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back to article Are your landlines buried in the stone age?

The last few years have seen significant changes in end-user computing. In this workshop we have looked at how there has been a shift from desktop PCs towards notebooks, smartphones have become well established and tablets are on the rise. This has caused some quite fundamental changes in how and where people are able to work. …

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Anonymous Coward

"the phone system has also been difficult to extend outside the office as the workforce has become more mobile."

Rubbish! personal numbering has been around for years. There have been several soultions to support voice mobility.

Where do you get these people from?

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Anonymous Coward

Back to the 1990s

"Where do you get these people from?"

Surplus Comet staff, maybe?

I remember using mobiles fully integrated as extensions on corporate VPNs (that's voice VPNs) in the 1990s. Didn't even need VoIP for it (this was in the days of Frame Relay, iirc).

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Re: Back to the 1990s

I remember having that inflicted on me in 1998/1999 when one day my Nokia 2110 portable ear cancer unit suddenly became another extension of the office phone system.

The stupid thing was I could use the four digit codes for our desk based phones (not much good since I rarely needed to talk to staff back at the office until I was there in person) but for the other staff mobiles and for all outside numbers I had to use the international dialling code. This meant changing every stored number to have +44 in front of it, which (I presume) meant it was routed differently and the caller ID was stripped off in transit - the phone couldn't identify contacts in its own memory when a call was incoming.

Not a great problem as you can always press the button and say, "Hello" but it was a pian when texts came in as you had to look through the contacts to see who was bored and had just charmingly questioned your parentage.

Apparently it saved the company money as what looked like international calls were billed as local or national (or indeed international) as appropriate by BT and the pseudo office extension/inter mobile calls were "free". Liberal use of the word free there..

Much nicer these days with software emulated handsets so all you need to do is log your phone number in after connecting via the corporate vpn

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Anonymous Coward

Biased article

I will be very happy to use IPT and SIP, without having to pay BT line rental. Why doesnt anyone offer this service?

There is a strong reason why BT and others dont provide FTTP. People will then demand an end the the compulsory line rental if they start using SIP internet phones. Its a cash cow currently.

If i only want internet on a line, its impossible without paying a line rental, although I hardly ever use it!

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Re: Biased article

"If i only want internet on a line, its impossible without paying a line rental, although I hardly ever use it!"

Not true - have a look into "Metallic Path Facility" vs "Shared Metallic Path Facility" - if your ISP wants to they can offer you exactly what you're asking for.

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Silver badge

Re: Biased article

I agree that it is annoying to have to pay for a voice line that you don't use.

However, that's not necessarily what you are paying for. AFAIK line rental is for use of the copper pair. You use the copper pair for broadband, hence the line rental.

Now, you may argue that they could provide the copper pair without voice equipment attached. Hiowever, I doubt that would reduce the costs associated with it.

From what I have read (I may be wrong here) FTTP is provided without that copper pair, and voice is provided by a VoIP adapter at the premises. However, you will probably still pay a line rental to rent the fibre, and again the savings from omitting the voice element are probably negligible.

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Facepalm

Re: Biased article

Legally a phone line provider must provide the ability to call 999 i believe.... or something to this effect. VoIP has no way of ensuring this, and so no one seems to provide "just" that - however I think you could register for skype/google talk or something?

BT and others do offer *some* voip stuff, however you might not of been aware it was using voip at the time, and as it still requires the line to your house, you wouldn't make a saving there?

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Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Biased article

Not quite true, my VOIP provider does provide 999, and has a section to provide emergency location information, not really that practical considering I use it on a mobile.. but still they provide 999 emergency calls and can be used for it..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Biased article

A friend of mine derides my use of my phone line for a telephone connection as well as an ADSL line. He's a massive IP telephony fan, whereas I prefer to use a proper telephone on a fixed line instead of a mobile (which doesn't work well through my house's solid walls). Also, his UPS might give him an hour or so runtime during a power failure, whereas I will have a live line for as long as the UPS in the exchange runs.

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Facepalm

What time capsule did you dig up this article from?

Or have the telegraph poles fallen over in the flooding?

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Anonymous Coward

naked (not knackered) DSL

"If i only want internet on a line, its impossible without paying a line rental, although I hardly ever use it!"

Part of the reason for this is that there is a dubious (regulator imposed?) split of the copper local loop costs between the voice piece and the broadband piece.

Historically the voice piece was more important and the broadband piece was a rare luxury. The costs (and to a large extent the revenue) reflected that.

Obviously the voice line rental also includes a share of the cost of the voice switching capability, which "naked DSL" wouldn't need to cover.

Today, unless you're in a cable area, many people value the broadband more than they do the voice. And the broadband is certainly harder to maintain (diagnose, fix, etc) than the voice.

But the rental charges (Openreach wholesale prices) don't reflect that.

tl;dr: Be careful what you wish for. "Naked DSL" is technically possible but the commercial result will still need to include the maintenance costs of the copper, even if they don't include your voice access at the exchange.

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Anonymous Coward

We used to have an old-style Avaya PBX. No fancy features, all the desk phones were separately cabled and couldn't share infrastructure.

Following an acquistion that was all ripped out and a shiny new Cisco VoIP system was installed, with lots of new PoE switches etc.

What a pile of cr@p. Individual calls sound like everyone has a towel over their mouth. Conference room phones are so poor that you can't hear half the discussion, we've taken to picking up the satellite microphones and using them like a handheld mic, just to be heard. I've given up on calls with India, the voices are so unintelligible you can have a better discussion in email.

With the old system I could forward my desk phone to my mobile, and the caller-id still worked, now every call on my mobile just shows as coming from the switchboard. The new phones have "features". I can change the background image, and there's a calculator. Oh joy. Pity they didn't put as much effort into making the fscking things work properly as phones first.

OK, these aren't necessarily the result of VoIP per-se, more of a crappy VoIP implementation, but if you have an old-fashioned phone network that meets your needs my advice would be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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Silver badge

It sounds like something is seriously wrong at your place. I use CallManager at work, and we have all the features you ask for and it all works perfectly.

The BIG elephant in the room with VoIP, is that people forget that the data network needs to be capable of supporting VoIP.

If your data network is crap, you'll have a crap VoIP experience. VoIP is ruthless in exposing the faults in a data network. Because of this, the telephone team have to work closely with your network people. So close in fact, you're better off making the telephone team part of the network team.

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Anonymous Coward

most places i've worked its been voip, and usually the lan is accessed via a cable coming out the voip phone...

but no noise issues, and that is working for banks, big corporations & little guys..

if you had an old network, that was slower, it was obvious you would split your voice IP network from your data ip network, if that makes sense.. you can easily run 2 cables when you run one...

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Bronze badge

RE: If your data network is crap, you'll have a crap VoIP experience

Which is why WROK PALCE keeps these networks completely separate.

VoIP network is wired with blue cables, data is wired with orange.

Brown jacketed cables are exclusively for the senior exec porn network.

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Re: RE: If your data network is crap, you'll have a crap VoIP experience

VoIP and data can easily co-exist on the same physical infrastructure. You just have to configure QoS appropriately.

QoS requires the right gear, good quality gear, you cant just chuck in any bargain basement switch and expect it to work well under load.

FWIW my most recent two employers (which includes my current one) both use an IPT solution in their offices. The handsets and PCs share the same switches and backhaul/backbone network, and voice quality is superb. Separate networks are not strictly necessary, but can be used for other reasons like failure domains - an outage affecting the data network doesnt affect voice.

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Bronze badge

Re: Separate networks are not strictly necessary ....

Someone else who learned that painful lesson in Networking 110 at the University of Hard Knocks.

Now, you know why we do it.

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Mushroom

Cash Cow.

Tend to agree with the comment about the voice service cash cow in the UK. Why am i paying to provide and maintain voice equipment that I dont need? I have enough bundled calls on my mobile that I never use the BT line - the only calls that I get on that are the ones from Uk companies breaching the Privacy In Communications regs either blatantly as one insurance co did last week - or indirectly by employing an overseas call centre - as all my lines are TPS registered.

My exchange is still firmly 20cn, so maybe BT should reduce the 21cn spend on voice and just concentrate on WBC when they finally put their hand in thier pocket for my tiny 10k line exchnage. (Line count from a BT engineer locally - Sam knows hasnt updated since around 2006) Hell maybe they will even upgrade some of the ropey old copper here that causes my 3km line to fall over several times a week (I've changed everything except premises in the 10 years this has been happening - Openjoke cant (or wont) cure the problem)

Of course dropping voice requirement wont happen whuile OFCOM is lubed up and spread wide for BT group, so UK punters will continue to be charged (in effect) almost double the hedaline price for broadband because of the £13 per month "voice tax"

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Was just looking at a TDM-to-IP gateway the other day, for an old but still very capable Panasonic TDA30 PBX.

Anyone got any pointers for using one of these gizmo's?

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Spoilt for choice...

depends on your signalling protocol, but if Q931 (along with many others except DPNSS), I reckon you can't beat an Audiocodes Mediant.

Our 2000's may get a boot every year or so, when we decide we want to upgrade the firmware....that reminds me, one hasn't been booted in 2 years. Time for an upgrade :-)

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Re: Spoilt for choice...

Thanks for the pointer there!

Can you recommend any literature for getting these things all wired up correctly? (I'm a noob)

Are you familiar with the older Panasonic TDA systems? Perhaps it's largely irrelevant what the PBX is.

Presumably you connect one end to an ethernet switch and the other to the PBX connections that usually go to BT's ISDN boxes? Is it as simple as that?

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Bronze badge

TDM to IP gateway

This is a good way to put your toe into the water. It exposes you to how crap VOIP systems are, and how your service will now rarely (instead of almost never) have faults that take you off line for an hour or so. If you are unlucky, you will also learn that there is a lot of VOIP call fraud out there, and that huge fraudulent phone bills even happen to people who buy turn-key managed services from their ISP.

However, it is only a Toe in the water, not the real thing.

The next step is to run the IP side through your network router, so that you learn what a bad idea that is, and how difficult it is to setup. Then ditto for using your own software VOIP server.

All this using a TDM to IP gateway, so that you can choose which outgoing line to use, fall back to the real phone line when the VOIP goes down, and tell customers to ring back on the real line when you can't understand them or when your all your calls drop out at 7 minutes.

After you've got that working, you can make an informed decision about if cutting your phone bill to 1/2 is worth the remaining pain and agravation. Most people do think it is worth it., but it may take you a while to get there, and you may have to change suppliers a few times first.

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Holmes

Optimistic vendors to say the least

Have two VOIP lines which come in on an AT&T copper line (POTS). These fail in random ways, sometimes I don't even know the VOIP is down unless I realize it has been very quiet this afternoon - oh the phones aren't working (again). Frequent quality issues, garbled voice, static, won't dial out, can't access 800 numbers, all kinds of weirdness. Bandwidth is a problem sometimes, if the net is slow or down, so are the phones.

Fortunately tech support is VERY good and VERY easy to reach from this vendor, and I am saving something like $3,000 a year in phone bills. $3,000 makes it worthwhile to put up with hit or miss quality.

Interestingly, the abysmal quality of everyone's ubiquitous cell phones has LOWERED people's expectations of telephone service in general, so the VOIP problems are considered nothing special or exceptional. We keep the copper line because it always, always, always works, you can practically bet your life on it and that's how our internet connection gets here.

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Silver badge

Re: Optimistic vendors to say the least

> I am saving something like $3,000 a year in phone bills.

Is that because no-one is able to make calls? :)

Seriously though, is risking your business to save $3k worth it?

I disagree that cellphone experience has lowered people's expectations, and my cellphone quality has always been pretty good. Rather, I think it has increased the expectation that there will always be a phone somewhere that works. In the past if the phone went down, you had nothing. You'd have to go to the neighbours, or find a callbox. Today in most homes or offices it doesn't matter if one phone goes down, there will be several others from several suppliers within easy reach, or Skype, or...

Agreed about keepking the copper line. I not only keep that, but have an old-fashioned wired handset conencted. Total power outage, cell tower down, doesn't matter. That phone always works. Sometimes that guarantee is critical.

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Anonymous Coward

And when there's a fire at the substation?

" in most homes or offices it doesn't matter if one phone goes down, there will be several others from several suppliers within easy reach, or Skype, or..."

When there's a fire at the substation or other non-local disruption to the electricity supply?

. the VoIP extensions go off because the IT department didn't plan for mains outages and the LAN kit (switches, PoE for phones) all go dead

. the switchboard goes off (because the IT department,,,)

. the local cell service becomes unusable because everyone wants to use it while at the same time the mains powered base stations are all dead (only the biggest have worthwhile backup)

. Cable phones are dead because unlike BT they've no obligation to provide continuous service when there's no mains

Meanwhile the 48V DC powered steam era PABX plus any analogue phones retained for emergency planning reasons (everybody does that, right?) just carry on working. No worries.

" I ... have an old-fashioned wired handset conencted. Total power outage, cell tower down, doesn't matter. That phone always works. Sometimes that guarantee is critical."

See, sensible people do plan for emergencies. How do we convince the IT departments?

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Happy

Re: Optimistic vendors to say the least

This is an internet based mail order business, and we actually don't need or use the phones very much. Most of our business has historically been over the net, even when we had the original system perhaps half of one percent of our orders came over the phone, that percentage is unchanged even though the phone bills are much lower now. The vast majority of the phone calls we do get (and to be fair, the VOIP system is up and has acceptable quality most of the time) are a total waste of time - wrong numbers, idiotic surveys, credit card offers, update your listing on Google, vote for some scumbag or other, donate money, we've won a free one day cruise to the Bahamas, just pay the $35,000 in port fees, and on and on and on - and yes we are absolutely on the do not call list but the junk callers completely ignore it because they know it has no teeth.

Cell phone service here is spotty and the quality is poor. The two most common phrases you hear when someone is talking on a cell phone are "What did you say?" and "I'm losing you." (Except when the airplane lands - all the morons dial out at once "We're on the ground".)

We've found that most of the calls we get don't have anything to do with the business in the first place, and are often at strange hours ("Oh, look the call log shows someone calling at 4:30 AM Sunday") and we are NOT open 24 by 7, nor do we need or want to be. Not encouraging phone calls has IMPROVED our bottom line rather than hurt it. Further, if Paul Revere had called my cell number, we'd still be a British colony - yet my life somehow manages to go on.

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Bronze badge

Re: See, sensible people do plan for emergencies. How do we convince the IT departments?

Meanwhile the 48V DC powered steam era PABX plus any analogue phones retained for emergency planning reasons (everybody does that, right?) just carry on working. No worries.

" I ... have an old-fashioned wired handset conencted. Total power outage, cell tower down, doesn't matter. That phone always works. Sometimes that guarantee is critical."

See, sensible people do plan for emergencies. How do we convince the IT departments?

Many times it is not the It department that need to be convinced, its the fucking bean counters. Real life experience: Shithead bean counter rams through a cost cutting move to shitcan over 100 analog POTS lines, old, but perfectly functional PBX and analog desk sets; and replace them with VoIP PBX, and softphones.

Well, one day, the VoIP system completely failed, and it was down for 2 full days. Over 200 employees were not able to make or receive calls; they were completely dead in the water. Guess who got promoted to a new position with a new employer once the dust settled???

They re-instated the analog POTS lines, and the old PBX equipment, and got rid of that clusterfuck that crippled their business.

Thank $DEITY that they did not allow the VoIP equipment supplier remove the old PBX. Sometimes, you have to closely examine all of the "what if" situations.

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Agree with the cash cow comments. I'm a very low user... I make maybe one call a month, if that, on my landline, and I called up BT to ask about their low-user scheme only to be told it's only for those on certain benefits.

Damned annoying.

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Anonymous Coward

"maybe BT should reduce the 21cn spend on voice "

BT 21CN voice was announced in a blaze of publicity.

You seem, probably like many others and probably not surprisingly, to have missed the non-announcement in 2010 where it finally became clear that the much trumpeted BT 21CN voice migration isn't happening any more. And references to the "suspension" of the rollout appear to have been removed from Wikipedia's BT 21CN article; in fact the whole "21cn implementation" section has gone (including a valid but unattributed figure for the embarrassingly small number of 21CN voice connections).

So here's a link and a quote (better ones welcome, but not easy to find):

https://www.btwholesale.com/pages/downloads/21_Century_Network_Community/Monthly_summary_Industry_Engagement_May10.doc

"BT Consult 21: Monthly summary report : Date: May 2010

As a result of the reduction in Consult21 activities following the decision to halt 21CN voice end user migrations, this will be the last monthly summary produced for the Industry Engagement team for the foreseeable future. "

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FAIL

Re: "maybe BT should reduce the 21cn spend on voice "

I gave up reading BT announcements when I saw them throwing faster and faster services at the same old areas while we saw dates for WBC being dropped - while of course paying "leverage (premium) pricing for our old IPSC connections despite BT group NOT having provided an alternative to be "levered" onto.

I did what I could to distance myself from BT group. when O-bit LLU became available at my exchange. Being sick of paying through the nose for an old tech service supported by old equipment salvaged from exchanges lucky enough to be upgraded with faster and cheaper services - I jumped ship my rental is with post office, so I'm an "arms length" customer now.

I have gone from being a staunch supporter of BT to being someone who resents being fleeced by an abusive incumbent to support a voice network that is becoming increasingly irrelevant. My Fritzbox 7390 has VOIP support built in. There is no technical reason to require a voice service in order to have broadband except for the fact that we have a useless regulatory body that spreads like warm butter any time BT demands it - except its the punters that end up being screwed over.

The voice tax is just another example of the abuse of SMP by the BT group.

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2003 called

they want their news back

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Silver badge

Hmm, the problem is somewhere else

Those old PBXes are moderately simple to maintain. Or to be more precise, just being left as they are. They work, and they work reliably.

VoIP solutions currently still take a bit of extra work. For example unless you have multiple IPv4 addresses or IPv6, you need to do crude tricks with your router to get connectivity and quality of service. It's still far from the ease and simplicity of a normal ISDN line.

However that is in the process of changing, and depending on the situation VoIP might already be the better solution. However switching to VoIP from a currently well working ISDN-based solution is not often a good idea.

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Yeah.. let's replace good old analogue lines with rattling IP phones

I don't know, but anyone who has been transferred to call centers in Ireland of India, and had to spell out his/hers email address over an IP phone line that dropped every 5th packet or so, to a non native English speaking helpdesk employee, should have been fed up with IP phones.

The relay driven central phone switchboards in some East European countries from the 1930's are much better, although they sound like a horse is walking over the line.

Especially smart is to implement an architecture that routes all phone IP traffic over a single router that does also IScsi traffic for the SAN and the ESX servers. Had to fix several of these situation were the thing drowned in Vlan definitions, and then it is sometimes pure luck not to lose angered customers who could not call.

Oh, did I mention doing all IP traffic over one single blade router is efficient ?.

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Silver badge

Re: Yeah.. let's replace good old analogue lines with rattling IP phones

Well actually there is next to no analogue telephone service outside of some countries in Africa or North America.

Most telephone networks are now synchronous "ISDN"-like networks with 64kbit channels running alaw or µlaw, or 64kbit channels split into GSM full rate channels running the GSM codec.

Of course if you want to squeeze every penny out of your service, you run it over VoIP with far to little bandwidth.

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But you get your own guaranteed slot

Phone service between COs has been multiplexed for roughly ever (at least here in the US). But when you get a route through the network, that 3kHz is _yours_, all yours. So long as the network is up, you get sufficient bandwidth to actually recognize your caller's voice, and no dropouts when a packet gets lost.

The ``analog'' network puts all that in place before it puts your call through, and if it can't, you get the ``all trunks busy'' signal, rather than a connection you can't hear over.

They'll have to pry my landline from my cold, dead hands.... Unfortunately, AT&T is trying to obsolete them, without transferring the same QoS guarantees to the cell network. It warms my heart to walk past the CO and see that 15' wall of batteries inside. Take that, APC.

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The reason that VoIP hasn't been widely take up as you might expect

Leased lines aren't sufficiently cheaper than telephone calls..

What we found when this kicked off 5 years ago was that FD's would get very excited about saving a lot of their phone bill and move to IP. But then they'd see the cost for fully fledged DSL lines and balk buying instead crumby contention laden ADSL which had a great download but barely any upload capability. Their agents would then proceed to have a lot of sub-quality conversations with customers who didn't feel they were talking to a proper business, and wouldn't buy from them.

They all moved back again within the year and while some aspects of IP telephony are more prevalent (PBX to desk it's now very common), the cost of leased lines mean that very few customers have bee interested in taking that option up.

I'm talking from a very neutral perspective, as a network level telco who doesn't have financial incentive either way. What we've seen is that the customers don't feel that they get sufficient value from IP telephony (outside the building) to justify keeping it. and have in virtually all cases moved back to PSTN.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The reason that VoIP hasn't been widely take up as you might expect

Or, to put it even more concisely: bandwidth is bandwidth, more bandwidth costs more money, and there are plenty of ways of simpler ways of saving on call costs without the quality issues associated with a cheap and nasty VoIP implementation.

Odd article. Whatever happened to the "Rate this article" button anyway? Don't the advertisers care that the readership happiness decrease (as oservable round here right now?) is usually followed by a page views decrease which is usually followed by... well, y'know.

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Anonymous Coward

Who is this guy?

"This has led to the development of IP telephony (IPT) and the development of new protocols and standards such as Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP"

WTF?

Think he needs to read a few books before spouting of such marketing crap. VoIP did not lead to SIP,SIP was originally designed for multicasts and streaming and then slowly became popular for IPT, prior to that H323 was far more popular (and still is for some applications).

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Nice to see the usual uniformed stuff when it comes to VoIP

I was going to write a long rant on about idiots running business calls on broadband and POT lines, but you know what, I leave this analogy:

You have a trusty old Ford Sierra, been ticking along for years, it's ok, but not quite as good as the new super shiny stuff. So you buy an engine from a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 and shoe horn it into the same old car.

Then you go racing off and at 170 miles an hour, the wheels fall off and the gearbox drops out; you go into the nearest ditch, in a big ball of flames.

That Bugatti engine? What a load of crap!

VoIP on crap infrastructure = Crap Calls, End Of.

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Happy

Re: Nice to see the usual uniformed stuff when it comes to VoIP

Unfortunately we don't have access to a LOT of the stuff that makes non-POTS service acceptable. We're WAY out in the boondocks, choice of two broadband services, one stinks, the other is worse. Decent high speed stuff simply isn't out here. If we were in downtown city, that would be another story. Please remember that even Florida is a pretty big place (500 miles N-S, about the same E-W) and there are plenty of rural areas that are very sparsely populated - hence the telcos install only minimal services and the technology companies are not exactly fighting for our business. While metro areas are very well wired, many rural areas are not, so you have a choice, live in a crowded, expensive city and get wonderful tech service, or live out in the sticks where it is inexpensive and nobody bothers you, but you put up with some unimpressive phone service. What did the man say, the future is here but it just isn't evenly distributed? For me, quality of life is more important than eking the last possible dime out of my business. OTOH, YMMV, and that's fine too.

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Joke

Where is the archaeology angle...?

ARE YOUR LANDLINES BURIED IN THE STONE AGE?

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Bronze badge

IP Telephony? Internal: Yes, external: No.

I've used some IP Telephony systems in the past (mainly in wireless mesh environments for events) and I find that for the private side IP works great, meaning less bothering about running dedicated circuits for phones, but for the public side IP links are much more unreliable than your standard phone line links.

At one of my permanent sites (not an event, but a rural sitee) we lost two separate ADSL connections (from two separate ISPs) due to an exchange issue while our ISDN30 was fine, meaning that while email and web were down, the phones worked.

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Anonymous Coward

VoIP service lives or dies by the network...and can be torpedoed by a number of other things too

There is nothing inherent in VoIP that automatically makes it a worse choice for phone service. and in many cases it makes telephony waay better. Not just for cost but for quality too: listening to a VoIP call over G.722 is like being in the same room.

The problem is that there are a lot of moving parts, and they all need to be told to play nicely together. I could go and buy so-called hosted IP PBX service from someone for $10/month, they'd throw some IP phones at me, and chances are it would be rubbish. Or I could find a provider that owned their own network from edge to core, with MPLS for site-to-site traffic engineering, with premise-based probes to gather data on call quality, and a set of IP phones whose firmware was halfway decent. Add in a LAN assessment prior to implementation and I'd be all set.

The number of providers who can do this nationally across the US is vanishly small. The big guys are not interested, and the little guys don't own their own fiber. That leaves about three providers: Megapath, XO and maybe one or two others. And it aint cheap.

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aqk
Unhappy

Yep! Buried landline! And old 20th century Internet

Not so much a comment on this new-fangled IP telephony whatchemacallit stuff, but a comment on my present telephone system.

The phone lines in our neighbourhood are indeed buried underground. My particular one actually runs through a small swamp. And it still works! Of course the analog modem speed (V90) doesn't get much above 35Kbs... At least according to my neighbours.

Last year I actually upgraded to an expensive cellular tower system for my internet thingamajiggie.

But that good ol' 1950s landline still hums away (literally). Serves me well

See it at http://goo.gl/BVHCe and be astonished!

You see, I'm in CANADA, specifically QUEBEC, where we have one of the slowest, most backward and yet oddly most expensive internet services in the world.

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We scrapped our BT ISDN phone lines two years ago and I have never looked back!

I use Kerio Operator, with VoIP Unlimited as an ITSP (SIP Provider). All I need to have now is a leased line (which I already had for our corporate base) and away I go! I don't need BT any more and would seriously recommend to anyone considering SIP to give it a go! Now I just need to eke out a little more bandwidth, because the proliferation of HD codec devices and soft phones (running as apps on android or iphone/ipad, or on laptops) means that I have had thirty concurrent calls, plus conferences at the same time. Seriously stretches a line. Ah well, double bandwidth should be coming in next year!

Just a tip.

If you are looking at a move to SIP, do it in stages.

1: Speak to your ITSP and see if they will allow you to have all outgoing phones first. This will let you guage how powerful your internet connection is, and if VoIP will run over it smoothly.

2: Once you believe that outgoing calls are trouble-free, it should be a simple job to transfer your incoming numbers to your ITSP.

3: Finally, decide on an external access policy. If you are going to allow your users to use softphones, remember that if you are behing a firewall, it will need to be configured. You will need to allow SIP and RTP, both of which should be in your PBX software.

If you find you have no sound, but can make calls? RTP isn't going through (in about 90% of cases).

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Silver badge
Boffin

It's funny..

But many people have forgotten that land lines provide their own power...

If you live in a rural area and need a phone in an emergency... Land lines are your best bet.

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