Using the SipExchange Portal

The SipExchange system is used to provide telephone services over the Internet. Typically, a service provider provides such a service and you, as a subscriber, access the service.  If you have subscribed to such a service, you can login to the SipExchange Portal to manage your account, manage the features, view your contacts and call details among other things. The following sections describes in details what you can do from the SipExchange Portal as a subscriber of telephone services.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Accessing the SipExchange Portal
  3. Changing your password/profile
  4. Viewing call records
  5. Managing contacts
  6. Subscriber Features
    1. Call Forwarding
    2. Call Screening

     

Overview

The SIP service that you have subscribed to uses the SipExchange server. Using this service, you can do the following:

  1. Make calls over the Internet to other subscribers. Depending on the SIP phone you are using, the service will allow you to make voice and video calls as well as allow you to exchange instant messages.
  2. Depending on the SIP phone you are using,  you can add other subscribers to your contact list. When you add a contact, the subscriber will be notified by email that you wish to add him/her to your contact list. If he/she accepts your request for subscription, your phone will display the status of the contact – whether he/she is online or not. Similarly, someone can add you as a contact.
  3. Subscribe to call-related services. Your service provider may also offer special call-related features like “call forwarding”, “call screening”, etc.

The SipExchange Portal is a web-based user interface from where you can manage your service. You can do the following:

  1. Manage your profile. Change information about yourself – you email address, for example.
  2. Change your password. Modify your password. It is always a good idea to modify your password as frequently as possible.
  3. View call records. View the calls you have made, calls you have received and calls you may have missed.
  4. Manage your contacts. Accept or reject contact requests from other  subscribers. You can modify the subscription status any time.
  5. Manage your features. The calling features you have subscribed to can be tuned from the portal. Exactly what you manage is dependent on the feature itself. For example, if you have subscribed to the “call forwarding feature”, you can specify your call forwarding address from here when you want all calls to be forwarded.
  6. Your service provider may make other information or applications available on the portal. The service provider will provide details on such features.

Accessing the SipExchange Portal

The SipExchange Portal can be accessed from any web browser. In order to use the system, you will need to know the URL of the portal. When you subscribed for the service, the service provider created an account for you. Either an email was sent to you providing you the URL and other account information or the URL was communicated to you by telephone, snail mail or other means. You will need this information to login to the console. Note that all transactions on the console is over a secure transport. Hence you don’t need to worry about the privacy of the communication.

To login to the console, enter URL that you received. A portal page is displayed that contains applications and information that your service provider wants you to access. For accessing features or your account information, click on the “Login” hyper-link at the top right hand corner of your screen.  The system will display an authentication screen prompting to enter your user name as password. The user name is in the format name@domain where name is your user id and the domain is the name of the domain you have been assigned to. Example of an user name is “amit@cafesip.org” where amit is the user id and cafesip.org is the domain name. This information is the same as that you enter when you setup your SIP phone.

After you successfully logged in, you will be able to see additional tabs from where you can access your account information and features.

Changing your profile and/or password

You can change your password and information about yourself from the SipExchange Portal. To change your password or view/modify your profile, you need to login to the SipExchange Portal, click on the “Account” tab. The system displays you a list of applications including the “My Profile” application. This application displays your current profile. You can modify your profile or change your password from the buttons displayed above. Your service provider may old delete call records.

Viewing call records

You can view your received, dialed and missed calls. To view the call records, you need to login to the SipExchange Portal, click on the “Account” tab. The system displays you a list of applications including the “Call Records” application. From this application, you can view information on the calls.

Managing contacts

The SipExchange server provides presence service to the subscribers. If your phone supports a contact list, you can add one or more subscribers to your contact list. The service notifies you when anyone in your contact list goes online or offline. The phone typically lists the contacts along with their status – online or offline.

When someone adds you to his/her contacts, the SipExchange server notifies you by email. The email contains instructions on the person who has added you to the list and instructions on how to authorize or block the user. To authorize or block the contact, you need to login to the SipExchange Portal, click on the “Account” tab. The system displays you a list of applications including the Contacts application.  From this application, you can access your buddy list and can either authorize or block the user. If you authorize the user, he/she gets notified when you are online or offline. If you block, the user do not see your presence. You can block an authorized contact at any time. Similarly, you can unblock a blocked user at any time. You can also delete the contact but this option is less useful because when the user’s phone sends a “subscription request”, the person is automatically added to your contacts list (in unauthorized state).

The presence service is in very early stages of implementations and the feature has many limitations. These limitations will be fixed in the upcoming releases. The limitations are as follows:

  1. The software has only been tested with a limited set of SIP phones.  It may or may not work with other SIP phones.
  2. When an user authorizes or blocks a contact, the subscriber who has the user in the contact list does not see any change until he/she logs out.
  3. If the server is restarted, active subscriptions are lost and affected users won’t see subsequent status changes of buddies in their list. If/when a client refreshes its subscription after recovery, the subscription will be re-established at the server.
  4. Some of the more advanced presence server features are not supported, such as notification filtering and buffering of notifications while a client is offline.

Subscriber Features

The SipExchange server comes with a call-related features that you may subscribe to. Examples of features include call forwarding, call screening, etc. You can fine-tune these features from the “Features” tab after you logged in as a subscriber.  Your service provider may not have already enabled all the features for you. Please contact your service provider if you would like to sign-up or unsubscribe from a feature.

The following section explains the features and how you can fine-tune them from the SipExchange Portal.

Call Forwarding

This feature allows you to forward your calls to another SIP address. There are two types of call forwarding possibe:

  1. Call forwarding (always): When this feature is enabled, all incoming calls to you is forwarded to the specified SIP address regardless of whether you are online or not.
  2. Call forwarding when not available: When this feature is enabled, an incoming call is forwarded to the specified SIP address when you are not online when you do not answer the phone or when you deny an incoming call request from your phone.

SipExchange supports both types of call forwarding and the service provider can enable either or both types of call forwarding. You can configure call forwarding address(es) from the SipExchange Portal. To configure call forwarding, use the “Call Forwarding” application present in the “Features” tab.

The calls will be forwarded to the  address(es) your specify from this application. Note that if the service provider has not enabled the feature or has enabled only one of the above call forwarding features, you may not be able to enter the call forwarding address(es) for which you are not subscribed to.

Call Screening

This feature allows you to screen incoming calls. You can maintain a list of addresses that you want to block (not receive calls from) and a list of addresses that you want to forwards to another SIP address. When a call addressed to you is received from one of the addresses in the list, the SipExchange server provides a treatment to the call as specified by the list. Either the call is blocked or forwarded to another SIP address.

To configure your call screening list, use the “Call Screening” application present in the “Features” tab. The application shows your call screening list. You can add to the list or delete addresses from the list.

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