By Alok Saboo on April 18th, 2011
Wow….given the amount of interest in the previous post on OBi110/OBi100 ATA and the reasons that you must consider one before buying any VoIP hardware, there is no doubt that Obihai has a winner on their hands. There, however, seems to be some confusion about the various components of the service and what is the purpose of each of these individual components (e.g., OBiTALK, OBi110, OBi100, OBiAPP, OBiON). This post is intended to clearly outline the various components of the OBi service and help you understand the service better.
OBi Service Components
The OBi service comprises of 4 basic elements – the VoIP hardware (OBi110 or the OBi100), the mobile VoIP (mVoIP) client OBiON, the desktop client OBiAPP, and the cloud interface OBiTALK. The different components allow you to access the OBi service from anywhere.
Let us look into each component in little more details.
VoIP Hardware (ATA) – OBi110 vs. OBi100
An analog telephony adapter, or analog telephone adapter, (ATA) is a device used to connect one or more standard analog telephones to a digital telephone system (such as Voice over IP).
Obihai provides two ATAs – OBi110 and the OBi100 – to connect your traditional phone to your VoIP providers. Both devices are similar in terms of their ability to connect up to 2 Google Voice or SIP accounts, interface, etc.
The only difference between the two devices is that the OBi100 does not carry a Line port (FXO) to connect your incoming PSTN line, and consequently is smaller in size as compared to the OBi110.
The difference is not only cosmetic (in terms of the size of the devices), but because of the lack of the FXO port, the OBi100 cannot bridge calls between a traditional PSTN line and VoIP service, i.e., you will not be able to combine your PSTN line and VoIP to complete calls. In the presence of VoIP bridging facility (OBi110), you can make calls to your PSTN number and be connected to the OBi Attendant, which can initiate a new call or a call back. The following figures explain the options for OBi110 and the OBi100:
If you do not have a traditional land line connection and do not anticipate getting one in the future, you may be perfectly happy with the OBi100. However, if you have a land line connection, I will suggest that you go for the OBi110, especially since the difference is only $6.
Mobile VoIP (mVoIP) client – OBiON
OBiON is the mobile client that allows you to access the OBi service from your smart phones or tablets. The OBiON client is available for both Android and iOS.
Just login to your account and start making calls right from your mobile devices. This can be very useful when you are traveling and do not have access to the physical OBi device.
Desktop client – OBiAPP
The OBiAPP allows you to access the OBi service right from your desktop. Please note that the OBiAPP is not a SIP client in itself, but middleware that lets your SIP soft phone (e.g., x-lite, Blink, Yate) to communicate with OBi. So, you need to have a SIP soft phone on your computer.
OBiTALK – Bringing them all together!!
Last, but probably the most important component of the OBi service is OBiTALK. OBiTALK is the central node that brings together all the components together to provide you with a seamless experience. All the OBi elements (OBiON, OBiAPP, and OBi 1X0) communicate with OBiTALK to sync and provide services.
OBiTALK is the web-based front end for the OBi services. You can access all your OBi endpoints from your OBiTALK dashboard. It allows you to upgrade firmware, configure devices, monitor usage, add users, etc. The video walkthrough provides a detailed overview of all these elements:
Hope this post helped you understand the OBi service in greater details. The various ways to access the service is a compelling proposition. At $44 or $49, the OBi100 or the OBi110 is a no brainer and I will strongly advocate that you give it a try.