Sipura SPA-841 review, configuration and installation guide
Note: If you are looking for the Sipura SPA-841 Installation
and Configuration User Guide, then you can download it from here.
I recently received my new Sipura SPA-841 VoIP phone from VoIP
Supply in the USA. The Sipura SPA-841 is like many other VoIP
hardphones that uses the Open Session Initiation Protocol
(SIP). The photo below shows my new Sipura SPA-841 on the left and
my old Grandstream Budget Tone 100 on the right.
The other alternative to hardphones are softphones,
which as the name implies is software that resides on your PC.
One of the main advantages of a hardphones over softphones
is that your SIP phone is always on and does not need your PC to
be switched on in order to make or receive telephone calls.
Released earlier in 2005, the SPA-841 is a relative new comer to
the SIP hardphone market, and is the first hardphone to
be released by Sipura.
Although it's their first hardphone to the market, Sipura
are an experienced company in the SIP arena. Sipura have previously
produced SIP Analogue Telephone Adapters (ATAs), which are devices
that allow you to convert your regular Public Switched Telephone
Network (PSTN) equipment (such
as faxes and phones) into SIP devices, thus allowing you to use
your PSTN equipment on cheap OpenSIP-based VoIP networks. Sipura
have transported all their existing ATA functionality into the SPA-841,
and have retained the same type of web-based configuration interfaces
that have become synonymous in their ATA devices.
So you are probably asking why I have decided replace my existing
Grandstream BT100 with the Sipura SPA-841. The following brief comparison
between these two hardphones discloses why.
Comparison between SPA-841 and BT100
The SPA-841 is a relatively cheap hardphone, coming in at
$84.99 for the 2-line version. The 4 line version (via a firmware
upgrade) is an additional $30. At this price you can afford to update
your SIP hardphone.
However, I did not upgrade because the SPA-841 was cheap. One of
the main reasons I upgraded was the ability to have upto 4 SIP accounts
into the device. This effectively means that you can have upto 4
incoming telephone lines on the same device. For many people, this
"mutli-SIP account" feature is not a high priority. However,
the SPA-841 is a must for those of you who are running more than
one business and want to be contacted on and array of different
numbers. Also, the ability to have more than one line coming into
the SPA-841 saves valuable desk space as there is no need to have
more than one hardphone unit sitting on your desk.
Another reason for upgrading was because of the SPA-841's built
in address book. Not all hardphones (including the BT100)
have an address book. In the first instance a built in address book
may not sound like an important feature. However, in the world of
VoIP telephony if you know many people on other VoIP networks, an
address book is usually a must . This is because to call a person
on another VoIP network you must specify <their SIP number>@<their
SIP provider's domain> (e.g. email@example.com).
Softphones tend to be feature rich and include features like
an address book, and it's for this reason that many people have
not yet invested in a hardphone. It is however, still possible
to call someone on another VoIP network with a hardphone
that does not have a built in address book, but it is an extremely
cumbersome and long winded procedure, as follows:
1. You determine the IP address of the other person's provider.
For example, ping the domain of the VoIP Service Provider (e.g.
sipphone.com) in order to obtain its
2. You then enter the other person's SIP number along with some
special button presses to get the @ symbol, and then even
more number presses to include the VoIP Service Provider's address.
Remember, an IP address includes dots, which again are special button
The SPA-841 has a built in address book (or Personal Directory)
of up to 100 entries, as shown below in the following screen shot.
Each entry in the address book takes the following format:
n=<some name>;p=<some SIP address or phone number>
- <some name> is a string of alphanumeric characters
that can include spaces (e.g. Joe Bloggs).
- <some SIP address or phone number> is either a
regular PSTN number including the full dialing code (e.g. 0044
1442 393 841 or 01442 393 841) or a SIP account (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: SIP accounts do not need to include the @
symbol and the VoIP Provider's domain if they are on the same
VoIP network as yourself. For example, if you and a certain friend
both use SIP
Phone then you only need to include your friend's SIP number.
However, since you may decide to switch VoIP networks in the future
it is good practice to always include the @ symbol and the VoIP
Provider's domain for every SIP account in the address book.
For those people that never call other VoIP networks, the built
in address book is not a necessity. However, in the ever expanding
VoIP market where more and more VoIP service providers are emerging,
the built in address book looks like it will become a necessary
feature for all modern hardphones. Although the SPA-841's
address book gives you the option to store 100 entries, I do hope
that with future firmware upgrades that more than 100 entries will