[lug] Re: [clue-talk] (Semi-OT) Vonage VoIP comments?

Matt Clauson mec at dotorg.org
Wed Dec 14 08:56:39 MST 2005

Hash: SHA1

Crawford Rainwater wrote:
> Folks:
> Been looking into Vonage's business packages for a client of our's.  I
> was wondering if anyone had any comments about them (pro's and con's)?
> They have Qwest DSL Basic (the 1.5MBps/896kbps) for a connection, small
> family shop (~6 users altogether).

Depending for the want/need for multiple incoming numbers (DIDs) as well
as the actual usage, you might want to set up your own Asterisk system
and use a bulk VoIP reseller like Denver's TelIAX (www.teliax.com) or
Sell-Voip (www.sellvoip.net - disclaimer:  I am a satisfied customer of
this company).  Right now I'm paying (depending on the NPA-NXX of the
number) $1 to $2 per DID, and 1-2 cents per minute (including inbound
toll-free!) for personal service at home.  I also have Vonage service
which I use as another outbound-only trunk (forwarding the inbound to
one of my other DIDs), as well as VoIP service that's currently provided
by my employer.  Something also useful might be to get DIDs from a
provider called VoicePulse (www.voicepulse.com) -- they offer
unlimited-incoming DIDs for (last I checked) $11 per month, with a
4-simultaneous-call limit.  Outbound rates are comparable (1-2 cents per
minute for domestic US).

Your downside will be that this isn't a managed, 'plug-and-play'
solution -- you'll have outlay costs for the asterisk box (say, $500 for
a semi-modern Desktop -- this hardware will last you quite a while), as
well as VoIP handsets (or ATAs to interface with existing phones).  You
also incur the personnel cost of managing such a solution, however,
there are a lot of user-friendly GUIs out there for managing Asterisk,
as well as a lot of turn-key Asterisk solutions.

Also, something else to note:  Vonage doesn't support any kind of call
control (at least on the Cisco ATA-186 I have).  No wink, ground, or
loop start...  And the "busy detection" feature in the zaptel code isn't
the best in the world.  You might run into issues connecting a
commercial phone system (say, an AT&T/Lucent/Avaya Merlin) to your
Vonage box to share the outbound trunk.

My reccomendation:  if your customer is willing to accept a little more
overhead, go for an Asterisk box -- you can give everyone their own DID,
and depending on the usage pattern, it'll be cheaper in the long run.
Of course, if this is something like "Joe's Pizza", it might be better
just to do a Vonage ATA.

- --mec
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