[lug] Business VOIP Advice...

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Mon Sep 7 15:50:43 MDT 2009

Ryan Kirkpatrick wrote:
> On Wed, 2 Sep 2009, Ryan Kirkpatrick wrote:
>> Briefly, how do you deal with inbound VOIP packets being dropped when the
>> telco refuses (for their own VOIP service) to put QoS on their end of the
>> T1/DSL/Cable? For more details, read on...
> Thanks to everyone, but especially Ferdinand, Nate, and Sean. You pretty
> much nailed what I was thinking. It looks like if Flat11 can't get QoS
> going on their end, then we will be looking for a new provider that does
> have QoS for their VOIP. TTYL.

I sincerely hope you can find a good provider when you hunt.  A lot of 
the not-so-talented folks in IT, moved from hosting services in the 
early 2000's when that market crashed to the new buzz-word, "VoIP"... 
but really don't have the talent to pull it off.  Hunting for good ones 
is like the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack search.

In many ways, a VoIP phone system (when designed/installed wrong) looks 
simple, cheaper, and more feature-rich, but can be a big business 
money-loser or at least a great source of annoyance, if not done 
"right".  And doing it right costs a bit of money at both ends, the 
provider and the customer.

I'm not advocating this in general, but there are some simplicities of a 
good old POTS line (and almost 100 years of engineering behind it) that 
appeal, even with what seem to be outrageous prices, at times.

All depends on your needs and your tolerance for problems.  I switched 
years ago to Vonage for the home phone, and I find that it's a 90% to 
95% solution in the end.  They finally got hit with the same taxes and 
governmental regulation that Qwest had to pass along in my old bills 
from them on the Residential POTS service, and now they're not nearly 
the "deal" they once were.  Mixing in annoyances like the thing utterly 
falling apart during an important business phone call taken at home, 
where I had to switch to a cell phone for a two-hour long conference 
call because the quality was so bad... and you start to think they're 
not such a great "deal" at all.

The bill for the Vonage service started at $19.95/mo years ago, but with 
taxes and fees now pushes above $30 every month.  I haven't priced a 
POTS line in a while, but I assume it would be about $40 with nothing 
"fancy" on the line.

If I were going for "always works, every time, and has limited 
features", the POTS line would win.

If I'm going for "advanced services, but sometimes sounds like crap", 
Vonage wins.

I haven't truly decided which I prefer, having had both.  I'm leaning 
back toward "reliable".  Maybe I'm just getting old.

I do like that I have the OPTIONS though!  That's the coolest thing 
about all of this.  Choice.  The downside of choice, is of course... 
having to choose... and living with the contracts.

I wish you well in your hunt for the perfect telephone services for your 
needs.  ;-)  I haven't found mine yet.

(What I really want is my own company's products to come down a LOT in 
price so I can hold video calls with family and friends that don't 
require a computer in-hand or anything other than a remote control to 
make those calls, right on the HDTV I already have.  The technology is 
available, it's just too expensive right now for median-income earners 
to install as a feature in their homes.  Videoconferencing that has all 
the firewall by-passing features of something like Skype, and better 
video and audio quality -- built into the home TV -- and something 
that's as easy to add as a TiVO to a home entertainment system, would be 
ideal.  No building highly-modified home theater PC's and shipping them 
to family, a $300 set-top box that "just works", figures out who's 
connection has bigger bandwidth, and sets up multipoint calls on the box 
at that home (no "monthly service" recurring costs)... that'd be wicked 
cool.  Why are we still holding microphones and speakers to our heads to 
talk to family members?  Pick up the TV remote, flip to the "call Mom" 
entry in the address book, and if she answers, talk living room to 
living room... by the technology only, that's EASY to do today... by the 
costs and complexity, it's not "there" yet.

Fun stuff to think about, "ain't it"?  :-)


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