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VOIP and Toll Free Services: Little Help, Lazy Web?

As some of the Twitter folken are aware, I’m in the process of finalizing details for my forthcoming transition back to the East Coast for my usual summer of Sox. At some point between May 1 and, say, May 15th, I’ll be pulling up stakes and migrating from Denver to the family place in Georgetown, ME.

Unlike last year, however, the plan this summer is to rent my loft here in town out rather than letting it lie fallow. This introduces the typical moving complications that I’m used to dealing with, but one that I’m not. One that involves telephony. One that I’d love suggestions on.

Herewith a description of the problem, past solutions, and so on.

The Toll-Free

A few years back, we acquired the 866-RED-MONK vanity toll-free number, which has proven reasonably popular. At least among the non-PR types that don’t default to my cell phone given any opportunity. The way it works currently is this: AT&T holds the toll-free, and redirects to a number of our choice. It used to be our number in Maine when I was based there, but these days it points to the landline here at the home office. This works fine when I’m here, and less fine when I’m not.

The Problem

When I’m not here, obviously I’d prefer to not have the toll free point to a line here. Initially, I thought Grand Central would prove to be the perfect solution, and tried to point our toll-free at that. AT&T disagreed, and declined to point our toll-free at a number that didn’t have a physical address associated with it. Ultimately, my “brilliant solution” was forwarding the landline to Grand Central, so someone calling the toll free would get bounced as follows:

Toll-Free==>Landline==>Grand Central==>Grand Central #s

Fun stuff. With renters poised to occupy the space here, however, I’m not going to be able to pull that off this summer, as I need to disconnect the line. Ergo, I need a more elegant, not to mention permanent, solution.

Here are the things I’m thinking of.

The Solutions?

  1. Move the Landline to VOIP, Point the Toll Free at That:
    This has the same problem as Grand Central – the lack of a physical address – though I could probably fake this better simply by billing it to the office here in Denver. Still, it’s unclear if I could sneak this by AT&T.
  2. Move the Toll Free to Someone Other Than AT&T:
    I’d be happy to do this, but know very little about toll-free providers. Particularly whether any of them are VOIP friendly or not.
  3. Lose the Toll Free:
    It’s not essential to our business, but I’d prefer not to lose it if that can be avoided.
  4. Get a Landline in Maine, Point the Toll Free at That:
    This is problematic, due to the fact that getting additional lines at the family place is complicated (we’re on an island), and that I don’t typically rent an office for the entire duration of my stay.
  5. Point the Landline at Another RedMonk Employee:
    We could do this, of course, but given that a great many of the people that dial the toll-free are looking for me specifically, this would be less than convenient.

As you can see, none of my options are looking great. Those of you with more VOIP expertise than I possess are actively encouraged to suggest anything that might work.

Categories: RedMonk Miscellaneous, VOIP.

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  • Pingback: VOIP and Toll Free Services: Little Help, Lazy Web?

  • http://afreshcup.com Mike Gunderloy

    PhoneFusion (http://www.phonefusionone.com/) are sort of a higher-end, non-free Grand Central. I know they offer number portability and toll-free numbers on their menu; I don’t know whether they can port in a toll-free from AT&T but they’re probably at least worth looking at.

  • http://www.phonfusion.com Jonathan Hollander

    As a founder of PhoneFusion I am happy to report that we do accept 800 numbers for Porting into our system and we would be happy to assist you with a solution to your 800 problem.

    We have many customers that we offer this solution for and I am sure you will be delighted with our service. As a courtesy to you and the readers of this blog, feel free to use promotion code jh100 to try our service for 100 days free of charge (and 500 minutes of usage per month).

    Our customer service number is (888) 208-7801.

    Mike Gunderloy, Thank you for thinking of us.

    PhoneFusion looks forward to exceeding your expectations !!

  • http://blogs.sun.com/kevinschmidt Kevin Schmidt

    I recently moved and ma using AT&T’s CallVantage VOIP service at home and it has a bunch of options for forwarding built in to the unlimited $19.99 (get that rate if an AT&T Wireless customer) rate. I’d hope that AT&T as your 800 provider would forward to their own VOIP?

  • http://www.voipbazar.com Imran Malik

    Impressive piece of information, let me elaborate more on VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol has been around since many years. But due to lack of sufficient and affordable bandwidth it was not possible to carry carrier grade voice over Internet Protocol. But since the arrival of low cost internet bandwidth and new speech codecs such as G.729, G.723 which utilizes very low payload to carry carrier class voice it has recently been possible to leverage the true benefits of VoIP. G.723 codec utilizes only 6 Kbps (Kilo Bytes/sec) which is capable of maintaining a constant stream of data between peers and deliver carrier grade voice quality. Lets put this way if you have 8 Mbps internet connection, by using G.723 codec you can run upto 100 telephone lines with crystal clear and carrier grade voice quality. I am also a user of VoIP and have setup a small PBX at home. Since I have discovered VoIP I have never used traditional PSTN service.

    Dear readers, if you have not yet tried VoIP I suggest that you try VoIP technology and I bet you will never want to use the traditional PSTN phone service ever again. VoIP has far more superior features to offer which traditional PSTN sadly cannot offer.

    Also It has recently been possile to carry Video alongwith VoIP by using low payload video codecs. I cannot resist to tell you that by using T.38 passthrough and disabling VAD VoIP can carry FAX transmission, but beaware FAX T.38 passthrough will only work when using wide band protocols such as G.711, a-Law and u-Law.

    By using ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) which converts VoIP signals into traditional PSTN you can also using Dial-up modems to connect to various dialup services. I wont go in to the details what VoIP can offer, to cut my story short VoIP is a must to have product for every business and individual.

    How VoIP Works

    When we make a VoIP call, a communication channel is established between caller and called party over IP (Internet Protocol) which runs on top of computer data networks. A telephony conversation that takes place over VoIP are converted into binary data packets streams in real time and transmitted over data network, when these data packets arrive at the destination these are again converted into standard telephony conversation. This whole process of voice conversion into data, transmission and data conversion into back voice conversation takes place within less than few milliseconds. That is how a VoIP is call is transmitted over data networks. I hope that now you understand basics of how a VoIP call takes place.

    What are speech codec’s and what role codec plays in VoIP?

    Speech codec play a vital role in VoIP and codec determines the quality and cost of the call. Let me explain you what exactly VoIP codec’s are and how they work. You may have heard about data compression, or probably you have heard about air compressor which compresses a volume of air in enclosed container, VoIP codec’s are no different than a air compressor. Speech codec’s compresses voice into data packets and decompresses it upon arrival at destination. Some VoIP codec’s can compress huge amount of voice while maintaining QoS which means use this type of codec will cost less because it will consume just a fraction of data network. Some codec’s are just not capable of encoding huge amount of voice they simply consume huge amount of data networks bandwidth hence the cost goes up.

    Following is a list of VoIP codec’s along with how much data network bandwidth they consume.

    * AMR Codec
    * BroadVoice Codec 16Kbps narrowband, and 32Kbps wideband
    * GIPS Family – 13.3 Kbps and up
    * GSM – 13 Kbps (full rate), 20ms frame size
    * iLBC – 15Kbps,20ms frame size: 13.3 Kbps, 30ms frame size
    * ITU G.711 – 64 Kbps, sample-based Also known as alaw/ulaw
    * ITU G.722 – 48/56/64 Kbps ADPCM 7Khz audio bandwidth
    * ITU G.722.1 – 24/32 Kbps 7Khz audio bandwidth (based on Polycom’s SIREN codec)
    * ITU G.722.1C – 32 Kbps, a Polycom extension, 14Khz audio bandwidth
    * ITU G.722.2 – 6.6Kbps to 23.85Kbps. Also known as AMR-WB. CELP 7Khz audio bandwidth
    * ITU G.723.1 – 5.3/6.3 Kbps, 30ms frame size
    * ITU G.726 – 16/24/32/40 Kbps
    * ITU G.728 – 16 Kbps
    * ITU G.729 – 8 Kbps, 10ms frame size
    * Speex – 2.15 to 44.2 Kbps
    * LPC10 – 2.5 Kbps
    * DoD CELP – 4.8 Kbps

    Switch to VoIP Today and you will never want to use traditional PSTN ever again.

    Thanks

    -Imran