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Vonage Softphone on Mac

March 16, 2004

A little over a year after converting my main phoneline to Vonage, I’m still a big fan.  I like the price, I like the service, and I like not having to deal with my wireline telco.

The only problem is, it’s hard to take with you—you could unhook the ATA (analog telephone adapter—the thing you plug into your network and plug your telephone into) and drag it along if you’re going to have hardwired Ethernet (and multiple IP device support, and a spare phone) available, but that doesn’t buy you anything if you’re just living on getting to the occasional wireless connection.  Of course, there’s always cellphones, but the voice quality is seriously lacking compared to a good VOIP connection.

Vonage recently added the ability to add a SIP-based softphone to your account.  With this, you can make a call directly from your computer, without an ATA, wherever you have connectivity.  Unfortunately, the softphone they offer is Windows-only…


Vonage’s softphone is a pre-configrured version of SJ Labs’ SJPhone.  The SJPhone is also avaiable for OS X, Linux, and Pocket PC from SJ Labs’ web site.

To configure the OS X SJPhone for Vonage, install it and go to SIP tab of the Options dialog.

The settings I use are:

Use local outbound proxy

Proxy domain: 216.115.25.198 port 5061

Caller ID: sip:YOURNUMBERHERE@sphone.vopr.vonage.net

Register

Account:YOURNUMBERHERE

Password: YOURPASSWORDHERE

Transport: UDP

Where “YOURNUMBERHERE” is your 11-digit (don’t forget the leading 1) softphone number, and YOURPASSWORDHERE is your softphone password.  You can get both from your Vonage page—go to Features, Manage Softphones.

Unfortunately, the aesthetics are a little lacking in the OS X client—you have to dial with “sip:NUMBERTODIAL@sphone.vopr.vonage.net”, where NUMBERTODIAL is the number you’re dialing (don’t forget the leading 1).  But it works—quite well, in fact. 

I use it with a Bluetooth Jabra headset.  You’ll need the latest Bluetooth firmware installed (included in 10.3.3; download for earlier versions) to get headset profile support.  Once you have your headset paired in Bluetooth, in SJPhone, go to Options, Audio and set the input and output to your headset.

For a more aesthetically pleasing phone interface, Xten has a version of their free X-Lite client for OS X.  It’s a lot prettier than the SJPhone, but the sound quality seemed seriously degraded to me—it may have just been my settings, however. YMMV.

To configure X-Lite, go to System Settings, SIP Proxy and add a proxy for Vonage. 

Enabled: Yes

Display Name; Whatever you want

User Name: YOURNUMBERHERE

Password: YOURPASSWORDHERE

Domain/Realm: sphone.vopr.vonage.net

SIP Proxy: 216.115.25.198:5061

Leave all the other settings to their default.

This is all unsupported; Vonage may change something 10 minutes from now to keep it from working.  Offered without guarantees—if this breaks something or makes your Mac catch fire, don’t call me.  In fact, you probably shouldn’t do this at all…

Now to get this all working on the Pocket PC…

Update: Brandt Kurowski has gotten Vonage’s Softphone working on Linux—the instructions are here.

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