[kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Mar 12 00:03:07 EDT 2009

Is this not all good marketing / charitable organization fodder for a 
local provider? From a consulting / planning perspective, vs. 

Or ... is this not a topic one would expect to see at onlinux?

Start keeping notes now Paul, for future presentation. Perhaps not for 
k-w lug (too much stuff, if not broken down).

But ultimately to a 'local charitable organization success story' 
marketing lead in to asking the community to donate $?

L.D. Paniak wrote, On 03/11/2009 10:28 PM:
> Hash: SHA1
> Paul Nijjar wrote:
>> --- On Wed, 3/11/09, L.D. Paniak <ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com> wrote:
>>> Let's try mutual ignorance reduction:
>>> What is a Norstar CICS phone box and how does it relate to
>>> phones with RJ11 jacks?
>> Here is a Norstar CICS:
>> http://www.athq.com/customer/home.php?cat=440
>> It's some proprietary (and rather expensive) phone system. This box
>> does the phone routing and extensions. 
>> Regular analog phones with RJ11 jacks don't work with the
>> system directly. Rather, the CICS transforms the analog lines into
>> some digital format, and expensive proprietary phones interpret that
>> format and work with the system. There's one thick cable that takes in
>> punched-down lines from Bell, and another thick cable that you punch
>> phone connections into (for extensions on the system). 
>> I think that the incoming phone lines from Bell are analog, though. I
>> have bypassed the CICS and used a regular analog phone on the line,
>> and it has worked okay. (I don't know this for certain, however.) 
>> So I think the diagram is:
>> Bell lines -> CICS Box -> Extensions block -> Digital phones
>> Does that reduce ignorance at all?
> Yep, thanks.  Let's see if I can make any useful comments:
> 1) I don't think you should worry about swapping out your Nortel system
> any time soon.  If you want to go that way, you should talk to John and
> the guys at Netdirect.  They'll be able to help you (I see a note from
> John just popped up).
> 2) To start with your own experimentation, I recommend an ATA or two, a
> couple of good analog phones, and some willing participants with good
> senses of humour.  The VOIP users will be cut off from the main PBX
> during testing and will have different phone numbers (DIDs).  At this
> stage the VOIP system might be most useful for outgoing calls.
> The basic Linksys/Cisco ATA is the SPA2102:
> http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=013131&cid=828.480
> It can support the registration of two DIDs with a provider like
> Unlimitel ($2.50/month/DID +calls) and has two FXS ports.  This means it
> can connect two separate analog phones, each with their own numbers.  In
> fact, each FXS line can support a ringer equivalence number of 3, so it
> can ring a fairly large number of modern phones (modulo interconnect
> wiring losses). These phones will all share the same number and
> extension - just like a typical single-line home phone.  If you want
> independent extensions you need a PBX (see #5) - or something like the
> hosted PBX service offered by Unlimitel:
> http://www.unlimitel.ca/temp/services/voip_services/server_ip_pbx.html
> 3) Place an ATA at the front end of your incoming network connection,
> just behind the modem.  This will avoid possible problems with NAT
> traversal.  The ATAs also have reasonable (not heavy-duty) router
> capabilities and can do basic QOS between voice and LAN packets.  The
> ATAs have nice web interfaces and are drop-dead simple to configure with
> Unlimtel supplied account data.
> 4) Do *not* use soft-phones in any environment where you are trying to
> convince someone that VOIP is a replacement for Bell.  They will never
> leave Bell.  Voice quality is nowhere near what you can get with even a
> basic ATA and a cheap analog phone.
> 5) If you want a pure VOIP system with the possibilities of independent
> extensions and voice menus, then you have to go beyond a simple ATA.  A
> test installation of Elastix or trixbox on real (non-virtual) hardware
> will give you a PBX where you can handle a small/medium office worth of
> phones.  The ATAs can be used with this setup as well - this time on the
> LAN side and the PBX server is now the gateway router.  If you get to
> this stage, SIP/VOIP desk phones like the Cisco SPA942 are a nice touch.
>  There are other options as well.
> This kind of system can be dressed up with expansion cards to interface
> with regular Bell lines for failover and your existing PBX. Again, John
> knows all about that.
> 6) Outgoing fax over (Unlimitel) VOIP is a crapshoot and not worth the
> effort.  Hopefully others will disagree and share the secret of their
> success.  Incoming fax-to-email is offered by Unlimitel and works well.
> 7) I do not recommend using Asterisk directly in an undiluted form
> outside of a PBX distro like Elastix or trixbox for a typical office
> setup.  It is not necessary and you will just be painfully reinventing
> the functionality provided by the distros - if you are lucky.  If there
> is something that can't be done within these GUI-driven PBXes then
> you'll probably be calling an Asterisk expert anyway.  I was forced into
> mucking around with Asterisk on the router due to limitations in storage
> and compute power.  Even a basic recycled Pentium IV system will not
> have these constraints.
> Hope that helps a bit.
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