As I’ve mentioned before, I used my Nokia E72 as a portable handset with the 3CX phone system I’m now using at home. The 3CX settings allow you to automatically convert numbers that are stored in the ‘correct’ mobile format, so that you can save a UK number as, say +442073169000, which is the switchboard for Incisive Media. When you dial a number like this via 3CX, it converts it to the appropriate format for dialling on the SIP trunks.
And the mobile networks do the same, so if you store numbers in your phone like that, you can dial them wherever you are, without worrying. Otherwise, dial an 020 number in the Netherlands, for instance, and you’ll confused a random person in Amsterdam.
Incoming caller ID on 3CX
The one final piece of the jigsaw, which I didn’t put together today, was the inbound caller ID on my mobile. Looking at the call log on my Nokia, I’d see entries like sip:email@example.com which is hardly friendly. And what comes up on the screen doesn’t match with what’s in the phone book on the mobile, which is annoying, as it means that names aren’t displayed correctly.
Worse than that, it means that I can’t use caller groups, which is something I always have set up on my Nokia mobiles. These allow me to put all the entries in the phone book into different groups, like VIP, Family, PR people, Friends, and so on. Then, you can assign a different ring tone to each caller group, and for each of the ‘Profiles’ on the phone, you can also choose which caller groups make it ring.
This, needless to say, is great for not being bothered – I tend to the view that my mobile phone is for my convenience, not that of people who might be calling me. So, if your phone number isn’t in my mobile’s address book, and in one of the groups, it just won’t make the phone ring.
I also have a neat app for Symbian called HandyProfiles. This can switch profiles automatically, based on things like location or time of day. So, most of the time my phone is on the ‘General’ profile, which rings for people in any group of callers (but not those who are in no group, or not in the address book). Every night, at 2300, it switches automatically to the ‘Private’ profile, while alerts me only to calls from numbers in the ‘Family’ and ‘VIP’ groups, and silences text messages. It switches back at 0930 the next morning. So, even if someone I’ve given my number to in a bar turns out to be the sort of person who calls strangers at 5am, they’re not going to wake me up.
How is this related to 3CX? Well, essentially, the mobile phone wasn’t recognising numbers from 3CX and matching them against the phone book correctly, so the only way my E72 would actually ring was by setting it to alert me to all calls, when I have it connected to the PBX. That loses me the call screening, and also the ability to know from the ring tone whether I have to be professional, filial or sleazy when I answer the phone.
Fixing this turns out not to be too tricky, and involves delving into the settings of the Nokia SIP client. Choose the ‘Net settings’ app, then ‘Advanced VOIP settings’ followed by ‘VoIP services.’ You need to install Nokia’s SIP VoIP Settings app on recent phones to access VoIP functionality, incidentally.
Next you’ll see a list of the VoIP services configured on your phone; pick the one for 3CX, select Profile settings and scroll down the screen. You’ll see two options relating to caller ID.
The first, ‘Count of VoIP digits’, controls how many digits are considered significant for matching caller ID. I’ve set this to ten, which is the length of a UK number, less the initial 0; I did set it to 11, but that didn’t work, probably because most of the numbers in my phone are stored in the international format.
Below that, the option ‘Ignoring domain part’ is set to ‘On’, which removes the domain from VoIP ids, if there is a number part, essentially.
Having done that, now when I receive a call on the E72 via 3CX, from a number that’s in my mobile phone book, it’s correctly recognised, so I can once again set the phone to not ring for numbers that I don’t know.
There’s one other useful change, which relates to how 3CX flags up numbers. If you have ring groups or multiple inbound numbers – like the block of 10 that I ported from my ISDN line – then you can give a name to each. In fact, ring groups have to have a name, and are used to allow several phones to ring simultaneously (for example, for my entry phone).
3CX can append or prepend these names to the caller ID, and the Nokia handset will still show them when it can’t match the number (or if there is no number). So, you’ll see something like 02099990000:XD:VIP if someone has rung the number you’ve called ‘XD’ which has sent the call to the ring group called ‘VIP’. I’d recommend appending these, rather than prepending, as you might not see the whole number on the phone’s screen otherwise. You’ll find this option in the 3CX console under Settings, General, on the ‘Global Options’ tab.