The PhoneBoy Blog

Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, and More!

Packet 8 DTA “unlocked”

According to this thread on DSL Reports, it’s quite possible to take your Packet 8 DTA, load some firmware from Leadtek on it, and turn it into a fully functional DTA you can use with other service providers. Can’t say I’m completely surprised.

I’ve known for some time that Leadtek makes these devices for Packet 8. I’ve had a BVA8053 here for some time now. When I acquired a Packet 8 DTA a few months back for their Virtual Office service, I loaded up the web interface to the DTA and guess what, looked exactly like the Leadtek box I had. Didn’t take long for me to put two and two together.

It seems to me Leadtek could have taken some steps to prevent Packet 8 DTAs from accepting the generic Leadtek firmware in much the same way Linksys has made it impossible to load generic Sipura firmware on their boxes. Did they do that intentionally or did Packet 8 not think about that possibility? Or do they care, since the people either bought the DTAs or paid the cancellation fee?

Personally, I think more companies that provide locked ATAs should provide a way to unlock them so they can be used elsewhere, especially if the devices are purchased retail (e.g. the Linksys boxes tied to Vonage). No reason to junk all this perfectly good technology that can be re-used or tie it unreasonably to a service provider once you’ve paid for the device (either initially or with a termination fee).

Meanwhile, my basic opinion on the DTA-310, and conversely the Leadtek BVA805x is that they are decent ATA-type devices. They are a bit easier to configure than a Sipura–there are less knobs to tweak, and they are more clearly labeled as to what they are. The devices work reasonably well with Asterisk, BroadVoice, FWD, and others. The SIP/PSTN switching works reasonably enough now as well.

The PSTN switchover capability in the BVA8053 that I have works well enough. It lets you make one type of call (SIP or PSTN) by default and lets you switch call types with a keypress (e.g. #). You can receive calls on either SIP or PSTN, but you can’t take a SIP call and receive a PSTN call (or vice versa).

It will be interesting to see what a service provider’s take on this device will be.

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