Initially (as of 9/5/2009) this worked with the ooma Telo. Apparently, there’s been a firmware change since this article was written causing this to no longer work. Since my Telo is back in it’s box (I much prefer the hub) I can’t verify.
I’m a big fan of the ooma VOIP device. It’s a feature packed phone system that allows you to ditch your land line, and it’s 100% free after the initial outlay. That means no more phone bills. For $99 a year you can get their premier service which has even more features.
The install guide that comes with ooma instructs you to place the Hub (when I say Hub, I mean the ooma Hub) between your modem and router (or computer if you don’t have a router). This configuration is perfect for 90% of installs, and allows the quality of service (QoS) built into the Hub to reserve the bandwidth needed to ensure the great call quality ooma is known for. For some situations though, this isn’t ideal. A larger network with complex routing will probably have trouble with this setup. The Hub has basic router functionality, including a firewall and QoS, but otherwise is fairly limited. In situations like this you’re better off placing the Hub behind a router. Also, for some people, letting the router handle QoS produces better call quality. Finally, for whatever reason, others just prefer it this way. If you plan to place your Hub behind a router make sure your router has QoS built in. This isn’t as important if you have a fast connection to the Internet (> 6Mbps). Although if you do much downloading, gaming, or watch a lot of media over the internet you’ll need QoS no matter how fast your connection is.
Before we start I’m going to assume your Hub has been registered, and you can successfully make calls. The first thing you need to do is find out if the Hub will connect behind the router. With the Hub turned off (i.e. unplugged), plug an Ethernet cable into it’s “Modem” port, and then into an empty port on the router. Turn on the Hub (i.e. plug it in), and wait a few minutes to connect. If it connects then you’re ready for the next step. If it doesn’t connect there’s probably an issue with the firewall in your router blocking needed ports (find a list of service ports here). The best thing to do at this point would be to search the ooma knowledgebase. Or seek help in the user forums. There are a lot of helpful people there.
The procedures below should work with most routers (I have a WRT54GS running tomato v1.25 firmware). As long as your router supports static DHCP and QoS you should be ok. So far ooma has successfully connected behind the router, but there’s a problem. In this configuration you have no way of accessing the administrative web site for the Hub. The URL for the site, “setup.ooma.com,” will not work. There are two things you can do that will allow you to access the setup:
- You can connect (via Ethernet) a computer to the “Home” port of the Hub
- You can plug an Ethernet cable into the “Home” port of the Hub, and then into an empty port on the router (the same router the “Modem” port is plugged into)
Either will work fine, but if you have an extra Ethernet cable #2 is more convenient. For #2, make sure you turn off the router and Hub before you plug in the Ethernet cable. Once you plug it in, turn on the router and let it boot up. Once the router has finished initializing you can turn on the Hub. Now go into your router setup and locate the device list. Find the IP address of the Hub, and enter it into the address bar of a browser. You should now see the setup. At this point you can reach the ooma setup using the IP, but you’re only halfway there.
Ideally, you want to be able to reach the setup pages without having to have the Hub’s “Home” port connected to the router (or computer). Also, you’d probably rather use “http://setup.ooma.com” instead of having to remember the IP address. To do this you need to make a change in the setup of both your Hub and router.
- From the front page of the setup click “Advanced” under “Navigation”
- Take the IP address of the Home Port, and enter it in the “DMZ Address” fields
- Click “Update”
Caution! If you move the Hub back in front of the router you MUST remember to remove this setting. Otherwise you’ll make your Home Network available to the entire Internet. Also, DO NOT put the ooma Hub in your router’s DMZ if you use this configuration.
- In your routers admin site locate where you set up static DHCP rules (for Tomato it’s under “Basic”, but you can also do this from the device list under “MAC Address”)
- Enter a new rule
- The MAC Address is the modem port MAC address of the Hub (this is located in the Hub setup under “Network”)
- The IP address is an address of your choosing, preferably outside of your DHCP range to avoid conflicts
- The Hostname is “setup.ooma.com” (without quotes)
- Add and save this rule
Believe it or not, that’s it. Now disconnect the Ethernet cable connected to the Hub’s “Home” port, and power cycle both the router and Hub (wait for the router to completely initialize before you plug in the Hub). Enter “http://setup.ooma.com” (without quotes) in the address bar of your browser and you should see the ooma setup page. If you’re using IE 7/8 and you can’t reach the setup, try another browser like Firefox. Sometimes IE has trouble resolving local domain names after they’ve changed.
In the next post, I’ll talk about how to set up QoS.