Confused regarding terminology and setup


I’ve successfully installed Asterisk, and can talk between two SIP Phones. I’m looking to connect to the rest of the world at this point, but do not want to purchase hardware to connect to the PSTN myself (or buy additional PSTN lines). So…I need a provider of some sort. Looking at providers, I have come across a couple of terms that I have been unable to find a definition for, can anyone help me out?
–A-Z Termination

I would like a few local DID numbers for incoming calls, and want to test out Asterisk’s conferencing services. I also want to be able to call out to any number. Finally, since I am not doing the VoIP to PSTN transfer, I would like 911 server (preferrably e911). Even though the deadline has passed, I just heard back from one company that they do not have it yet. Does anyone recommend a company that provides these things (DID numbers, accept outgoing via IAX, forward incoming via AIX, support e911)? Should I be looking for one provider for all of the above, or be using different providers for different parts? If different, how should they be broken up? Should I be trying to use a wholesaler?

Thanks in advance for your input on this!

first, welcome to the fun world of asterisk!

second, its IAX, not AIX. Inter-Asterisk eXchange is the protocol.

Origination is to make a call TO a system, termination is for a system to accept a call. In other words, origination is incoming, termination is outgoing. You create the call, they terminate the end of the connection. A-Z termination probably means they support international dialing to most or all country codes.

Third, what kind of providers you get should depend on your usage patterns. You can go wholesale, if you do that termination is .8c-3c/min, and a DID (phone number) is $2-$10/mo. Some provider charge minutes for incoming calls, some don’t. Alternatively, you can buy a ‘line’ from a residential or business provider. With this you will usually get unlimited calls within the USA/canada, but soem cheaper plans give you unlimited local minutes and a bucket of minutes for LD. The VoIP provider’s definition of local is usually bigger than your telco’s, ie anywhere within your area code.
If you want lines, try quantumvoice… . Their website sucks and they bill people with quickbooks, but they have great customer support. CS is often lacking in the VoIP industry, and they do it very well.

E911 service is a rare thing so far. Most of the providers that offer it tie it to a locked ATA (analog telephony adapter), so the only way to get their voip into your * server is with their ATA and an FXO port on the server. This is a bad way to do things and I highly recommend avoiding it. If you already have a landline, get a cheap Digium X100p clone card (about $30), plug it in and set it up to only be used for 911. Then use your landline for faxing only, or have your telco restrict it to dialtone only. For that you will pay about $10-20/mo to the telco and will get almost no features, which is fine.

There are independent services that offer e911 but they are all geared towards service providers and they are all very very expensive.


Thanks for the response, and sorry for my typo there–I definitely was not referring to some IBM product!

It sounds like my most cost effective solution is to go wholesale–most of the other solutions offer many of the services that that I plan on having Asterisk provide (such as! I did find one wholesaler that offered 1.1c/min. Do you know who was offering the 0.8c/min rate?

I also appreciate the information on 911. I read somewhere that VoIP providers are now required to provide e911 service (FCC ruling). I guess providers aren’t worried about this being enforced?

not so much that they aren’t worried as that its next to impossible. 911 services are based on the PSTN, and the telco’s arent exactly happily welcoming VoIP 911 traffic with open arms.

The 0.8c/min number i got (it was actually $0.0092) was from . They are just starting out, so don’t be surprised by some quirks or occasional unavailability. It’s easy to setup a couple of these wholesale ITSP’s in failover mode so if one dies or is down it switches to the next one.

Also, I’m not sure how the FCC 911 rulings apply to wholesale ITSPs. If they are just offering termination, I don’t see why they would be required to offer 911.

Actually, the providers are a bit worried about enforcement.

They’re no longer allowed to sign up new subscribers for any areas where they do not provide location based 911 service. (e911)

So, if you’re in such an area, you may be disappointed when you call. They may not be allowed to connect you.

If all you want is to try services and see what it can do, may I suggest Free World Dialup?

As it’s name suggests, it’s a free service with worldwide VOIP access.

That might be enough to do testing anyway.