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Product Reviews
May 2004


Quadro4X SIP Router

Epygi Technologies, Ltd.
5070 Addison Circle
Addison, Texas 75001
Tel.: 972-661-1335
Fax: 972-385-3781
Web site: http://www.epygi.com
Price: $1,695

Editor's Choice Award

RATINGS (0-5)
Installation: 5
Documentation: 4.75
Features: 4.75
GUI: 4.75
Overall: A


One of TMC Labs� favorite genres of products to test is Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) products and we should point out that one of the most under-served markets of VoIP is the SOHO market place. In fact, TMC Labs can probably count on one hand the number of good SOHO VoIP products that have an overabundance of useful features.

In fact, TMC Labs� dream is to find a VoIP SOHO product that supports SIP with enough DSP horsepower to ensure good voice quality and minimal latency, includes one to four PSTN trunks, supports one-16 analog extensions with extension-to-extension calling, supports an unlimited number of SIP clients (e.g., tkeating@sipserver.tmcnet.com) with the ability to use a SIP softphone client, has a built-in Web interface for administration/setup, supports an auto-attendant with voicemail, can perform PBX functionality (including transfer and three-way conferencing), and finally can daisy chain two or more VoIP SOHO units together across an Internet connection to enable branch-office VoIP functionality with extension-to-remote extension over IP functionality. Oh yeah, we also want it to be low-cost and include all the major codecs without expensive licensing fees to jack up the price.

Well, our dreams have come true with Epygi�s Quadro4X SIP Router! Not only does it support all of the aforementioned features in some fashion, it also comes with a built-in router, DHCP server, firewall functionality, and even an emergency failover function that automatically connects Line 1 to Phone 1 in the event the power goes off on the Quadro4X. We disconnected the power to the Quadro to test this emergency line feature and it indeed performed as advertised.

The best way we could describe the Quadro4X is that it�s a 2X4 (two trunks, four extensions) SOHO IP-PBX with Web-based administration. Epygi also offers the Quadro2X (1X2 system) and as of March 2004 the Quadro16X (4X16 system). Extensive integrated PBX featuring call handling functions, voice mail and conferencing, a powerful firewall including NAT, policy and service-based filtering, stateful inspection, and IDS as well as VPN functionality supporting both PPTP and L2TP connections.

At the core of Quadro is the Call Manager which runs Linux software � which by the way means all but one of the codecs do not require a licensing fee, which lowers the overall cost of the unit. The Call Manager maintains state and interfaces with the FXS and FXO ports to set up and terminate voice calls. It performs traditional telephony PBX functions such as call hold, call transfer, and voice mail.

INSTALLATION
Installing the Quadro4X was a breeze � as it should be considering its target is the SOHO or branch office environment. In fact, we didn�t even open the manual until we had made all of our physical connections. We connected four phones to the extension ports and two PSTN/trunk lines to the unit. We also connected the WAN and LAN ports. For our testing, we connected the Quadro4X directly onto our T1 Internet connection using a static IP since it already has built-in firewall functionality with a DHCP server and NAT functionality on the LAN side. We should mention that we could have placed it behind our corporate firewall as well and used the SIP over NAT traversal feature built into the product that allows the VoIP traffic to get past the firewall.

We then logged onto the unit�s Web administrative interface and configured some various parameters, including setting up the PSTN extensions and the corresponding SIP extensions. For example, PSTN extension 21 is mapped to SIP address 30144221@sip.epygi.com. If you call into the auto-attendant via the PSTN you simply dial extension 21. If you make a VoIP call you can dial the SIP address. We should mention that Epygi had already pre-configured all of the needed settings, including the extension numbers, so we merely logged on to see what the pre-configuration was set to. Once we knew the extension numbers, we were able to test extension-to-extension calling and other various tests.

FEATURES
The unit is firmware upgradeable � key for any revisions, bug fixes, or feature improvements. One of the really nice features of the Quadro4X is that not only can you configure the unit to connect to your own internal SIP server, but you can have it set up to connect to Epygi�s hosted SIP server, which in fact is the default setting. Thus, a small office environment need not worry about setting up their own internal SIP server if they don�t have the expertise to do so. The added advantage of this is that you can join Epygi�s community of other Quadro users and be listed in their phone directory. From this directory you can search for other users and make direct SIP VoIP calls to other users within the public directory. You can of course join other SIP communities or configure your own internal private one. Also, several ITSPs are SIP-based, so you can configure the unit to use one of them as your voice carrier. Basically, this gives you functionality similar to Vonage (which is residential-focused and only one or two VoIP phone lines) but enhances it to a business-grade solution with as many VoIP ports as your bandwidth can handle.

Voice Features
The voice features include two FXO ports and 4 FXS (extensions) ports. Voice codec support includes G.711, G.726 (16, 24, 32, 40 Kbps), and G.729. It also supports SIP over NAT traversal as well as VAD, CNG, and G.168 echo cancellation.

PBX Features
The PBX features include call hold, call transfer, three-way conferencing, call blocking, call waiting, on-hold music, auto attendant, and distinctive ringing/group ringing. In addition you can view call statistics, CallerID info, as well as perform speed dialing, busy auto redial, and call forwarding. Quadro supports FAX relaying/T.38 fax support and even has voice mail which requires the optional license key to be installed. Hunt Groups are also available.

IP Capabilities
Its IP capabilities include the ability to specify the upstream and downstream bandwidth to help ensure the VoIP call quality. An IP call loses the voice quality if there is not enough bandwidth available. So in case not enough bandwidth is available, another IP call will be declined.

In addition, the product supports SIP over NAT traversal to get past pesky firewalls that inhibit VoIP. They even added STUN client integration, which allows simple traversal of UDP over NAT.

The product features extensive VPN functionality including a VPN Wizard within the Web admin for easily configuring VPNs. It supports IPSec VPN with DES and 3DES encryption in tunnel mode, and manual and automatic IKE key support.
Other IP capabilities include:

  • Policy and service-based filtering;
  • DHCP server on the LAN side;
  • DHCP client on the WAN side;
  • DNS server with forwarding functionality;
  • SNTP (Simple Network Time Protocol) for computer clock synchronization;
  • PAP/(MS)CHAP authentication for PPP connection to the ISP;
  • IP DiffServ for QoS;
  • Mail client to send voice messages as e-mail attachments (.wav) and system notifications;
  • Dynamic DNS (DYNDNS) support with third party.

OPERATIONAL TESTING
For our first test, we dialed 899# from our analog phone which made a VoIP call to Epygi�s test auto-attendant. The call was answered very quickly and we heard a brief message. Next, we made a test call to another SIP user listed in Epygi�s public directory. We simply need to prefix the number with an �8� to indicate a VoIP call and then entered the SIP userid we wanted to call, such as 30144121. If we had a SIP softclient logged into epygi�s SIP server, we could have dialed �30144121@sip.epygi.com� as well. In any event, when we dialed this number, it made a VoIP call from Phone1 across the Internet to another phone connected to a second Quadro. The voice quality was superb and latency was minimal. We also tested inbound VoIP calling by having one of Epygi�s representatives call our SIP user-id. Our analog phone rang and once again we were quite pleased with the voice quality.

Whenever we wanted to make a PSTN call, we simply prefixed the number with a �9�. Thus, when we dialed �92038526800� we were able to connect to TMC�s auto-attendant through the Quadro4X�s analog trunk line. This test also passed with flying colors. After a few test calls we checked out the Call Statistics screen.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
We had two suggestions for the product. One, would be to allow you to configure multiple SIP-based ITSPs and then perform some sort of LCR (least cost routing) function to figure out the cheapest ITSP network to make the outbound call. This would require a rate table of some sort that would have to be updated or even automatically grabbed from the ITSP�s Web site.

Secondly, we would like to see an integrated SIP registrar/server within the unit itself. You can of course use Epygi�s �hosted SIP server,� but some may not want to rely on Epygi for 100 percent uptime for their SIP-based calls nor will some customers want to have to install an internal SIP server. Thus, a built-it SIP server in the Quadro product line would be a nice addition.

CONCLUSION
TMC Labs loves the Quadro4X! What more can we say? If you�re looking to VoIP-enable a branch office, a small business, or even a home office, then the Quadro4X is without a doubt one of the best SOHO VoIP solutions you will find.

[ Return To The May 2004 Table Of Contents ]



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