This is more of a nostalgia trip / messing about thing rather than a serious use of Voice over IP (VoIP). The Cisco SPA122 ATA with Router (Analog Telephone Adapter) is a small box that allows old analog phones to be connected to a VoIP network. At the time of writing Cisco no longer manufactures these and they are currently in an end of life plan.
I am setting this up to use two handsets that can be used to call each other through the SPA122. I don’t have a VoIP service here and don’t have need for one. Later, I will be setting up a couple of modems and using them for a dialup connection, in this part I will be going through the setup and configuration of the SPA122.
You will need:
- An SPA122 – I got mine from eBay, check that you are purchasing a vanilla model, rather than one that has been configured by a carrier, be wary if it has any other logos printed on it as it may be locked to that carrier.
- A 5V power supply, this must be capable of providing at least 2A.
- Two telephones – I got these from the Charity Shop, get ones with tone dialing (DTMF), pulse dialing will not work – I’ve also found using better quality phones made in the early 2000’s work better than cheap new ones, I ended up with BT Decor 1100 and BT Decor 1200 phones.
- Two adapters to convert the UK phone plug to RJ11 sockets on the SPA122. Search for “RJ11 to BT Socket” on eBay or Amazon, these are cheap.
- A wired LAN connection to your network.
- A computer, preferably with WiFi as well as a Wired Connection, I used a Raspberry Pi 4.
- IP Address: 192.168.15.1 – with a computer plugged into the yellow ethernet port
- Username: admin
- Password: admin
Resetting the SPA122 and Gaining Access
With a network lead from your computer to the yellow ethernet port on the SPA122 open your web browser and try the address 192.168.1.15. You should now see the login screen, try the login details above.
That probably didn’t work. To reset to factory default settings use a paperclip on the rear panel reset button. With the unit powered on, use the end of a paperclip to press into the red hole marked RESET located on the bottom-left side of the back panel of the SPA122. Press and hold for at least a full 20 seconds and the Power LED will start to blink when the restore process begins, this will take around two minutes to complete. Now try logging in as admin again.
Once logged in, change the admin password to something else, if left at the default it will refuse to work.
If you are really unlucky the reset button may have been disabled in the firmware. At this stage I don’t know what to do if this has happened.
You can also configure the device by pressing the star button on your handset four times (****) but that way madness lies.
Upgrade the Firmware
At time of writing, the firmware version available from Cisco is Release 1.4.1 SR5. The update appears to be fixing a variety of security problems. You can find the current Firmware Version in Status > System Information.
Updating is straight forward. Download the file, and unzip it to extract the Payton_1.4.1_SR5_101419_1250_pfmwr.bin file, then in the SPA122 pages in your web browser go to Administration > Firmware Upgrade and follow the instructions. Everything here has been written for this version of the firmware.
Even though in this case we won’t be using this as VoIP over the network, it still needs a network connection to operate.
In the Network Setup > Network Service set this to Bridge. This will allow a computer plugged into the yellow ethernet port to access / pass through to the blue Internet port which would be connected to your LAN.
Make a note of the SPA122’s WAN MAC Address, found in Status > System Settings, it may be useful for finding the box on your network when you make it available on your LAN in the next step.
Now to access the SPA122’s web pages from your LAN, go to Administration > Web Access Management and set Admin Access to Enable. Apply the changes and attach a cable from your LAN to the blue Internet port, you should now be able to login from any computer on your network. Your main router will have a list of attached devices, use the MAC address to help quickly find the designated IP address. The computer you were using to configure the ATA may need restarting to pick up an IP address from the LAN.
Although I have not tested this, with a handset attached to one of the phone ports dial * * * * and listen, if you can hear a slightly sinister automated voice saying “System Configuration Menu” then dial 1 1 0 # slowly, the key presses are read back to you, the device will then tell you its IP address 192.168.x.x.
Now we are in the Voice section. At this stage listening on a handset just produces silence, or a quiet buzzing, like from a poor power supply. For setting up the ATA will need to be restarted several times. Go to Quick Setup and set the user and dial plan for each line. The dial plan describes how the call is to be handled, numbers can be blocked, routed to different ones, or in this case be routed to another port.
User ID: 101
User ID: 100
I have used 018118055 as the number, but you can set this to anything you like. Both phones are on the same number, but they behave separately so you can ring one from the other. If the phone has a caller ID display it will show the user ID, 100 or 101.
Click submit to save the changes, once restarted and logged back in, we now need to add a bit more detail, go to Voice > Line 1, and set the following:
|Proxy and Registration:|
|Make Call Without Reg:||yes|
|Ans Call Without Reg:||yes|
|Second Preferred Codec:||G711u|
|All lines that start with FAX:||set to no or none as appropriate|
The FAX settings are to do with using modems in the future. All other settings can be left at their defaults. Click submit to save the settings, this takes a few seconds, and once you have logged back in go to Voice > Line 2 and set the same settings as those you just set for Line 1.
You should now be able to make a call from one phone to the other, but the ring and dial tones will sound wrong as they are for those used in the USA.
Setting the Tones
Now we need to set the dial tones and ringer for those used in the UK, in Voice > Regional you can see there are quite a few options to be set, but here I will only be setting the ones most commonly used.
|Call Progress Tones:|
|Off Hook Warning Tone:||480@-10,620@-16,1400@0,2060@0,2450@0,2600@0;60(.2/0/1,.2/0/2);240(.1/.1/3+4+5+6)|
|Distinctive Ring/CWT Pattern Names:|
|Ring and Call Waiting Tone Spec:|
|FXS Port Impedance:||370+620||310nF|
|FXS Port Input Gain:||0|
|Caller ID Method:||ETSI FSK With PR (UK)|
My source for UK Regional Settings is below in the Links and Sources where you can find the complete list.
My Work Here is Done
Congratulations, you can now ring one telephone from another using the old fashioned technique of pushing buttons.
Next in this series will be setting up for modems, and involves using a Raspberry Pi as a router.
Links and Sources
- UK Regional Settings: https://basichelp.sipgate.co.uk/hc/en-gb/articles/206289069-UK-Regional-Settings-Cisco-Linksys-Sipura-Adaptors-
- Resetting the SPA112: https://www.ukvoipforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=38
- Cisco Firmware Update: https://software.cisco.com/download/home/283998793/type/282463187/release/1.4.1%20SR5
- Cisco EOL Notice: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/unified-communications/spa122-ata-router/model.html?dtid=osscdc000283
- How [UK] Telephones work (line voltages) https://www.britishtelephones.com/howtele.htm
- Cisco SPA100 Series quick start guide, with configuration using a phone https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/csbpvga/spa100-200/quick_start/SPA100_ATA_78-19933.pdf [PDF]
- How Dial Plans Work: Chapter: Configuring Dial Plans
- VoIP.MS Wiki https://wiki.voip.ms/article/Cisco_SPA112