingy by keying **** then 110#. You should now be able to get admin access to the device settings through your browser. Exact setings will depend upon a) your VoIP provider and b) location of your phone number, in my case I have set it up with UK ring tones etc. The former should come from your provider and the latter from the internet.

The SPA3000 is designed to also plug into your normal phone line so that you only need one handset with the thingy automatically routing calls to either your phone company or the internet according a set of rules (“calling plan”) that you define. As I planned to use a separate handset for the UK line the calling plan was extremely easy.

Step 4: attach a phone

Well you should have done this already. In my case I had purchased a new cordless phone to use with this line so I had to install that. We now have two handsets sat next to each other, one connected to our Dutch number and the other to the UK number. To make it easy to distinguish them I really wanted to have a black phone for the latter but I could not get one with the right specification here in The Netherlands.