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Recommend a VOIP phone??

S

sign-age-graphics

New Member
Hi All,

Ive been looking into VOIP as a solution to deal with "landline" calls. Been reading up on it recently and would be intrested to hear about anyones experiances.

I notice that there are a vast amount of different types of VOIP phones out there, all at very different prices! Can anyone recommend a half decent, entry level phone that has good sound quality, at a good price??

It seems like the Snom phones are pretty popular, pretty pricey some of them too!

Im looking for a proper desk phone (not one of the headset things). One that works without needing to be connected to your computer. All i really require from it is the ability to make and recieve calls. Call clarity and reliability are probably my biggest concerns, anything else is a bonus.

Im a complete newbie to VOIP and i dont know anyone who uses one. I just dont want to spend a fortune on a phone that has more features than i would ever use!

Also, if anyone has a spare, unused one gathering dust in the cupboard i might give you a couple of quid for it!

Thanks in advance.

Andy
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
Hi Andy,

I made the mistake in 2007 of buying the cheapest of the cheap VOIP phones and the quality was rubbish. Thankfully you've identified that Snom really are one of the top manufacturers of VOIP phones, and to be honest with you, we wouldn't recommend any other manufacturer.

The Snom 300 handset is a very basic model, and functionality wise will probably do what you need to do on your budget. Going up the range, the 320 has a few more shortcut keys, and then higher up, the 820 is a colour screen beauty of a phone that'll do even more cool stuff. However, budget-wise, the 300 is fine and will probably do what you want.

One important thing to remember though is that the phone wont do anything at all unless you have a provider to connect it to. This can be your own Asterisk server in your office which has trunking to a POTS line, or a proper VOIP provider that hosts the service on external servers from you. Do you have this in place at the moment?

Have a look here: http://www.considerit.co.uk/services/voip-solutions/ at some of the services you can expect to get by using VOIP.
 
S

sign-age-graphics

New Member
Hi Stugster,

Thanks for your reply!

Your info is just what i wanted to hear. Ive been looking at the Snom 300, seems to be a popular phone. Think i will concentrate on that one.

I still dont fully understand the VOIP thing, so im just trying to take it all in. Ive been looking at different service providers, had a quick chat with Viopfone last week to try and better understand how it works.

Can you give me a rough idea of the ongoing costs, Stugster? monthly subscriptions, etc??

Im looking for a geographical number (0141),not bothered too much about call costs as most of the calls will be incoming.

Andy
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
If most of your calls are going to be inbound, I can recommend Voipfone. I know the owner and they're a very very reliable provider. The only thing with Voipfone is when you want to start doing more advanced features, call recording, hunt groups, they do tend to get a bit expensive.

If you buy the Snom 300 from Voipfone, it'll arrive preconfigured with all your information on it and you really wont have to do anything at all other than pay the monthly line rental.

Give them a call on their sales line and they'll be really helpful; they always are!

If at any time you decide to branch out to heavier use VOIP, let me know, we have some cracking deals :)
 
S

sign-age-graphics

New Member
Thanks for your input william, i will defo buy a Snom phone. I agree that sound quality is paramount on this so the higher cost of a Snom phone seems a small price to pay overall... being the bargain hunter that i am, i will see if there are any used ones on ebay later!

Stugster - i didnt realise the link you posted in your first reply was your own company! I would much prefer to do business with a Scottish company/SBF member. Im not anti-English in any way, shape of form, i just believe local businesses should support each other wherever possible... and the fact that i can speak to them in a thick Glasweigian accent and still be fully understood is always a bonus! :D

Can you give me some info on your service? PM me if the site does not allow this. Alternatively, i could send you my number and you could give me a call whenever is convenient. No real rush, hoping to have it set up in the next month or so.

Here is my situation... every place i work from already has an internet connection. Im going to buy a Snom phone (probably the 300 model) to start with and put it in my home office. I am needing a VOIP service provider and a 0141 number. Am i missing anything or is this all i need to get started?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Andy
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
Hi Andy,

Nope, you're not missing anything. A Snom phone and a SIP provider is all you need. Our smallest package starts at £15 a month. This includes the fully functioning SIP service for in and outbound calling, voicemail, etc. Included is a 0141 number too.

Feel free to chuck me an email via the website and we can look at what you need. If you're wanting to keep things on a real budget though, Voipfone is actually cheaper for low use.

Stu :)
 
C

Corrado Mella

Guest
Sorry to barge in here, and I might be late... but I think we are what Andy is looking for.
I'm the MD of Scottish Broadband Telecom, and between the many telecom services we provide there's one that suites you perfectly.

Here's what you can get:
  • A fully pre-configured, plug and play, VoIP phone from any make or model, wired or wireless. We are a snom authorized reseller, and a Gigaset associate VAR. Prices vary, but a decent VoIP fixed handset (like the recommended snom 300) retails at about £80;
  • A landline number on ANY local area you want (including a 0141 Glasgow number);
  • Outgoing calls at extremely competitive prices (see here);
  • A number of advanced features included like Voicemail-to-Email, Caller ID, Call Redirection, etc...
  • All the technical support you need for it.
The cost of the VoIP line rental is £4 per month plus VAT, and the first month line rental is FREE.
Please get in touch through the website, via email ([email protected]) or call 01738 211211.
Speak soon,
 
S

sign-age-graphics

New Member
Thanks again guys! Welcome to the chat Corrado.

I have a couple of possibly daft questions to ask, i might aswell ask them here so that other forum members interested in VOIP can benefit from the answers...

Is configuring a phone a complicated task? is it just a case of typing in IP numbers, etc. If you change providers at a later date, is it easy enough to change and can you take your geographical number with you?

Are there download limits associated with VOIP? (some of my clients tend to chat alot!)

When i make a call from my VOIP, does my geographical number get displayed on my recipiants caller display?

Thanks

Andy
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
Hi Andy,

Configuring phones is just a case of jumping onto the web interface or the phones keypad interface and typing in the required information.

At minimum, this is usually:
- SIP Server
- Extension
- Password
- Display Name

Some providers will ask you to insert more details for their service, such as to get around NAT issues (don't worry about this unless you need to).

Your provider chooses whether or not to display the Geographical number. Usually this is set as a default, but you can elect to have other numbers show up or to withhold the number like you would when you dial 141.

The phone will work on any provider that uses SIP, so if you choose to move, then that's not a problem. However, your geographical number may not be able to be moved depending on the provider. Most good providers; Gradwell, Voipfone, Vonage, BT, etc. etc. have porting agreements that allow the number to be moved around. Most providers will charge around £20 to port the number in to their system. I think all providers that are part of ITSPA have a porting agreement in place. See here: http://www.itspa.org.uk/npc.html
 
C

Corrado Mella

Guest
Hi Both,

As Stuart said, configuring a VoIP phone is not too complicated, but there are a number of gotchas that are sometimes too subtle for the end user to know and understand. All snom phones come with a parameter you can change to adapt the phone settings to some of the most common hardware/software used by VoIP providers.

All our phones come out completely pre-configured and tested for 12 hours on our bench, so we're sure they work when they leave our premises.

Using phones that were provided by us with another provider is always possible, after we de-configure them from our provisioning server. It's up to the new provider then to offer you guidelines for the configuration - most of them do.

If you buy your phone and service from us you won't have to do anything else than plug your new phone in one of the spare ports of your router, and you'll be up and running in seconds.

There is a major caveat we have not discussed, and is the quality of your broadband connection. Speed is relatively important - a single VoIP conversation doesn't need much bandwidth - but consistency is.
Packet loss or jitter is a killer for VoIP, so you might want to test your broadband for suitability first: try here.

You can use any suitable broadband - home or business grade - and your landline number would follow you wherever you plug your phone to.

As I said, VoIP doesn't account for much traffic, so I wouldn't worry about hitting your ADSL provider download limits.
Even chatting 24/7 wouldn't account for more than 2GB of traffic per month. The only limit we exercise on our £4 package is that you cannot get more than two incoming calls at the same time, but this usually is not a limit for us humans ;-).

Re your outbound Caller ID, you can choose to display the number you get from us, no number at all, or any other number you can give us proof you have the right to use (a bill would do).

Moving the landline number you had from us to another provider is always possible- it's called "porting".
Is industry standard to charge the end user about £20 to port a number: this is a fee the new provider charges you.

I'm always at the other end of the phone to help, and calls to our number from your VoIP line would be completely free.

If you have further questions I'm happy to help.
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
Corrado,

Thanks for that useful post. Out of interest, why do you test the phone for 12 hours?
 
C

Corrado Mella

Guest
Hi Stuart

Manufacturers don't do burn-in anymore, so if there's a latent fault in the specific unit you can't be sure until you had it on for 12 hours at least.
One single cold solder point would mean a lot of inconvenience for us and the end customer, with too much to and fro.
We have a record of 0 (zero) DOA devices since 2009.

We test every single device we receive for basic functionality (read: it turns on!),and we process every device before shipping it to the end customer.

During the 12 hours we run a number of functionality test (inbound and outbound calls, advanced functions etc) and we simulate emergency situations (recovery from power cut, set-up corruption, poor/faulty broadband service, factory reset and automated re-provisioning, etc...).
This ensures a smooth and uninterrupted service to our customers, and quicker troubleshooting in case of faults.

Costs us less to do this than shipping new devices in and out to recover service in case of faulty hardware.

Larger systems (we also supply on-site PBXes and other VoIP hardware) are usually tested in our lab to a full-on real world simulation for 24 hours minimum. Usually it's between two and three days - it's how long it takes to test all the functionalities our PhoneBox IP PBX provides.

Cheers
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
Very interesting! Where about is your lab? We'd love to come down and have a look and maybe a coffee?

We've never ever done 12 hour tests on units like that. Usually if we receive a unit, it either works or it doesn't work when we receive it.

We've also never ever had a snom fail once it's been set up and despatched to the client. So I'm not really sure it's needed to be honest.
 
C

Corrado Mella

Guest
Hi Suart,

I'm afraid our lab is not accessible from the general public (Health and Safety issues + fire regulations) but if you fancy a meeting we can surely arrange something somewhere.

We sell hardware from many manufacturers, and while snom phones are the most reliable, the're not hitting the 100% mark.

Our stats say we had a 1.7% DOA we had to send back to base, and a 1.2% fault rate after our 12 hour burn-in.

Please note that if a device doesn't pass all our tests, including some nasty ones, we mark it as faulty and send it back.
All we do are legit tests, including - for example - a full system recovery via TFTP for snom phones.

The most common fault with snom phones is the display backlight, counts for 59% of the faults.

Cheers
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
That's really interesting and completely unexpected. How many phones have you based your stats on? And over what period?
 

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