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digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana

Recommendation for local church? - 4 lines

I'm looking to help out a local church(non-profit of course) with their telephone costs these days. The phones have very light usage and 99% of the calls currently are local phone calls since people know to use their cell for long distance. They currently have 4 land lines. 2 are connected to a plain jane 2 line office system with about 3 or 4 extensions. The 2 lines are setup in a rollover situation or some know it as a hunt group if I remember correctly from my voip days. Another line is dedicated to the FAX machine. And another line is connected to a separate building.

My ultimate goal would be to replace their 4 lines with something that works about the same but with less monthly charges of course I'm not sure if I would be able to hook up to the separate building since there is no internet out there from the main building. I believe the phone line goes directly to it as well so that might be separate or I might have to look into shooting some wifi across the parking lot to an ATA. Or maybe even just go to a multi-phone cordless system if it would reach.

I haven't kept up with the VoIP stuff these days but is there something out there that I could implement for these guys cheaply?

I'm also going to have to figure out if I can get dry-loop DSL if we end up cancelling the lines completely. They currently have 6000/512 DSL. So maybe the FAX line or separate building line might just stay if AT&T gives me a fight...


Trev
IP Telephony Addict
Premium
join:2009-06-29
Victoria, BC
kudos:6
The most important question you need to ask yourself is if you want to become their 'phone guy' and handle any problem that ever comes up with their new system or not.

Once you've determined that, we can give you more relevant recommendations.

For your secondary building - is the electrical on it's own connection or does it come from the main building?
--
Wondering what I do? Find out at »www.digitalcon.ca
Get your Obihai ATA in Canada.

Mango
What router are you using?
Premium
join:2008-12-25
www.toao.net
kudos:13
Reviews:
·AcroVoice
·Callcentric
·Anveo
reply to digiblur
said by digiblur:

They currently have 6000/512 DSL.

You will need some fairly aggressive QoS rules to make this work. Assuming it runs at its rated speed, (512 * 80%) - (90 * 4) = 50 kilobits per second left for regular internet traffic with four calls in progress.

Another option is dedicating an internet connection to VoIP, which may still be cost effective.

m.
--
Dear Obihai, please fix the FXS to FXO Relay in the OBi110. Add this as your signature if you agree!


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
reply to Trev
said by Trev:

The most important question you need to ask yourself is if you want to become their 'phone guy' and handle any problem that ever comes up with their new system or not.

Once you've determined that, we can give you more relevant recommendations.

For your secondary building - is the electrical on it's own connection or does it come from the main building?

Yes, that would be me.


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana

1 recommendation

reply to Mango
said by Mango:

said by digiblur:

They currently have 6000/512 DSL.

You will need some fairly aggressive QoS rules to make this work. Assuming it runs at its rated speed, (512 * 80%) - (90 * 4) = 50 kilobits per second left for regular internet traffic with four calls in progress.

Another option is dedicating an internet connection to VoIP, which may still be cost effective.

m.

Yep, I had full intentions of doing that. Their router is ancient and I would be replacing that as well to do some proper QOS rules. Most of the time no more than 2 calls are active though but you always have to plan for the worst. If 4 phones are being burned then 50 left on the upload is not a problem.

I also thought about a dedicated line for just VOIP and not have to deal with QOS at all. All part of my cost analysis.

kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL
said by digiblur:

Yep, I had full intentions of doing that. Their router is ancient and I would be replacing that as well to do some proper QOS rules. Most of the time no more than 2 calls are active though but you always have to plan for the worst....

It sounds like 512kbps upload would probably be just fine. And don't forget, depending on what you decide as a voip solution you might be able to use less bandwidth codecs if needed.

For router alternatives, I've had fantastic results with Mikrotik in environments where voip is mixed with other traffic. They offer solidly built and inexpensive routers that allow you to mark voip packets and prioritize over the other traffic (among many other options).

The downside is an initial learning curve if routeros is new to you, but once setup is extremely reliable in my experience.


rollerblader7

join:2004-01-11
Burlington, ON
reply to digiblur
Ditto Trev's commend about ongoing support.

We had a Vonage line in at our church for long distance to supplement a small number of POTS lines. Eventually we removed it because the staff had so much trouble with outages. That's not even a BYOD service, but it speaks to the question of reliability. A simple VOIP setup will not be as reliable as POTS.

Is your staff willing to tolerate this, and do you want them spending their time dealing with phone issues, in order to save some bucks?


billaustin
they call me Mr. Bill
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-13
North Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5
One of the Key Factors for any VOIP setup is the internet connection and the router. If setup correctly, VOIP can be just as reliable as a POTS line. I ported four numbers to Anveo earlier this year. So far, I have had no issues with the service. Of course, all the equipment is connected to a large UPS.

I used to do Vonage installations and service calls. One of the first calls I did, many years ago, was to troubleshoot an issue with poor voice quality. I arrived and found out they were trying to use the Vonage service over a Hughes Satellite connection. In all the calls trying to figure out what was wrong, no one had ever asked for any details about their internet connection.

IPfaxer

join:2010-10-24
reply to digiblur
1. carrier: CallCentric - but only port main publicized number
2. for the "rollover" lines, just get new DIDs from CallCentric in your area (cheaper than porting)
3. consider keeping 1 POTS line for fax unless your fax needs are not very serious - if you do not need fax to work 100% every time, then switch fax number to CallCentric (and don't forget that CallCentric can receive faxes and send them as email)
4. you will need an ATA that can handle 1-4 lines depending on what you do - solution: Grandstream HT704 - boom you are done - interconnect into the existing telephones and system
5. just make sure you do in fact have enough bandwidth - however, since you said calls are light usage, may not be an issue - which raises the question - you need 4 lines for light usage?

please save your church some money and get them onto VOIP

also get their computers off Windows and onto something like Ubuntu Linux, it will reduce their need to churn hardware over for "new" versions of Windows and will reduce IT/antivirus expenses long term

good luck to you and g/d bless

hokie21

join:2003-06-14
Lake Zurich, IL
I just completed a project for my church which sounds almost identical to what you are considering. I considered going voip, but in the end decided to go with a NEC DSX 40 key system. Phone lines are provided to the church via Comcast and delivered to the key system as POTS. I'm using SIP trunks and Asterisk at home, but just felt doing voip over the Internet would not be reliable enough for a business. I would describe my home voip experience as "cellphone like." Infrequent outages, but enough to potentially be a problem for me as the church "phone guy." The DSX has worked out very well for the church and for me in terms of it being problem free post install. I put in 3 CO lines, a fax line and 6 feature phone stations for about $1200. NEC provides good training and documentation and my wholesale vendor was there to provide post sales technical support, if I had needed any.

lightspeedpr

join:2012-12-04
Courtenay, BC
reply to kaila
I am looking for a voip solution too let me know if you find any thing that works.

Mango
What router are you using?
Premium
join:2008-12-25
www.toao.net
kudos:13
There are many good VoIP solutions. Post your requirements in a new thread and we'll try to help you.


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
reply to digiblur
Fully understand the thing with supporting the thing. No ubuntu, don't have that much time for them nor do I want to deal with them not being able to use their programs. But I never really had to deal with many issues, I guess Voicepulse had me spoiled.

I've been around the VoIP block a few times... Packet8, Vonage, Voicepulse(5+ yrs), Broadvoice, Voipo, FWD, and many more. I have a SPA2000, SPA3000 and SPA841 just sitting in the drawer.

Blast from the past:
»[Equipment] My solution for in QOS for VOIP
»[Sipura] Make your Sipura Speak! - GetSipura Guide

Now back to the thread... yes 4 lines light usage. 2 for the front office for voice. 1 for FAX. The 4th like I stated in the OP, is all the way in the back building not attached to the main church building. It's a food bank type thing some of the days out of the week.

My original thinking was the SPA2000 would run the front two lines or whatever ATA I would get from a provider. The SPA3000 would go in the back if and when I could get internet to it. Then keep the FAX line.

Just working through the numbers as I said I've been out of the VoIP scene for about 4 yrs or so and I'm sure a lot has changed. So any additional recommendations are much appreciated. Thanks for the ones so far, it will give me a start on my research.

rblizz

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

Now back to the thread... yes 4 lines light usage. 2 for the front office for voice. 1 for FAX. The 4th like I stated in the OP, is all the way in the back building not attached to the main church building. It's a food bank type thing some of the days out of the week.

My original thinking was the SPA2000 would run the front two lines or whatever ATA I would get from a provider. The SPA3000 would go in the back if and when I could get internet to it. Then keep the FAX line.

I think it's a good plan. The FAX line could be your backup, should your Internet go down. You might want to delay porting the main number until you know VoIP will work well with your Internet provider and router.


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

I am looking for a voip solution too let me know if you find any thing that works.

Unfortunately in Courtenay you're up the creek as far as keeping a local number. The good news is, this should change sometime next summer if things go according to plan.
--
Wondering what I do? Find out at »www.digitalcon.ca
Get your Obihai ATA in Canada.


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
reply to digiblur
Any other recommendations than CallCentric? I spoke with them more about this today and I believe we will start with the main 2 lines first. Makes it pretty simple. Basic features they are looking for are the hunt group/roll over between the two lines, voicemail (doesn't even have to be to email), and that's really about it but I'm sure there are more that come with VoIP.

Most of the calls are incoming, when I asked them about the 1000 outbound with CallCentric they said that would be plenty. I assume that the 1000 minute package with CallCentric was outbound and inbound is unlimited?


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

Any other recommendations than CallCentric? I spoke with them more about this today and I believe we will start with the main 2 lines first. Makes it pretty simple. Basic features they are looking for are the hunt group/roll over between the two lines, voicemail (doesn't even have to be to email), and that's really about it but I'm sure there are more that come with VoIP.

Most of the calls are incoming, when I asked them about the 1000 outbound with CallCentric they said that would be plenty. I assume that the 1000 minute package with CallCentric was outbound and inbound is unlimited?

With Callcentric, the incoming and outgoing plans are separate. So if most of your calls are inbound, you could use the Office Unlimited plan for receiving calls and pay as you go (or a pool of minutes if that works out better) for outgoing.


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
said by jimk:

said by digiblur:

With Callcentric, the incoming and outgoing plans are separate. So if most of your calls are inbound, you could use the Office Unlimited plan for receiving calls and pay as you go (or a pool of minutes if that works out better) for outgoing.

Oh.. I see. So if I wanted to replace the two lines I would get the 2 lines of Office Unlimited for $8.95 a piece. Then say add a 500 minute outbound for $6.95 then a 1000 outbound for $12.95. Are there any additional taxes and/or 911 fees?


crazyk4952
Premium
join:2002-02-04
united state
kudos:1
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
·Vitelity VOIP
·Charter
said by digiblur:

Oh.. I see. So if I wanted to replace the two lines I would get the 2 lines of Office Unlimited for $8.95 a piece. Then say add a 500 minute outbound for $6.95 then a 1000 outbound for $12.95. Are there any additional taxes and/or 911 fees?

The only tax that is accessed is on residents of New York (sales tax). E911 is $1.49/month per account.

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
Reviews:
·callwithus
·voip.ms
said by crazyk4952:

E911 is $1.49/month per account.

No, if the account has a 500 minute or 1,000 minute outbound calling plan, then there is no extra charge for 911.

That's fairly new.

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
Reviews:
·callwithus
·voip.ms
reply to digiblur
said by digiblur:

So if I wanted to replace the two lines I would get the 2 lines of Office Unlimited for $8.95 a piece.

Office Unlimited comes with three (3) inbound CHANNELS for that 8.95. Unlimited inbound minutes.

In other words, ONE payment of 8.95 allows you to have 3 calls going on at the same time, as long as your phone system can handle that. Even basic IP phones like my old Gigaset A580IP have no problem.

Extra channels can be purchased if needed....


crazyk4952
Premium
join:2002-02-04
united state
kudos:1
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
·Vitelity VOIP
·Charter
reply to PX Eliezer70
said by PX Eliezer70:

said by crazyk4952:

E911 is $1.49/month per account.

No, if the account has a 500 minute or 1,000 minute outbound calling plan, then there is no extra charge for 911.

That's fairly new.

Oh right, forgot about that.

hmspe
Premium
join:2007-07-01
Mesa, AZ
reply to digiblur
I use voip.ms for my business. Uptime and call quality has been as good as with Cox and CenturyLink. I occasionally get significant echo, but it is on calls to cell phones or calls to Frontier areas and I get the same echo if I call on a cell phone. Very pleased with voip.ms.

I have an NEC phone system and a Cisco SPA8000. We have two numbers, with two 'lines' for the first and four 'lines' for the second. With voip.ms we do not have to buy "back line" numbers and set them up in a hunt group or as rotary. Costs about $30 per month using premium routing. I'd keep a real POTS line for fax or go to an internet fax provider.


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
reply to PX Eliezer70
said by PX Eliezer70:

said by digiblur:

So if I wanted to replace the two lines I would get the 2 lines of Office Unlimited for $8.95 a piece.

Office Unlimited comes with three (3) inbound CHANNELS for that 8.95. Unlimited inbound minutes.

In other words, ONE payment of 8.95 allows you to have 3 calls going on at the same time, as long as your phone system can handle that. Even basic IP phones like my old Gigaset A580IP have no problem.

Extra channels can be purchased if needed....

Only problem with that is if I had both SIP devices set to the one account wouldn't it ring both lines? That would be so confusing to them. What number would show up on the outbound on both lines?

Trying to grasp the setup here as I've never used a separate account type setup for inbound and outbound.

If indeed I could take the SPA2000, set it up on one Office Unlimited number where it would ring port 1 first, if port 1 was busy then and someone else called it ring port 2 then that would be awesome. And port 1 and 2 could also make outbound at the same time from the same number that would be very cool as well.

Just a few minutes ago I was thinking that I probably couldn't go with Call Centric since they didn't have any 225 area code numbers available to pick from for my second line. Looks like I don't need it, I could just port the one number for the $25 and assign it to the two ports on the SPA2000.

OmagicQ
Posting in a thread near you

join:2003-10-23
Bakersfield, CA
kudos:1
Callcentric accounts only register one device at a time. It would ring on the last device registered. Each device would have to have its own account and balance to make outgoing calls. You might want to set up a pbx, then you can give each device its own extension on it and route calls however you want. Others here can give you advice on how to do that.
--
...Who, What, When, Where, How... Why? Why Not?


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
The moment I think I have it understood I get confused by the next... what's the 3 channels thing for then?

PBX is out of the question. It's down to the FAX is staying since they need it and its also the DSL connection. The two lines will be replaced by a SPA2000 I already have. The router is being replaced with one that has QOS capabilities. Shouldn't have an issue here as now I only need 90*2 out of the 512 up. I found out the back building is actually on the phone extension system that has the two lines. Makes this sooo much easier.

So let me clear this up. I'm looking for a provider that I can port my number, Call Centric says yes to my number. Then basically have that number ring line 1, if busy ring line 2, if busy too then ring the voicemail. Outbound would be necessary with about 1000 minutes per month. Line 1 and Line 2 would share this 1000 bucket and be able to call out at the same time. Voicemail would be required and would be great if it went to email or a webpage(not required). Kinda looks like CallCentric can do this. Might have to do a trial run on this or contact someone at CallCentric.


Arne Bolen
Happy Anveo customer
Premium
join:2009-06-21
Cyberspace
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Anveo
·voip.ms
said by digiblur:

The moment I think I have it understood I get confused by the next... what's the 3 channels thing for then?

3 channels means that you can have 3 concurrent incoming calls. Many DECT IP phone bases can handle 2 or more concurrent calls.
--
My VoIP News

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
Reviews:
·callwithus
·voip.ms
reply to digiblur
Sounds like the answer to your questions is yes, and I am a big supporter of CallCentric.

And the CC Office Unlimited Inbound plan is a good deal.

Also, choosing your outbound service and choosing your inbound service just means that you have freedom to customize.

When you said [Trying to grasp the setup here as I've never used a separate account type setup for inbound and outbound], I really don't know what you mean.

It's one account. (Voip.MS and Anveo and others work the same way).

When you go to a restaurant, the waiter asks you what kind of appetizer you want, and what kind of main course. That doesn't make it into two separate meals. It's one meal, and you'll pay one bill at the end.

But I do need to say:

*With my present equipment (using basic IP phones), all I have to do is register the CC account on ONE port. Even though multiple calls can be handled at the same time, I have only registered one account, one time. The phone handles multiple calls automatically. I do [not] know if your SPA-2000 ATA works the same way. [That] could be an issue, also how your ATA interacts with your current phone.

*Also, as someone else said, if you do need [more than one registration] then a provider with subaccounts would be easier.

----------------------------------

Do NOT port your number to ANYONE until you have tried out their service and are happy with it. CC themselves suggest this, in fact.

You can TEST the service for very little money.

You can get a New York phone number for free. And although that may sound strange, this is just for you to TEST things out.

So you would sign up for CC:
»www.callcentric.com/products/

For the outbound plan, choose [Pay Per Call]. You can CHANGE this LATER at any time, we're just testing.

For the inbound plan, choose [Free Phone Number]. Again, this is just for TESTING, they will not force you to start talking like a New Yorker.

Your costs for the TEST are going to be:

1) Whatever outbound calls you made for testing, even one hour of outbound calls on the [Pay Per Call] plan is just about one dollar. There's no setup fee on that plan.

2) Inbound (using the free NY phone number for TESTING) is free, and no setup fee on that plan either. You can call the test number using your cellphone, your cellphone company doesn't care if you are calling to New Orleans or New York.

3) To keep things kosher , you do need to set up 911, that's 1.50 a month and one-time setup of 1.50.

So:

BEFORE porting your number, you can TEST CallCentric for a total of FOUR DOLLARS.

If you put in five bucks to start, and you're not happy, they'll refund your other dollar.

If you are happy, you can port your number, change the outbound and inbound plans, etc.

(And just give back the free NY number. Unless your church wants to keep it, to advertise that they even have a NY number to encourage sinners to call).


digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana
reply to digiblur
I guess I'm just going to have to email their tech support to see if they offer a way to use both lines of the SPA2000. I'm hoping they can come up with something and I can just swap the router, configure the QOS, plug in the SPA2000, then plug in the two lines from their phone system into the SPA2000 and boom that's it.

I did get a chance to look at the phone system and they do have a line 3 that is not hooked up. I didn't try to hook anything up to it but if it works it looks like I'll be able to plug in the SPA2000 for testing purposes on line 3.

kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL

1 edit
reply to digiblur
Not to muddy the decision process for you, but it sounds like your needs would really be best suited by a PBX, which I know you ruled out (and understand completely).

Assuming porting is possible, one alternative to a PBX would be to use a provider that offers sub-accounts allowing you to mimic extensions. This would give you the ability to route inbound calls any way you'd like- ring one or more phones simultaneously, call hunt, etc. For outbound, the outbound CID for each phone (sub-account) can be set to your main account DID.

Another way would be to go with a full on hosted PBX provider.

Also, if you have the budget, and this is coming from a PAP2 and SPA3000 owner, have a look at the Obihai ATA's.