Use your iPad as a SIP extension on your ShoreTel iPBX?

June 29th, 2011

We have been experimenting with mobility options for some time now, setting up SIP phones on mobile devices like the iPhone.    ShoreTel has a range of mobility options, most of which we have discussed here in previous blogs, so setting up a softphone is nothing  new for ShoreTel.    Recently, I discovered a new SIP softphone by CouterPath Corporation the company that brought you X-Lite, one of the most popular free phones on the net.    The new offering is named Bria and is ideally suited for your iPad.   Bria is a more of a “carrier grade” softphone enabling both voice and video calls over IP, the ability to send IM messages and transfer files to your contacts.  I particularly like the option of downloading additional Codecs like G729 which is really useful for a ShoreTel remote phone.   Bria  also has Enterprise features like LDAP/Active Directory integration and some Workgroup capabilities like a Busy Lamp Field.  Most importantly it seamlessly integrates with your iPad VPN which brings me back to ShoreTel.

We have configured a bunch of different SIP phones to work with ShoreTel.    Candidly, they all work really well internally, on the Enterprise WiFi.   Setting SIP up on ShoreTel is a relatively straight forward process.   Pick an ShoreGear switch in the site you are planning to register with and set up a port for SIP.  You do this through the drop down menu on the SG switch through ShorewareDirector.   Set the port for 100 SP Proxies.  Note the IP address of the switch.  Now you have to set up your USER and note the SIP password for that User.    When you setup your softphone you will need this information so keep it handy!  (In the library there is a Video Cheat Sheet that shows you how to set up SIP in ShoreTel). The Bria setup is also very straight forward.  Remember that when it asks for Account Name it wants the Extension number of the USER you created in ShoreTel.  Put the IP address of the ShoreGear switch that provides proxy services as the Domain and enter the SIP password you created for the USER.   The Display Name can be whatever you want.

The Bria phone should register if you have WiFi and you should be set to use your iPad as your ShoreTel extension.    This is great for wandering around your own facility.  If you have the ShoreTel ”WebAgentDashboard”  you can wander around  your Call Center with  a Supervisor Real Time display and have a ShoreTel extension with you the entire time.   Kool stuff,   but what about when you are at Starbucks or some other location?   How will your Bria connect with ShoreTel?   We have successfully created a L2TP VPN back to the ShoreTel Server from both the iPhone and the iPad.   Apple cleverly built a VPN client into all devices.   Once the VPN is operational, you can bring up your Bria softphone and extend your ShoreTel extension to any location that has WiFi access.  Optionally, you can bring the Bria connection up over your G3 data network.  You can extend that Supervisor Real Time Display as well!   The Bria comes up and completes a SIP registration with the ShoreTel and the performance is remarkable.

At first I had some reservations about using the Bria on an VPN over G3.   Establishing the VPN tunnel, then running a Ping back to the Server, indicated Latency in the 425 ms range!   Not exactly within the recommended target of 150ms mouth to ear.  None the less, it worked and was very usable.  We are fooling around with using the Bria as an IM agent on the ShoreTel Collaboration server (see previous blog) and I guess we will figure out how to make use of the Bria video and presence.

At the end of the day,  you have a range of Mobility options on the ShoreTel and you should figure out which option is the most effective for your mode of operation.   It is very possible to take your office extension with you, in fact we think the Desktop is dead!  Your cell phone is your desktop!
BriaSetup-225x300 Use your iPad as a SIP extension on your ShoreTel iPBX? BriaoniPhone.png-200x300 Use your iPad as a SIP extension on your ShoreTel iPBX?

7 responses to “Use your iPad as a SIP extension on your ShoreTel iPBX?”

  1. TZ says:

    Good article, thanks! I configured a generic SIP app to work with ShoreTel Director based on it. I did find out, though, we only had 1 SIP phone license, AND it did knock my ShoreTel deskphone into “anonymous” mode (unallocated) when I “registered” the mobile app with the SIP IP address. Per extension, it seems to be an either-or situation requiring yet another account, mailbox, and extension license to have a mobile app and deskphone associated with a user. We’re looking at ShoreTel Mobility Router, and mobile client, also. The drawback of ShoreTel is they nickel and dime their customers with licensing for every feature added, and it’s 15% maintenance on everything bought–every license, compounded.

  2. Tom McCormick says:

    Dr Voip,

    Have you successfully tested any non-Shoretel SIP apps for iPhone and/or Android, that utilize a cellular carriers 3G network? These apps work all day long over WiFi or a VPN connection but it’s not the same over 3G. We’ve tested the Bria and Media5-fone with same results. We have also tried several carriers (AT&T, Verizion and Sprint). I don’t know what but it seems like the carriers are adding or subtracting something from those 3G packets or maybe it’s a routing issue. I appreciate any feedback you may be able to provide.

  3. Tom McCormick says:

    We have our SG90 setup as the SIP Proxy (100 SIP Proxy). I thought the new “Media Proxies” were only administered on the SG switches when SIP Trunks were prevelant.

  4. DrVoIP says:

    Tom – I want to make sure I understand:

    (a) iphone registers and works over local WifI – Check
    (b) iphone registers and works over Starbucks WiFi using VPN – Check
    (c) iphone registers but media fails over 3G dataconnection?

    Are you using Media Proxies on the SG for your setup?

  5. Tom McCormick says:

    I have successfully managed to get the Bria app working with my Shoretel 13.1 system over Enterprise WiFi, remote WiFi and VPN from my iPhone. I still haven’t been able to get it to work over 3G VoIP cellular data. I can get the Bria app to register but once a call is established, I have no talk path. I have tried changing the mobile codecs on the Bria app, excluding G.729.

    I have encountered the same results when using the Media5-fone app as well.

    Any ideas?

  6. DrVoIP says:

    ShoreTel mobility supports SIP over SSL and I suspect that ShoreTel will move in this direction in the near future. Generally, the entire SshoreTel architecture takes place within a private IP space. For example, you can not put a Gateway on a public IP address with an HQ server in a private IP space. The SIP exchange is only once set of issues. The RDP stream however, is a separate set of issues requiring a range of RDP UDP ports to be open in your firewall. Being able to point a SIP phone at a public IP address that has a SSL connection in which both the SIP messages and the RDP stream can traverse through a single port, is more viable. Look to ShoreTel bringing out a family of SIP phones with the Roam Anywhere technology built it. It will most likely replace the OEM VPN product line.

  7. Bronder Blazer says:

    What ports does the Shoretel sip require ? Knowing them would make it unnecesary to create a VPN to register the extension. Plus VPN connections on iPhone/iPad disconnect automatically after a while so extension would no longer work once that happens.

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