[kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

john at netdirect.ca john at netdirect.ca
Wed Mar 11 22:21:28 EDT 2009

I can tel you all about how Net Direct uses lines. 

The a-la carte $2.50 line plus minutes is all you should be paying. If you want you can get the more expensive line but all that gives is unlimited local calling. If you know your usage you can mathematically figue out how which is cheaper. There is a clause that says that if a certain % of calls goes to small centres a higher per minute rate is used. 

If your existing phone system takes regular phone lines (and it probably does) then you need an ata with an fxs port. Using atas will limit you to a single concurrent call through your did, unless your ata has more than one fxs port (asterisk with appropriate hardware can act as an ata). If you are able to connect that did directly to asterisk or a voip connection on you pbx then you can concurrently connect as many calls as you like through a single did. Unlimitel caps it at 5 or 6 for sanity purposes but will raise it on request. 

So, with sinlge fxs port atas you'll need one did per ata. With asterisk you need fxs ports. 

Since it's almost a given that your pbx has pots ports (check to see if there are free ports) then you would connect those free ports to atas (or an asterisk fxs port) and configue the ata (or asterisk) to connect to the did. 

You can do least cost routing on your pbx to drive local calls through the pots lines and long distance through voip or you may choose to set it up so that the voip is used first for outgoing or last. 

You will need the help of your pbx guy and may need to do a little wiring. It's a learning curve but it's pretty straightforward. 

I'd be glad to talk to you about it. 

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Nijjar [paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca]
Sent: 03/11/2009 02:53 PM MST
To: kwlug-disc at kwlug.org
Subject: [kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

I guess Lori worked his magic: after watching his presentation (and
having a chat with Bill R) I'm starting to get tempted at the idea of
using VoIP lines. For now, Asterisk itself is not on the menu yet -- we
have all this ridiculously-expensive Nortel equipment, and not enough
energy to figure out how to get Asterisk working -- but as a start
we're thinking of getting some lines from Unlimitel. (Maybe I should
be looking for other providers?)

If I am not mistaken, Lori was talking about this "a-la carte" plan: 


I am not sure I understand the pricing structure, though. I know I pay
$2.50 a month for a telephone number. I guess that is my DID? So why
is there a separate "VoIP telephone number rate table" and a "DID rate
table"? My understanding is that I pay $2.50/month + minutes. Are
there any other charges to worry about?

During his demo Lori used a doohickey to connect an analog phone to
the wireless router. My sketchy notes say that the doohickey was an
ATA adaptor called the Linksys SPA2102. There's other Linksys stuff as
well, and Unlimitel wants to sell me a Mediatrix 2102 box for $150 or

What kind of doohickey do I want? What features/buzzwords will be
important to me? For now, I want to get some VoIP lines (maybe 1 or 2
to start) and plug them into a Norstar CICS phone box. There will also
be old-school lines from Bell plugged into the CICS. 

Ideally the performance should be good enough that regular phone users
don't realize they are on VoIP (modulo Internet outages). If we get
good performance then it will be easier to convince the Powers That Be
that we should drop some of our expensive phone lines we are getting
from Bell. The tension is that if the fancy doohickeys are too
expensive then the Powers That Be will be reluctant to try the

Obviously I am a newbie to this stuff. I hope you won't be too hard on
me for my ignorance. 

- Paul

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