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Product Reviews
 January 2002


Mediatrix 1104 with use of IP Communication Server

Mediatrix Telecom, Inc.
4229 Garlock St.
Sherbrooke, Quebec
J1L 2C8 Canada 
Tel: 819-829-8749
Fax: 819-829-5100

Price: Mediatrix 1104 � $995; discounts applied on volumes. IP Communication Server � $5,000 for unlimited version; for limited versions of less than 500 users or endpoints, price varies, but lower than $5,000.

Editor's Choice Award

Installation: 4.25
Documentation: 4.5 
Features: 4.5
GUI: 4.5
Overall: A-

It�s quite simple really � four FXS ports with either regular phones or G3 fax machines attached to it, an Ethernet network connection, a bypass PSTN line in place in case of a power failure or in case the IP network is down, and a plugged-in power adapter, and the Mediatrix 1104 is ready to make SIP VoIP calls � well, almost ready. There is still the matter of obtaining the IP address. Although the device can be given an IP address dynamically, there is difficulty figuring out what the address might be. 

Anyone Know The IP Address?

With many products, the easiest way one can configure the unit is by accessing a Web-based GUI via a default IP address, and then changing that to an IP address on the network. We mistakenly assumed that this would be the case for the Mediatrix 1104, but we could not access the Web-based GUI and had to then assume that this was because there was none associated with the device. We looked through the administration manual via a CD but did not see anything about a Web-based GUI, although we did notice that the manual was well laid out with plenty of detail.

Conveniently, however, we already had obtained the IP Communication Server software, had loaded it on to one of our computers, and had entered that computer�s IP address in all the appropriate places of the manager configurations. Our DHCP server assigned the Mediatrix 1104 an IP address. We know because we could view the address (once the 1104 registered on the IP Communication Server) via the built-in SNMP administrator interface, under Unit Manager. After a reboot of our computer and the IP Communication Server�s services (restarting both the 1104 device and the IP Communication Server�s software), the Mediatrix 1104 was registered, showing all four ports under User Manager. Incidentally, there were no significant help files located on the IP Communication Server software itself, which would have been of benefit, but the manual was available via a PDF file.

Now, we knew the IP address, but we still pondered how administrators without the IP Communications Server would configure the Mediatrix 1104. Sure, the IP address could still be dynamically assigned and looked up through the DHCP server via the 1104�s MAC address. But how would other configurations be changed? Fortunately, the answer to that question is easy � through the Management Information Base (MIB), which is essentially the interface that the IP Communication Server also offers. We stuck with using the IP Communication Server�s interface because we were going to use the proxy for use with other SIP devices, and we felt that the proxy�s interface was easier to use anyway.

Since we had already configured a Siemens IP phone (see review in this issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY�), we could call to/from the analog phone connected to port one on the Mediatrix 1104 from/to the Siemens IP phone by dialing the appropriate IP address. We could also dial from the port-one phone to the IP phone via the IP phone�s E164 address, which is more like a regular telephone number, but could not yet do this from the IP phone.

We still needed to designate phone numbers for all four FXS ports of the Mediatrix 1104. To accomplish this, all we needed to do was highlight the MAC address of the Mediatrix unit and select Edit Phone Number. From there, we pressed the Refresh All button to list all four ports, and then entered the New Unit Phone for each individual port. We could also set a password for the port by checking the Authentication box if we so desired. After we applied our changes, the numbers were set. Additional port settings, such as changing the audio codec (G.711, G.723 or G.729) on each individual port, can also be configured by editing the Ports option under the MAC address of the unit.

Simply stated, aliases are telephone numbers or names associated with a specific port or device for a user. There could be more than one alias pointing to a specific user. Since the Mediatrix 1104 had four ports, there is at least one alias per port, which was automatically set up when the device was registered on the IP Communication Server. Unlike the 1104 device, the Siemens IP phone we were testing with the Mediatrix equipment did not automatically register, but it did not take us long to realize that all we needed to do was add an alias for each phone, using the IP phone�s E164 address as an alias. This would make sense because an E164 address� function is similar to that of an alias.

However, the IP Communication Server would not just accept the E164 address as its alias. It also wanted the area code that we had identified in the Locale portion used for the Mediatrix 1104 device. After the number was added and made the main alias, the IP phone was registered. We could now call from the IP phone to any of the ports on the 1104 device (assuming none of these ports were being used for faxing) and vice versa, except that calling from the IP phone meant that we had to dial one plus the area code to connect the call. Just dialing the regular number sufficed when calling other ports on the 1104 device or when calling to the Siemens IP phone. While this was not difficult to set up and make the calls, it would have been nice for those devices other than the 1104 to automatically be given the aliases and to call from the IP phone without dialing the area code if calling on the same network. Nevertheless though, this whole process was easily done and proved that the Mediatrix equipment was interoperable with other vendor�s equipment.

After we performed all of our telephony tests for the Mediatrix equipment, which included call waiting, call forwarding, supervised call transfers (at least to other ports on the 1104), and faxing, and they all worked to our satisfaction, we had to conclude that both the Mediatrix 1104 and the IP Communication Server are splendid products. Since the four FXS ports made the device more like a SOHO SIP product than a simple IP phone, the price of it is acceptable. Furthermore, the sound quality of the calls were first-rate, and the functionality of the Mediatrix 1104, especially with the use of the IP Communication Server, rivaled that of any SIP end point on the market today.

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