Tag Archives: DSL

VoIP Galore!

After years of careful planning, it is finally done.  I managed to finally go all digital voice here at home.  Freeing myself from the “traditional” telephone providers, aka Bell, proved to be a most interesting and fun challenge.

The set up did not come super easy.  It required a lot of work and fiddling around with archance software.

First up, is the IP-PBX.  I went with Asterisk, as it is the best well known package to use.  Specifically, I went with Trixbox, since it comes as a distribution as is easy to install.  Within about 20 minutes the phone system itself is working. Next, I wanted to integrate true “unified communications”, so I set up Office Communications Server 2007 R2.  I can now make calls from the OCS client, and take them too, score!

For the phones in the house I went with the Cisco SPA3102.  It is finicky, and MANY people who claim to have set them up properly in Asterisk, have not.  Unless all 4 LED lights are on, it’s not set up.  After a couple days of playing, finally, all 4 lights work, and it is a proper extension in the house.  The SPA3102 features 911 and power-off pass-through, so, in emergencies, it will still work with Ma Bell.

Finally, I decided to use FlowRoute for my IP-Voice traffic.  There rates are cheap, and with the SPA3102 I can still keep my Bell line, but route local calls locally, and long distance out to FlowRoute.  All of my calls are digital, as even to go to local Bell calls, Asterisk digitizes them.

I’m quite pleased with the performance.  Even in a VM Asterisk runs ok.  In my next major hardware swap (later this year), I’ll move Asterisk to physical hardware to improve voicemail recording, but right now, it is not a issue.  Saving 50$ a month is quite impressive.  I may even offer the service to family and friends, who knows.

All I can say is once you go digital,  you never want to go back!

What happens when Murphy strikes…

dsl-speedstream6520Ahh, the joys of the Internet.  After suffering 3 days without real Internet access, I can say it’s good to be back again.  My Business Telco DSL provider had a 3 day outage.  Now, if this was the height of summer, and I wanted to spend more time outdoors, this would have been perfect.  Not so fast in this case.

When I designed the infrastructure for ITInTheDataCenter.com, I knew the WAN would be the weak link.  Only one connection, it’s all my eggs in one basket.  About 2 or 3 times a year, it goes away, so it’s usually tolerable.  But it’s usually for no more than 4 hours either.  This time for 72 hours, that’s a little much.

So, I managed to procure a back-up low-speed connection for occasional use.  I decided on Rogers Portable Internet.  It works.  The WiMax modem is a little strange, in that it only likes 10mb half internet Ethernet connections, but otherwise it works ok. For 40$ a month (that I’ll only activate when needed) it’ll save me headaches when travelling, or when I need access out with customers.

The moral of this story… Murphy will strike, it’s just a matter of when.  Always have a backup.