[kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Mar 12 20:28:36 EDT 2009

Paul Nijjar wrote, On 03/12/2009 5:59 PM:
> --- On Thu, 3/12/09, L.D. Paniak <ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com>
> wrote:
>> Each FXS port on the 2102 has to register to its *own* DID.

In the 'programming' (web interface) for the spa, you indicate what 
provider to 'log in' to, and what your number is, for EACH port / DID. 
Therefore, the one 2102 will handle two DID lines. (And you'll patch 
two sets of 4 (2?) wires into your Nortel.

Not to say you can't have two registrants to the same DID, but IIRC 
unlimitel specifically forbids that. For those providers that do allow 
it, this is how you register your hard IP phone, wi-fi IP phone, soft 
phone, and ATA (and forward to your cell?), to the same number so all 
ring at once on an incoming call, and whatever you have closest to you 
at the time is what you pick up. Other variations might have them ring 
in sequence rather than simultaneously.

	In your home, you would patch the SPA in place of your current 
internal phone connection so that all your phones ring at the same 
time. Further, with the 2102, you could split your home sets in two, 
each of which may be multiple phones, creating extensions. Because in 
that case you're registering with your local Asterisk box, which 
itself registers with unlimitel. [Which creates the possibility of 
distinctive ring, and we start to get strange, as these 'analogue' 
concepts don't translate exactly to VoIP / Unlimitel - you'd have to 
inquire further on this for exact details.]

[With multi-handset cordless phones, REN limits are less onerous - the 
one system ringer / REN value in turn rings all the handsets on its 
own, without additional REN load.]

> So the two ports on the box act as a shared line? Say I hook up two
> analog phones to the 2102. Now I pick up one phone and make a call.
> If I pick up the other phone I am going to listen in on the
> conversation?

No, see above. And not even necessarily if they're both registered to 
the same DID. A call is a point to point connection - we're in the 
digital ip/port realm, not a phone creating an additional electrical 
circuit to another speaker/microphone on the same pair of analogue 
copper wires.

That's not to say you can't conference the other port in, the SPA has 
that feature, but at this point the other end of your digital phone 
connection is to the Nortel, not the SPA. You can conference the other 
phone in (whomever the other DID is associated with), but you're 
creating that conference within the Nortel - it will be doing the 

	At home, the SPA would be doing it. If you didn't have an Asterisk box.

> Could I purchase two DIDs and configure the 2102 to use them both?
> Or is this also foolish thinking?

This is correct thinking. And the only correct thinking. The SPA is 
acting as a voice router in this aspect, just as your internet browser 
on your computer goes out over the ip router connected to your ISP.

> This is good advice. I am going to have to see how the logistics of
> this will work out. We are actually thinking about this for a brand
> new building we are setting up, for which we would like multiple
> Bell lines but can't afford them.

This is your opportunity to move to Asterisk.

Earlier, when looking for info. for you regarding Nortel / CICS / 
VoIP, I came across threads where they talked about a branch office 
hooking into the current office's voice infrastructure, without 
additional phone line, key or pbx system purchasing. IIRC.

http://www.voip-info.org/ (which, IIRC, John recommended as a decent 
web resource, a long time ago.)

Recommended appears to be your local key system working in concert 
with an asterisk box, connected to a remote asterisk box. The local 
asterisk box keeping track of where the non-key system things are, and 
when the thing needed is at the remote site, it just hands off to the 
remote asterisk. (I get the feeling multi-asterisk installations are 
all but dead easy, the asterisk boxes forming an easily / 
automagically administered coherent whole. It's a feeling, I've never 
done it, and what do I know.)

As Lori suggested, take a couple of computer recycling clunkers, and 
throw an asterisk distro install cd at it. For that matter, it could 
be a Linux router / firewall / front-end for the new site, saving you 
the cost of a new router. (Presuming you'll need another ISP 
connection. And from what Lori has said, in that case you'll actually 
create an OpenVPN tunnel between the two sites to get around NAT 
problems. Which you probably would already have done anyways in order 
to allow your remote users access to internal files over the public 

But you'll still need to buy phones for the new location. Doesn't mean 
you can't buy a used key system, no more than it means you can't sell 
your current one once you're completely migrated to Asterisk. But a 
proprietary key system will need proprietary phones - and even if not, 
you'll want ATA's (eventually) for the non-proprietary phones. Vs. 
just going with VoIP IP phones out of the gate.

The possibility of the second location just proves my point - you need 
to form a plan / migration strategy. Even if you don't affect all of 
it any time soon. Look further out than just picking off a perceived 
piece of low hanging fruit. Data and voice infrastructures are 
converging for you here, not just pieces of low-hanging fruit. e.g. 
ultimately, implementing QoS within your enterprise, for your revising 
voice infrastructure to hand off to. The plan would be more for 
keeping everyone in your organization on the same page and in the 
know. Begin to combat user antipathy to change and possible negative 
reaction to VoIP (e.g. Lori's comments regarding soft phones), making 
your users into facilitators instead of barriers.

Lori's note of the SPA9000 may be appropriate for you at the new 
location, too. (Asterisk on a stick?)

VoIP is coming - telephony via ip. You can pay the learning curve now, 
or you can pay it later. Taking pot shots along the way. You'll end up 
in the same place, perhaps with more, or less, pain along the way.


Replacing your fax lines may be an even lower hanging fruit. At, what, 
$55 a month? Designate an e-mail recipient, or group of recipients - 
no different than whomever is closest to the fax machine at the time 
is the one who in turn distributes it to the actual recipient.

Analogue faxing to digital reception is itself culture change. Let 
alone voip.

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