Gradwell -- reliable?

Discussion in 'UK VOIP' started by news, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. news

    news Guest

    I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for home/small
    business use.

    By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.

    1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial tone?

    2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost immediately, or
    do you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?

    3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?

    4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called you, as well as
    the calling number?

    In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    later.

    Experiences of Gradwell anyone?

    --
    Ian
     
    news, Nov 26, 2006
    #1
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  2. news

    Robert Gauld Guest

    news wrote:
    > I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for home/small
    > business use.
    >
    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.
    >
    > 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial tone?
    >
    > 2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost immediately, or
    > do you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?
    >
    > 3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?
    >
    > 4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called you, as well as
    > the calling number?
    >
    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    > as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    > that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    > later.
    >
    > Experiences of Gradwell anyone?
    >


    1. I have never not had a dial tone
    2. There is no noticeable difference with the PSTN
    3. Only if you've messed up setting up your phone
    4. ? (Peter may be along to answer) Though my SPA841 gives me that
    information in my missed calls list
     
    Robert Gauld, Nov 26, 2006
    #2
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  3. news

    alexd Guest

    news wrote:

    > I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for home/small
    > business use.
    >
    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.


    So just use a PSTN line then.

    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    > as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    > that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    > later.


    I reckon your internet connection is far more likely to be the single point
    of failure than Gradwell.

    --
    <http://ale.cx/> (AIM:troffasky) ()
    11:34:11 up 6 days, 15:16, 3 users, load average: 0.00, 0.03, 0.08
    This is my BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMSTICK
     
    alexd, Nov 26, 2006
    #3
  4. news

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "news" <> wrote in message
    news:
    > I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for
    > home/small business use.
    >
    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.
    >
    > 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial
    > tone?


    Depends on your ATA - dial tone is generated by the ATA not by the
    provider.

    > 2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost
    > immediately, or do you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?


    Usually, yes.

    > 3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?


    Not in my experience.

    > 4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called
    > you, as well as the calling number?


    No idea, never used 1471 on Gradwell, but the website status page gives
    time/date of made/received calls (although with a short delay, not
    immediately).

    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone
    > service, as reliable as BT or NTL. A service that has got
    > the fundamentals right. A service that understands what
    > single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come later.
    >
    > Experiences of Gradwell anyone?


    I can only speak as a single line customer, in my experience they are
    excellent. For the single line service, they offer a 3 month free trial:

    http://www.gradwell.com/voip/trial.php


    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, Nov 26, 2006
    #4
  5. news

    Paul Cummins Guest

    In article <>, (news)
    wrote:

    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.


    Think "bank of england"...

    --
    Paul Cummins

    **FREE** mobile phones, with FREE line rental
    http://www.gstgroup.co.uk/
     
    Paul Cummins, Nov 26, 2006
    #5
  6. news

    news Guest

    In message <>, Ivor Jones
    <> writes
    >"news" <> wrote in message
    >news:
    >>
    >> 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial
    >> tone?

    >
    >Depends on your ATA - dial tone is generated by the ATA not by the
    >provider.
    >


    You're right, of course, but that isn't quite what I was getting at. You
    will only get the dial tone if the phone is registered. If the VoIP
    provider's system has crashed or is otherwise unavailable, the ATA or
    VoIP phone will fall back to a non-registered condition and you will not
    get a dial tone. The availability of the provider's system was what I
    had in mind in my question.

    So, to re-phrase the question: How often have you experienced the NR
    condition with Gradwell? Never? Almost never? A couple of times a year?
    At least once a month? More frequently? Has the NR condition ever
    extended to several minutes (or even hours), rather than just a
    transient blip of a few seconds?

    --
    Ian
     
    news, Nov 26, 2006
    #6
  7. news

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "news" <> wrote in message
    news:

    [snip]

    > So, to re-phrase the question: How often have you
    > experienced the NR condition with Gradwell? Never? Almost
    > never? A couple of times a year? At least once a month?
    > More frequently? Has the NR condition ever extended to
    > several minutes (or even hours), rather than just a
    > transient blip of a few seconds?


    Never. Since I've been using Gradwell (about a year) the only problem I
    had was incoming calls going straight to voicemail without ringing the
    phone. This occurred only on PSTN calls, not on SIP calls from other
    Gradwell users. It was corrected by a slight parameter change in my
    account at Gradwell's end and has been fine ever since.

    They have an excellent reputation for business use and I can recommend
    them wholeheartedly. Additionally, the MD Peter Gradwell posts here
    sometimes, and may well answer a question if you ask..!

    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, Nov 26, 2006
    #7
  8. news

    Brian Guest

    On 2006-11-26, news <> wrote:

    > In message <>, Ivor Jones
    ><> writes
    >>"news" <> wrote in message
    >>news:
    >>>
    >>> 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial
    >>> tone?

    >>
    >>Depends on your ATA - dial tone is generated by the ATA not by the
    >>provider.
    >>

    >
    > You're right, of course, but that isn't quite what I was getting at. You
    > will only get the dial tone if the phone is registered. If the VoIP
    > provider's system has crashed or is otherwise unavailable, the ATA or
    > VoIP phone will fall back to a non-registered condition and you will not
    > get a dial tone. The availability of the provider's system was what I
    > had in mind in my question.


    To eliminate the dial tone on a SPA2000 it is necessary to have a line
    not registered and the parameter 'Make Call Without Reg:' set to 'no'.
    With 'Make Call Without Reg:' as 'yes' there is a dial tone. Other ATAs
    or softphones may behave differently I suppose but I cannot see why they
    should.

    Brian.
     
    Brian, Nov 27, 2006
    #8
  9. news

    news Guest

    In message <ekde7i$dja$1$>, Brian
    <> writes
    >
    >To eliminate the dial tone on a SPA2000 it is necessary to have a line
    >not registered and the parameter 'Make Call Without Reg:' set to 'no'.
    >With 'Make Call Without Reg:' as 'yes' there is a dial tone. Other ATAs
    >or softphones may behave differently I suppose but I cannot see why they
    >should.
    >
    >Brian.


    All understood. But as I explained in my previous reply to Ivor (and
    didn't make clear enough in my original post), my concern was really
    about the provider end, not the subscriber end.

    The same comment applies to another of my questions, about being cut off
    in mid call. Certainly this could happen if the subscriber end is not
    set up properly, but what I wanted to know was if Gradwell had a habit
    of terminating calls prematurely.

    --
    Ian
     
    news, Nov 27, 2006
    #9
  10. news

    Rob Guest

    "news" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > You're right, of course, but that isn't quite what I was getting at. You
    > will only get the dial tone if the phone is registered. If the VoIP
    > provider's system has crashed or is otherwise unavailable, the ATA or
    > VoIP phone will fall back to a non-registered condition and you will not
    > get a dial tone. The availability of the provider's system was what I
    > had in mind in my question.


    The DrayTek Vigor2800VG has an option "Play dial tone only when account
    registered", which depending on whether it is selected or not, gives a dial
    tone in either state of the VoIP account (ie registered or non-registered).

    Rob
     
    Rob, Nov 27, 2006
    #10
  11. news

    news Guest

    In message <456acb79$0$8735$>, Rob
    <> writes
    >
    >
    >The DrayTek Vigor2800VG has an option "Play dial tone only when account
    >registered", which depending on whether it is selected or not, gives a dial
    >tone in either state of the VoIP account (ie registered or non-registered).
    >


    OK, but is there any point in presenting a dial tone to the user if the
    phone/ATA is not registered?

    --
    Ian
     
    news, Nov 27, 2006
    #11
  12. "news" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for home/small business
    >use.
    >
    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.
    >
    > 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial tone?
    >
    > 2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost immediately, or do
    > you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?
    >
    > 3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?
    >
    > 4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called you, as well as
    > the calling number?
    >
    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable as
    > BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service that
    > understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come later.
    >
    > Experiences of Gradwell anyone?


    My experience of Gradwell:

    Since I signed up about a year ago [and once I had sorted out all firewall
    issues at this end] I have had only one problem with the basic telephony
    part of the service.

    This occurred when Telewest had screwed up a datafill and "lost" the linkage
    between the DDI number and Gradwell's numbering provider - not actually
    Gradwell's fault (and confused Telewest greatly as it was local to a
    specific exchange or exchange group - ie completely a screw-up at their
    end).

    I am also aware of a couple of brief outages (because they were listed on
    Gradwell's site) that would have removed telephony briefly (less than an
    hour IIRC) during this period - but I didn't notice them directly myself.

    I've also encountered a couple of quirks with the web setup for their more
    sophisticated "Virtual PBX" product - namely that stuff you do on the
    website is not (quite) instantly reflected in the telephony side, and in
    particular if you point a PSTN number at something (conference, voice menu,
    etc) you have only just setup there may be a brief period where the PSTN
    number does something odd (rings out, or responds with silence) before the
    telephony system catches up with the web setup.

    Finally I've had a problem with using the conferencing facility with larger
    numbers of participants, particularly when some of them were US based - on
    one occasion we had a ~10 second echo (at more or less full volume) which
    made the conference almost impossible to use! [However I think here we (a)
    are probably pushing the limits of the technology and (b) need to look as
    much at reducing far end (phone/softphone) echo].

    Basically I'm very satisfied - I thought a "warts and all" description was
    more useful than "it's fab/works for me". I'd concur with the other
    responder who pointed out that your net connectivity is likely to be an
    order of magnitude less reliable. [Interestingly my greatest period of no
    connectivity during the time I've been with Gradwell was when BT replaced
    the telegraph pole my voice/ADSL line is provided from].

    Of course an advantage of Gradwell is that they can provide a divert to a
    PSTN number, so if you are without (primary) connectivity for a period of
    time you could arrange for incoming calls to be routed to a landline (or
    even mobile), albeit at your cost...

    --
    Thomas Sandford
     
    Thomas Sandford, Nov 27, 2006
    #12
  13. news

    Rob Guest

    "news" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > OK, but is there any point in presenting a dial tone to the user if the
    > phone/ATA is not registered?


    Under certain circumstances, yes, after you realise the account may not be
    registered because a call has failed.

    Even though you could "dial out" using that particular unregistered account,
    it would obviously fail, but as multiple accounts can be associated with
    each FXS port, then if dial tone is present you could go ahead and make a
    call using another account either by selecting it by dialling a prefix, or
    perhaps letting the dialplan route a different call via another
    pre-determined account according to the type of call, eg international or
    mobile.

    Rob
     
    Rob, Nov 27, 2006
    #13
  14. news

    Darren Guest

    "news" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I am considering signing up with Gradwell for VoIP, for home/small business
    >use.
    >
    > By far the most important criterion for me is RELIABILITY.
    >
    > 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial tone?
    >
    > 2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost immediately, or do
    > you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?
    >
    > 3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?
    >
    > 4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called you, as well as
    > the calling number?
    >
    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable as
    > BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service that
    > understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come later.



    I have been using gradwell at a small office (7 phones) using the centrex
    pbx facilities.

    i'll talk to u on msn if u like



    In short - its great!

    Darren
     
    Darren, Nov 27, 2006
    #14
  15. news

    Chris Blunt Guest

    On Mon, 27 Nov 2006 11:46:00 GMT, news <> wrote:

    >In message <456acb79$0$8735$>, Rob
    ><> writes
    >>
    >>
    >>The DrayTek Vigor2800VG has an option "Play dial tone only when account
    >>registered", which depending on whether it is selected or not, gives a dial
    >>tone in either state of the VoIP account (ie registered or non-registered).
    >>

    >
    >OK, but is there any point in presenting a dial tone to the user if the
    >phone/ATA is not registered?


    Its also possible to make peer-to peer calls to a phone connected to
    another router by direct IP addressing without the need for a SIP
    registrar. They may have included the option to avoid confusion if
    that function is used.

    Chris
     
    Chris Blunt, Nov 27, 2006
    #15
  16. news

    Tim Guest

    news wrote:
    > 1. When you pick up the phone, do you always get a dial tone?


    In a voip network, the dialtone is generated locally by your phone.

    So, nothing to do with gradwell really, providing the SIP registration
    stays up.

    > 2. When you dial a number, do you get connected almost immediately, or
    > do you have to wait 30 seconds to connect?


    Always fast.

    > 3. Do you get cut off in mid-call?


    Never.

    > 4. Does 1471 tell you the date/time that someone called you, as well as
    > the calling number?


    Not by dialling 1471. You can certainly see this info on the web interface.

    I have this info collected by my Snom phone anyway, so I'd never dial a
    number to find out.

    >
    > Experiences of Gradwell anyone?


    All fine.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Nov 27, 2006
    #16
  17. news wrote:

    >
    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    > as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    > that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    > later.


    Lots of people have written nice things about us - but, before I read
    those, I was going to say that, if you want a BT phone line, you should
    get one from BT, because VoIP services in general, are not BT phone lines.

    There are loads of points of failure in VoIP - we route calls using
    Linux servers instead of Marconi switches and we run it over ADSL lines.

    Plus, SIP isn't as good as the PSTN routing protocol (ss7). It only has
    6 error modes, rather than the 40 odd error codes SS7 gives you.

    That's not to say voip doesn't work well for a good number of people
    (many thousand on our system) and it offers some great features - but
    it's not a BT line.

    cheers
    peter

    --
    peter gradwell. gradwell dot com Ltd. http://www.gradwell.com/
    -- engineering & hosting services for email, web and voip --
    -- http://www.peter.me.uk/ -- http://www.voip.org.uk/ --
     
    Peter Gradwell, Nov 27, 2006
    #17
  18. news

    Geoff Guest

    On Mon, 27 Nov 2006 23:03:38 +0000, Peter Gradwell
    <> wrote:

    >news wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    >> as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    >> that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    >> later.

    >
    >Lots of people have written nice things about us - but, before I read
    >those, I was going to say that, if you want a BT phone line, you should
    >get one from BT, because VoIP services in general, are not BT phone lines.
    >
    >There are loads of points of failure in VoIP - we route calls using
    >Linux servers instead of Marconi switches and we run it over ADSL lines.
    >
    >Plus, SIP isn't as good as the PSTN routing protocol (ss7). It only has
    >6 error modes, rather than the 40 odd error codes SS7 gives you.
    >
    >That's not to say voip doesn't work well for a good number of people
    >(many thousand on our system) and it offers some great features - but
    >it's not a BT line.
    >
    >cheers
    >peter


    But would anyone want to be associated with anything that Richard (R)
    Ashton was connected with?
    It put me off straight away
     
    Geoff, Nov 29, 2006
    #18
  19. news

    NicHughes Guest

    news wrote:

    >
    > In other words, I'm looking for a basic telephone service, as reliable
    > as BT or NTL. A service that has got the fundamentals right. A service
    > that understands what single-point-of-failure means. The frills can come
    > later.
    >
    > Experiences of Gradwell anyone?


    Gradwell seem to be about as good as VoIP gets in terms of reliability.
    Which is to say nearly as good as BT and for many people functionally
    no less good than BT - but when you get right down to it they are not
    and can not be as reliable. Not to put too fine a point on it they
    simply have more transport layers for your call to be carried over and
    hence more things that could go wrong. Some of those transport layers
    are not built on the same reliability-at-all-costs basis as the PSTN.
    VoIP simply cannot deliver the sort of single-point-of-failure system
    you want unless you happen to be on 21CN in Wick - and I would not want
    to bet real money on normal PSTN levels of reliability for Wick over
    the next few months.

    POTS is still the most reliable if reliability is your overriding
    criteria. If you want the features and benefits of VoIP and as much
    reliability as you can get then from my experience I would say that
    Gradwell is a good choice. Personally I find the Gradwell service
    sufficiently reliable that I have not yet had a problem and so for me
    there has been no real-world difference in reliability.

    --
    Nic
    www.entrust-systems.net
     
    NicHughes, Nov 29, 2006
    #19
  20. news

    Tim Guest

    NicHughes wrote:
    > Gradwell seem to be about as good as VoIP gets in terms of reliability.
    > Which is to say nearly as good as BT and for many people functionally
    > no less good than BT - but when you get right down to it they are not
    > and can not be as reliable. Not to put too fine a point on it they
    > simply have more transport layers for your call to be carried over and
    > hence more things that could go wrong. Some of those transport layers
    > are not built on the same reliability-at-all-costs basis as the PSTN.
    > VoIP simply cannot deliver the sort of single-point-of-failure system
    > you want unless you happen to be on 21CN in Wick - and I would not want
    > to bet real money on normal PSTN levels of reliability for Wick over
    > the next few months.


    Yes.

    But it depends what you want.

    For instance, you can get an easy 8 channels of G.711 voip down an ADSL
    max line, if you are near the exchange.

    Compared to paying BT for 8 ISDN lines, the costs quickly roll in favour
    of VoIP.

    5 minutes of downtime a month when the ADSL decides to resync may well
    be preferable to paying BT $$$ every month.

    Its a tradeoff.

    There are other advantages too - like BT won't usually port numbers
    between areas. But you can port the numbers to a VoIP provider and take
    them anywhere you like.

    Or maybe, buying extra services online in real time may be preferable to
    talking to BT's call centre.

    Tim
     
    Tim, Nov 29, 2006
    #20
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