DrayTek SIP Softphone (for VoIP)
Now with Video calling and instant Messaging!
The DrayTek Softphone is a SIP phone in software which runs on any Windows PC. It provides full VoIP connectvity directly to the DrayTEL SIP service or can act as an extension to a DrayTek PBX. The softphone uses your PC's speaker/microphone, or for the best experience and more privacy, you can use a headset.
The DrayTek softphone supports two simultaneous calls so that you can put one on hold and make another, or combine two calls and yourself together for a 3-way confernece call. A phone book stores all of your frequently dialled numbers and a comprehensive log keps track of all calls. Now, in the latest version, Video calling is supported for users who have webcams on their PCs.
Just because it's a softphone, you don't lose any normal phone or PBX functionality that you might normally enjoy from a physical 'desk' phone. The at-a-glance extension status (of other PBX users - see above) makes you feel part of the team, and you can just click on any extension in the list to call them.
Wherever you are and the softphone will show you details of any missed calls or if there are messages in your PBX voice mailbox (and lets you listen to them). Whichever connection method you use, you can make and receive calls to your extension number, your DrayTEL account, or your PSTN phone number (via DrayTEL or your PBX), and the softphone rings (an on-screen popup and/or audiable ring). Caller ID is supported so you can see who is calling. The softphone also allows call forwrding to be setup to temporarily divert your calls.
Usage with a DrayTek IP PBX
As a PBX extension, it's ideal for the teleworker or 'road-warrior' who uses his laptop in different locations. Regardless of where he is, the softphone logs into the PBX and he appears on his normal extesnion number so that other users can call him on that extension number, transfer calls to him and he too can take calls and transfer call to other PBX users. If his extension is part of a PBX 'call group' his extension will ring with all other members so he can answer incoming calls as if he was sitting in the office locally. The Softphone's real-time extension display (BLF) shows the status of other users of your IP PBX. At a glance, you can see if they are connected, available or busy and also call them with one click.
BLF Status console for receptionist
The DrayTek softphone also supports ZRTP which is a strong encryption method, intended to prevent your VoIP traffic being intercepted and listened to en-route once it leaves your PC. If you call between two DrayTek softphones, the call can use ZRTP, but also to any other device which supports ZRTP (including DrayTek IP PBXs and DrayTek routers with VoIP phone ports). You can learn more about ZRTP here.
Videophone and Instant Messaging
If your PC has a webcam, the DrayTek softphone now lets you make two-way video calls with another party, whether they are logged into the DrayTek PBX or into the DrayTEL service directly. You can also instant message ('IM') between each other, for quick pop-up communication.
Video Calling and Instant Messaging with DrayTek IP PBXs.
PPTP for security and easier accessibility
SIP, the protocol used for communication between IP PBXs and IP phones (and softphones!) provides great flexibility, but SIP can sometimes have difficulty travelling through guest networks, and also presents some security issues if used over the Internet. The DrayTek softphone, together with the DrayTek IP PBX is able to use PPTP, a tunnelling method, to connect to the PBX and pass the VoIP/SIP traffic within that tunnel. This has three major advantages:
- One of the great benefits of the softphone is that you can use it anywhere. If you are a guest on someone else's network, often their firewalls or general network setup may not be SIP/VoIP friendly, or set to deliberately block it, particularly because of the variable UDP port methods of SIP and when the network is applying NAT. PPTP, on the other hand, is a very common standard protocol, using standard UDP/TCP ports and universally recognised by firewalls so will pass out of and back into networks far more easily (unless deliberately blocked) without the need of any special proxy or STUN methods.
- By only allowing remote registration by PPTP, the PBX can close off its SIP listening service (open port) which is what hackers will use to identify an IP PBX and go on to try to exploit it. VoIP fraud (call theft) is increasingly common. Hackers will scan millions of public IP addresses, sending SIP enquiry messages, looking for an IP PBX to respond. A normal IP PBX will have its SIP ports 'open' and will respond, thereby 'advertising' itself and providing a target for the hacker. As the Vigor IP PBX won't respond to SIP probes if remote extensions are using the PPTP method, the hacker will get no response and, most likely, move on.
- The SIP transaction and voice data is within a tunnel so anyone looking for 'VoIP/SIP' won't recognise the data as VoIP traffic as it's all within the tunnel containment. In addition, the traffic itself is encrypted, so even if you do intercept the traffic, it's not clear audio transport or SIP messaging which could otherwise be played back or read in any packet sniffer.
PPTP VoIP access is supported by the DrayTek IPPBX 2820, 3510, VigorPhone 350 and, of course, the DrayTek SoftPhone.
Get it and try it!
The DrayTek softphone takes no time to set up and is completely free for personal and business/commercial use.
You can download it here (Windows XP/Vista/7).
©2011 SEG. Reproduction prohibited without written permission. Specification subject to change at any time without notice. E&OE. Trademarks are acknowledged of their respective owners. No specific endorsement is implied by the mention of any particular service provider.