Configuring Mobile VoIP Clients
Choosing a Mobile VoIP Client
Thanks to the standardized nature of SIP VoIP providers, there is no dearth of SIP clients on mobile platforms. Whether you're using Android or iOS, both marketplaces are full of applications offering different features but allowing the same basic connections to any VoIP provider. Even those programs whose primary purpose is to act as a multiple platform chat client such as Fring have provisions for connecting to an SIP enabled proxy server. With so much variety available, it's rather difficult to decide on which SIP client to choose. Unfortunately even though the process for connecting to a provider is standardized, each SIP client offers a different set of configuration options to its users. This can create a lot of confusion especially because many SIP providers don't follow standard naming procedures for their SIP addresses and usernames.
From a technical standpoint, all a person really needs to know about their VoIP account is the SIP address and their password. Pretty similar to what we have with e-mail. The username is merely the part of the SIP address that comes before the symbol "@". Sadly however, some providers try and stick to the old model of telephone numbers and sometimes handout different usernames, thus complicating matters considerably. A few providers like calcentric for example have their usernames as telephone numbers – once again trying to replicate the PSTN model on the VoIP platform.
Automatic Setup of SIP Clients
This confusion about how to set up a VoIP client to work flawlessly with a particular SIP provider leads many people to repeatedly install and uninstall different clients seeking one that which works properly with their particular account. Thus, instead of competing merely on the user interface and features available, many users settle for a program that just works properly. This is unfortunate. To make matters worse, some SIP clients allow users to configure parameters such as STUN servers and audio codecs as well. But as long as we don't have a standardized set of parameters for VoIP configuration, this situation is unlikely to get any better.
One of the best ways for users to achieve compatibility between their SIP client and their provider is to contact the former and ask them which clients work well with their systems. Some of the better providers have sections on their website detailing how to configure the most popular SIP clients with their accounts and provide all the necessary parameters for smooth functioning. Better yet is if the provider writes an SIP client for exclusive use with their services. That way, they will be able to customize it to work perfectly with their servers.