Computers & Electronics

Ask me anything about SIP and VoIP Telephony

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes

Ask me anything about SIP and VoIP Telephony

Ask me anything and I will do my best to answer. I may not be able to answer questions about specific providers but I will try my best.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What are some recommended VoIP providers?
- BabyTel (YMMV, I do not personally recommend them anymore. They are very unreliable.)
- Acanac
- Les.net (wholesale DID and termination)
- Vbuzzer
- Unlimitel

Feel free to recommend some more!

2) What about 911 service? Does it work?
When you are looking for a VoIP provider, one thing to keep in mind is 911 service. If you really need a provider with 911 service, look at their website or contact them to inquire about whether it is available. Not all of them will provide the service but many major Canadian VoIP companies will provide what's called "e911 service" You should note however, the reliability of such a service is questionable and it is recommended you keep a copper line connected with a spare analog telephone, you do not need an active telephone service to dial 911.

3) Can i port my number to a VoIP provider?
Yes. Some VoIP providers offer to port your number from a landline or cell. You should check with the provider whether they offer porting and your number can be ported. Not all exchange numbers can be ported depending on location and whether the VoIP provider is able to port numbers. The porting process can take about 2-3 weeks, unfortunately because of the way porting works this is the minimum time required to port a number.

4) I heard about this thing called Asterisk, what is it?
Asterisk is a linux based PBX application. You can use it to route calls over IP and take PSTN calls and convert them to VoIP. You can also do more advanced functions such as being able to setup a service to call in from any number and have it route long distance calls so the receiving telephone number is not charged for the call. If you are curious about Asterisk and want to learn how to set it up, visit the following site: http://www.asteriskguru.com/

NOTE: If your question is not covered in this FAQ, feel free to post!

Tips and Tricks


1) Styles posted the following to do with audio quality and Linksys ATA devices:

I've noticed that quite a few people are using Linksys devices. The Linksys devices seem to come with a default RTP Packet Size setting of 0.030. In my case, I have found that call quality is sub par with this setting. Changing this to 0.020 has improved the call quality for me, especially with inbound calls from les.net.

This setting was recommended to me by les.net support. They mentioned many people in the Toronto area have had call quality issues that were resolved by changing this setting. It is also recommended for use with FreeSWITCH. See here for more info:
http://wiki.freeswitch.org/wiki/Interop_List
931 replies
Newbie
Mar 18, 2006
38 posts
4 upvotes
mlerner wrote:
Jul 9th, 2007 12:20 pm
Ask me anything and I will do my best to answer. I may not be able to answer questions about specific providers but I will try my best.
Ok...so here are some questions for you:

1. What are channels? Are they similar to call waiting from the PSTN world? If I have a DID with 10 channels, does that mean I can have 10 concurrent calls going (in and/or out) at the same time?

2. Which provider is the best in terms of service (quality) first and then charges (monthly)? I need a DID with unlimited incoming/outgoing from the Toronto area (don't care about 416 or 647). And please, I won't take vbuzzer for an answer!

3. Do you know of a place where I can get an asterisk install done (hopefully for free)? I'm on starting my own business, but funding is very tight at the moment!

thanks.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes
sprinter wrote:
Jul 9th, 2007 12:50 pm
Ok...so here are some questions for you:

1. What are channels? Are they similar to call waiting from the PSTN world? If I have a DID with 10 channels, does that mean I can have 10 concurrent calls going (in and/or out) at the same time?

2. Which provider is the best in terms of service (quality) first and then charges (monthly)? I need a DID with unlimited incoming/outgoing from the Toronto area (don't care about 416 or 647). And please, I won't take vbuzzer for an answer!

3. Do you know of a place where I can get an asterisk install done (hopefully for free)? I'm on starting my own business, but funding is very tight at the moment!

thanks.
1. Channels are basically the same as lines, so each channel gives you an available line for a voice call, if you have 10 channels you can have 10 incoming or outgoing calls, provided your provider supports that many simultaneous calls.

2. In terms of quality and price, I've found Babytel to be one of the best but it depends on your broadband connection and network factors.

3. I don't think will find anyone offering a free install for asterisk but it's not too hard to learn. There are tutorials like this one. Keep in mind if you want to do any of the more advanced features that you find in commercial SIP PBX servers you will either need to learn how to develop them yourself or find a website that has the code for it. If you really need a telephone system that works out of the box and doesn't require too much configuration, you may need a commercial solution.

Hope that helps.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes
BUMP.. ask me anything at all. From specific SIP phones to T.38 faxing.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Nov 22, 2003
112 posts
11 upvotes
Victoria
I love all the cool toys that come with my VONAGE account ...call forwarding, web voicemail, follow-me, ... but call quality is often poor - lags - echo - drop outs. I have tried everything ...including removing router (plugging adapter directly to modem) ... different handsets .

So I am about to pull the plug ... thing is I don't want to pay an arm and a leg to TELUS for all those services ... heh heh ... like I need to say that @ RFD

So ... I heard it is possible to terminate a POTS line to an Asterisk server - and if you just subscribe to callerid - then you can do a number of cool things with your line ... and therefore maintain excellent call quality.

What would I need in the way of hardware to terminate my POTS line to the ASTERISK server?

Thanks.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Nov 22, 2003
112 posts
11 upvotes
Victoria
Would something like a LINKSYS SPA-3102 and TRIXBOX be the easiest thing to setup?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes
skinflint wrote:
Jul 15th, 2007 11:50 pm
I love all the cool toys that come with my VONAGE account ...call forwarding, web voicemail, follow-me, ... but call quality is often poor - lags - echo - drop outs. I have tried everything ...including removing router (plugging adapter directly to modem) ... different handsets .

So I am about to pull the plug ... thing is I don't want to pay an arm and a leg to TELUS for all those services ... heh heh ... like I need to say that @ RFD

So ... I heard it is possible to terminate a POTS line to an Asterisk server - and if you just subscribe to callerid - then you can do a number of cool things with your line ... and therefore maintain excellent call quality.

What would I need in the way of hardware to terminate my POTS line to the ASTERISK server?

Thanks.
Yes, it's possible. Asterisk is basically a software PBX that can do straight VoIP and a combination of VoIP and analog connectivity. There are a couple of options depending on your preference and budget.

1) PCI analog card from a company like Digium or Wildcard. They can range from $50-400 depending on the model and where you get it. The real benefit is you're saving a lot of space and it's easy to install.

2) A hardware gateway is another option. For just one PSTN line, the price isn't too bad but when you get up to 5-20 lines then it gets really expensive. The benefit to using a gateway is reliability and it's not dependent on your PBX, if you decide to use another SIP PBX in the future it should work just fine for any of them. I have seen some good low priced gateways myself but I mostly deal with enterprise class PSTN gateways.

Caller ID should work fine for both of these solutions depending on the model, as long as you subscribe to caller ID.

Hope that helps.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 18, 2002
2896 posts
104 upvotes
Oakville
Any free services, to replace Voxalot (pay service as of today), for forwarding a bunch of incoming DIDs ?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes
cil254 wrote:
Jul 16th, 2007 1:10 pm
Any free services, to replace Voxalot (pay service as of today), for forwarding a bunch of incoming DIDs ?
I actually wasn't aware of that, thanks. I actually haven't seen anything like Voxalot, at least not for internet providers. If I do i'll let you know..
Jr. Member
User avatar
Aug 11, 2005
116 posts
1 upvote
Markham, ON
I'm looking for a new provider.

I hit the 50 call limit on my Acanac $10/mos plan (see user agreement on acanac.ca) which caused some problems for me. it's more of annoyance b/c Acanac's residential plan doesn't allow you to communicate with more than 50 unique numbers per month -- and I can't be bothered to figure out how many people everyone in the house is calling.

question 1:

Are there any Canadian providers that you can recommend that have unlimited US/Canada LD? I would prefer to stick with a provider that terminates in Canada so my toll free calls work in Canada -- but it's not entirely necessary. I was checking out Zingotel which seems pretty decent but it sounds like my toll free numbers might not work properly b/c they are based out of the US. I'm in 780/Edmonton if that matters.

Question 2:
Also I bought a spa2102 -- i thought faxing was supposed to work with it on acanac. But I haven't had any success.

Thanks in advance.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2003
2450 posts
60 upvotes
marbss wrote:
Jul 24th, 2007 2:09 am
I'm looking for a new provider.

I hit the 50 call limit on my Acanac $10/mos plan (see user agreement on acanac.ca) which caused some problems for me. it's more of annoyance b/c Acanac's residential plan doesn't allow you to communicate with more than 50 unique numbers per month -- and I can't be bothered to figure out how many people everyone in the house is calling.

question 1:

Are there any Canadian providers that you can recommend that have unlimited US/Canada LD? I would prefer to stick with a provider that terminates in Canada so my toll free calls work in Canada -- but it's not entirely necessary. I was checking out Zingotel which seems pretty decent but it sounds like my toll free numbers might not work properly b/c they are based out of the US. I'm in 780/Edmonton if that matters.

Question 2:
Also I bought a spa2102 -- i thought faxing was supposed to work with it on acanac. But I haven't had any success.

Thanks in advance.
I'm assuming your toll free number is not a voip DID? If it's a local toll free number (not an 800 North American number) then your choices will be limited as not every provider will be able to port it to their system. Additionally, you may need a business account. I am not sure about specific providers, I know Vonage would probably be able to accept your number but I'm guessing you don't want to go with them.

In regards to faxing, Acanac doesn't recommend faxing over their service. I would guess they don't have the proper support for it or don't have it enabled. Faxing over voip requires T38 support, not only on your side but on their equipment as well.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Aug 11, 2005
116 posts
1 upvote
Markham, ON
mlerner wrote:
Jul 24th, 2007 9:11 am
I'm assuming your toll free number is not a voip DID? If it's a local toll free number (not an 800 North American number) then your choices will be limited as not every provider will be able to port it to their system. Additionally, you may need a business account. I am not sure about specific providers, I know Vonage would probably be able to accept your number but I'm guessing you don't want to go with them.

In regards to faxing, Acanac doesn't recommend faxing over their service. I would guess they don't have the proper support for it or don't have it enabled. Faxing over voip requires T38 support, not only on your side but on their equipment as well.

I don't have a toll free number. I have a regular residential plan with a 780 Edmonton area code phone number with Acanac. I'm shopping for a new provider that will offer a 780/Edmonton DID with Unlimited LD to Canada. Any idea on who has a good deal right now other than Vonage and Acanac?
Member
Nov 14, 2006
458 posts
13 upvotes
Do you know how to unlock a Sipura 2100 ATA?

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