Review: X100P Wildcard FXO Card from x100p.com
15th Dec 2008, 21:53:14
I bought this card to complete my Asterisk IP PABX setup.
Read on for my review of this card...
At around the £20.00 mark, this is the cheapest FXO card available. The card is a clone of Digium's X100P card, which has been discontinued. It is essentially just a V.92 winmodem with a particular chipset which is supported by Zaptel, the FXO/FXS drivers for Asterisk.
The installation process was quite fiddly, mainly due to the X100P's staunch refusal to share an IRQ with any other device in my Asterisk box, a Power Mac G4 running Debian Etch. For the first day, all I could get it to do was:
Zapata Telephony Interface Registered on major 196 Zaptel Version: 18.104.22.168 Zaptel Echo Canceller: MG2 PCI: Enabling device 0001:11:02.0 (0004 -> 0007) NOTICE-wcfxo: WCFXO/0: Unknown DAA chip revision: REVB=0 Failed to initailize DAA, giving up... wcfxo: probe of 0001:11:02.0 failed with error -5
Eventually, I had a flash of inspiration and removed the AGP graphics card from the Mac, replacing it with an old PCI Radeon 128. At last, this yielded some hard earned success:
Zapata Telephony Interface Registered on major 196 Zaptel Version: 22.214.171.124 Zaptel Echo Canceller: MG2 PCI: Enabling device 0001:11:03.0 (0004 -> 0007) wcfxo: DAA mode is 'FCC' Found a Wildcard FXO: Wildcard X100P
Once I had finally persuaded Zaptel to initialise the card, it was fairly easy to configure and I was making and receiving calls more or less straight away. I wasn't getting any caller ID information from the X100P, however. A quick search reveals that the X100P does not support the V.23 caller ID used in the UK on BT lines, but there was a promising sounding patch available. Unfortunately, this patch simply won't apply to current versions of the Asterisk source.
The lack of Caller ID might be tolerable if the X100P delivered satisfactory voice quality over the phone line, but it absolutely doesn't. The transmitted voice is tinn and faint, turning up the gain to achieve acceptable volume results in a harsh, distorted sound. Similarly, turning up the receive gain results in distortion and echo. It is possible to get rid of the echo with the echo detection features built in to Asterisk, but this takes about five seconds to kick in after picking up the phone.
Digging a little deeper, it transpires that Digium has never supported the X100P for use in the UK, nor do they ever plan to. The card does not seem able to cope with the line conditions in the UK. Given that the card is touted as "Global Line Standards Compatible" and x100p.com specifically says that it is compatible with caller ID, I'm unimpressed.
In conclusion, this card is piss poor. It's a royal pain in the arse to install and then gives distinctly sub par results when you finally do manage to beat the wretched thing into submission. I would not recommend the X100P to anybody for any purpose, except possibly in order to play a joke on somebody I hated. If you need a card to teach yourself how to use asterisk with a PSTN line and you don't have more than £20.00, I suppose it would do in a lab environment. Otherwise, you will be much better happier spending another £50.00 something like an OpenVox A400P, with which I have now replaced the craptacular X100P.