Author Topic: Going VOIP - losing the landline  (Read 1957 times)

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Going VOIP - losing the landline
« on: 26 February, 2021, 12:59:44 pm »
Finally have decided to stop with BT (after mumble-crikey years!) and go VOIP with my ISP, a favourite of this parish.

One of the things that helped me decide, apart from the usurious BT grasp, was setting up and seeing a VOIP helpline being used during lockdowns in our town, all calls dealt with remotely by the staff team.

TBH we could probably go without the "landline" but for the elderly friends and relatives that have the number. Maybe VOIP is the first step to getting the number permanently diverted to mobiles.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Beardy

  • What’s this do?
  • I’ve always wondered where this was
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #1 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:03:10 pm »
You can’t actually go without a landline yet, as I believe that the telephone number is still used as the primary identifier. I can’t imagine that it’s far off though because fibre has largely made the concept irrelevant. It makes me quite nostalgic.
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #2 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:08:53 pm »
Yes, I guess my terminology was a bit loose - we still have a copper pair, for the broadband (that also brings the VOIP).

Copper pair with the ISP and the costs of calls in the new regime = half the cost of BT.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #3 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:11:56 pm »
You can’t actually go without a landline yet, as I believe that the telephone number is still used as the primary identifier. I can’t imagine that it’s far off though because fibre has largely made the concept irrelevant. It makes me quite nostalgic.

I think that may have changed.  I haven't been required to provide a landline number for any purpose since ditching it a year ago - maybe because I haven't tried to take out credit, but who knows.  I've certainly obtained a new passport, opened new banking accounts, etc without issue.

In the old days a land line number was certainly a help in certain situations, but as you say it's totally anachronistic now and it only makes sense that's reflected in the way we do things.

Virgin Media wanted to charge me an additional £12 pm for ditching it, even though it never worked despite dozens of engineer visits.  I complained vigorously until they backed down  ;D  Still on the same rate mind - no reduction.  Bastards.

BTW VOIP just doesn't work for me, even though all the setting are as they should be.  Samsung S10 - VM fibre broadband - EE 4G

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #4 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:21:37 pm »
Hmm, I'd like to stop paying for a landline (the internets come via the phone line, of course), the last time I checked, it didn't seem possible. I never use it and the only calls I get are spam or a dizzy woman looking for Kevin because 'it's the number he gave me.' I can say after six months of these calls that Kevin just isn't that into you.

It's a service I don't want, all my calls are by mobile or the internet. To be honest, I use bugger all minutes on the mobile too.
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #5 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:33:36 pm »
We've been doing this for a few years now, ever since NGT[1] made it possible to use an internet client for textphone calls rather than a retro 1970-technology Minicom on a BT[2] analogue line.

We're not big voice telephony users.  I pretty much only use it to deal with luddite bureaucratic organisations like banks, government departments and the NHS who can't cope with more civilised forms of communication.  Barakta uses it with an amplified phone to talk to her mum and a couple of patient friends who struggle to access text for disability reasons.

As a side effect of general mucking about with Asterisk, it became readily apparent that the signal:noise ratio was much better on SIP (using the G.711 codecs to Sipgate) than it was on the BT analogue line, which makes all the difference in terms of barakta being able to hear (we both struggle to hear if there's any GSM involved, which rules out mobile phones).  When we no longer needed POTS for the Minicom, we got AAISP to take over the line as a broadband-only[3] service.  And just like that, the spam calls stopped.

Sipgate isn't landline-levels of reliable, but that's fine for our purposes.  PAYG suits our low level of useage.


So yeah, VOIP can work well, but my general advice would be:
- Use proper standards-based VOIP, not proprietary solutions like Skype.
- Use dedicated hardware phones if possible.  Soft phones on the desktop are faff to answer (hearing people only give you a few seconds to answer a phone these days), and smartphone implementations are dubious bordering on broken.  You can get Snom 300s for under 20 quid on eBay.
- I've never met an ATA that I actually liked.
- You need a decent internet connection.  WiFi is best avoided, and it works much better if you either have traffic shaping at each end to prioritise the VOIP packets, or enough bandwidth that the link never becomes congested.


[1] Or whatever they've re-branded as this 5 minutes.
[2] And it pretty much had to be BT, otherwise you couldn't use the 1800X prefixes to route the call through relay.
[3] It provides VDSL in the usual way.  If you plug a telephone into the line you get a recorded message telling the engineer what line it is and not to steal the pair.  We pay about a quid less per month for this than we would for a voice-calls provider, because that's how Openreach charge for the infrastructure.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #6 on: 26 February, 2021, 01:39:01 pm »
https://www.virtuallandline.co.uk/

We transferred to this lot about 6 months ago. We went with the UK unlimited package at £7.95 a month, although for a reason that I cannot fathom, they are charging us £7.96 a month. The OCD isn't strong enough yet for me to ask for a refund of the 6p.

I found it quite amusing that someone had set up her mother in Poland with a Colchester dialling code.
Bach without a doubt.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #7 on: 26 February, 2021, 02:03:30 pm »
I assume the standing charge for the landline also pays for the broadband connection (as it's the same line) but really, I just want to pay the one fee for the broadband and ditch the landline phone. That still seems impossibolium.
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #8 on: 26 February, 2021, 02:03:44 pm »
We've got a couple of DECT phones already, so one more as a package with the new VIOP base is fine. AAISP are the providers, and so it's proper stuff. I'm Well used to Skype and other variables...

Yes, we will be charged an amount per month for the copper pair that bring the Broadband.

The most exciting thing is the new Control Panel items form AAISP, which will take several coffees to understand  :thumbsup:
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #9 on: 26 February, 2021, 04:53:55 pm »
I assume the standing charge for the landline also pays for the broadband connection (as it's the same line) but really, I just want to pay the one fee for the broadband and ditch the landline phone. That still seems impossibolium.

$Telco wants to provide you with service using BT infrastructure.  They have to pay Openreach:

A fee for the line, which includes POTS backhaul on that line.
A fee for broadband backhaul on that line.

Most of them recoup the former by providing a voice call service, but they don't have to.  You can get broadband from AAISP without the phone, but they pass on the cost of renting the copper pair from Openreach.

The alternative is not using Openreach infrastructure.  But apart from Virign Media, who like to bundle internet access up with phone and TV packages you don't want, that probably involves digging holes, sticking aerials on the roof or moving to Hull or something.


I blame Thatcher.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #10 on: 26 February, 2021, 05:04:04 pm »
I used to have a BT Landline and BT ADSL. The ADSL in my area of London is known to be atrocious. Hyperoptic came in and put a router cabinet in the basement and a Cat 5 connection to each apartment. We have a Cat5 connected wireless hub and the internet is rock solid and high bandwidth. So far so good

Mrs Scum has an alarm call button so we maintained the BT landline for years. I finally tired of was a paying for their call packages of 'free calls at the weekend' or whatever, as we never used the landline much. SO I changed to the Hyperotpic phone service also which is 3 QUID a month. SO we get 50MB internet plus phoen for 25 quid a month.
the phone handset plugs into the back of the wireless router.
I found that to get the alarm call system to work I had to buy a handset from Amazon, cost about ten quid. Works perfectly.
Hyperoptic on request supplied a small UPS battery which I think runs for a couple of hours.

I honestly don't worry about having an alarm button on VOIP - Mrs Scum also has a mobile .

SO my advice for anyoen in the same situation - go for it and get a UPS battery, probably one of the larger APC mains units.




Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #11 on: 26 February, 2021, 05:17:22 pm »
You can of course go satellite broadband if you want to ditch the landline and can’t get “cable”. Not cheap though, at around £50/month for 50mbps.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Beardy

  • What’s this do?
  • I’ve always wondered where this was
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #12 on: 26 February, 2021, 05:23:17 pm »
.
I blame Thatcher.
She’s got a lot to answer for in terms of setting back utility development in the U.K. all in the name of consumer ‘choice’. In terms of telecoms, post office telecommunications (as it was then) had already built the manufacturing facilities for the fibre chips and had advanced plans for universal fibre to the prem, (FTTP) when she was first elected and ordered the creation of BT, the setting up of the duopoly and the killing of the FTTP programme so that Mercury could ‘compete’ with BT. </rant>
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #13 on: 26 February, 2021, 05:34:42 pm »
You can of course go satellite broadband if you want to ditch the landline and can’t get “cable”. Not cheap though, at around £50/month for 50mbps.

I think the latency would make VoIP pretty horrible.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #14 on: 26 February, 2021, 05:36:23 pm »
We have the choice of Openreach or Openreach (which incidentally, sounds like a sex act). Basically, every option seems to involve voice and super-duper 'free calls at the weekend.' I don't want to talk to people Monday through Friday, so I'm not doing it at the weekend. I've turned the ringer off, I'm tired of telling that woman that Kevin doesn't live here and no, it's really not his number. When my wife gets calls on her work mobile for the person who evidently had the number before, she's taken to saying, in a sad voice, 'Sorry to tell you like this, but Robert passed away.' Crazy Kevin Lady sounds a bit elderly, so I'm not that mean. Kevin can't call, he's in a coma.

Cable operators are too scared of the bears to come up the hill (ironically, there's a cable duct from 'Mercury Telecommunications' on the verge outside, but I can confirm that it's empty of any cables or fibreopticals because I fell down the hole once.
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MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #15 on: 26 February, 2021, 06:35:20 pm »
Pretty much wot Kim said

I've been using a mixture of Sipgate and Draytel for Voip /SIP voice telephony for a few years now.
Generally cheaper than landline and perfectly reliable.
We use a Siemens DECT unit that routes our calls onto the relevant provider, not that we make or receive many calls.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #16 on: 26 February, 2021, 06:55:45 pm »
EE will also sell you Openreach broadband, without a landline. Though not sure if its really much cheaper, maybe £1 or so per month.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #17 on: 28 February, 2021, 12:27:17 am »
D's been suggesting we don't need our landline but I'm a Luddite and I like my landline for calling my parents.

It struck me that our alarm system (intruder/fire/PANIC) is wired to the landline, though I know it also has a SIM for mobile network. Do you have an alarm, or anything else wired to your landline that you might have forgotten?

I'm still quite fond of having telephony independent of mains electricity.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #18 on: 28 February, 2021, 12:40:08 am »
It struck me that our alarm system (intruder/fire/PANIC) is wired to the landline, though I know it also has a SIM for mobile network. Do you have an alarm, or anything else wired to your landline that you might have forgotten?

$ky boxes used to be a sticking point.  Presumably they just phone home over the internets these days.


Quote
I'm still quite fond of having telephony independent of mains electricity.

Mobile phones cover this well enough in most scenarios.  Obviously if that's not an option (eg. you live somewhere with no mobile coverage), some consideration for what happens when the mains fails is prudent.  I assume that whenever our-favourite-telco start replacing copper pairs with fibre, they'll be installing some battery backup at the customer's end.

Our VOIP kit has UPS backup, as it's sharing infrastructure (server and networking) with the alerting system.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #19 on: 28 February, 2021, 02:19:55 am »
Mobile phones cover this well enough in most scenarios.  Obviously if that's not an option (eg. you live somewhere with no mobile coverage), some consideration for what happens when the mains fails is prudent.  I assume that whenever our-favourite-telco start replacing copper pairs with fibre, they'll be installing some battery backup at the customer's end.
Openreach used to supply a battery backup with FTTP as standard. But it seems they stopped that a few years ago. It might still be available for vulnerable people, or those without a mobile signal etc.
Also means don't need to install such a big box on your wall.
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/10/openreach-to-stop-providing-battery-backup-for-fttp-broadband.html

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #20 on: 28 February, 2021, 08:34:55 am »
Quote from: Kim
Quote
I'm still quite fond of having telephony independent of mains electricity.
... I assume that whenever our-favourite-telco start replacing copper pairs with fibre, they'll be installing some battery backup at the customer's end.
AIUI the fibre cabinets have battery backup, but it's only good for about an hour(1) or so. Fine for brown-outs and blips, but not much cop in the sort of mess that the Texians seem to have got themselves into and I can't imagine TelCos supplying homes with decent battery backup - too expensive - and I don't suppose the towers for portable telephones have much in the way of battery backup(2) either.

(1) Sits back and waits to be corrected by someone who knows more. :)
(2) As (1).
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Beardy

  • What’s this do?
  • I’ve always wondered where this was
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #21 on: 28 February, 2021, 09:56:55 am »
Fun fact. Once upon the old days, even before I was a junior telephone engineer in the making, the GPO used to provide batteries at  subscribers premises when they were a long way away from the exchange. In this case, the exchange was where the local source of gossip worked as the village telephone exchange operator.

When cordless phones were first introduced there was a rule that said you could not have just a cordless phone and you had to have at least one corded phone to provide you with the capability of calling 999 in the event of a power cut. I imagine that it was a similar driver that required the inclusion of ups batteries in the early FTTP kit. This whole requirement has probably been quietly dropped as the GPO has lost more and more control of CPE requirements. A win for consumer freedoms.
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #22 on: 28 February, 2021, 10:18:27 am »
https://www.virtuallandline.co.uk/

We transferred to this lot about 6 months ago. We went with the UK unlimited package at £7.95 a month, although for a reason that I cannot fathom, they are charging us £7.96 a month. The OCD isn't strong enough yet for me to ask for a refund of the 6p.

I found it quite amusing that someone had set up her mother in Poland with a Colchester dialling code.

Could you get an EU passport that way?
Sic transit and all that..

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #23 on: 28 February, 2021, 11:18:38 am »
Mobile phones cover this well enough in most scenarios.  Obviously if that's not an option (eg. you live somewhere with no mobile coverage), some consideration for what happens when the mains fails is prudent.  I assume that whenever our-favourite-telco start replacing copper pairs with fibre, they'll be installing some battery backup at the customer's end.
Openreach used to supply a battery backup with FTTP as standard. But it seems they stopped that a few years ago. It might still be available for vulnerable people, or those without a mobile signal etc.
Also means don't need to install such a big box on your wall.
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/10/openreach-to-stop-providing-battery-backup-for-fttp-broadband.html

I appear to have one with battery backup, installed in March 2018 (was supposed to be February, but hey, BT don't care about appointments).  Just how are these batteries supposed to be "user replaceable" considering there appears to be no way into the box they're in?  all sortsof tugging, jiggling, pulling and persuading have been tried...

I'm also not clear on just what they are powering.  I'm sort of assuming its the actual connection, so a phone line connected will work?  Obviously no broadband, as the router will just die with no power, as it has done on several occasions.  We only have DECT phones, but do have an emergency wired phone in a drawer.  Rubbish mobile signal here.
Wombat

Re: Going VOIP - losing the landline
« Reply #24 on: 01 March, 2021, 09:31:05 am »
Worth noting, Virgin Media do provide a broadband only package.
Looks like BT are even offering broadband only deals now: https://www.bt.com/products/broadband-deal/broadband-only. There will be no dial tone and no ability to make calls over the copper pair.

We do have a landline. It is never used. I was though about setting up a VOIP phone, but I think it could be less reliable than the service we get from our mobile providers, at least based on the experience provisioning it at work with an external provider.
A Few Apples Short of a Strudel