The PhoneBoy Blog

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More Broadvox Direct and VoIP Foo

I spent some time this evening debugging my Broadvox Direct connection. There was a significant delay between dialing a phone number and getting ringback — on the order of 16 seconds or more for some cases. After a bit of troubleshooting and configuring (thanks to Jeffery Williams for the help), my configuration is working correctly.

A piece of customer premises equipment (CPE) used in Voice-over-IP (Voip.VoIP) like the Sipura SPA-2000 has two types of jacks: a RJ-11 for your phone (the Sipura has two, some others only haveone), and an RJ-45 for connectivity to Ethernet. When you plug in your phone and pick it up, you get dialtone. But it’s not quite the same dialtone as you get with a standard landline carrier like Qwest. On a standard landline, the phone network itself generates the dialtone. In Voice-over-IP land, the CPE itself provides the dialtone to emulate the standard phone experience.

On a standard POTS line, each touch-tone you press to dial a phone number is sent through the network as it pressed. The phone switch you are connected to has a dialplan so it knows when you’ve pressed “enough digits” to complete a call. What those dialing rules are vary by area. In some areas, you only need to dial 7 digits for a local call, in others 10 digits are required, in yet others, 7 or 10 digits are allowed. Long distance usually requires dialing a 1 + area code + number, though in some areas within the same area code, it’s not needed.

In the Voip.VoIP world, when you pick up your phone and dial, there isn’t a connection to the phone network until the CPE knows what number you’re dialing. Similar dialplan rules to a POTS line exist, but they are generally much simpler. Some providers require 1 + area code + number dialing, even for local calls, others allow for standard 7 or 10-digit dialing (Broadvox Direct supports 7, 10, and 11 digit dialing). The CPE has to enforce the dialplan: it needs to know how many digits to expect to be dialed, the basic format of said digits, and how long to wait for “more digits” or simply “be done.” Once the CPE determines it has a complete number, only then does it make a connection to the appropriate SIP gateway and sets up the call. This accounts for the slightly longer delay in Voip.VoIP situations versus a standard landline.

In my case, the dialplan was misconfigured, causing extraordinary delays when making calls. Once the dialplan settings were adjusted, I was able to complete calls that much faster. Jeff also fixed my Sipura config so that the Sipura “features” worked correctly with BVD (they weren’t before). As such, I updated my Broadvox Direct page to include all the features I was able to test, including a few that currently require calling their customer service to adjust — their customer portal isn’t available yet. The find-me, follow-me stuff will be much cooler once I can control it from the portal.

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