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uk.telecom.broadband (UK broadband) (uk.telecom.broadband) Discussion of broadband services, technology and equipment as provided in the UK. Discussions of specific services based on ADSL, cable modems or other broadband technology are also on-topic. Advertising is not allowed.

Some advice please on VOIP



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 2nd 19, 07:28 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 326
Default Some advice please on VOIP

The author has marked this message not to be archived. This post will be deleted on March 9, 2019.

Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.

This means we can get rid of the one unused analog line used for ADSL.
That is great!

However I hear that BT are dropping ISDN too sometime in the next few
years. We have ISDN2 (2 lines on the same number).

We have two lines and 3 phones.

Plus a fax machine which is still occassionally used for sending,
though that could at a push be done by pdf2fax which we also have set
up.

We would want quality, not the junk which most VOIP seems to be. I
have VOIP on my phone and it works, sort of, mostly, but only on wifi
where the packet latency is short.

I have asked around and one long-time specialist said how much trouble
he has had with GAMA SIP trunks to a Cisco CME system; abandoned after
getting raped for over 1k in fake calls which exploited a security
weakness in Cisco's voicemail system. Then he tried 8x8 VOIP for and
found it unreliable. Then switched to "Skype for Business online"
(SFB) which is an add-on to Office 365. Microsoft renamed their Lync
service to SFB. That has proven to be solid, apparently. A cloud PBX
called "Horizon" has given lots of problems - mostly in upstream
connectivity issues. He reckons whichever system I use needs to have
good connectivity, so I'd recommend a Telco like BT or Microsoft.

Another colleague recommends Gradwell, and tells me to avoid Cisco
handsets, and Asterisk (due to complexity).

What I don't get is why in the 21st century this is so complicated...
Good voice can be sent over 2400 bits/sec, ISDN is very high quality
and that uses 64kbps (with u-law encoding admittedly) and the speeds
available these days are many times higher. Yet, phone VOIP is useless
on 3G, sort of work on multi-megabit speed 4G, and works OK on
wifi/adsl but even then many calls fail. On my phone I use Localphone
VOIP (with Csipsimple on one device and the built-in VOIP profile on
another, both android) and this works on a good day... Nothing I have
looked at gets anywhere remotely near the total 24/7/365 reliability
of ISDN2 which has never once failed since we installed the Siemens
PBX in 1999.

I got some calls from a salesman purporting to be BT saying ISDN will
end next year, but he demanded an appointment and would not send any
information via post or email! I would imagine BT must do VOIP
products, but they aren't going to rob themselves of their juicy line
rentals, surely?

The ISP we have been with for some years is Andrews & Arnold and they
are pretty good, with good support in most cases.

It would be good to save some money too. The BT rental on the ISDN2 is
quite a bit, but from that we will need to subtract the fee for
virtualising out phone number (we pay about 100 quid a year for
another number, with Interfax, for fax2email) and for the VOIP
service. Then of course calls on top because most phone calls are not
VOIP; they come out to a landline.

Thank you in advance for any input

Peter
  #2  
Old March 2nd 19, 10:12 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Graham J[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 54
Default Some advice please on VOIP

Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.

This means we can get rid of the one unused analog line used for ADSL.
That is great!

However I hear that BT are dropping ISDN too sometime in the next few
years. We have ISDN2 (2 lines on the same number).


{snip]

I've recommended Voipfone to a few customers in the past - I'm retired
now so am not fully up to speed with their current offering.

It worked very well over rural ADSL running at about 2Mbits/sec.
However ADSL reliability itself is not that good; a summer thunderstorm
will guarantee to break it for minutes at a time.

FTTC would be better, as would FTTP. And your choice of A&A gives you a
better chance than most of decent reliability.

But nothing even approaches the reliability of ISDN2.

Openreach used to respond much more quickly to line faults on ISDN than
to ADSL faults. I don't know about their response to FTTP faults ...

The last time I had an IDSN fault was sometime in the early 1990s - this
was in a rural setting where ADSL gets 1.5Mbits/sec and FTTC only became
available last October(i.e 2018). Sadly Home Highway was withdrawn so I
had to buy a second line sometime around the turn of the millennium.

The hardware provided by Voipfone is very much designed down to a price.
I supplied their SNOM handsets, see:
https://www.provu.co.uk/snom300.html

These have a wall-wart for power, and connect using the typical
cylindrical connector. But the mating socket is soldered onto the
circuit board without sufficient strain relief, so the PCB track breaks
and the phone becomes intermittent. I've extended the life of several
of these by cutting off the connector and soldering the supply cable
directly to the PCB.

A customer wanted phones with DECT handsets so I got them some Gigaset
N510IP devices. These were difficult to use - you would pick up the
handset to make a call, and dial the number; but the device would lose
the first dialled digit unless you delayed several seconds.

Another customer chose a system supplied by Eastern Voice & Data, see:
https://www.easternvoicedata.co.uk/. They supplied Cisco handsets
using PoE. Their broadband (initially ADSL, later FTTC) was provided by
Gamma Telecom and several times over a 2-year period their service
failed somewhere deep in their backhaul for up to a day at a time, so it
wasn't possible to reconfigure the call delivery to a mobile. By
contrast when Openreach broke the FTTC service (yes, we saw a technician
with his head in the roadside cabinet presumably fixing another line at
the time the fault occurred), it took Openreach 3 days to repair the
fault. But during this time phone calls were diverted to a mobile, and
we put something on the customer's website explaining the problem.

So to get the necessary reliability you really need a 3G, 4G or even 5G
service for automatic failover from FTTC or FTTP. Happily this is a
standard product from A&A. But no good in rural areas where there is no
2G/3G/4G !!!!!!

We used a satellite system when the bin men knocked over a phone pole
one Christmas - yes you can make VoIP work over a satellite broadband
connection. This was another site with Gamma Telecom - and it took them
about two weeks to get Openreach out to replace the pole and reconnect
the wires. In similar circumstances the electricity supply company
would have had a generator on site within hours, so any delay in
replacing a pole would not have been very important. Broadband
connections are not seen as that important, yet for a business they are
probably more important than power!

But whatever - you need active management and monitoring of the
broadband connection - so that you know within seconds when the
connection has failed. What happens when you are away on holiday?

Another gotcha - one customer uses Voipfone to provide several
extensions around a large house and granny annexe - we took the
opportunity to lay in Cat 5 cabling during the build. The granny annexe
is now used by an old person living alone and we wanted to provide an
alarm service such as https://www.lifeline24.co.uk which uses the
Tunstall device. But the Tunstall unit does not work over VoIP and
there's nobody technical at Tunstall who can resolve the issue.

***I share your surprise that this is apparently so complicated.***

Please let us know how you get on.


--
Graham J
  #3  
Old March 2nd 19, 10:19 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
R. Mark Clayton[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 586
Default Some advice please on VOIP

On Saturday, 2 March 2019 10:12:37 UTC, Graham J wrote:
Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.

This means we can get rid of the one unused analog line used for ADSL.
That is great!

However I hear that BT are dropping ISDN too sometime in the next few
years. We have ISDN2 (2 lines on the same number).


{snip]

I've recommended Voipfone to a few customers in the past - I'm retired
now so am not fully up to speed with their current offering.

It worked very well over rural ADSL running at about 2Mbits/sec.
However ADSL reliability itself is not that good; a summer thunderstorm
will guarantee to break it for minutes at a time.

FTTC would be better, as would FTTP. And your choice of A&A gives you a
better chance than most of decent reliability.

But nothing even approaches the reliability of ISDN2.

Openreach used to respond much more quickly to line faults on ISDN than
to ADSL faults. I don't know about their response to FTTP faults ...

The last time I had an IDSN fault was sometime in the early 1990s - this
was in a rural setting where ADSL gets 1.5Mbits/sec and FTTC only became
available last October(i.e 2018). Sadly Home Highway was withdrawn so I
had to buy a second line sometime around the turn of the millennium.

SNIP

A customer wanted phones with DECT handsets so I got them some Gigaset
N510IP devices. These were difficult to use - you would pick up the
handset to make a call, and dial the number; but the device would lose
the first dialled digit unless you delayed several seconds.


Not encountered this - must be the handset, not the base. I have used C460, C475 and N510P - all without problem.

SNIP

Another gotcha - one customer uses Voipfone to provide several
extensions around a large house and granny annexe - we took the
opportunity to lay in Cat 5 cabling during the build. The granny annexe
is now used by an old person living alone and we wanted to provide an
alarm service such as https://www.lifeline24.co.uk which uses the
Tunstall device. But the Tunstall unit does not work over VoIP and
there's nobody technical at Tunstall who can resolve the issue.


I don't know why this is, although fax is at best iffy over Voip.


***I share your surprise that this is apparently so complicated.***

Please let us know how you get on.


--
Graham J


  #4  
Old March 2nd 19, 11:48 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Graham J[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 54
Default Some advice please on VOIP

R. Mark Clayton wrote:
On Saturday, 2 March 2019 10:12:37 UTC, Graham J wrote:
Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.


[snip]


Another gotcha - one customer uses Voipfone to provide several
extensions around a large house and granny annexe - we took the
opportunity to lay in Cat 5 cabling during the build. The granny annexe
is now used by an old person living alone and we wanted to provide an
alarm service such as https://www.lifeline24.co.uk which uses the
Tunstall device. But the Tunstall unit does not work over VoIP and
there's nobody technical at Tunstall who can resolve the issue.


I don't know why this is, although fax is at best iffy over Voip.


The Voipfone technical support people could not understand it either.

The Tunstall device sends tones to its support system, and receives
tones from it. You can hear these tones, and they are clearly in the
middle of the voice band so ought to be carried by the VoIP system. I
suspect some tones trigger something in the VoIP system which means that
they are erroneously recognised as out-of-band communication.

But an ordinary analog voice line is in fact digital all the way apart
from subscriber to exchange at each end, so it must be a deliberate
mechanism to deny the use of end-to-end tone signalling.

The Lifeline24 people knew that the Tunstall device was making calls -
but it could have been determined by CLI rather than anything else.

One Tunstall technical person recognised that this was a problem that
would get worse when Openreach rolls out VoIP for all its ordinary
customers. But he could not tell me when their product would be revised.



--
Graham J
  #5  
Old March 2nd 19, 12:09 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 326
Default Some advice please on VOIP

The author has marked this message not to be archived. This post will be deleted on March 9, 2019.


Graham J wrote

Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.

This means we can get rid of the one unused analog line used for ADSL.
That is great!

However I hear that BT are dropping ISDN too sometime in the next few
years. We have ISDN2 (2 lines on the same number).


{snip]

I've recommended Voipfone to a few customers in the past - I'm retired
now so am not fully up to speed with their current offering.

It worked very well over rural ADSL running at about 2Mbits/sec.
However ADSL reliability itself is not that good; a summer thunderstorm
will guarantee to break it for minutes at a time.


Yes; we have the A&A 3 quid a month 3G backup, and it does work. It
auto switches after 2 mins. Whether 3G is good enough for VOIP I can't
say; I know Localphone doesn't work on my phone on 3G or 3G+ (HSPA)
despite the bitrate being about 100x more than needed.

FTTC would be better, as would FTTP. And your choice of A&A gives you a
better chance than most of decent reliability.


I would hope FTTP would be good, because it is immune to lightning. We
lost ADSL for 2 weeks some time ago due to this, but BT fixed ISDN +
PSTN within hours.

But nothing even approaches the reliability of ISDN2.


This is what I thought.

Openreach used to respond much more quickly to line faults on ISDN than
to ADSL faults. I don't know about their response to FTTP faults ...


Perhaps one can pay?

But if 3G works for the VOIP that will do.

***I share your surprise that this is apparently so complicated.***

Please let us know how you get on.


I think big firms spend big money on this, and don't care so much for
quality if it is a call centre.
  #6  
Old March 2nd 19, 03:41 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Graham.[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 307
Default Some advice please on VOIP



The ISP we have been with for some years is Andrews & Arnold and they
are pretty good, with good support in most cases.


For a small business I would call them the Gold Standard.
Remember NAT and SIP are sworn enemies, get a public IP for each
endpoint.

--
Graham.

%Profound_observation%
  #7  
Old March 2nd 19, 04:23 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
R. Mark Clayton[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 586
Default Some advice please on VOIP

On Saturday, 2 March 2019 11:48:35 UTC, Graham J wrote:
R. Mark Clayton wrote:
On Saturday, 2 March 2019 10:12:37 UTC, Graham J wrote:
Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.


[snip]


Another gotcha - one customer uses Voipfone to provide several
extensions around a large house and granny annexe - we took the
opportunity to lay in Cat 5 cabling during the build. The granny annexe
is now used by an old person living alone and we wanted to provide an
alarm service such as https://www.lifeline24.co.uk which uses the
Tunstall device. But the Tunstall unit does not work over VoIP and
there's nobody technical at Tunstall who can resolve the issue.


I don't know why this is, although fax is at best iffy over Voip.


The Voipfone technical support people could not understand it either.

The Tunstall device sends tones to its support system, and receives
tones from it. You can hear these tones, and they are clearly in the
middle of the voice band so ought to be carried by the VoIP system. I
suspect some tones trigger something in the VoIP system which means that
they are erroneously recognised as out-of-band communication.

But an ordinary analog voice line is in fact digital all the way apart
from subscriber to exchange at each end, so it must be a deliberate
mechanism to deny the use of end-to-end tone signalling.

The Lifeline24 people knew that the Tunstall device was making calls -
but it could have been determined by CLI rather than anything else.

One Tunstall technical person recognised that this was a problem that
would get worse when Openreach rolls out VoIP for all its ordinary
customers. But he could not tell me when their product would be revised.



--
Graham J


Voip is carried over the internet, which is statical in packets. Little noticed by humans there a small hesitations in the delivered content. This mucks up fax and to a lesser extent the fax set up (which is at a low data rate).

OTOH Voipfone does provide fax facilities, which work very well and get around this problem.

For PSTN and ISDN lines the transmission is digital within the net, but transmission over the local loop is not statistical - so fax works fine and if you have a G4 one (available since at least 1988) then it sends data directly on ISDN.

Although I can still send and receive faxes, I gave up a dedicated fax number around five years ago, haven't received one for longer and last sent one three years ago.
  #8  
Old March 2nd 19, 04:45 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
MissRiaElaine[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 195
Default Some advice please on VOIP

On 02/03/2019 07:28, Peter wrote:
Hi All,

At work we are getting FTTP.

This means we can get rid of the one unused analog line used for ADSL.
That is great!

However I hear that BT are dropping ISDN too sometime in the next few
years. We have ISDN2 (2 lines on the same number).

We have two lines and 3 phones.

Plus a fax machine which is still occassionally used for sending,
though that could at a push be done by pdf2fax which we also have set


I would advise retaining the analogue line and using it for fax. Faxing
over VoIP has always been somewhat problematic. I have several SIP lines
here terminating on Cisco IP phones, but the line that the VDSL comes in
on (we have FTTC, no sign of FTTP on the horizon) is used purely for
fax. Yes, it does still get used..!

--
Ria in Aberdeen

[Send address is invalid, use sipsoup at gmail dot com to reply direct]
  #10  
Old March 2nd 19, 09:00 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 326
Default Some advice please on VOIP

The author has marked this message not to be archived. This post will be deleted on March 9, 2019.


MissRiaElaine wrote

I would advise retaining the analogue line and using it for fax. Faxing
over VoIP has always been somewhat problematic. I have several SIP lines
here terminating on Cisco IP phones, but the line that the VDSL comes in
on (we have FTTC, no sign of FTTP on the horizon) is used purely for
fax. Yes, it does still get used..!


I am not that concerned about the fax and I would certainly not pay
the rental for an analog line to keep it. We can do email2fax, for
very little money (pennies per page) and it just means the slight
inconvenience of scanning a page in a scanner and then emailing it, as
compared with just shoving it into the fax machine.

I am more interested in suggestions on which company to use for the
VOIP service, and what sort of handsets work well.

If/when BT drop ISDN, a lot of companies will be facing this issue.
 




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