[kwlug-disc] OT: Roger's phone services

John Van Ostrand john at netdirect.ca
Sun Jul 18 18:43:36 EDT 2010

----- Original Message -----
> I have Bell residential DSL at home in Kitchener and have run Unlimtel
> VoIP for the household phone for 2.5 years. The WAF has been decent -
> especially when I tell her the cost. I do know of some VoIP systems
> running over cable and they are not the same quality. Transient
> glitches here and there that do not appear in DSL.

If you live on the fringe, like I seem to, cable and DSL offer poor performance. You can change DSL providers, but it's all the same.

> The only unannounced DSL outage I've had in 7 years is a lightning
> strike killing my modem (and several other household electronic
> devices). It took 3 days to get things back in order. It wasn't a big
> deal for two reasons:
> 1) My wife and I both have cell phones.
> 2) Unlimitel VoIP can be configured ($5/month) to failover to a second
> phone number if your ATA/server doesn't answer the phone.

The original point being contested was that VoIP offered worse quality than POTS. It seems you have experienced worse service with VoIP than POTS, or have you had a POTS line go down for three days?

> Really, with so many people forgoing land lines for cell, having the
> household phone disappear for a couple of days is only a minor
> inconvenience. The bigger deal is having no internet.

I do agree that home phones may actually go away, but that wasn't the point we were talking about.

> With a decent UPS, a DSL modem, router and ATA with run for a very long
> time through a power outage. When was the last time your location had
> a 2hr+ power outage? 2003?

You know, that's another point I didn't consider. Not only does a VoIP subscriber have to make accommodations for power outages, but they have to maintain the hardware. Neglect (or rather do nothing with) a UPS for long enough and the battery ceases to hold a decent charge, sometimes none at all. 

If a subscriber neglects to condition and/or replace batteries routinely it will fail in a power outage.

> For anything bigger than SOHO, you probably need to call Atria and get
> a real network connection. The advantage there is that Unlimitel voice
> quality is very close to Bell. Most quality issues arise at the other
> end of the line with users on mobile phones.

Aside from Atria DSL other Atria connections are hundreds of dollars (the last time I looked.) That blows the cost savings out the window.
> A la carte is the way to go. With $3.5/month for a DID from Unlimitel,
> my monthly phone bill (ex. DSL) rarely breaks $10 total. You might
> think you are going to spend a lot on long distance, but at 2c/min,
> you
> need to talk awhile to get there. International rates are more, but
> often not by much.

For techno-geeks like ourselves I agree. But how much time did you devote to learning VoIP and researching ITPS and products before you got something working? I expect that a person who has no interest in knowing how VoIP works will not tolerate the learning curve or will not understand or tolerate the down-time. If any of our techno-geek connections go down, it's not a big deal to us, we flip a few bits or power-cycle something and it's back up. The non-geeks try nothing and are all out of ideas.

> I'd go further and say that fax over any real-time link is a waste of
> precision timing - T38 or not. I recommend fax-over/to-e-mail services
> like myfax. The only problem there is that your faxes are now
> essentially email with the inherent security issues. The point is that
> faxing over VoIP suffers from the same insecurity and is much more
> difficult to implement with the efficiency people expect from that
> kind of utility. Faxing over e-mail is as reliable as your e-mail.
> If you really need secure faxing then you need a POTS line. And that
> may be the only reason to have one. Even alarm systems work over mobile
> phone links nowadays.

Like home phones fax is another technology dying slowly.

John Van Ostrand 
CTO, co-CEO 
Net Direct Inc. 
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12, Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6 
Ph: 866-883-1172 x5102 
Fx: 519-883-8533 

Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware 

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