Home – New Forums Tech talk VOIP – is it worth it?

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  • #969050
    MaddyB
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    Hi guys,

    We’re looking into the option of using VOIP, but just not sure if it’s worth it at this point in time. I’ve been told that the quality in Australia isn’t that good at the moment (drop outs, static, etc) and that it’ll take about three years for it to be a really good thing to use.

    Of course, I was told this by Telstra so I’m a bit wary of what they’ve said.

    Does anyone here who uses VOIP recommend it? We have about 17 staff members here and a fairly strong Internet connection with Telstra.

    Would it be worth taking a VOIP trial? Which companies are best to use?

    Any ideas, advice, tips would be greatly appreciated:) Thanks!

    #1036620
    HamishBorthen
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    HI Maddy,

    I’m sure you will get plenty opinions on what VOIP is like and who’s best etc. So I won’t comment on that.

    What I will say is that about 2 years ago I was looking at moving a client accross to VOIP. They have fairly significant phone bills with a lot of interstate phone calls etc and VOIP would have been a huge a saving due to all Australian calls being local.

    It never happen because once we let Telstra know we were migrating they made a offer on their phone serives they couldnt’ refuse. So it might be worth getting some quotes and seeing what Telstra will do for you.

    I’m not a huge fan of Telstra either but they always seem to have something that keeps me with them.. whether it’s country internet coverage or better mobile reception.. So always worth asking the question..

    #1036621
    peppie
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    Even 2 years in the landscape of technology, including VOIP, would most very likely mean a big difference in attitude as well as the technology.

    I have been with Mynetfone for at least 18 months now and had very little complaint. I have an electronics background and understand the technology fairly well. I can see the potential problems but am also aware that the stories you hear of poor performance are defiantly not from recent times. More like very early days and years back.

    My own experience, audio quality always very good, occasionally an echo on the line and maybe only noticeable to the receiver of a call and not the originator, once or twice a difficulty connecting to a client with a VOIP service from another supplier or in a particular location and the possible added problem that because it uses your internet connection when you loose that connection you also loose the phone.

    Otherwise the savings in the bill can be a very big incentive to put up with the occasional problem, which by the way you are going to have in different ways with the big boys.

    #1036622
    ndreamer
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    peppie, post: 44195 wrote:
    Even 2 years in the landscape of technology, including VOIP, would most very likely mean a big difference in attitude as well as the technology.

    I have been with Mynetfone for at least 18 months now and had very little complaint. I have an electronics background and understand the technology fairly well. I can see the potential problems but am also aware that the stories you hear of poor performance are defiantly not from recent times. More like very early days and years back.

    My own experience, audio quality always very good, occasionally an echo on the line and maybe only noticeable to the receiver of a call and not the originator, once or twice a difficulty connecting to a client with a VOIP service from another supplier or in a particular location and the possible added problem that because it uses your internet connection when you loose that connection you also loose the phone.

    Otherwise the savings in the bill can be a very big incentive to put up with the occasional problem, which by the way you are going to have in different ways with the big boys.

    Reliably is not that great, VOIP providers massively over sell which is just waiting for problems to happen. If i was to use it, it would only be for out going calls, you would still need a good isp and a good VOIP provider.

    #1036623
    peppie
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    ndreamer, post: 44202 wrote:
    Reliably is not that great, VOIP providers massively over sell which is just waiting for problems to happen. If i was to use it, it would only be for out going calls, you would still need a good isp and a good VOIP provider.
    I would be interested as to your experience of “reliability is not that great” and exactly what you base that statement upon. Because my experience is that it is a very reliable medium.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had with client recently about recordable DVDs. His sister had been told they only had a 3 to 5 year life span and for archiving they should use a hard drive instead. I said (and I can speak from experience and good knowledge of the subject) not so, good DVD R these days has a life of at least 50 years and it is generally known in the industry hard drives on average can’t be expected to last more than about 5 or 6 years or so, even if not used a great deal.

    So I would very careful of making sweeping statements without good data to back it up.

    #1036624
    JohnSheppard
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    I have had good experience with my SIP based voip. I did not have good experience with Skype (for reasons I won’t bother explaining here).

    The issue with Voip is that it can require configuration. It’s often not just plug it in and it works, you will sometimes have to change codecs, adjust settings etc. Check out whirlpools.net.au’s voip section and you will see the issues people have.

    I think it inaccurate to say that it is successful for everyone, but in my opinion the cost savings are worth the initial headache.

    Myself I initially had echo problems (at callers end) which no matter what I did I couldn’t get rid of. Eventually I figured out that my handset was such good quality it was picking up what was being said in the speaker and recycling it through the mic… turned the mic down down and problem solved…

    I live in Cairns and call Australia wide (in small quantities) and do not have any problems. Well, actually, I get lots of people ringing my 1300 number looking for Wine, or mobile phone repairs of which I do neither :). I assume this is because my number is close to theirs and people are typing it wrong.

    Virtual PBX’s are much cheaper that traditional setup also, especially if you work remotely.

    #1036625
    SamS
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    We use Exetel for our Internet and VOIP and the VOIP quality is very good and reliable. We are just on a residential plan as we mostly work from home. The sound quality is as good as a land line. If there is ever an occasion that broadband has an outage, we switch to (Exetel’s) wireless broadband, or simple use the land line. Our modem (Billion 7404VNPX) is VOIP capable and allows you to easily switch between VOIP and normal land line, with automatic fallback if VOIP is not available. It can also fallback to wireless broadband if you have a wireless USB modem, which is also recommended if being constantly online is important to your business. Your existing phone can plug directly into the modem, so we use a cordless phone base station there with three handsets around the house.

    Our phone costs are a tiny fraction of what they used to be – so well worth the effort to set up.

    #1036626
    King
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    Don’t forget that voip also uses bandwidth, that you have to pay for. It is rubbish to say that internet based calls are free.

    We use Telstra – they have an $89pm plan that includes unlimited STD calls. You cannot do much better than that.

    #1036627
    peppie
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    Well, to each his own Mr King.

    At Mynetfone I pay less than $10/m for up to 100 calls Aust. wide, 10c/call over that (untimed) and 20c/min to mobiles plus very cheap international. For that I get 2 lines (1 with “normal” phone No. and 1 we just use for calls out) and they are about to introduce easy transfer of your present landline phone No..

    #1036628
    scotty
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    King, post: 44387 wrote:
    Don’t forget that voip also uses bandwidth, that you have to pay for. It is rubbish to say that internet based calls are free.

    Most popular VoIP codec (g722, g729 etc) uses around 1MB-1.2MB per minute maximum, which is NOTHING when you look at today’s broadband plans.

    #1036629
    King
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    scotty, post: 44410 wrote:
    Most popular VoIP codec (g722, g729 etc) uses around 1MB-1.2MB per minute maximum, which is NOTHING when you look at today’s broadband plans.

    My point was that you still need to factor in data usage costs and have a broadband plan to meet that need and that even with skype, it is still not ‘free’

    If we were to use voip for 10×15 minute call per day = 3gb data, that would put us well over our monthly bandwidth (we use about 8gb per month in normal business) and see us ‘shaped’ and no doubt a reduction in call quality plus reduced satisfaction in normal business internet use.

    I’m not and have never said don’t use viop, but landline deals are pretty attractive as well.

    #1036630
    SamS
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    Scotty is right – VOIP bandwidth is small under current broadband plans. Our Exetel broadband plan is 36GB during peak hours, and virtually unlimited offpeak (although in practice about 80GB) for $55 per month. Actual VOIP charges are 10c per call untimed to anywhere in Aust, plus the low fees for overseas.

    King: “10×15 minute call per day = 3gb data”

    Luckily not :-) Think about a DVD = 4.7 GB – contains hours of high quality video and multi-channel CD-quality audio (possibly in multiple languages). VOIP is highly compressed voice band mono audio.See here:

    http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=VOIP_Codecs

    G.729 is commonly used = 0.5 MB/minute.

    10×15 minute call per day = 75 MB = 0.075 GB of data

    #1036631
    web3k
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    VoIP has come along way and whether its worth it or not will depend on what you need to get out of it (additional features, lower costs etc).

    Unless you’re running a call centre, we’ve found the data usage component for VoIP to be a lot smaller than we first anticipated. Again, this will depend on the volume of phone calls you’re making.

    In general, there are some good savings to be had depending on the call types you make and the volume of calls. The quality we’ve found is comparable to a PSTN or ISDN service a large majority of the time. We’ve only ever had minor hiccups and these didn’t affect the voice quality too drastically.

    Of course, with any internet based application, you’ll need a stable broadband service. People sometimes forget that the quality of the VoIP service is not only to do with the VoIP provider, but also the quality of your broadband connection, which sometimes is out of the service providers control.

    All in all, we’ve been using VoIP for our phone since we opened and have never looked back.

    #1036632
    MaddyB
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    Thanks to everyone for your responses – now I have to sit down and see what might work best for us!

    Thanks again,

    Maddy

    #1036633
    tildavirtual
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    Hi Maddy,

    I’ve been using VoIP for over 4 years now and while there were quality issues in the beginning, it is now rare for us to have bad quality calls. I’ve used a couple of VoIP providers (for different reasons) and I’ve found that what makes a big difference is 1) broadband speed 2) VoIP provider and 3) device used.

    When I started my business I lived in Bathurst NSW and 98% of my clients were based in Melbourne with the rest in the UK. I had a Melbourne DID and most thought I lived in Melbourne somewhere (have since moved there). I managed to reduce my phone bill from $500 – $600 for one phone line and my mobile down per month to $160 for one phone line, 10 DID’s and my mobile (iPhone) with data included per month.

    Take the time to shop around and make sure you select a provider who is happy to take your calls when something isn’t working properly. You’ll also need to think about what happens when your internet is down. What happens to your calls then? (Mine are diverted to my mobile)

    Choose a reliable VoIP device. I highly recommend the SNOM or Linksys brand. I’ve used both and not had problems.

    Finally, keep an eye on your downloads. If the kids are youtubing or they’re downloading music, it will affect your call quality because they’re sucking up your bandwidth.

    Good luck!

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