Business VoIP

Discussion in 'UK VOIP' started by Steven, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. Steven

    Steven Guest

    Hello all,

    We will be changing offices over the next month or two. Our current
    phone gear is leased from the owners and won't be coming with us. It's
    ISDN using Avaya kit; we use 10 lines on there.

    We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business
    with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready
    for that? I accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF
    there'd be benefits elsewhere.

    The features we'd like are:

    * 10 IP Phones
    * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    * Voicemail
    * Internal/ External Call transfer
    * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe
    look into something like Asterisk later.)

    Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?
     
    Steven, Aug 30, 2007
    #1
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  2. Steven

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "Steven" <> wrote in message
    news:
    : : Hello all,
    : :
    : : We will be changing offices over the next month or two.
    : : Our current phone gear is leased from the owners and
    : : won't be coming with us. It's ISDN using Avaya kit; we
    : : use 10 lines on there.
    : :
    : : We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible
    : : for a business with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the
    : : business world not quite ready for that? I accept
    : : there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    : : POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live
    : : with that... IF there'd be benefits elsewhere.
    : :
    : : The features we'd like are:
    : :
    : : * 10 IP Phones
    : : * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    : : * Voicemail
    : : * Internal/ External Call transfer
    : : * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    : : * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1
    : : solution, and maybe look into something like Asterisk
    : : later.)
    : :
    : : Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?

    I should think Gradwell could do most if not all of that. Peter Gradwell
    the MD posts here occasionally. Try http://www.gradwell.co.uk/voip/


    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, Aug 30, 2007
    #2
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  3. Steven

    alexd Guest

    Steven wrote:

    > We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business
    > with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready
    > for that? I accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    > POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF
    > there'd be benefits elsewhere.


    Depends how much of a benefit you'd like to see in order to counterbalance a
    lack of incoming or outgoing phone calls. For some businesses it could be
    fatal.

    > The features we'd like are:
    >
    > * 10 IP Phones


    What's your budget?

    > * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    > * Voicemail
    > * Internal/ External Call transfer
    > * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile


    All standard features for any IP phone system, but I recommend you steer
    clear of systems that require you to license individual components
    [voicemail licenses, user licenses, etc on top of the cost of the handsets]
    as that's a bit of a **** on.

    > * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe
    > look into something like Asterisk later.)


    Asterisk usually is all-in-one and is unlikely to require more than one
    server for only 10 handsets. If you do want to move to Asterisk later, pick
    a PBX that uses Asterisk-compatible handsets, ie SIP handsets, one example
    of which is Mitel. A lot of Mitel's current handsets are SIP and MiNet dual
    mode so can be used with both Asterisk and a Mitel controller. However, you
    haven't mentioned why you don't want to just use Asterisk from the get-go?
    There's plenty of Asterisk-knowledgeable people out there so finding
    someone to design and install it shouldn't be a problem. Throw a brick at a
    bunch of VoiP-knowlegeable people and you'll likely hit one.

    > Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?


    The one thing you haven't mentioned is how many simultaneous calls you
    expect to have, because that will determine how much bandwidth you'll need.
    But in general, yeah stick with ISDN, because you aren't likely to be able
    to afford an internet connection that can match your ISDN circuits for
    reliability. You can of course mix and match, so you could have 2ch of
    ISDN2e and then an ADSL Max Premium to effect cheap DDIs and LCR.

    --
    <http://ale.cx/> (AIM:troffasky) ()
    18:34:53 up 44 days, 20 min, 3 users, load average: 0.19, 0.24, 0.25
    09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0
     
    alexd, Aug 30, 2007
    #3
  4. Steven

    Jono Guest

    Steven laid this down on his screen :
    > Hello all,
    >
    > We will be changing offices over the next month or two. Our current phone
    > gear is leased from the owners and won't be coming with us. It's ISDN using
    > Avaya kit; we use 10 lines on there.
    >
    > We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business with a
    > measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready for that? I
    > accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with POTS fall-over
    > from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF there'd be benefits
    > elsewhere.
    >
    > The features we'd like are:
    >
    > * 10 IP Phones
    > * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    > * Voicemail
    > * Internal/ External Call transfer
    > * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    > * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe look
    > into something like Asterisk later.)
    >
    > Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?


    I would suggest a mixture of the two.

    An IP PBX & IP Phones. ISDN lines & SIP Trunks.

    You can obtain call charge rate per minutes on BT lines, using BT to
    carry the calls for less than most/many/all VoIP suppliers.
     
    Jono, Aug 30, 2007
    #4
  5. Steven

    Desk Rabbit Guest

    Steven wrote:
    > Hello all,
    >
    > We will be changing offices over the next month or two. Our current
    > phone gear is leased from the owners and won't be coming with us. It's
    > ISDN using Avaya kit; we use 10 lines on there.
    >
    > We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business
    > with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready
    > for that? I accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    > POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF
    > there'd be benefits elsewhere.
    >
    > The features we'd like are:
    >
    > * 10 IP Phones
    > * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    > * Voicemail
    > * Internal/ External Call transfer
    > * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    > * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe
    > look into something like Asterisk later.)
    >
    > Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?

    As a busines user, I'd echo what others have said here. Stick with ISDN
    and use the VOIP for LCR. We have all our calls coming in via ISDN with
    outgoing to mobile and international going via VOIP.

    We use an Asterisk box with FreePBX on the front.
     
    Desk Rabbit, Aug 31, 2007
    #5
  6. Steven

    Tim Guest

    Steven wrote:

    >
    > We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business


    Less than 10 lines is probably the sweet spot for hosted VoIP installations.


    > Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?



    You have 2 questions.


    1) to have ISDN or not have ISDN

    And if you don't have ISDN:

    2) to have a IP PBX onsite, or just use a hosted provider.


    If you really need 10 lines, then you aren't going to get enough
    bandwidth on a normal ADSL line to support 10 calls. (well, not without
    dodgy compression which won't sound so good)

    In the VoIP world, lines are a bit washy. I've spoken to lots of people
    who only have 4 people in their office, but have 10 phone lines on an
    old system. They don't want to risk that an inbound call will get a
    busy tone, rather than hitting the voice mail or call queue. If you go
    hosted, you effectively have unlimited lines into the hosting provider.


    Is your traffic mainly incoming calls or out going?

    Jono suggested mixing and matching. This is easily possible if you have
    an IP PBX onsite.

    For instance, you could take 4 channels of ISDN from BT to use for your
    inbound calls, and put all your outbound calls out through a SIP
    provider. This could save you a loads of ISDN line rental, but still
    leave you with a backup channel to the outside world.

    On the other hand, if you are at the level of getting ISDN30, then
    channels don't cost that much anyway.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Aug 31, 2007
    #6
  7. Steven

    Steven Guest

    Tim wrote:
    > Steven wrote:
    >
    >> We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business

    >
    > Less than 10 lines is probably the sweet spot for hosted VoIP installations.
    >
    >> Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?

    >
    > You have 2 questions.
    > 1) to have ISDN or not have ISDN
    > And if you don't have ISDN:
    > 2) to have a IP PBX onsite, or just use a hosted provider.
    >
    > If you really need 10 lines, then you aren't going to get enough
    > bandwidth on a normal ADSL line to support 10 calls. (well, not without
    > dodgy compression which won't sound so good)


    Thanks for all the replies.

    Just to clarify our requirements:

    The 10 DDI's aren't essential. In fact, probably a luxury. The office
    works fine with one number at the moment; The important bit is we have a
    phone on each of the ten desks. There's very rarely more than 3 calls
    going on simultaneously with the outside world. Maybe one or two
    internal calls on top of that, but I presume this traffic wouldn't go
    out over the Internet and back? If a limit was set of 3 external calls
    it would probably go unnoticed.

    > In the VoIP world, lines are a bit washy. I've spoken to lots of people
    > who only have 4 people in their office, but have 10 phone lines on an
    > old system. They don't want to risk that an inbound call will get a
    > busy tone, rather than hitting the voice mail or call queue. If you go
    > hosted, you effectively have unlimited lines into the hosting provider.
    > Is your traffic mainly incoming calls or out going?


    A 50-50 split.

    > Jono suggested mixing and matching. This is easily possible if you have
    > an IP PBX onsite.


    The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?
     
    Steven, Aug 31, 2007
    #7
  8. Steven

    cu Guest

    "Steven" <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?


    VOIP yes, but the ADSL providers not.
    Cable Internet next to ADSL, smart routing, and an externaly hosted VOIP
    provider is just as reliable as ISDN.

    Jack
     
    cu, Aug 31, 2007
    #8
  9. Steven

    Tim Guest

    Steven wrote:
    > The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?


    Not at all. We use it all day everyday.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Aug 31, 2007
    #9
  10. Steven

    theipguy Guest

    On 30 Aug, 17:45, Steven <> wrote:
    > Hello all,
    >
    > We will be changing offices over the next month or two. Our current
    > phone gear is leased from the owners and won't be coming with us. It's
    > ISDN using Avaya kit; we use 10 lines on there.
    >
    > We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business
    > with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready
    > for that? I accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    > POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF
    > there'd be benefits elsewhere.
    >
    > The features we'd like are:
    >
    > * 10 IP Phones
    > * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    > * Voicemail
    > * Internal/ External Call transfer
    > * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    > * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe
    > look into something like Asterisk later.)
    >
    > Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?


    In my view, it is feasible to go VoIP- only if you have a dedicated
    broadband line for voice. ADSLMax perhaps? And there's Swyx and
    VOIspeed to consider as well as Asterisk...If I were moving office I
    think I'd go VoIP only!
     
    theipguy, Aug 31, 2007
    #10
  11. Steven

    Steven Guest

    Tim wrote:
    > Steven wrote:
    >> The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?

    >
    > Not at all. We use it all day everyday.


    Care to expand on that with some information about your setup? :)
     
    Steven, Aug 31, 2007
    #11
  12. Steven

    Steven Guest

    theipguy wrote:
    > On 30 Aug, 17:45, Steven <> wrote:
    >> Hello all,
    >>
    >> We will be changing offices over the next month or two. Our current
    >> phone gear is leased from the owners and won't be coming with us. It's
    >> ISDN using Avaya kit; we use 10 lines on there.
    >>
    >> We were thinking about a move to VoIP. Is this feasible for a business
    >> with a measily 10 lines or so, or is the business world not quite ready
    >> for that? I accept there'd be a risk of broadband going down, but with
    >> POTS fall-over from the VoIP provider we could live with that... IF
    >> there'd be benefits elsewhere.
    >>
    >> The features we'd like are:
    >>
    >> * 10 IP Phones
    >> * Ability to receive calls on 10 DDI's
    >> * Voicemail
    >> * Internal/ External Call transfer
    >> * Route a DDI to a teleworkers phone at home or mobile
    >> * The box to run everything (Preferably an all-in-1 solution, and maybe
    >> look into something like Asterisk later.)
    >>
    >> Easily achievable, or should we stick with ISDN?

    >
    > In my view, it is feasible to go VoIP- only if you have a dedicated
    > broadband line for voice. ADSLMax perhaps? And there's Swyx and
    > VOIspeed to consider as well as Asterisk...If I were moving office I
    > think I'd go VoIP only!


    Well, that was my thinking as well... It'd be nice to go with a
    relatively new technology, but if it falls on its face the MD won't be
    too impressed :)

    A company has quoted £2k for a phone/PBX, then 2x ISDN lines from BT
    would be £180+v/q. So £2k up front and £846 a year. (It'd be a Panasonic
    PBX, one of those dedicated things that I doubt is anywhere as
    configurable as what as Asterisk box would be if we went with one of
    those later.)

    10x VOIP phones would work out about £1k, then looking at something like
    Centrex with Gradwell works out pretty cheap. Say £60 a month for an
    ADSL Max line and that should carry 3/4 external calls easily?

    But then another poster on one of the uk.telecom groups has just been on
    complaining about Gradwell! I doubt it's them personally, probably more
    that the technology just can't be relied upon, rather than a fault with
    that company.

    Any views or experiences from people who've gone VoIP only would be
    appreciated.. With info about your setup!
     
    Steven, Aug 31, 2007
    #12
  13. Steven

    Tim Guest

    Steven wrote:
    > Tim wrote:
    >> Steven wrote:
    >>> The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?

    >>
    >> Not at all. We use it all day everyday.

    >
    > Care to expand on that with some information about your setup? :)


    We have Snom phones in the office (Mainly 360s, but with some 370s, 320s
    and a 300). Also a few Siemens Dect phones to walk around with.

    These all connect to an asterisk box (IC talk variety) which is onsite.
    Gradwell hold our main incoming number, which they deliver on SIP to
    the asterisk box.

    We have various outbound providers setup on PBX, set to failover in case
    of failure.

    On our ADSL line we have a CTX1000 to traffic shape.

    Our PBX is on a public IP address, so it is really easy for remote users
    to connect to it. Some phones are on public IPs, others are behind NAT.

    We have had a SIP based office phone system since December 2002.
    Initially we connected to ISDN2 lines in the office, giving us 4 voice
    channels. Remote users connected to the office SIP system.

    When we got ADSL we started to put out outbound calls down the ADSL into
    a SIP provider. This was because the ISDN lines weren't really enough -
    we wanted to makesure we never missed an incoming call.

    Then we moved offices in October 2006. Initially we left an ISDN
    gateway in the old office to deliver calls to the PBX in the new office.
    After our number port went through, we cancelled the ISDN lines. This
    was partly driven because BT wouldn't allow us to take our number to the
    new premises.




    Tim Bray
     
    Tim, Aug 31, 2007
    #13
  14. Tim wrote:
    > Steven wrote:
    >
    > If you really need 10 lines, then you aren't going to get enough
    > bandwidth on a normal ADSL line to support 10 calls. (well, not without
    > dodgy compression which won't sound so good)
    >

    Using the asterisk-guru bandwidth calculator (which I know is only a
    vague guideline), 10 simultaneous calls using G.729a over trunked IAX2,
    would use 94.84 Kbps in each direction.

    I'd hardly call G.729 a dodgy compression method.

    A more important consideration in my opinion is how reliable and
    consistent your internet connection is.

    A lot of the time you'd only notice short intertmittent loss of signal
    (which is common with many ADSL connections) when you start using
    realtime services such as VoIP.
     
    Thomas Kenyon, Sep 1, 2007
    #14
  15. hi

    > The 10 DDI's aren't essential. In fact, probably a luxury. The office
    > works fine with one number at the moment; The important bit is we have a
    > phone on each of the ten desks. There's very rarely more than 3 calls
    > going on simultaneously with the outside world. Maybe one or two
    > internal calls on top of that, but I presume this traffic wouldn't go
    > out over the Internet and back? If a limit was set of 3 external calls
    > it would probably go unnoticed.


    It depends on the way it is setup. If your hosted voip/centrex provider
    uses asterisk, then internal calls likely will go out+in - but it's not
    a problem.

    ADSL Max (8 meg down, 800k up) will give you 10 concurrent calls, so you
    could dedicate an ADSL like to VoIP phones.

    >> Jono suggested mixing and matching. This is easily possible if you have
    >> an IP PBX onsite.

    >
    > The consensus appears to be VoIP isn't quite ready for offices then?


    I think it depends on your attitude to risk. As a hosted VoIP provider i
    can point to multiple thousands of clients like yourselves on our books
    who now only have one analogue line, broadband and a couple of mobiles
    as their only 'alternative' to their VoIP service, and it works ok. I
    can't say it is perfect - but it does work.

    However, it's risky, because it's new, fairly unproven (only thousands
    of people doing it rather than millions) and the software does crash
    occasionally cutting off your phone call.

    ISDN apparently doesn't do this - but I hear plenty of horror stories of
    people with ISDN pbxes, and have one client who uses VoIP as a backup
    for their ISDN system!

    cheers
    peter
     
    Peter Gradwell, Sep 1, 2007
    #15
  16. hi

    > But then another poster on one of the uk.telecom groups has just been on
    > complaining about Gradwell! I doubt it's them personally, probably more
    > that the technology just can't be relied upon, rather than a fault with
    > that company.


    We have a few customers with bad combinations of ADSL providers, ADSL
    routers, internal network setups. We also have a few issues with our
    asterisk platform dropping audio occasionally.

    On the flip side, we have quite a big engineering & technical staff, a
    very nice load testing system and a good handle on what the problems are
    and how to fix them - so where the customers have patience, we are doing
    just that.

    We also have sufficient numbers of happy customers for us to know that
    we're doing the right thing, and if we get it working perfectly, we're
    onto a winner!

    cheers
    peter
     
    Peter Gradwell, Sep 1, 2007
    #16
  17. Steven

    Tim Guest

    Peter Gradwell wrote:
    > ISDN apparently doesn't do this - but I hear plenty of horror stories of
    > people with ISDN pbxes, and have one client who uses VoIP as a backup
    > for their ISDN system!


    About 18 months ago, I had an ISDN line down for about a week while BT
    got around to fixing it.


    Also, you can only receive calls on an ISDN line, on the end of that
    single line.

    With a VoIP service provider, you can receive those calls pretty much
    anywhere you can get a decent internet connection.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Sep 1, 2007
    #17
  18. Steven

    Tim Guest

    Thomas Kenyon wrote:
    > I'd hardly call G.729 a dodgy compression method.
    >


    Personally, I can't cope with G.729 calls. After a few minutes of
    listening to a concentrating type phone call, I start to feel ill.

    Also, without header compression or IAX2 bonding, you don't get that
    much benefit of G.729. There is a very large IP overhead for the amount
    of data.

    > A more important consideration in my opinion is how reliable and
    > consistent your internet connection is.


    Agreed.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Sep 1, 2007
    #18
  19. Steven

    alexd Guest

    Tim wrote:

    > Peter Gradwell wrote:
    >> ISDN apparently doesn't do this - but I hear plenty of horror stories of
    >> people with ISDN pbxes, and have one client who uses VoIP as a backup
    >> for their ISDN system!

    >
    > About 18 months ago, I had an ISDN line down for about a week while BT
    > got around to fixing it.
    >
    >
    > Also, you can only receive calls on an ISDN line, on the end of that
    > single line.
    >
    > With a VoIP service provider, you can receive those calls pretty much
    > anywhere you can get a decent internet connection.


    Does anybody offer a hybrid IP/ISDN connection? So one could have a couple
    of channels of ISDN2 + an IP trunk, set up so that if either was congested
    [or offline for that matter], incoming calls could fail over to the other?

    --
    <http://ale.cx/> (AIM:troffasky) ()
    16:52:50 up 45 days, 22:38, 3 users, load average: 0.31, 0.69, 0.95
    09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0
     
    alexd, Sep 1, 2007
    #19
  20. In article <46d97fbf$0$645$>, Peter Gradwell
    <> writes
    >hi
    >
    >> But then another poster on one of the uk.telecom groups has just been on
    >> complaining about Gradwell! I doubt it's them personally, probably more
    >> that the technology just can't be relied upon, rather than a fault with
    >> that company.

    >
    >We have a few customers with bad combinations of ADSL providers, ADSL
    >routers, internal network setups. We also have a few issues with our
    >asterisk platform dropping audio occasionally.
    >
    >On the flip side, we have quite a big engineering & technical staff, a
    >very nice load testing system and a good handle on what the problems are
    >and how to fix them - so where the customers have patience, we are doing
    >just that.
    >
    >We also have sufficient numbers of happy customers for us to know that
    >we're doing the right thing, and if we get it working perfectly, we're
    >onto a winner!
    >
    >cheers
    >peter

    Disclaimer: I use a Gradwell VOIP service!

    Personally, I am a sole trader, I have a Snom320 on a Demon ADSL line..
    I 'work from home'. - Meaning I am not actually there that much! ;-)
    I set the service up to forward to my mobile if it isn't answered, but
    it takes quite a while to actually ring on the mobile. - Perception of
    calling party.

    I did put Gradwell 'lines' into a Client, but a combination of early
    ADSL (pre ADSL Max lines) and existing ISP problems meant it was not
    robust enough. - Sorry Peter, but this is out experience, and it was 18+
    months ago.

    Am about to link three sites with n x ISDN with IP trunks for internal
    calls, and to allow things like 'accounts queries' to be transferred to
    Head Office.

    This looks like the way to go for now.

    Your mileage may vary..
    Philip Partridge
     
    Phil Partridge, Sep 2, 2007
    #20
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