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374 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 89716 5-Oct-2007 20:43
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My bread and butter is VoIP, and I work a lot with WorldxChange’s VFX and DXV services.  I find that call quality is FAR better than any Analogue phone connection, and slightly better than an ISDN connection (Which is just 64k PCM anyway). 

All our sites apart from one use G711a/u.

I have yet to have a site where any of the users have noticed a degrade in voice quality.  In fact most either notice no difference, or comment on how clear it is.

Even G729 over a UNS connection or semi reliable DSL sounds better than a standard Analogue call.  

If you have a cheap phone (cordless or other) plugged into a cheap ATA I guess you can not expect great voice quality. 


I have no issue with Jitter, Delay or Latency, even on the most congested exchanges.


Some of our customers do 5,000+ calls a month, all over IP.

We have residential customers that are saving $100+ a month of their phone bill even before naked-DSL, as customers can do away with their 2nd lines, not to mention reduced toll call rates. 

Remember that the average “Jo customer” is not a geek, and does not want to use calling cards, enter special codes to use different toll providers, or any other mess.  They just want to pick up the phone and make calls.
 

We have a number of business customers that use VoIP services from WxC who have taken a $1200 per month phone bill to under $600.  Some sites are delivered over standard full rate DSL, others UNS, and we are testing services like Compass Wireless.

The only time we have unreliability is when contractors cut through phone lines, or we have a hardware failure with a router or a switch.  

Yes, sure you get some down time when Telecom are working on the DSL network like with the ASAM to ISAM migration but this is often at night, and down time might be for a few mins.
 

If you are worried about reliability you can always look at services that WorldxChange offer such as Call Forward Unreachable.  If your device loses SIP Registration calls can be forwarded to another number.

Once you have made the initial investment and get descent hardware and setup it correctly you should be away.

I know that there will always be teething issues with new products to the mass market, but I believe that VoIP, and WorldxChange’s VFX and DVX products in particular are ready for prime time.

We now only have one POTS line in the office, all of our other calls in and outbound are over a DVX connection with multiple simultaneous calls. We even do our EFTPOS and Fax over IP. (G711). 




1937 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  # 89721 5-Oct-2007 21:01
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skyplonk:

Can you or someone else answer this question please? When I call WxC/Xnet, Slingshot, or iHug, I *think* the calls are VoIP based.

When I call Telecom on 123 or 0800, Kiwibank, or Westpac credit card services (among others, but these come to mind), I *think* the calls are NOT VoIP based.

Am I wrong with my guesses?

The above guesses are independent of my equipment - I'm talking about using a standard analogue phone, from home or from my work. I presume then that the voice quality depends on equipment at the other end. And yet I believe I'm correct in picking which of the above call centres are answered with VoIP based calls.

I'd be very surprised if someone tells me that Telecom 123, or the Kiwibank or Westpac call centres are VoIP based. And then I would really believe you when you say that VoIP calls aren't degraded compared to standard calls.

On what am I basing my guesses? The calls sound "hollow". There is more line noise. Occasionally there is a cut out - not completely, but like a noticeable lowering of the volume.

If it makes any difference, I am from Dunedin.     

 
 
 
 


173 posts

Master Geek


  # 89724 5-Oct-2007 21:10
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PenultimateHop:
ahmad: for example that when I call the iHug, slingshot or Xnet call centres, I'm almost certain that those calls are VoIP. When I phone Telecom's call centre, I believe that the calls are NOT VoIP.
I heard most of Telecom's internal voice services are carried over VoIP; I've personally seen a fairly large amount of Nortel VoIP handsets being used there.


Telecom transitioned all its offices to Nortel VoIP about 2 years ago (Nortel made a big song and dance about it at the time). Not sure about some of the smaller offices (like Nelson, Rotorua - I think they were installed as remotes). This is not to say that you wont find the occasional analogue phone in an exchange somewhere - but if its an internal telecom extn, its almost certainly VoIP.

Ahmed: Sorry if this is all just blatantly obvious to people here. I've been caught up in hype and perceived a much better deal than this.


I think anytime a issue becomes a major piece of politics you know its been hyped up (there's no political points to be scored otherwise) - and despite the fact there are probably more pressing issues being faced in NZ at the moment the amount of energy that goes into telecommunications is off the scale. I've always found it interesting that no one in NZ expects to buy petrol for the same price you have in the states, no one expects the same salary you might get in the UK (which is why all kiwis go to work there), and no one expects to buy a car for the same price you find in Japan - but everyone expects telco costs in NZ to be the same or better than three quarters of the most developed nations on the planet? How did that happen?

VoIP is more complex, and as such is more fragile and incurs higher maintenance costs. Its definitely the way all services will go - but it may be the case that it will have to be bundled into IP TV, Internet access, etc to off set the cost, complexity, etc. As a lot of companies have found out - changing to VoIP can't be justified on its own - better to do it as part of a bigger project to help spread the cost.
 



1937 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  # 89729 5-Oct-2007 21:25
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Just to clarify: you guys are talking about Telecom internal calls being VoIP right? Because I'm referring to me calling a Telecom contact centre.

If Telecom 123 calls made from my home analogue phone are running VoIP, then I will be most impressed (and also will wonder why Xnet, iHug, and slingshot call centres don't have a similar call quality).   

374 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 89732 5-Oct-2007 21:32
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As far as I know Telecom is all on a IP system. i.e when you call 123, 128, 0800 etc the remote party is on a IP connection, I remember that a while back there was some fanfare about it.

In regards to Ihug and the others, I am not sure.  Never ring them, but I am sure that WxC is on IP, and I never have been to impressed with the quality of their own internal system when I ring them. 

Quality of the calls has a lot to do with what Codec’s are in use, G711u/a will give you a crystal clear phone call with no noice, hollow sounds, etc but needs a lot more over head/bandwidth, it is not as fault tolerant and you need to ensure that you have a good connection up and down stream to get good results.

G729a is what WxC recommend, and a lot of people use, I find that Quality of a G729a varies greatly among hardware.  I have used Linksys SPA941s and it was horrid, where the SPA962 seems to be fine, same connection, different phone.   G729a on a Linksys SPA962 or Epygi Quadro hooked upto a low latency net connection seems to work well.

If you have the bandwidth I would look at using G711, it sounds A LOT better, and should solve any quality issues you have.

Here are the bandwidth requirements I work with, G.711a/u 20 msec 84 kbps and G.729a 20 msec 29 kbps.

173 posts

Master Geek


  # 89733 5-Oct-2007 21:35
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ahmad:
I'd be very surprised if someone tells me that Telecom 123, or the Kiwibank or Westpac call centres are VoIP based. And then I would really believe you when you say that VoIP calls aren't degraded compared to standard calls.


Not completely sure but 123 is on a nortel cs1000, and I think kiwibank is on a Cisco Call Manager while westpac is also a nortel as well? PSTN calls will be going in on primary rate ISDN , but yeah - I think all of the call centres you've mentioned are IP. Keep in mind though the since most of the calls going into the centre are coming from the PSTN - its really only VoIP from the call centre switch to the handset.

If it makes any difference, I am from Dunedin.

Don't be so harsh on yourself!  Oh...you mean the call quality! Sorry (bad joke, but I couldn't resist it). 



1937 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  # 89743 5-Oct-2007 22:03
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Ok if those call centres that I thought were not IP, then consider me officially impressed.

The call quality of the 3 ISPs that I mentioned is so noticeably poor (IMO) that I just presumed that they were IP, while other call centres with better quality were not.

The quality of the calls made to the 3 ISP call centres is comparable to me using my standard phone plugged into a Linksys router, phoning my parent's house just down the road. The verdict from the other party when I called there was that the call quality was "acceptable but it sounded like I was in space".

I'm just so confused about this all. We are going to make some toll calls tonight and if the quality is not acceptable, I think I'll wave the white flag and wait for the early adopters to help improve the technology for me.

 
 
 
 


374 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 89744 5-Oct-2007 22:09
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If you have no luck talk to the WxC helpdesk and get them to help you change your codec to G711 if you have a net connection that is up to it. I would try try that before giving up. 



1937 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  # 89745 5-Oct-2007 22:13
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skyplonk: If you have no luck talk to the WxC helpdesk and get them to help you change your codec to G711 if you have a net connection that is up to it. I would try try that before giving up.

I choose 256/64 for budgetary reasons. Not sure if that's "up to it". I also don't know how close the exchange is - how to find out?

If Telecom and others can have good quality IP calls for their call centres, then why do places like Xnet have poor quality? Is it a cost issue? To me that kind of quality issue makes the product look bad.

374 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 89756 5-Oct-2007 22:45
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256/64 will not work for a G711 call, and really could be pushing it for a good G729 call.  Maybe talk to your ISP and they can give you a fair idea how far from the exchange you are.

Not sure about Telecos and a quality of their own IP Calls.  I am not sure if it is a hardware issue, a cost issue, I am not really in a position to comment to much.

3000 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 89775 6-Oct-2007 01:30
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No that's not enough for VoIP unless the ISP has a built in QOS, you really need full/full speed connection to run it adequately
I had excellent results over Wireless Country with VoIP a few years back which was a superb example and when it's all set up properly it will be a great technology, you will most probably find that the most common solution will still be analog to your house and the VOIP adapter in the Exchange.

To my knowledge, Telstra and Telecom use standard swiched for Tolls, Slingshot and ihug use VoIP or a similar compressed medium to shunt the calls about as you can definately hear the difference to a trained ear, I'm with orcon whom use Telecom for tolls.

A safe bet in NZ's shaky DSL is to use G.729, that other one was quite prone with breaking up over even a FS/FS DSL connection.

Skyplonk, What are actually these codecs? well what is 711 and 729? as in CELP, GSM, a hybrid variable rate codec etc?
My understanding of it is that 711 sounds better, 729 is just much more stable and sounds O.K. PCMu is used for faxing.


My view on VOIP is that it is superb for PABXing and similar trunking where it's dedicated but as for running it as a customer solution over DSL, it's a bad dog.... it's day for the "masses" will come however.


374 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 89795 6-Oct-2007 10:59
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G711a/u is just PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) and G729a is based on CELP (Code Excited Linear Prediction Model) 

I am sure that Orcon are on IP for tolls, I hear comfort noise generation and silence suppression when I use my Orcon home line to make toll calls. I do not get it if I call other 09 numbers, but almost everything else, and I can notice it.

A correctly set up and installed IP system running G711 will sound like a normal ISDN call to 99% of people.   Just because it is IP means you are going to be able to tell.

510 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 89803 6-Oct-2007 12:44
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I have the VFX VoBB service and with us we have no problems with the call quality.  Everyone who have used our phone has not complained about quality. But you really need a FS/FS internet connection  to get the best out of it.  Other factors like equipment
at your end and your line to the exchange.
Yes I agree about call quality to Ihug etc. even on nornal pots lines it can sound yuck. The only one that was bad was ihug. WxC
no problems.
I think you said you wouldn't use  the free services offered with VFX. I think that you will........trust me.........and remember
there is alot more to services to come.

my 2 cents.




"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -
  --  Abraham lincoln

258 posts

Ultimate Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 91594 18-Oct-2007 20:44
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I suppose it doesn't really help most of the country, in the middle of this discussion I though I should mention that if you have access to TelstraCable, this whole topic gets more interesting. My experience in Wellington on Telstra cable with two months of VFX:
  • Already available unbundled - phone has gone from my TelstraClear bill Laughing.
  • Call quality has been OK.  I think the problems we have had have been with my cabling.
  • Our Internet just works!  I get really annoyed if we have two little outages in a month.  Some Telecom ADSL customers seem to think outages are normal.  Any download less than 250 kbps is likely to be the other end's fault.
  • Directory service is a worry though - still not in there.
It worked for us!



1937 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user


  # 91596 18-Oct-2007 20:50
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Directory service is a worry though - still not in there.It worked for us!
You mean you are banned from www.whitepages.co.nz?

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