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The VoIP FAQ

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,618 ✭✭✭ JoyPad


    GENERAL
    Q[G1]: What is VoIP?
    A: VoIP is technology that enables one to make and receive phone calls thru the Internet instead of using the traditional analog PSTN lines.

    Q[G2]: What are the advantages of VoIP over analog PSTN lines?
    A: The main advantage of VoIP over PSTN lines is cost: it's cheaper! Other advantages of VoIP are: digital features not commonly available on PSTN lines such as voicemail, caller ID, conference, music-on-hold, etc.

    Q[G3]: What type of service and equipment are needed for VoIP deployment?
    A: The following equipment and services are required for VoIP deployment: a high-speed Internet connection, an IP Phone or an ATA with a regular phone, and a VSP account. A VoIP router can also help.

    Q[G4]: What are VSPs?
    A: VSPs are the next generation telcos that provide interconnection between VoIP and PSTN networks. They allow call origination and termination between these two networks.

    Q[G5]: Can I make and receive calls to/from PSTN lines using VoIP?
    A: Absolutely! VoIP users can definitely make and receive calls to/from PSTN lines. Any type of calls (e.g. local, long distance, international, etc.) are allowed. This requires an account with a VSP that provide termination, and they are available on a subscription basis.

    Q[G6]: How I can make/receive free VoIP calls to/from remote location?
    A: Making and receiving free VoIP calls can be made possible by signing up with VoIP Service Providers such as Free World Dialup (FWD) that allow unlimited VoIP calling. These providers will sometimes allow making/receiving free VoIP to PSTN calls (and vice versa). In addition, VoIP end user devices such as ATAs and IP phones can be set up to make point to point VoIP calls between one another.

    Q[G7]: Can I port my number to VoIP?
    A: Yes. Number Portability is the facility which enables customers to retain their telephone number independently of the operator providing the service. All operators are obliged to provide number portability as a customer right under the Universal Service Regulations (SI308/2003). Number portability enables customers to choose to move between operators, where they may get a better deal on tariffs or services with another operator, without incurring the additional cost and inconvenience of a number change. There are three different types of number portability; Geographic, Non-geographic and Mobile.

    Geographic Number Portability:
    GNP enables any fixed line customer to move or port their telephone number(s) to any other available operator.

    Non - Geographic Number Portability:
    NGNP enables customers to transfer their non-geographic number service (e.g. freephone, lo-call, VoIP numbers between host providers.

    If you are porting from a fixed line connection, you will need the UAN number from your provider. If your supplier is Eircom, this is your eircom account number. To port a standard PSTN line it now takes 24-48 hours on a weekday. Larger lines can take two weeks to port. Once you port your line, you will no longer need to pay line rental and you will no longer be able to make calls using the landline (except 999/112). Your provide will tell you in advance when the port will take place. It is generally seamless and calls normally are not dropped in the process. It is recommended you ensure your broadband connection is stable enough for VOIP.

    See: http://www.comreg.ie/telecoms/number_portability.559.462.html

    Q[G8]: How do I port my number?
    A: You need to contact your VoIP provider. You do not need to cancel your connection - doing so will cause the port to fail and you may have to spend a lot of time and money to get it back. The line is cancelled by your new provider. Some providers (E.g. Skype) who are not registered in Ireland will not be able to port your number. You will need a copy of your bill from your existing supplier and the UAN number.

    Q[G9]: Who do I go to if I have an issue with my provider
    Firstly try working the problem and logging a complaint in writing with your provider. If you continue to have an issue with your provider you should log a complaint through Comreg. It is also possible to initiate a charge back through your credit card provider.

    Comreg can be contacted:
    By phone: (01) 804 9668 or 1890 229 668* (9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday)
    By email: [email protected]
    By post: ComReg Consumer Team
    Irish Life Centre
    Block DEF
    Lower Abbey Street
    Dublin 1


    HARDWARE
    Q[H1]: What is an IP phone?
    A: It's a phone with integrated VoIP capability. They come in two flavours: software and hardware. The software IP phones (aka softphones) require a PC and either a soundcard with speakers and microphone, or a compatible USB phone.

    Q[H2]: Should I use an ATA or an IP phone?
    A: It depends on your preference and budget. An ATA will allow you to use analog phones for VoIP. While this might save money, they do not have one touch feature keys (e.g. transfer, hold, etc). On the other hand, using IP phones will provide more features that are similar to digital phones.

    Q[H3]: Do I need a computer to make/receive VoIP calls?
    A: The answer depends on whether or not you will be using a softphone with your VoIP integration. If softphones are used instead of physical phones or ATA devices, then computers are needed.

    Q[H4]: What is a VoIP router? Do I need one?
    A: A router connects IP networks together. When the IP phone or ATA is connected to the network, it will have to be through a router. Some IP phones and ATAs have embedded routing capabilities and their use is recommended because they have VoIP prioritisation. This helps ensure VoIP quality, regardless of other traffic. See [H6].

    Q[H5]: Can I use dial-up for VoIP or do I need broadband?
    A: Dial-up can be used for VoIP when necessary or if its the only type of connection available. However, a broadband connection is recommended since VoIP usually requires higher bandwidth than what dialup can provide.

    Q[H6]: Can I surf the web during VoIP calls?
    A: Yes, VoIP allows web surfing while making and receiving VoIP calls simultaneously. However, since the connection is shared, the quality of VoIP might suffer if the bandwidth allocated drops below certain limits. One way to ensure that VoIP gets sufficient bandwitdh is using QoS, which is built into most VoIP routers.

    Q[H7]: Can I use VoIP for all the phones in my residence?
    A: Definitely, VoIP can replace every single phone in your residence. Both ATA devices and IP phones can be used instead of regular analog phones. This setup requires an account with a VSP.

    TECHNICAL
    Q[T1]: What are IP PBXs?
    A: IP PBXs (Private Branch Exchanges) are complete phone systems that provide advanced telephony features and services between VoIP and PSTN networks. Common features and services include: call transfer, conference, voicemail, music-on-hold, auto-attendant, and auto call routing.

    Q[T2]: What are VoIP Gateways?
    A: VoIP gateways are devices that take analog voice signals and convert them to IP for transport over the LAN or WAN.

    Q[T3]: What are FXO and FXS ports?
    A: Foreign Exchange Office (FXO) ports are interfaces used to connect with PSTN analog lines. Foreign Exchange Station (FXS) ports are interfaces used to connect with end user devices (e.g. phone or fax).

    Q[T4]: What are PSTN failover lines?
    A: PSTN failover lines are used as backup connections in the event your VoIP or Internet connection goes down. These are optional ports on ATA devices or IP phones that connect directly to the analog PSTN lines coming from the telephone company. This setup requires having both a regular analog telephone line and a VSP account.

    Q[T5]: Which VoIP signaling protocols are commonly used?
    A: VoIP signaling protocols are used to setup and tear down calls, carry the required information to locate end users, and negotiate device capabilities. The following list shows the most common VoIP signaling protocols available: SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), H.323, Cisco SCCP (Skinny Client Control Protocol), IAX (Inter-Asterisk Exchnage), and MGCP (Media Gateway Control Protocol).

    Q[T6]: Which VoIP codec should I use?
    A: VoIP codecs convert analog voice signals to their digital encoded version. Codecs vary in size, sound quality, bandwidth and computation requirements. The most common VoIP codecs currently available are: G.711 (alaw & ulaw), G.723, G.726, G.729, GSM, and iLBC.

    Q[T7]: What are Gatekeepers and Registrars?
    A: Gatekeepers and Registrars are gateways that provide authentication, authorization, call control and call routing, and session invites for end user devices.

    Q[T8]: Will call quality be affected if I use my connection while on the phone?
    A: It is recommended that you setup QoS on your router. This will give your phone priority over other devices on the same connection. You should also make sure your connection is stable enough for VoIP.


    TERMS
    VoIP = Voice over Internet Protocol
    VSP = VoIP Service Provider
    PSTN = Public Switched Telephone Network
    ATA = Analog Telephone Adapters
    QoS = Quality of Service
    Please also see the "Voice Over IP Reference Page" - http://www.protocols.com/pbook/VoIP.htm


Comments



  • The follow is a list of applications & plugins that you can use to control ot limit your upload/download speed in order to control/improve VoIP call quality.

    Bittorrent
    Azureus - Autospeed Plugin
    Discription:The Autospeed plugin automatically adjust global upload/download speed limit based on network latency. This plugin pings a configurable IP address and uses the ping times to continually update the upload speed limit to maximise download speeds, this can be used to allow Azureus to cut download/upload speeds when pings times are affected when a VoIP call is made Windows & OSX only.


    Azureus - Speed Scheduler Plugin
    Discription:Schedule your upload and download speeds based on time and day of week.
    SpeedScheduler is an Azureus plugin for managing upload and download speeds on a schedule. Many ISPs (mine included) regulate how much their users can download/upload, but those regulations are typically on a schedule. In my case, there is no limit to the amount I can download between the hours of 12 midnight and 7am on weekdays, so I wanted Azureus to work with that schedule, setting slow speeds during the day, and fast speeds during the night.

    General Applications
    Netlimiter - http://www.netlimiter.com/
    Discription:NetLimiter is an ultimate internet traffic control and monitoring tool designed for Windows. You can use NetLimiter to set download/upload transfer rate limits for applications or even single connection and monitor their internet traffic.




  • If anyone wants anything else added to The VoIP FAQ please PM me and I'll add it for you,

    Thanks
    Cabaal


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