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internet STD calls without having your computer on

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Nigel Ward, 7th Jun, 2007.

  1. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    Okay guys here's the challenge...

    We used to use the Agile pre-paid and then switched to post-paid calling service and it was great! Saved a heap calling the interstate rellies. Agile are discontinuing that service (it was just too good a deal to continue I guess :rolleyes: ). It was just so easy...dialled a special number and then dialled the std number and away you go...

    What we now need is something to replace that, ie:

    1) want to be able to make interstate calls cheap (probably at least 2 longish calls a day!)
    2) don't do much international calling so that's not a factor
    3) need to be able to just pick up the phone...not acceptable to have to switch computer on
    4) want to use our existing cordless phone because it has bluetooth headset which means can talk whilst washing up/changing baby etc
    5) Currently use iburst wireless broadband through Chilli so don't have fixed line internet... No wireless router or anything...no desktop computer just notebook computers...

    Is there just some box thingy I can plug in between the telstra landline socket on the wall and my cordless phone's base station that will do all that for me... will engin boxes do that?

    I'm sure some of the voip tech savvy amongst you have already got this all figured out.

    I've only got until end of June before Agile ceases.

    Thanks in advance...
    N.
     
  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Yup - Sipura (now Linksys) SPA-3000 is a device which does exactly what you described (the Engin boxes are rebadged and locked SPA-3000's). You'd just need a VoIP provider (there are lots of "cheap" ones around, or you could use NodePhone if you wanted the same quality as the Agile service).

    You plug the SPA-3000 in between your phone and the wall, and also plug it in to your router ... assuming you have one. This is what I used to use.

    The other option is to get a wireless router with VoIP built in - this is what I now have - a Billion 7404VGP/M - plug my phones into it and it does the rest (but it assumes you have an ADSL connection).

    PS. one of my best friends has just taken a job with Internode helping to run their NodePhone system - so I know it's in good hands (he's a wiz with voice technology).
     
  3. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

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  4. kevinb

    kevinb Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nigel

    I use an engin 2 box and a D-link wireless router, I have a cable modem.

    The router is configured to log the modem on - I dont have to have the computer on at all.

    Engin costs - engin to engin -zero

    Otherwise a whole 10 cents anywhere in Australia for untimed calls.

    Saved about $150/month

    Rgds

    Kevinb
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    That's with a monthly fee of $9.95.

    Pay $14.95 a month and all local and national calls are free. Talk to someone in WA for hours and it costs nothing. Additionally, international calls are cheap as chips.

    I highly recommend it.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  6. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    But I'm still going to need a broadband provider other than chilli/iburst which I run via a USB modem on my laptops?
     
  7. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    You either need to get a new iBurst modem (one with an ethernet port) and a network switch (or router), or else you will need a new ISP and a new router.

    Can you get ADSL in your building ?
     
  8. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    According to Telstra Wholesale and Internode Internode ADSL Exchange Coverage Table for Agile DSLAM Ports

    my local exchange is adsl enabled.

    I probably need to change ISPs then. Any ISP recommendations people? (And don't all just say Internode! :D Okay say that if that's what you really think...)

    Thanks
    N.
     
  9. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Here's what I think you should do:

    Sign up for the Internode HOME-Extreme-Value plan $59.95 gets you ADSL2+ Speeds and 20 GB of download allowance.

    Get a Billion 7404VGP-M ($299) pre-configured by Internode, you just plug it in and it works ... does all your VoIP for you too - including free NodePhone setup with no additional monthly charge (unless you optionally want inbound NodePhone calls as well, which costs an extra $10pm).

    So all up:

    $129 setup fee for new ADSL service with Internode
    $299 for a Billion 7404VGP-M Wireless VoIP Router - preconfigured by Internode
    $59.95 per month for Internode HOME-Extreme-Value plan

    Gets you:
    - ADSL2+ with speeds up to 24Mbps downstream
    - Choice of running Annexe-M to increase upstream speed up to 2Mbps (at the cost of slightly lower downstream speeds)
    - 20GB per month download allowance
    - No excess fees (speed limited if you exceed 20GB downloads)
    - No contracts ($65 termination fee if you close the account within the first 6 months)
    - WiFi router with 4 port ethernet switch pre-configured
    - 2 line VoIP support with PSTN fallback (uses Telstra phone line if Internet or VoIP connection unavailable), pre-configured
    - should work perfectly well with your existing phones, including cordless/bluetooth phones (watch out for some cordless phones which interfere with 802.11b signals ... but you'd get the same problem with any WiFi router)
    - Free NodePhone setup (pre-configured for you)
    - No monthly NodePhone charges
    - Same call costs you currently pay with Agile
    - Optional inbound VoIP number for $10pm ($20 setup fee) - includes free voicemail services
    - All hardware is portable to any ISP, so you can change at any time

    ... this is exactly what I use and it is extremely reliable and extremely fast (remember I work from home full time, and so rely on my ADSL/VoIP setup for everything I do).

    I'm sure you can get something cheaper ... but I assure you that this will give you a very reliable, very fast, no headaches option.

    Your choice !! (and you do have a choice ... which won't happen if Telstra gets its way :( )
     
  10. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    Sounds good to me. I've printed that post!

    Are you on Inode commission??? :D :p

    Thanks
    N.
     
  11. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    I already have the 'node cap, mug and pen, but now that my friend works there, I've made him promise to get me some other goodies too (looking for some nice polo shirts!).
     
  12. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Nigel I'm currently on Internode and agree with Sim' the service is very stable. I churned from another good ISP, moving premises at the same time the previous ISP WestNet increased their fees.

    Since leaving Westnet, I have found the internode support to be vastly inferior to Westnet - and I mean * vastly *. However, reading Whirlpool - Australian Broadband News some are making noises Westnet support has recently become similar standard to Internode. Not sure. Regardless I wish I had never left WestNet but realistically the Internode service is stable enough for my needs that I don't (thankfully) often need the Help Desk.

    Either way, with a solid ISP (and most seem to agree Inode or WNet are the go) I use Engin.com.au into an IP PBX and it is rock solid. I am a tech dummy (business background, not propellers) and still managed to configure and run it no worries. Advantage of Engin is cost at 10 cents per call and incoming calls included as standard on the service.

    I prefer to keep some separation between providers as the larger they get the more they become Telstra like :( ... with a standalone ISP and a specialist VoIP provider I have had no issues at all, and the call quality is excellent.

    Just a choice to add to the choice :)

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  13. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    The problem that both Westnet and Internode face is that they have simply become too popular.

    Both ISPs are extremely good technically (fast, reliable, etc) ... and with a spate of smaller ISPs going under or being forced to significantly increase prices (because they were running out of money by selling too cheaply !!), the better ISPs are finding themselves inundated with new subscribers - and simply don't have the capacity to help them.

    Some of the stats about the increased rate of new subscriptions I heard from Internode were quite staggering ... and I imagine that Westnet are similarly suffering.

    It's all well and good saying "just put on more staff" ... but with such low national unemployment, that's actually easier said than done. I know Internode are constantly hiring new support staff - they have been advertising pretty much constantly.

    We are entering an interesting time in the Australian internet industry ... the shakeout has already begun, and there will be a lot more corporate blood spilled before it's over.

    I'm actually curious to know what the nature of your problems were TryHard ? I've not had to call tech support at all in the past 3 years.
     
  14. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to check our logs Sim - no major problems per se that I can recall - from memory a change of router, an upgrade from 1.5 to 8 mbps service, a change of password, a query about remote access while travelling etc. - general support calls.

    As I mentioned the 'service' (as in the infrastructure) has been good - its the response times and horrendous on-hold that is the killer. That never happened with Westnet in similar situations as they were 3 rings and pickup by human - but as indicated by Whirlpool that might no longer be a differentiator.

    Given Internode's recent price hike I am seriously considering churning back to Westnet to see if I can experience the difference, but I really can't justify the pain of change for the sake of $10 per month considering both services are probably similar in real performance. As Westnet claims, it was the 'service' (help) that was their difference, and if they haven't sustained that I agree no much diff between the 2 providers. Still not sure I see the commercial sense in Nodephone, but diff strokes etc. :)
     
  15. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    I am fortunate enough to live in an area serviced by Internode's DSLAM network (actually, luck had little to do with it ... I paid close attention to Internode's plans when deciding where to move a couple of years back) ... so I didn't see any change in price on my plan (it's a 20GB SOHO ADSL2+ plan) :D

    I hate waiting on hold or waiting for someone to ring me back (only to be out when they do) ... so I do all my correspondence via email ... it's not instant - but it gets the job done (at least it does with companies like Internode who actually have a proper email support management and tracking system !!).
     
  16. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Good move, if I lived near a CBD I would plan my dwelling / home office round the same infrastructure :D . Shame we have to .... let's hope election-time promises result in decent speeds in a lot more places. yeah right ...

    Our current lack of bandwidth is a lifestyle choice (we had to hang off one of those extension thingy's about 6km from the nearest exchange - so we get about half the benefit of the 8mbps service) while I can still look out the window at acres of trees, kookaburras etc. The longer I spend in front of a screen the more I realise its not what life is really meant to be about :)

    Prob no biggie in general I was only trying to point out there are choices among choices, and that you don't need to be clever to construct a hybrid ISP/ITSP service that works brilliantly with no tech nouse, even on 'country' bandwidth, at a very good price point, if that sort of thing floats yr boat ... :D
     
  17. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Westnet or Internode

    Right, time for me to eat some humble pie. I decided to churn back to Westnet from Internode a week ago. The astonishing service I had claimed you can expect from Westnet versus inferior resources from Internode turned out to be the exact opposite.

    The churn got mucked up, by Westnet and Telstra. When I finally did get back online 4 days later, with everything exactly as it was with Internode, my VoIP became virtually unusable.

    Despite some dodgy looking stats on the line, Westnet refused to log a fault with Telstra (even after I spent a day documenting every point in the network and went out and bought a new modem to disprove their various assertions of 'coincidence'.

    I finally have it stable I think, after tweaking and prioritising traffic etc, but its beyond me what caused the thing to become useless unless telstra have a problem and/or the Westnet network is inferior to Internode's for VoIP. (My overall speed etc. has remained ok) - and the only reason I can think Westnet refuses to log a telstra call is it will prove Westnet's network is somehow contributing to my issues.

    So in a nutshell, I wish I never churned from Internode. Consider every post I made promoting Westnet's world class service to be summarily withdrawn, and my humble pie is full and satisying :(

    Internode's service was excellent even after I told them I was churning by the way, which is the mark of genuine people too.

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  18. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Sorry to hear about your troubles - never nice when things don't work the way they should.
     
  19. DaveA

    DaveA Well-Known Member

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    ive been looking at getting a new mobile phone a nokia e65, and the sales bloke was giving me a pitch about it can be used for VoIP with use of its WiFi thingy...

    does anyone know what he would be going on about? does it basically mean, (with sims current setup) i would be able to make phone calls from my mobile phone through the router and be charged through nodephone (30 secs for a minute to mobiles, 0.18 for national calls) and not through my mobile phone provided (vodafone)? I would still recieve my normal incoming calls and msgs to my mobile when via vodafone?

    sounds pretty cool if thats correct...
     
  20. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Yup, that's pretty much correct.

    When in a WiFi hotspot, you can have it set to use cheaper VoIP connections, while still using normal mobile services elsewhere.

    Don't know how well they work yet (haven't tried it myself) - just be aware that WiFi links are notoriously bad for dropping packets, which causes bad voice quality for VoIP calls. You own home WiFi should be okay if there isn't many people using it and you aren't too far from the base station ... but public access WiFi can be troublesome.