for Small Business to Home Office -
it’s ready, but are you?
Written by the Tech Edge E-zine
May 1st, 2007
The curious thing
about SIP based VoIP is that it has also allowed plenty of small
local or regional companies to offer VoIP using an
open source version of SIP standard called Asterisk ®.
A few smaller companies that have been around a while and picked up
some national notice
are - BroadVoice®,
SIPphone ® and
Gizmo Project ®.
If their services and security suit your needs, these kinds of providers
for individual business people, or home users.
Because SIP with Asterisk is so simple (and free) to implement, too
many ill planned companies have gotten into VoIP and they continue
traveling circus at the end of the week. Do your research before you
put down a big investment in their services. Beware of the companies
with websites filled with hot babe pictures ... just what are they
The basic Asterisk platform
is pretty generic and unfortunately has plenty of nagging bugs that
aren’t being fixed by the originators. Some of the small SIP
service providers have done great jobs of sanitizing Asterisk
on their service and for any hardware that's compatible with SIP. Others
apparently just used Asterisk as is and we found lots of those nasty
bugs that make using those services a waste of
time. We’ll name names as we cover the services and the hardware
you can use.
With the burgeoning of the VoIP market, you’d think that those
service providers using SIP would have a well-organized standards
governing body to make everyone work together and foster cooperation.
Apparently this isn’t the case, as most of the SIP providers
do not allow their customers with basic free accounts to call others
from competing SIP services. This would be like your having AT&T
telephone service at home and not being able to call your brother in
another location because he has Verizon or another PSTN (analog) telephone
service. It’s absurd, but this is going on today!
If you have a basic
BroadVoice account, you can’t call
someone with basic SIPphone service, or someone with a SIPnumber® service,
or someone with Tel Tel® service, or Gizmo,
etc., unless you pay extra for a local phone number and some call credits,
about $.02 - $04 per minute domestically. Over-seas call may be at
higher per minute fees. Basically, if you have a SIPphone account,
you’ll only be able to call other SIPphone account holders,
unless you upgrade from your basic free service level.
There are a few ways
around this stumbling block and we’ll explain them in the upcoming
article segment on SIP small office / home office service. But we’d
hope that all the SIP Asterisk based service would get their act together
and, well .. act together to further the interest in SIP. A couple of
the company CEO's we've spoken too are frustrated with the situation
and are trying to find a community accord.
for the smaller customer quickly grows, there are some bumps in the
road for the non traditional providers. More and more companies are
challenging the traditional
phone companies and the big phone boys aren’t
going to take it lying down. Many have also jumped into VoIP,
the cable companies are doing it too. If you have cable broadband at
home or small office and have bought into the cable companies “digital
phone” service, you are really getting the same kind of VoIP
that you can buy from anyone else. Cox ®,
phone service” is just VoIP and it can be very cheap.... for
The dark side of the big boys fighting back is the first of the lawsuits
by Verizon® that claims patent infringement
against VoIP market leader Vonage®. Vonage
lost the first round in court, but has secured a stay
of judgment, which if not overturned, could put them out of business.
The Verizon patent is vague and too broad, as many analysts have reported;
and if Vonage losses ultimately, you can believe that Verizon won’t
talk, and how–
of the very useful things about VoIP is that in the many services available
to the small business user. You can use VoIP via many different forms
of communications and not all are hardware.
Day to day calls from the office, call transfers, voice messages, voice
mails, fax, calls while out of the office on the road, etc., are all
part of what everyone needs in a business phone service. It would be
nice to have at home too.
Keep in mind that we haven’t tried all the many flavors of VoIP
services available; it would take us far too long to do so. But we’ve
found that many of the companies have done a very good job of making
it easy for you to do your daily communications conveniently from anywhere.
With many of the services you can have your familiar desktop telephone
- whether a digital IP phone or your original analog phone with a VoIP
adapter - and also be able to use a Wi-Fi phone, or a “soft phone” (software)
on any desktop computer, or anywhere you take your notebook that has
access to a broadband connection.
Tech Edge E-zine