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

Lori Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sun Jul 18 19:09:36 EDT 2010

On Sun, 2010-07-18 at 18:43 -0400, John Van Ostrand wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----

> > 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?

Yes, VoIP quality is worse than POTS.  But better than cell.  What
fraction of calls these days involve a cell phone?  On those calls, VoIP
is not going to be what is limiting the quality.

VoIP availability is "3 nines" instead of "5 nines" that Bell gives.  If
it takes a lightning bolt to kill my DSL line, I think that is

> > 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.

Very true.  And the Rogers home phone system will have to deal with the
same issues.  Unless there is PoRG6 I don't know about.

> > 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.

It looks like there is a middle ground where Bell still makes sense for
business.  A larger office is likely to have Atria or similar service
already so you don't have to make that sale.  Bigger than SOHO, you
pretty much have to sell the VoIP features along with larger pipe.
Several lines in a hunt group from Bell must cost a few hundred dollars
a month. Wouldn't that cover most of the cost of an Atria 5mbit link?  

I heard that Atria had so-called "smart buildings" in the area with
pre-existing drops for service.  At these locations, rates for service
were considerably lower than typical.  Does anyone have info on such a

> > 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.

Yes, it's not for everyone. The non-geeks have to pay for support.

> > 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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