when I do get time to geek

As some of you may know we moved into our own house a couple of months ago. One of the things I wanted to do was to save money on phone costs. Neither Krista nor I spend a lot of time on the phone and I’ve always found I can never get what I want from the phone company. Sometimes they’ll let me do “a la carte”, but it always costs more. So, instead I end up with three-way calling and call-waiting cancel for the low-low price of $109/month.

I figured we’d give VOIP a try.

I ordered cable internet with the hope/expectation that I’d then be able to have every phone extension in the house connected to the VOIP line.

I chose not to “VOIP with Vonage” and instead decided install Asterisk on a linux box I have running for another project I’ll blog about on another day. The install was painless and within 45 minutes I was able to call the Digium sales desk (automated message), using a softphone installed on my father-in-law’s laptop.

Laptop softphone <–> LAN <–> Asterisk box <–> cable modem <–> internet <–> Digium’s Asterisk box

Pretty cool!!

Although Asterisk supports the more common SIP protocol, it’s native protocol AIX is supposedly better and works a little easier for NAT. Therefore, I picked up an AIX analog telephone adapter called the IAXy and plugged a regular phone into it. The quality was great on a phonecall to my mom, so I committed us to the VOIP only solution for the new house.

The result – not ready for primetime. 🙁

Unfortunately, the points of failure in the system are largely out of my control. When my internet provider goes down, we have no internet and we have no phone. We also have no way of contacting our internet provider to say “fix the damn internet”.

When my voip provider stops terminating calls or doesn’t route correctly, (which thankfully is very rare) I can only email them and hope it gets fixed.

When my cable modem trips mysteriously after being connected for 10 days, we lose both phone and internet until I reset it.

All of the above cases are unacceptable. When we pick up a phone in the house and dial a number, we want the assurance that the call is going to go through. Therefore, we ordered the barebones line from the phone company as a reliable backup.

Asterisk has the ability to handle both lines (analog and VOIP), which would be great. We could use the analog for all incoming, local & 911, and save the VOIP for long distance. However, I need to buy another piece of hardware for that and at the moment I’d rather have a coffee table…

1 Comment

gslavinsApril 1st, 2006 at 8:20 am

a coffee table would be nice.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.