In the lead up to the demise of Google Voice XMPP service next week, we wanted to offer what we have found to be a cost-effective SIP strategy which takes advantage of the best of all worlds. We would divide SIP offerings into five broad categories: business-class unlimited SIP trunks, Old Faithful SIP providers, Mom-and-Pop SIP services, dirt-cheap termination services, and Gee Whiz SIP providers. As we have said many times, the beauty of setting up an Asterisk® PBX such as Incredible PBX® is you don’t have to put all your VoIP eggs in one basket. In our particular case, that has included a mix of Google Voice trunks plus all five of the SIP categories above. Today we want to document why we’ve personally made the selections we’ve made and hope that it provides a roadmap for your own VoIP setup while encouraging you to venture out of your safe zone and try some new VoIP options.
The all-you-can-eat business plans, which we previously have covered, make little sense for most home and small business users. Then there are the rock-solid, long term pay-as-you-go providers such as Vitelity and CallCentric that make perfect sense as your primary DID and SIP provider. While they may not always be the cheapest VoIP providers, the tradeoff is dependability and long-term reliability for your VoIP platform. In the case of Vitelity, it turns out the Nerd Vittles DID special (detailed below) from our Platinum Sponsor is perhaps one of the best VoIP deals on the planet.
The third category of SIP providers and our personal favorite is what we would call the mom-and-pop providers. These are typically one or two-person operations that offer incredible deals on all-you-can-eat VoIP plans for home users. Included in this category are Vestalink (available to existing customers only), Future-Nine and CircleNet. VestaLink originally began as OBiVoice and morphed over trademark issues. While the service is no longer available to new customers, it remains the best bargain at $72 for two years of unlimited inbound and outbound residential calling services. A close second goes to Future-Nine and their "Future 5 Grey" plan which provides 1,500 inbound and 1,500 outbound minutes a month for only $5. You can sign up here. Be sure to read the Terms of Services carefully, especially item #18. The New Kid on the Block is CircleNet. In addition to very attractive pay-by-the-minute offerings of $.005 per minute to most of the U.S. and Canada, they also have an $8 a month all-you-can-eat plan for residential customers that includes a very reasonable 5,000 minutes a month for calls to the following countries: United States, Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece , Guam, Hungary, India,Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vatican City. Just let them know that you plan to use it with an Asterisk-based PBX. CircleNet also is offering Nerd Vittles readers a free month of the $8/month service to kick the tires. Simply send an email to email@example.com with your valid email address to take advantage of the offer. One free trial per customer/email address. CircleNet also offers a $15 a month business plan with even more minutes.
A fourth class of VoIP providers is the dirt-cheap termination services including Anveo Direct, TelecomsXchange, V1VoIP and the Betamax companies for low-cost international calling. These providers make terrific additions for supplementing your other VoIP services. TelecomsXchange is our personal favorite because of the special deal they have extended to Incredible PBX users. You get access to 300 VoIP wholesalers and can read about their services in this Nerd Vittles article. V1VoIP also has some terrific deals with 15¢/mo. DIDs from 13,000 Rate Centers and incoming and outgoing U.S. call pricing as low as $.003 per minute (not a typo!). Anveo Direct was perhaps the first provider to offer wholesale pricing to consumers, and they remain a terrific service both for DID and origination services with T.38 fax support as well as many of the lowest cost SIP terminations worldwide featuring user-configurable least-cost routing. Check out their pricing and rates here.
Finally, there are the SIP providers such as VoIP.ms that offer a rich collection of special features that you won’t find in many places and certainly not under the same roof. These features include SMS messaging, SIP URI proxying and iNUM for free worldwide calling, and fax support. Every one of these features is free when you sign up for an account at VoIP.ms. We encourage you to take advantage of these little known free services to enhance your PBX.
Putting It All Together. Now that we’ve covered the options, let’s go over how we would actually implement this. For the inbound trunk and primary DID, we’d recommend a SIP trunk from either Vitelity, VoIP.ms, or CallCentric. If you have multiple, simultaneous inbound calls, then the Nerd Vittles Vitelity special below can’t be beat because it provides four call paths. In addition, you get SMS support on the same trunk. Many people now assume your primary number supports SMS. We actually get dozens of unsolicited SMS messages on our home number from schools, churches, and political groups. If incoming call volume isn’t an issue, then VoIP.ms and CallCentric also offer a free iNUM number for your account. And VoIP.ms throws in a SIP URI as well.
For outbound calling for home and SOHO deployments, we recommend at least one of the mom-and-pop, all-you-can-eat providers: Future-Nine or CircleNet. If international calling is a requirement, you can’t beat the CircleNet offering. In addition to using your primary incoming provider, we also recommend you set up SIP accounts with a couple of the dirt-cheap termination providers. These don’t cost you anything other than a modest deposit unless you actually use them to place calls. And, when your primary outbound service has an outage, your PBX will never miss a beat.
The icing on the cake always has been several Google Voice trunks which work well for IVRs, Stealth AutoAttendants with DISA support, and faxing. While this may change with the demise of XMPP support, it appears that Bill Simon’s SIP Gateway to Google Voice will live on. With the Nerd Vittles sign-up link, you can migrate your existing Google Voice XMPP connections to the Simonics gateway for $4.99 each should the need arise. Enjoy!
Originally published: Monday, June 11, 2018
CircleNet SIP Setup for FreePBX/IncrediblePBX/VitalPBX/Issabel:
username=acct-id type=friend trustrpid=yes sendrpid=yes secret=acct-pword qualify=yes nat=yes insecure=port,invite host=sip.circlenet.biz fromuser=acct-id context=from-trunk disallow=all allow=ulaw Registration String: acct-id:firstname.lastname@example.org:5060/did-num
Future-Nine SIP Setup for FreePBX/IncrediblePBX/VitalPBX/Issabel:
username=acct-num type=friend trustrpid=yes sendrpid=yes secret=acct-pword qualify=yes nat=yes insecure=port,invite host=incoming.future-nine.com fromuser=acct-num context=from-trunk canreinvite=no disallow=all allow=ulaw Registration String: acct-num:email@example.com/acct-num
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Special Thanks to Vitelity. Vitelity is now Voyant Communications and has halted new registrations for the time being. Our special thanks to Vitelity for their unwavering financial support over many years and to the many Nerd Vittles readers who continue to enjoy the benefits of their service offerings. We will keep everyone posted on further developments.
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