BestGear wrote:I have a Zoom 5801 ATA for FXO... but its a bit flaky and just not a professional solution... and am looking for a "proper" solution.
Having used 'Zoom' hardware in the past I would agree with you.
BestGear wrote:So - have looked at the OBi110 - looks like another Zoom 5801...with less reliability...(?).
The OBi110 is an impressive bit of kit and nothing like the Zoom 5801! What makes you think the OBi110 has less reliability? Over on Amazon the OBi110 has a 4.5 rating based on the best part of 1,400 customer reviews.
The Zoom 5801 has a 3.5 rating based on 10 customer reviews! I know which one I would buy.
BestGear wrote:Do all these boxes present the PSTN in the same way as the zoom, or do some present the "trunk" in the same way as a real SIP trunk would, such as VoipFone?
The OBi110 does not present the PSTN in the same way as the Zoom...
You can Configuring an Obi 110 Device as an FXO Gateway (i.e., to allow FreePBX to use a regular phone line). You will find several guides and many topics on this subject.
BestGear wrote:I dont mind buying a "low end" box if its an improvement to the zoom, but would rather buy a used "professional" product.
The OBi110 is definitely an improvement on the Zoom 5801 in my opinion.
If you're not in any rush to get your hands on one, enter our competition here
and you could be in with a chance of getting your hands on an OBi110 for free.
BestGear wrote:Does anyone have any sensible recommendations? - I see quite a few Vega, Patton, Mediatrix etc boxes - I would prefer something like that.
All offer a nice bit of kit but the word "overkill" springs to mind. If you have the extra money to spend and want to treat yourself then cool.
BestGear wrote:Lastly, are there any boxes that I should be wary of that need license keys to operate?
Well as you probably already know, once you go down the "professional" route you're likely to encounter the need to purchase additional licenses to activate certain features/services - Cisco being one such manufacturer. Some even require a service agreement/contract to obtain firmware updates!
My advice is get yourself an OBi110, if you don't want to wait then purchase one off Amazon and give it a go, What you got to lose? If you don't like it then return it!