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Old 20-12-2014, 11:45   #1
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VOIP Experiences

I have recently started using VOIP for making international calls.

The reason is that there are not too many good solutions for international calling which you can use in different countries. I used to have Globaltel, but that service has been shut down. And you need to make a local call -- IF you have a provider with access in that country.

With the constant improvement in bandwidth, I have found it easier to have really good Internet access anywhere than phone service, so VOIP was only natural.

It was timely, because I have been in the middle of a deal for the last 3 months which has required me to spend up to hours a day on conference calls. I can't imagine what it would have cost me if I had been using normal telephone service.

For my provider, I settled on FreelyCall, out of a fair number of SIP phone providers.

For the SIP phone, I am using Zoiper, a basic version of which is free, but I paid a little extra for the enhanced version plus the G729 codec.

My experience has been mixed.

FreelyCall is half or less than the cost of Skype Out, the other service I used (and which is not that cheap BTW).

When it's good, its better than Skype it seems -- the U-Law codec gives fabulous high fidelity audio when the Internet connection is good enough. But uses quite a lot of data. And any kink in the Internet connection, and the audio starts dropping out, calls get dropped, etc. -- much more sensitive to the quality of the connection than Skype. So for the most critically important calls, I tended to use Skype although it is much more expensive.

Recently I have switched to the much lower bandwidth G729 codec. The audio quality is surprisingly good, I think better than GSM. It seems to be more robust and more resistant to connection problems, but the jury is still out.

I would be interested in hearing about the experience of others.
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Old 20-12-2014, 12:17   #2
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I've had very good experience with VOIP. The military uses only VoIP or SVoIP (secure VoIP- not available to civilians and unnecessary as you can only make SVoIP to SVoIP calls) so it's a very robust comms platform.

I've been using a service called Toktumi for a few years. It costs $14 a month and I transferred my FL number over to them.

It's been a God sent since I don't have to constantly buy a new sim or put a cell acct to "sleep" when I am OCONUS. Also helps with identification with my various acts when I call (the vru recognizes my tel# over VoIP)

Naturally, the only thing is that you need good internet connection.

Personally, I think VoIP is the future as cell towers won't be needed. All you need is a wifi router and Internet connection.

Hope this helps.

Fyi: sending and receiving faxes can also easily be configured for those rare occasions when paper trumps emails.


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Old 20-12-2014, 22:24   #3
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I've been using (and deploying) VoIP at home and work for over ten years and have been quite happy with it. Between lower costs, higher quality, and more flexibility, it is hard to beat.

At one time, I was spending 10 hours per day on conference calls with people in a half dozen timezones. If you're doing a lot of conference calls, try freeconferencecallhd.com. They allow you to connect to them via SIP (VoIP) without paying any per minute charges to the phone company. Every one else can connect to them in the 'usual' dial-in way. In addition, when using this SIP-based approach, the quality is better than dialing in by phone because it uses the G.722 Codec.

If your Internet connection is limited, G.729-based services will get through at the cost of quality. AMR, if you can find it, is similar in performance and will probably give you better quality when calling cellphones.

/ed
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Old 21-12-2014, 00:48   #4
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Re: VOIP Experiences

Perhaps it' truly a neophyte question, but when using such services, what do you use/is included in terms of voice mail?
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Old 21-12-2014, 08:27   #5
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Re: VOIP Experiences

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Originally Posted by edguy3 View Post
I've been using (and deploying) VoIP at home and work for over ten years and have been quite happy with it. Between lower costs, higher quality, and more flexibility, it is hard to beat.

At one time, I was spending 10 hours per day on conference calls with people in a half dozen timezones. If you're doing a lot of conference calls, try freeconferencecallhd.com. They allow you to connect to them via SIP (VoIP) without paying any per minute charges to the phone company. Every one else can connect to them in the 'usual' dial-in way. In addition, when using this SIP-based approach, the quality is better than dialing in by phone because it uses the G.722 Codec.

If your Internet connection is limited, G.729-based services will get through at the cost of quality. AMR, if you can find it, is similar in performance and will probably give you better quality when calling cellphones.

/ed
Hot tip! Thanks! I was looking for something like this. This seems like a really terrific service which gives you high definition audio with dial-in numbers in a bunch of different countries, absolutely free.

I've signed up for it and asked our IT manager to see if he can program a connection to it from our office network. We have Cisco IP phones which I believe are capable of SIP calling, so I don't see why not.
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Old 21-12-2014, 08:40   #6
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I've used a VOIP service for many years from my office here in Canada. It was inexpensive, portable, and came with "free" calls to all North American numbers. The quality of the calls were good as long as I had a good Internet connection.

I'm now considering something like Magicjack for our coming full-time boat life. There are tons of VOIP providers, but only a few that allow you to use a Canadian phone number for incoming calls.
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Old 21-12-2014, 09:02   #7
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I use VOIP for over 5 years daily for International and Local calls.

I have a subscription with Free Voip Deal

My normal phone is hooked-up on my FritzBox Wifi Router ass-well as my Land-Line. In the FritzBox my VOIP is programmed this means that I can use VOIP without a computer running. My Land-Line is hooked-Up as Dial-In Number.

I pay Nothing for 3 month after paying my Euro 25,-- Subscription fee. after this 3 month I pay Euro 0,001 per minute for International calls and calls to all Numbers in Brazil Mobile and Land-Lines. When my Euro 25,-- are used (for me after an other 6-7 month) I pay again Euro 25,--

So in average I spend Euro 25,-- for 8-9 month telephone use, the quality of the lines is extremely good.

PS. I have an App in my Android phone so that I can use FreeVOIPdeal also with my cellular when in WIFI reach.

CeesH a happy VOIP user..
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Old 21-12-2014, 09:13   #8
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Re: VOIP Experiences

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Perhaps it' truly a neophyte question, but when using such services, what do you use/is included in terms of voice mail?
I use youmail.com for my personal & business voicemail. They used to have a sip interface. but I found the only reliable way to get to them is via the PSTN (the 'Regular'/Old fashioned Phone Network). I assume they're still getting paid for incoming calls.. so they're not in a hurry to provide direct routes.
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Old 21-12-2014, 09:29   #9
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I've gone full-circle trying various VOIP providers and ended up using Google Voice and Obi ATAs. I found with various VOIP providers, the RTP registrations would sometimes fail. This happened with different providers and ATAs - it probably has to do with our internet provider (changing IP address or power failure?). Call quality also seems better with Google Voice.

I've been using Google Voice for several years for my business line and recently ported our home number. I've never had registration or call quality issues with Google Voice. Within the US, incoming/outgoing calls are free. They do have international rates.

Google "may" discontinue the service. Last year they announced that they'd discontinue the Google Voice service in May. I stupidly switched both numbers to a local VOIP provider (PhonePower). May came and went and Google Voice still worked. It now looks like the OBI ATAs still work and Google is continuing the service. From what I've read, it sounds like Google's decision to cancel the service had to do with security issues and they've fixed that in all of their products. I was confident enough with this change that I ported our home phone.

The Obi ATAs are interesting little boxes. They improved the standard Linksys/Cisco PAP2T by using Google's Chat mechanism to maintain the registration to Google. I assume they are using the same SIP protocols for the voice/talk. They also support standard VOIP, with the same type of settings as the PAP2T. Anyway, I like the the Obi boxes are easy to setup.

In the US and Canada, the "top" VOIP providers seem to be Callcentric and VOIP.MS. I used Callcentric's free account and VOIP.MS's per-minute rate plans. One of the advantages of VOIP.MS is they have 6 or 7 servers in Canada and US (one is Los Angeles), while Callcentric is in New York. This doesn't seem to matter. In May, when I switched, I went with Phonepower, mainly because of their low-cost plans ($59/year) and their location in Los Angeles. Now I'm back to Google Voice, at $0/year! There are lots of low-cost VOIP providers - i would suggest one of the top providers, even if it costs a few bucks more.

Before exploring VOIP space, I was paying AT&T close to $30 per line per month. Yes, the local phone service is something like $23, but they add all these garbage taxes and fees. I'm saving over $700/year with unlimited calling. The best part is our neighbor's AT&T service has been down for the last week due to rain - my internet/VOIP service is still working!

If anyone wants to experiment with VOIP, I have a Linksys PAP2T that I'm getting ready to list on eBay - $25 + shipping

Don
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Old 21-12-2014, 10:21   #10
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Re: VOIP Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiziger View Post
...........................I have a subscription with Free Voip Deal ......................after paying my Euro 25,-- Subscription fee.............

CeesH a happy VOIP user..
My wife corrected me she claims that we pay about Euro 10,-- pro year, and she is right i looked it up on our Bank Account.

CeesH
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Old 21-12-2014, 11:10   #11
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Re: VOIP Experiences

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
...
With the constant improvement in bandwidth, I have found it easier to have really good Internet access anywhere than phone service, so VOIP was only natural.
...
This depends much on where you are. I have had some poor results with VOIP mostly due to poor internet bandwidth in locations where I have been able to connect. Bandwidth is increasing of course, but it is a race against the demands of usage. Netflix and other online video services are growing fast, hogging much of the available bandwidth from other uses. Much of the world still lives with low bandwidth internet connections (or none at all).
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Old 21-12-2014, 12:02   #12
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Re: VOIP Experiences

Obi and Google can be a precarious combination. I tried that last year, and then after a couple of months of good service, Obi announced that Google was "discontinuing the unsupported API" that Obi used to make it all work. Months later, after I'd gone back to another (domestic) provider, I found out that Google and Obi had buried some hatchet and Obi now thinks they will work forever as a "Google Chat" device. Except, Obi's support fell down last time around, and Google makes no assurance that GVoice will continue, or at what price it may go to. (I'd rashly guess that they'll continue to offer it for free because they make enough money data-mining your call connections.)

Also from a domestic viewpoint, I've used VOIP over three different broadband suppliers, all well in excess of the minimum speeds. Three or five different routers. Still never found any QoS settings that gave my VOIP line priority enough to prevent picket-fencing and dropouts when the computer went active during the call. I know in theory there are QoS settings that will ensure the VOIP connection gets all the bandwidth it needs, but no one, no router maker, no VOIP supplier, no software company, seems to be able to make that happen.

So, VOIP, yes, But if you need call quality without dropouts? Possibly can't have a computer on the same connection.

And then there have been some other provider issues along the way. With a couple, they run out of Telco connections, so either your incoming calls don't come in, or you get a fast busy or no connection at all going out--when other carriers get through with no problem. Seems endemic to all the really cheap VOIP suppliers.
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Old 22-12-2014, 17:11   #13
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Re: VOIP Experiences

I've used Skype for many years. Not technically the best, but I like having a USA based number which I can give out rather than different phone numbers depending on my locale. I set it up to call forward to my local cell number, wherever that may be, so folks who need to reach me only need one number. If it rolls to voice maol then I get an email notificaton.

Handy for an official contsct number too....Govt officials don't like nomads and a consistent number helps avoids that issue.
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Old 22-12-2014, 18:42   #14
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Re: VOIP Experiences

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I've used Skype for many years. Not technically the best, but I like having a USA based number which I can give out rather than different phone numbers depending on my locale. I set it up to call forward to my local cell number, wherever that may be, so folks who need to reach me only need one number. If it rolls to voice maol then I get an email notificaton.

Handy for an official contsct number too....Govt officials don't like nomads and a consistent number helps avoids that issue.
I would probably use Skype, but for some reason they do not offer Canadian numbers. I know they blame it on our gvt regulator, but that can't be true since many other services offer Canadian numbers (like MagicJack and Callcentric).
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Old 23-12-2014, 10:58   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I've used Skype for many years. Not technically the best, but I like having a USA based number which I can give out rather than different phone numbers depending on my locale. I set it up to call forward to my local cell number, wherever that may be, so folks who need to reach me only need one number. If it rolls to voice maol then I get an email notificaton.

Handy for an official contsct number too....Govt officials don't like nomads and a consistent number helps avoids that issue.
All VOIP providers I know give DID numbers. You can even have several at once, for different numbers. This is a pretty basic function.

Skype is expensive, but it's good. Fewer problems, in my experience.

However, it's also a kind of "Apple" type product with no controls and no choices.

My Freelycall account is now working better with the low bandwidth G.729 codec. Seems to be more resistant to disturbances in the connection.
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