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My experience with Sangoma A101-E1 board and FreeSWITCH

Recently, I had a chance to work on Sangoma Board and FreeSWITCH ( an open source Telephony platform) which can also work as Interactive Voice Response system. The main challenge

Experience with Sangoma A101 and FreeSwitch

was to install the FreeSWITCH on Windows and get Sangoma board ( Model A101) work. Since I was new to Sangoma board low cost boards, I faced many problems due to lack of information availability on net for beginner.

 

Though Sangoma support was more or less satisfactory, but no where near the excellent support provided by Dialogic. So, few small things I learned about Sangom board which may be beneficial for people who have worked only with Dialogic board, but not Sangoma boards.

1. Sangoma drivers do not have any telecom protocol ( ISDN ) built into it. It always uses third party software for these protocols.

2. Sangoma boards are mainly made for Asterisk/FreeSWITCH and Linux systems. The basic card is cheap, but additional features like ‘echo cancellation’, NBE ( NetBorder Express – required for Windows) cost extra. So, if some one wants features equivalent of Donjin DN300 in A101, the cost will become more or less same!

3. Configuring the board is more difficult than developing the IVR system for beginner. I could not find any step by step guide for installing the card, run a demo application and test. This kind of utility is available in Dialogic, even in Donjin. Most of the time, Dialogic and Donjin support will help install the card, install the driver, do the configuration and run those demo application and hand over the system back to developer for installing their application. In case of Sangoma, we had to really, really struggled hard to get such support. At first, we were told that in order to get Sagoma board work in Windows, we will have to buy NBE as well as AFT series of board, A101 will not work! But after exchanging mail to and fro with main Sangoma support, we were finally advised to use FreeSWITCH in Windows and it worked for us!

4. Finally, Sangoma support had installed FreeSWITCH on our server and handed over to us. They compiled the recent FreeSWITCH source code along with freeTDM.

After installing FreeSWITCH, developing our IVR using JavaScript was quite easy actually. The were also good documentation about customizing “Dialplan” required to forward any incoming calls JavaScript codes.

So, I would say it was mixed experience for me with Sangoma boards. Using high level language like JavaScript has advantages as well as disadvantages too. But it surely is faster and much easier to learn then learning to write software in C++.

I hope to write a step by step guide to configure Sangoma A101 in Windows using FreeSWITCH some day.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Mike Carabini April 27, 2011, 3:52 pm

    …..Today Sangoma launched its NetBorder Express NBE Gateway product on the Linux operating system. While Sangoma and pbxnsip have served joint customers in Windows for a while now the Linux-based NBE takes the partnership to a whole new level. And the product talks standard SIP so it can talk to any app that supports that protocol whether it is a proprietary app or an open source app.Of course Sangoma telephony cards can still be used directly with popular open-source projects such as Asterisk FreeSwitch and others without NetBorder Express but if one wants the extra scalability up to 960 ports per system management and configurability one can now choose to use NBE on Linux to interface with their Open Source applications as opposed to the traditional interface for these cards ZAPTEL and others .

  • Eric Nichols May 6, 2011, 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the info Mike. I am going to check this out now.

  • Jeff Dworkin August 5, 2011, 1:29 am

    Hi Uttam,

    Your post was just brought to our attention here at Sangoma, so I wanted to get our official response to you ASAP.

    Most importantly, thanks for taking the time to post your review of your experience with the A101 and FreeSWITCH. The only way that we can effectively improve our products is by getting feedback (both positive and negative) from our users.

    However, in this case, the real problem was that you were attempting to implement the A101 in an unsupported environment. While there was a time in Sangoma’s past where there was some information within our Engineering wiki about how to use this board with FreeSWITCH and Windows, that configuration is no longer officially supported. We have made every effort to remove any info from the wiki pertaining to this configuration, if we have missed something that lead you to attempt to use the A101 in this configuration we hope you will accept our apologies. We are also making changes to a number of the product pages on our website to explicitly state that this is an unsupported configuration.

    While your feedback is appreciated, we do take exception to your use of the word “cheap” in reference to our boards. Perhaps is it just a translation issue if English is not your primary language, but cheap implies a low-quality product, and our “A” Series boards are far from low quality. They are assembled in North America at an ISO9001:2000 certified facility and are backed by the industry’s first Lifetime Warranty. Other companies have copied our Warranty, Design and even copied our website and documentation, but we are certain that they have not been able to match our less than .005% defect rate.

    Finally, I wanted to point out that NetBorder Express is a separate application that can coexist on a Windows Server with other applications and allows our boards to be used as a media gateway. It is a stand-alone application and does NOT require Asterisk, FreeSWITCH or any other product to be installed in order to function. It is all FREE when used with any Sangoma board in installations supporting less than 12 simultaneous calls.

    Again, thanks for the feedback and I hope our response helps to clarify some of these issues. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at jdworkin@sangoma.com.

  • Uttam Pegu August 6, 2011, 12:32 am

    Hi Jeff,
    Thank you for taking out time to read the post and the Official feedback!

    Just for the record, yes, English is not my first language and here the the use of the word ‘cheap’ I did not mean ‘low quality’, but ‘inexpensive’ or ‘low cost’. In a price sensitive market in India, we use the words ‘cheap’ and ‘inexpensive’ interchangeably often, but normally implies low-cost.

    I had seriously tried couple of times to learn/develop IVR applications based on Sangoma boards, ( I also bought a two port Analog board for our development purpose) but some how we have not been able to progress much. To be very honest, we just do not know how to begin! I had tried to communicate with Sangoma support in India as well as support@sangoma.com but some how it did not work out and the two port Sangoma card is now lying idle!

    I some time keep visiting your wiki pages, butt then most probably, I am out dated, I still find Dialogic application notes more understandable for beginners like me than those contents in Sangoma wiki pages!

  • svr14 October 25, 2011, 1:21 am

    We had a few challenges while implementing a JavaScript IVR in FreeSWITCH, especially playing audio and capturing user input. We blogged about the issues here, along with sample code. Hope that helps: http://www.onsip.com/blog/sukanya/2011/10/24/javascript-ivrs-in-freeswitch

  • Raj March 30, 2017, 2:18 pm

    Hi Uttam,

    I am trying to built a windows-A102(sangoma)-freeswitch configuration where the freetdm is not working properly. I have used:

    wanpipe-6_0_43_0, 7_0_10_0,7_0_20_7.
    A102 firmware: v40

    Though “wanrouter hwprobe” command works properly and can find ports but freetdm can not find them.

    It will be of great help if you please can let me know your software versions or any suggestion, anything that might take a step ahead.

  • Pramod Rajawat November 28, 2017, 8:50 am

    agreed with Uttam Pegu on support quality by sangoma team. Whenever we ( Knowlarity) raised issues to sangoma support their attitude was like nothing wrong in sangoma go and fix your system and they never extended support to resolve issues completley. Even being one of the biggest customer in INDIA . Seeing the inability and unwillingness to resolve issues we have stopped raising issues to them and started moving away for other card manufacturers.

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