View Full Version : VOIP question

7th Sep 2013, 08:01
This VOIP stuff is all new to me. It seems I should be able to use my home wifi with an Android mobile (which gets no cell signal where we live) to make VOIP calls cheaper than the landline.

Anybody get any experience of this? - Pitfalls, problems, hidden charges etc.?

Please don't mention SKYPE, installed it once on my PC to try it out, completely farked up the 'puter, never again.


7th Sep 2013, 08:16
If your 'phone service is with BT you can download the BT SmartTalk app to your mobile. When connected to wi-fi (either at home or away) your calls via the app are charged as if they were made from your home 'phone. For example, if your landline has the Anytime calls package then your calls via the app would be free.

7th Sep 2013, 08:20
"your calls via the app are charged as if they were made from your home 'phone."

I know I am in Aus but I always thought VOIP was significantly cheaper than Land line calls. Well it is here in Aus, hence my querying of the above.
If the above was true, then why not just use the land line ?

7th Sep 2013, 09:10
I use Skype, which you don't want anyone to mention, and Viper. Both work as advertised. In a business environment, I work with a couple of commercial offerings that basically offer local call numbers in several countries. You probably need to get over your dislike of Skype if you want to subscribe to a service that is cheap, pretty much universal, and works most of the time. Viper has a few embuggerances, though, reputedly, much higher security.

7th Sep 2013, 09:29
I'd give Skype another go if you can get over the last experience of installing it.
It does work fairly well most of the time and you have the added advantage of seeing who you are calling if it is a Skype to Skype call.

I've installed it several times on different computers and had no problems. Maybe you were just unlucky.

7th Sep 2013, 09:33
Check with mobile phone company as a friend of Vodaphone in Uk has crap signal at home and he got a dongle from them which he plugged into his computer which then his mobile piggybacks on with an improved signal.............that was how he explained it to me.

Bob Bevan
7th Sep 2013, 10:11
For what itís worth I would also say give Skype another go.

My work offices are up in Camberley but I work from home in Dorset 3 days a week so I probably use Skype more than most. It is a very robust technology, and other than the occasional attack of robo-voice if the broadband is slow, it works really well.

Aside from the ability to do video calls, one of its most useful features is the facility to see what is on the other person's screen so if one of our developers is doing a bit of web design work I can take a look at his work through Skype.

The other feature I use a lot is to call out to landlines which at present I do by buying an amount of credit in advance. As most of the calls I make are standard uk landlines it only eats the credit at about 1.4p per minute so it's is pretty economical. What is more is that that credit can also be used if I am out and about and need to access wifi as Skype has a network of hotspots.

Before you ask, no I do not work for Skype, Iím in insurance which is a lot less interesting that people think!!! :ugh:

7th Sep 2013, 10:46
I run true VOIP via a VSP, which is a VOIP service provider. Here in Oz I have what is referred to as a "naked" internet connection. My copper runs into a DSLAM not the exchange as such. ie, It's purely an internet connection. Just to clarify VOIP is Voice Over Internet Protocol.

My modem has two "phone" connections, as it supports two VOIP providers. I connect to them via SIP account logons, and all my phone calls are then handled by them.

I signed up with my VSP when they were just getting going and got a special intro deal $5.00 per month, which gets me 100 phone calls per month - My NetFone see https://www.mynetfone.com.au/Residential/Home-Phone/Plans Been with them for five or six years.

Those 100 calls are non-timed and include many overseas destinations. I call friends in the UK and NZ regularly for long chats. Line quality is indistinguishable from normal landline. Only downside is if my internet connection goes down I lose all phone communications as well, other than my mobile. Thoughts on VOIP absolutely brilliant.

One really neat aspect is that you can have multiple DID's that's direct in dial numbers. Although I am in Melbourne I have a Sydney number that allows my daughter to ring me for the cost of a local call. Could have a London number if I wished along with my local number. Plus if I relocate anywhere in the world I can still retain my current numbers and use them.

PS. Skype is a bit of a rip-off in comparison to true VOIP. And there is a codec interface issue that seems to stop Skype calls being made to true VOIP numbers.

7th Sep 2013, 10:48
I am like alison, I use mynetphone for my VOIP
and someone else for internet.

The VOIP plans are so cheap here in Aus.

west lakes
7th Sep 2013, 10:58
I use Viber as VOIP from mobile to mobile using either wi-fi or broadband
On Wi-fi all calls are free

pax britanica
7th Sep 2013, 11:02
I have used Viber- which is not bad, it works by using the internet connecting via your wifi hub to your landline internet. Calls to other Viber users are free.
Another option is Line which works same way and in my opinion is better; it is Chinese tho' so you may have to assume a little guy in Beijing is transcribing your every conversation .

7th Sep 2013, 11:22
With my Billion modem I can specify the codec used for my VOIP connections - G.729 (which is the older voip low bandwidth standard) and G.711 - G.711 μ-law tends to give more resolution to higher range signals while G.711 A-law provides more quantization levels at lower signal levels. Having a fairly fast connection I tend to use G.711 μ-law. Codec is coder/decoder or encoding/decoding of the audio to a digital signal.

The G.711 codec is that used by telephony companies via their own fiber backbone. The only difference is my calls are routed via the internet rather than via a telephone companies own fiber. Both end up going via fiber anyway, the only difference is how it starts off.

I have two perfectly normal stock-standard cord-less handsets plugged into the modem via normal telephone extensions. I just pick up the phone and ring as one would with a landline. Different ring-tones indicate whether it's my Sydney number or the Melbourne one.

7th Sep 2013, 11:26
Anybody get any experience of this? - Pitfalls, problems, hidden charges etc.?

Nothing wrong with VoIP and no pitfalls as long as :

(a) You've got a decent stable internet connection
(b) You go with a a reliable provider (i.e. don't be stingy and go looking around for the cheapest one).

7th Sep 2013, 11:33
The G.711 codec is that used by telephony companies via their own fiber backbone.

Says who ? :rolleyes:

Calls towards the traditional PSTN will mostly be negotiated to G.711 but calls that remain on-net (or to peers) on a decent provider will generally be in HD using G.722.

But there is no hard and fast rule, and a decent provider will typically support 12+ codecs !

Sure not transcoding is preferable, but decent providers will have hardware DSP transcoding for 11+ codecs. So as long as the source/dest codecs are in the their DSP you shouldn't have any big issues.

Also G.729 is a codec that requires a license, therefore most providers (and most telephony software for your computer) either won't support it or won't prioritise it in its list of codecs.

My suggestion, to be perfectly honest, is that if you're an average Joe who doesn't know the technical ins and outs of codecs, you don't go messing around with those settings. The provider end will be perfectly able to negotiate a perfectly acceptable codec. In any case, before you start messing around with your codec settings, you should talk to your provider about it and find out what their preferences are !

7th Sep 2013, 12:05
Calls towards the traditional PSTN will mostly be negotiated to G.711

All my calls are to traditional PSTN's. I set up my system six years ago, and have never had a need to change anything. It just works. No one has ever seen fit to comment on any aspect of my phone calls, with most of the people I speak to regularly being unaware that I am using VOIP. The only time they do become aware is when I tell them how much my phone bill isn't. :D

I discussed codec's with my VSP back then, and they didn't raise any concerns as to which I used. Probably been running G.711 μ-law all the time.

7th Sep 2013, 12:30
if you're an average JoeWouldn't exactly describe myself as an "average Joe". I run Annex M on my ADSL2 line, with two Centos 6.4 servers in my lounge room. One is a webserver (Linux, Apache MySQL, PHP, Drupal) and the other a mail server (Postfix, Dovecot, Squirrel). Both were built entirely by myself including the hardware. Which ain't bad for someone pushing seventy. On the webserver I run four low traffic Drupal-based websites designed and developed by myself for not-for profits. The VOIP stuff is a purely functional requirement.


7th Sep 2013, 16:05
I also use Skype with no problems. The on-screen "experience" as they say, is pretty horrid - their webpages need a complete rework - but it always works.

7th Sep 2013, 16:41
Tried Skype several times on different platforms, pretty well rubbish. Totally random as to whether it works or not, and yes, I've had it mess up Windows too. I now run VOIP via a Linux box with Elastix as the PBX over the same internet connection and it works fine. I have two SIP trunk providers Hostcomm and Voipfone, both good and pretty cheap.

Skype can be free(ish) of course and I would say you get exactly what you don't pay for.

7th Sep 2013, 20:14
Another Skype user here with no complaints. I have even used it to share my PC desktop to the other party to explain something. Apparently my desktop appears with good enough resolution to be useful (although with a bit of lag if you are shifting things about quickly). But for a free application, seems to work fine. Proabably depends more on the quality of your ISP than anything else.

7th Sep 2013, 21:06
Skype has problems connecting at times, there is a whole Skype Forum on the subject of how to get Skype to work just when you want it to, all to do with Firewalls etc. tho' no one solution is guaranteed to work every time, but when it does it's OK.

NZ has a couple of competitive VOIP systems, one just like Skype, i.e. both parties have to subscribe to the system, but another starts from the computer by inserting the number you are calling from and the number you are calling to on to the on-screen website, then the system first calls your landline telephone and after you pick up then calls the other number, and from then on your computer is out of the loop and one makes a regular phone call. ( albeit VOIP I guess ) All landline to landline calls around the Country are free by this method and I find it works very well, even calls to friends in the next village are toll calls via the overcharging brigand Telecom lot. The system makes a small charge to call a cellphone, ( about 5% of the regular charge ) and you can't use a cellphone as the initiating instrument, it has to be a landline.

7th Sep 2013, 22:06
Wouldn't exactly describe myself as an "average Joe"

Didn't say you were.

8th Sep 2013, 00:05
Might suggest the real issue with going VOIP relates to your monthly phone bill. Are any potential savings worth the extra effort involved in setting it up. This is my latest bill dtd 28 August. I made four calls to the UK from Oz, average length 35 mins, three to NZ average length 28 mins, and 45 calls within Australia. The 40c call charge relates to two calls to my daughters mobile.

Account SummaryOpening Balance $19.20 CR
Call Charge $0.40 DR
Service Charge $4.95 DR
Closing Balance $13.85 CR
Current Charges: $5.35
Includes GST of $0.49

8th Sep 2013, 08:47
Thanks for your valuable input everybody, and especially Alison. I wasn't particularly worried about the call charges as such. My monthly calls, with First Telecom, are always less than £10, and average about £7. We have a strange charging model on this service. Local calls (anywhere UK landline) are 6p for up to an hour. After that the rate goes sky high. It would be nice to protect against that as SWMBO does talk for ages when she gets going, so there are always a couple of calls each month at £1.50 plus. Percentage-wise this is a big chunk of the bill. However it's not a great amount and, if that was all, I wouldn't bother with any change.

The main reasons for wanting to use VOIP are twofold. First, as mentioned above SWMBO is on the phone for long periods, meaning I can't use it when I need to, and we have no cell signal here so I can't use that either. Secondly I have always had problems with the DECT phones, and as SWMBO already has a smartphone and I am thinking of getting one, it seems to make sense to use these rather than the DECTs and dispose of the cumbersome DECT/charger combos all over the house.

I'm hoping to find a Pay as you go service for VOIP if possible so that if it doesn't work out for unforeseen reasons there is no contract to cancel.

8th Sep 2013, 09:22
Thanks. I have friends down here with rels in the UK and Germany. Their phone use isn't that much different to mine, yet they often pay more per month than I do for a year. Last year when they had a rel crook in Germany, they came around to my place to make daily calls. Didn't cost me nothing, and they are nice people.

I don't have a contract as such with my VSP, as long as my account is in credit to cover each month's service charge fee then they seem happy.


8th Sep 2013, 17:11
....as to the OP's difficulty with Skype. I've used it almost since its inception and over the years it has got better and better. It's easy to download and set up, I've used Skype credit to call an old friend in NZ since 2007 and I maybe spend £10 a year for voice calls that last about 40-ish mins (she has no computer). OK the video is sometimes variable but then I'm the last user on about 3 miles of wet electric string and get about 0.8 Mbts on a good day. It works - what's not to like?

The Ancient Mariner