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forumsviewer

join:2008-08-25
Beverly Hills, CA

Uptime and Reliability - Utah business needs voice solution

I'm assisting someone in determining and weighing pro's and con's with different solutions available for voice for a business. The business will start with 10 phones but has the potential of needing 50 to 75 phones within 24 months. Since the business is not yet off the ground, they want to go about doing things RIGHT THE FIRST TIME and have the scalability needed.

The business is completely and utterly reliant on phone and internet. It is a customer and vendor facing business which requires a lot of contact via phone and email. So that is why uptime and reliability is important.

With this being said, the business is willing to pay a premium for premium product, service and uptime... within reason.

option 1
We've contacted Telesphere which does managed solutions (all their hardware, their Polycom phones). They have recommended a $400 a month T1 and $40 a month "seat" aka phone with 500 minutes (free inbound and tollfree). They tack on $10 a month for IVR and $10 a month for ring group which I think is silly. They say they have a great network and the T1 connects directly into their network. I haven't heard a bad thing about them, but with 10 phones to begin that is $850 a month and with 50 phones that is around $2500 a month. Not terrible concerning how important voice is, but I really don't know much about their network or other options.

option 2
Another option is pay as you go provider in Utah named Arrivaltel. It is a very small business (only one or two employees) and so my worry is that they won't be sustainable when the business has 50 phones or grow and will be reliant on their availability of getting things done for the business. They also state that they use the best network and core's around.

option 3
Another option is something like Voip.ms, but i dont think that they focus on businesses and may use a cheaper network due to their price structure. I could be wrong which is the point of this thread.

What are some other options or opinions concerning this? The business wants to concentrate on its core competency, not their phone system. However, with so much competition and price methods and everyone saying they have the best network it can get confusing.

What would you recommend? Locally hosted asterisk PBX system that has a VPN using a T1 or Fiber that goes directly to the provider's asterisk box? Or have no servers at the business location and simply use t1 or fiber to connect each phone to the managed provider's asterisk box? Or maybe do a co-location at a datacenter of our choice?

Need other options to weigh pro's and con's. ;( Thanks everyone.


VexorgTR

join:2012-08-27
Sheffield Lake, OH
kudos:1
Look into a business provider such as appia.

»www.appiaservices.com

Cost effective, and very strong.


Trev
IP Telephony Addict
Premium
join:2009-06-29
Victoria, BC
kudos:6
reply to forumsviewer
I wouldn't mind providing you a quote for AcroVoice services if you'd like to contact me through private messaging. We are a Canadian-based small business and have been providing service to US businesses for some time now.

We would provide a fully managed voice solution (you provide the Internet connection), along with fully managed phones. Unless you're expecting a high volume of callers waiting in a queue for an agent, you'll certainly find the pricing much better than your option 1. I have no idea of the details of your second option so I cannot provide a comparison.

I wouldn't suggest running your own PBX unless you are willing to take on responsibility of making sure everything works well. With a fully managed solution, your provider is in a much better position to guarantee things work well as they maintain control over every aspect. A decent hosted provider would also have a backup plan in place to ensure that a single server failure will not take down your phone system. Obviously to do this yourself, your costs and administrative overhead would double as you have to maintain your own redundant servers.

Another thing you might want to consider is the availability of a phone book listing and the ability to ensure your name displays with outbound calls. This is something that not all carriers support and is often important for a business.
--
Wondering what I do? Find out at »www.digitalcon.ca
Get your Obihai ATA in Canada.

lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA
reply to forumsviewer
"Utterly Reliant"= a voice PRI circuit and two Internet connections from separate ISPs.

I do not see VoIP as a viable product for anyone 'utterly reliant' on their phones.


schnauze

join:2001-05-29
San Jose, CA
reply to forumsviewer
»www.8x8.com/

You are welcome and good luck!

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX
reply to lorennerol
said by lorennerol:

"Utterly Reliant"= a voice PRI circuit and two Internet connections from separate ISPs.

I do not see VoIP as a viable product for anyone 'utterly reliant' on their phones.

Agreed. Although I can see using Asterisk (or FreePBX) with the voice PRI (or POTS) circuit for the main incoming lines, and then using VoIP service for DIDs and outgoing.

voxframe

join:2010-08-02
reply to forumsviewer
VOIP Can be just as reliable as POTS (Or any other phone system) in a business environment, if done right.

1) Stay away from any hosted solution. (That kills #1. Their prices are also not very impressive for what they offer)

2) DO NOT GO WITH SIP TRUNKING. Stay away from voip.ms as well for anything that reliability is concerned. I've used them in a business environment and was utterly disgusted. Tried a few other providers and all same shit different issues. Demarc your trunks onto something physical like a PRI and you're all set.

3) There's nothing wrong with asterisk. Go with some more high end stuff if you can afford it, just be ready to be locked into a vendor for life. At worse case, have two asterisk switches in a mirrored config if one drops.

4) Obviously use a strong UPS or have a genset on site. People who bitch about the power issues with VOIP, have never used a traditional digital phone switch with the same limitations before. Consider well what happens when the power goes out, how it will cripple you and where.

Try and differentiate the two issues,

VOIP inside and POTS/PRI/Physical on the outside (Trunks)
This works

VOIP inside and VOIP outside (SIP trunking)
This doesn't


VexorgTR

join:2012-08-27
Sheffield Lake, OH
kudos:1
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to forumsviewer
I don't see a real problem with SIP trunks... but I would suggest an additional wire trunk as a secondary... for that 1-2 days a year the SIP trunk is having a bad day.

There's some SUPER sip trunk providers out there that offer very good reliability.

sokhapkin
Premium
join:2003-05-08
North Fort Myers, FL
rblizz suggested the right solution - PRI for incoming and SIP trunks for outgoing calls.
--
»www.callwithus.com

forumsviewer

join:2008-08-25
Beverly Hills, CA
reply to rblizz
So basically the inbound phone numbers run through a different system or ciruit than the outbound? Meaning, outbound is 100% VOIP and inbound could be POTS or something else? Both inbound and outbound would be controlled by Asterisk (FreePBX)?

I guess I don't know what voice PRI (or POTS) circuit means and how that is different than SIP trunking.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX

1 edit
reply to sokhapkin
said by sokhapkin:

rblizz suggested the right solution - PRI for incoming and SIP trunks for outgoing calls.

Actually I was just agreeing with an earlier poster, except I suggested the option of a hybrid system to keep the costs down.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX

4 edits
reply to forumsviewer
said by forumsviewer:

So basically the inbound phone numbers run through a different system or ciruit than the outbound? Meaning, outbound is 100% VOIP and inbound could be POTS or something else? Both inbound and outbound would be controlled by Asterisk (FreePBX)?

I guess I don't know what voice PRI (or POTS) circuit means and how that is different than SIP trunking.

Yep. An Asterisk system can use TDM cards, which allows it to talk to regular voice circuits (POTS = plain old telephone service or PRI = primary rate interface, basically a digital T1). You can order fractional T1s and add channels as the business grows. The PRI channels wouldn't have to be incoming only, but for long distance it would cheaper to use VoIP for outgoing. You can even replicate this (on a small scale for home use) using an OBi110 or Linksys SPA3102 and a VoIP provider like CallCentric (assuming you have POTS service).

SIP trunks are just the service you order from CallCentric or Anveo, or voip.ms, or whomever. The Asterisk switch talks to these via your Internet connection.


jimk
Premium
join:2006-04-15
Raleigh, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to forumsviewer
said by forumsviewer:

So basically the inbound phone numbers run through a different system or ciruit than the outbound? Meaning, outbound is 100% VOIP and inbound could be POTS or something else? Both inbound and outbound would be controlled by Asterisk (FreePBX)?

I guess I don't know what voice PRI (or POTS) circuit means and how that is different than SIP trunking.

Inbound calls would come in on the T1 PRI. Some providers have very good long distance rates and a large pool of included minutes, so you might even be able to use it for long distance as well. You could certainly use it for local calls.

You can use VoIP for as much or as little outgoing calling as you want. Asterisk (among other systems) lets you pick where to route calls based on the phone number, so you could send local calls out the PRI, and long distance or international calls through the carrier of your choice. Or, you can send all outgoing calls through a VoIP provider, and 911 through the PRI... this way, your PRI capacity will not be used up with outgoing calls. If you have issues with VoIP, you can just re-route outbound calls back through the PRI.

You can also use POTS lines, but for anything more than a handful of lines, a PRI is a much better choice. It lets you set outbound Caller ID, handle DIDs, and more.

One word of caution: I recommend becoming familiar with the technology (or find someone who is) before setting it up. To get started, see »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_Ra ··· nterface and »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated ··· _Network . It is important to understand the technology for troubleshooting and implementation purposes.

Stewart

join:2005-07-13
kudos:29

1 recommendation

reply to forumsviewer
If your main number is toll-free, choose a provider who is his own RESPORG. You will have two levels of redundancy.

First, if your calls normally come in by SIP, they can fail over to your PRI, should your Internet connection go down. Or, vice-versa. Or, if your entire system suffers a disaster, calls could be sent to a different physical location, to personal cell phones, etc.

Additionally, if the underlying carrier has an outage, the provider can instruct the SMS/800 system to route calls via a different carrier. This will work even if your provider's data center has been struck by a disaster, as long as you have a way to reach him and he has a working Internet connection.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get such redundancy for local numbers. If the CLEC's switch fails, you're out of luck. However, if just your PRI goes down, e.g. by an errant backhoe operator or a drunk driver hitting a telephone pole, the CLEC can route your calls via SIP, analog lines, or cellular.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX
said by Stewart:

Unfortunately, there is no way to get such redundancy for local numbers. If the CLEC's switch fails, you're out of luck. However, if just your PRI goes down, e.g. by an errant backhoe operator or a drunk driver hitting a telephone pole, the CLEC can route your calls via SIP, analog lines, or cellular.

First, CLEC switches almost never fail -- this is why CLEC switches use the five nines (about 5 minutes a year of downtime) as a standard. Second, CLECS can and do offer Emergency Call Forwarding (sometimes free of charge, depending on the scope of the emergency) and Temporary Call Routing. If a telephone pole goes down, or an errant backhoe digs up a telephone line, there's a good chance it's going to clip your cable or (especially) DSL line also (as they usually run in the same ditch or on the same pole).

dplantz

join:2000-08-02
Roslindale, MA
reply to forumsviewer
PhonePower.com They are based in California and use US tech support. They have options for larger businesses. Very reliable service.


VexorgTR

join:2012-08-27
Sheffield Lake, OH
kudos:1
Although I don't have anything against phone power, I don't think they are quite robust enough to stake everything on. As one of the trunks in a robust PBX, ok, as the MAIN trunk, I'd advise going more robust.

forumsviewer

join:2008-08-25
Beverly Hills, CA
reply to forumsviewer
any other comments or suggestions?

DBOD

join:2012-10-17

1 recommendation

reply to forumsviewer
I got rid of my 6 pots lines last year and went through a lot of the same decisions. I hated the way hosted VOIP was priced. I needed 7 phones but I didn't have that many users. I ended up going with Callcentric with a 3CX PBX and 7 networked SIP phones. I ended up with 3CX PBX because I felt like the learning curve was shorter. If you don't want to concentrate on your phones, hosted VOIP may be a good choice. My costs are about 20% of what hosted VOIP would cost. Hosted VOIP is like training wheels. Do it yourself. I do have to spend more time managing the phones but it is getting less and less as I learn more and the long term cost savings is a beautiful thing.

forumsviewer

join:2008-08-25
Beverly Hills, CA
reply to forumsviewer
I realize that this thread is a bit aging but I would love to get some more input.

As many have said, i've looked at several hosted solutions and they are around $30 to $40 per user which does not include minutes. Then $0.02 a minute inbound and $0.02 a minute outbound domestic. Also 3 year contracts seems to be normal with hosted. If it comes down to being super reliable and robust, then the price isn't a concern, but it seems steep as the company grows.

lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA
said by forumsviewer:

I realize that this thread is a bit aging but I would love to get some more input.

As many have said, i've looked at several hosted solutions and they are around $30 to $40 per user which does not include minutes. Then $0.02 a minute inbound and $0.02 a minute outbound domestic. Also 3 year contracts seems to be normal with hosted. If it comes down to being super reliable and robust, then the price isn't a concern, but it seems steep as the company grows.

Seems to me reading back through it that you have lots of input, including "don't go with a hosted platform", which you are still looking at.

Inexpensive and highly reliable don't go together. Since you keep focusing on pricing rather than quality can we infer that pricing is more important?


Trev
IP Telephony Addict
Premium
join:2009-06-29
Victoria, BC
kudos:6
reply to forumsviewer
said by forumsviewer:

I realize that this thread is a bit aging but I would love to get some more input.

As many have said, i've looked at several hosted solutions and they are around $30 to $40 per user which does not include minutes. Then $0.02 a minute inbound and $0.02 a minute outbound domestic. Also 3 year contracts seems to be normal with hosted. If it comes down to being super reliable and robust, then the price isn't a concern, but it seems steep as the company grows.

I don't think you've contacted AcroVoice yet, which would be a great way to get input that differs from what you've just stated.

I can tell you right now that rates are for overall system capacity, not per user, there's no per minute cost for inbound calls, and no contract whatsoever.
--
Wondering what I do? Find out at »www.digitalcon.ca
Get your Obihai ATA in Canada.

forumsviewer

join:2008-08-25
Beverly Hills, CA
reply to lorennerol
lorennerol - I'm trying to keep my mind opened. However, price is not my primary concern. It is actually one of my least concerns. That is why i've even been looking at hosted solution (more money, but more reliable?? but I lose control).


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:13
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
reply to forumsviewer
I hate to sound like an asshole here, but I will anyway. If money isn't a concern, and reliability is; you need to just call "the phone company".
I'll explain a little further: maybe not "the phone company", per se, but a wireline or PRI trunk solution would be up your alley in this case.
On site, I would suggest a self hosted asterisk system (or other VoIP PBX) to either work with your existing phones or any VoIP phones of your choice. VoIP on LAN is way different than VoIP over WAN.

Of course, with an asterisk system on site, you can migrate or implement VoIP trunking at your leisure if you should decide to do so down the road.

VoIP trunking isn't for everyone, especially when critical inbound services are involved. There WILL be the occasional glitch.
I was an early adopter of VoIP. I only used it for outbound trunks up until recently for my own business. Now I am 100% VoIP. I am willing to accept the minor glitches in exchange for major savings.

VoIP isn't for everyone. I have one particular customer who had to be 100% VoIP. Had to. Couldn't be talked out of it. After a few short months, he was emailing or calling almost daily to complain of dropped calls and poor audio quality (IMO it was the ISPs fault).
I finally told him that I would be happy to keep taking his money, perhaps it might be time to think about going back to POTS. But when it came time to pay for that POTS service, voip wasn't so bad after all. I finally got him set up with a different provider, and things seem to be much better now.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.