Alarm system; AT&T internet - impact on VOIP

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by tm19, Sep 3, 2009.

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  1. tm19

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    Newbie here...

    I am looking to upgrade/replace our existing church phone system with VOIP, but I am wondering how it will work with our current setup.

    We have two PSTN lines coming into the building. They drop into one closet where they connect into the old POTS lines running all over the building. An alarm system dials out through line 1, I believe. Our AT&T U-Verse for Business service comes in on line 2.

    So if we dropped our existing PSTN completely, would this have any affect on our alarm system? I assume the answer would be "no" because we could route it through the VOIP gateway, but I'm not quite sure.

    Also, how would this affect our internet? We recently switched from cable to AT&T, which is apparently not the same as DSL, but it still comes from their fiber network down the regular phone line. I would hate to have to go through switching our service again.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.
     
  2. home

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    Hi
    As an alarm engineer, this is an increasingly asked question, what type of monitoring does your alarm system have ?
    Tim
     
  3. tpinnovations

    tpinnovations Member

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    Keep in mind that some alarm systems do not work well with VoIP, you may wish to contact your alarm provider and let them know what number they can expect your alarm contact from.

    If you are using U-Verse that line should be COAX, not RJ11.


    I would keep one POTS line for the ALARM and and setup an SPA-3102 and use it as an emergency line in case the VoIP went down. (And setup a rule so that 911 calls where given fail over in case one the POTS line failed, or the VOIP failed)
    You can probaly eliminate the other line, if you can verify weather or not your U-verse is running on COAX or RJ11.

    There should be no effect on your internet so long as you have sufficient upload speed to the internet, Depending on how many simultaneous calls you desire 768Kbps is usually enough for 5-6 calls.
     
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  4. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    I would speak to your alarm company to see if they recommend using the system over VoIP. I would think that they would have reservations about that as it can completely fail if there is a power outage and no, or short term battery backup. The alarm can continue to work if you are using POTS lines as they are normally setup to cut off any other equipment (the 3CX if using ATA adapters) when an alarm comes in.

    If your AT&T high speed internet comes in over a copper pair then it is DSL (or ADSL). If you currently have a POTS line working over this pair in addition to your internet service then you could use one phone number on that for the alarm and then contact a VoIP company about porting your two existing numbers to VoIP and then feeding that into the 3CX board. If the power failed, your alarm could still dial out over the copper pair (until it's battery died) but the 3CX would go dead unless you have it on a UPS
     
  5. tm19

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    Thanks everyone for your input.

    It sounds like we need to keep one old line going for alarm, fax, and internet, and just find the absolute cheapest deal for that line. We can then port our main number, which we currently use for nearly all our incoming and outgoing calls, over to a VOIP provider.

    ^home: We use a Fire-lite MS-4 system to monitor entry ways, pull stations, smoke detectors, HVAC, etc. I assume it uses an on-board modem to phone home.
     
  6. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    Be sure that you find a VoIP provider that allows you to use your own equipment (3CX). Some, like Vonage, will insist that you use equipment they provide for the primary service.
     
  7. tm19

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    ^leejor: Oh yeah, I'm thinking 3CX + CallCentric + gateway (?) + phones

    Actually, it's the phones that are giving me pause from price and practical standpoints right now. We don't have Ethernet jacks in all the places where we would like to put phones, but I guess it wouldn't be too hard to drop some lines.

    We really need full functionality in only 3-5 places around the building. But what options do we have for the rest of the building? We can go the sensible but more expensive route of adding more Ethernet lines, and using something really basic like the Linksys SPA-901 in those non-office locations (hallway, kitchen, etc.). But if we used a gateway (like the SPA-3102), could we get by with analog phones plugged into the POTS lines?

    While I'm here in full newbie glory, does anybody know of good VOIP glossary? Even the vendors don't seem to explain terms such as
    - "appearances," e.g., in the context of IP phone capabilities
    - "channels," e.g., in the context of VOIP provider capabilities
     
  8. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    You could go with one SPA-3102, which would give you access to the POTS line that you use for the alarm system, through the 3CX. That would also give you one "standard " phone as well as the unit has an FXO and an FXS port. You could then add two SPA-2102's that will give you two phone lines each. Of course you can substitute any other manufacturer that makes a similar device.

    With this scenario you would have provisions for 5 phones using the existing wiring, provided that the phone wires from each set go back to a common spot. All of the equipment, Modem, computer running 3CX, router or switch and the ATA's can be located in that one spot. Then you don't have to worry about running CAT5 wiring to each phone. You can pick up some inexpensive sets with built in caller-ID and Voila...
     
  9. houston

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    My two cents:

    AT&T Uverse is VDSL service: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-verse Think DSL, but much faster.

    To summarize much research: AT&T provides a 2Wire modem/router (A.k.a. RG or Residential Gateway) that can connect to a neighborhood DSLAM (Large vented metal cabinets) via RJ11 (phone lines) or to a NID (Network Interface Device) attached to the building via RJ11, COAX, or Ethernet, whichever is easiest based on how the home is wired. COAX can alternatively (not both) be used inside the home for HomePNA networking to connect the various IPTV tuners to the 2Wire. In fact, if the tuner is connected using Coax, you can plug something in to the tuners empty ethernet jack and be on the network. (It acts as a bridge) You can also connect the IPTV tuners via ethernet and even WiFi. There may be issues related to multicasting depending on the additional equipment in the mix. (Applies to IPTV service)

    I believe (haven't seen it yet) that the only difference between the commerical and residential versions is simply that AT&T doesn't offer the TV programming on the commercial accounts.

    Having had Uverse installed last week and been playing with it:

    1) the 2wire does not visibly support QoS
    2) You can attach a router to the 2wire, and disable the warnings about doing so.
    3) If AT&T will sell you additional static IPs, the 2wire can pass them through (bridge mode)
    4) If you have TV or Telephone service through AT&T, they will take priority over Internet, defeating any QoS provided by a seperate router (as would connecting anything directly to the 2wire but the 2nd router, whether wired or wirelessly)
    5) The 2wire phone jacks work as a standard SIP ATA, but are locked down unless you purchase phone service from AT&T. However, the SIP ALG (application layer gateway) is eanbled whether you purchase phone service from AT&T. This CAN cause problems with SIP phones and/or servers, but it can be disabled. It is likely, but I haven't tested this yet, that there are hidden QoS features to provide a boost to SIP. It seems probable because of the ALG support.
    6) Uverse is known for having highish latency, that COULD be an issue with VOIP phone service. I strongly suspect it is simply due to sharing the internet/VDSL connection with TV service, and likely a non-issue if you dont have TV service.

    Modems - which means alarm systems, some fancy DVR's (DIsh network, Tivo) and credit card processing machines, pretty much are NOT supported over VOIP/SIP. You might get lucky if you have pristine high quality connections but it is much preferable to switch to alternative methods. DVRs and Credit cards over the internet, and some other means of connecting entirely for the alarm system (internet, cellular, radio) If there really is no alternative for the alarm system, ask your telephone company about metered service for that single line. You pay for every minute of an outgoing call, but as it should be rarely used, you can likely get the bill down to $7-15 a month.

    Faxing - Asking "Can you send it/Can I send it via email" works surprisingly well. Like, nearly always. Failing that, Vitelity.com offers faxing via email/web site for $3 a month plus $.03 a minute. You need to be able to attach a document, or if it needs to be marked up with a pen, scan in, and attach a document. Receiving faxes can be done via the web page or email, never using paper at all. Other companies provide similar services. Yes you can fax using an ATA, no, you really don't want to mess with it :)

    If the internet goes down, nearly every SIP trunk provider will let you specific an alternate means to route a call for each DID you have. (Direct Inward Dial, your phone numbers in other words.) Best answer is to just forward them to cell phones or possibly the above mentioned $15 a month metered phone line for the alarm system. This means NO hardware needed to connect the analog phone system to the PBX, and CAN be an acceptable alternative to having two internet connections (for redundancy)

    You can purchase flat rate unlimited incoming call business lines for as little as $8 a month, outgoing will run you about a penny a minute, maybe a penny and a half, for metered service of reasonable to excellent quality, up to about $20-40 a month for unlimited outgoing service.

    More than two cents, I think I threw in a whole dollar!
     
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