VoIPing Away on My Cell

Martin Dindos has just filed a comprehensive “How-To” on connecting the new Nokia E-series phones (at least those with Wi-Fi capability) to Asterisk.

Before publishing it, I had a chance to follow Martin’s step-by-step instructions (I did edit the Asterisk files directly as our installation pre-dates the release of the whizzy-wigged Trixbox by a few years).

My verdict: Pairing the new Nokia “fusion” phones (the E61 in my case, this will not work with the brain-dead Wi-Fi-less imitation E62 Cingular is hawking) with Asterisk is unbelievably useful.

First, on the phone, I configured the four Wi-Fi hot-spots I am most often within reach of: office, home and my two favorite SF coffee houses (definitely not Starbucks) where I sit with the Mac and fuel the brain with espressos.

Then, I made a few minor changes to sip.conf and extensions.conf on the Asterisk end (these are detailed in Martin’s story).

Done.

Now, when I step into any of my four haunts, all calls to me arrive on the IP side of the cell phone, and all calls out are pure-VoIP. If I’m in the car, calls in and out go over the cell side.

One phone. One phone number. Find me anywhere.

Mobile cell/IP convergence has most definitely arrived. Still missing though is seamless call hand-over between Cingular’s cells and Asterisk. In other words, if I leave the java joint while on the phone, the call will still disconnect when I get in the car.

I imagine that we’ll be able to traverse the two services soon. Cingular will fight it, of course, in a futile effort to keep every last cellular penny. Eventually — and thankfully — technology trumps the dollar, and the mobile players will have to join in on the fun.

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