I don't believe you will find good margins with the setup you are specifying. Additionally, you can forget about fax working, which is an absolute requirement for businesses.

If anyone on this list wants to do VoIP over wireless, figure out how to do fax before committing to the business. From experience I can tell you that it cost us an enormous amount of money to get fax working with Asterisk.


Matt Larsen - Lists wrote:

Hello all,

After a year and a half of watching, jumping in and learning about VOIP, I think I have come up with a way to implement it with a relatively low budget setup. Here is my very general outline of how to deliver VOIP on a shoestring:

1) Asterisk server with AMP (Asterisk Management Portal): This is a great soho phone system, but on the right machine it appears that it can also be used as a production VOIP server. The key is that it uses MySQL databases for the extension and trunk configurations. Another necessity - G.729 codec licensing. G.729, GSM and ilbc codecs work great on wireless - even garden variety wifi. AMP has a nice web-based interface for maintenance and a decent website for checking voice mail and account usage.

2) Freeside billing server - Freeside can be modified to submit the necessary variables for voip service to an AMP box. That means that the billing for the VOIP can be done with the same server that is doing ISP billing, and it can also handle provisioning/deprovisioning. I don't have this quite sorted out yet, but am getting close.

3) An ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) that has a built in router and supports the codecs listed above (G729, GSM, ilbc). My preferred one at the moment is the Grandstream HandyTone 488. It is $75 to $80. This unit includes one VOIP line, a router with dhcp and nat, an FXO port (which means that it can route calls through a regular phone line) and a PSTN pass through port. If the customer has an existing phone line, 911 calls can be set up to go right to their regular phone. I have tested out the Sipura and Linksys adapters and they work as well, but the Grandstream has more features for a lower price.

4) A GOOD ITSP (Internet Telephone Service Provider). An ITSP is where you can get your numbers and long distance termination. Right now, I am very happy with Teliax for my numbers and inbound termination, and Voipjet for outbound termination. Voipjet is a little cheaper, so when everything averages out, minutes cost about 1.5cents each. If there is a lot of local traffic, you can also get a few local lines and place the calls through those lines instead of using the ITSP. Teliax has a wide selection of local numbers, better than just about anyone else, and their support and network performance is top-notch. I'm not using a large volume of minutes yet, but I think there may be some interest in putting together a plan for WISPA members to band together for volume discounts. 5) Find the right balance of pricing and features - I"m looking at $24.95/month for residential with a $50 setup fee - but we maintain ownership of the ATA unit. If a 1000minute soft cap is put on the residential accounts, you can figure $15 maximum for the minutes used - with $5 (approx cost) for the inbound number that leaves a $5/month profit. If the user only uses 500 minutes, then that is a $12.50/month profit. That is where a few local lines might come in handy to provide a non-ITSP route to the PSTN that is fixed and doesn't have per minute charges. That would increase the profit margin. Businesses should be under a different plan completely.

We are getting demand from some strange places for VOIP. Several small towns in my service area have monthly phone rates of $90-$100 per line for local phone service. We are finding that the phone service is more valuable to them than the Internet and they could care less about having a local number. A VOIP phone with a toll-free number is just fine for them, and even with the Internet service they can cut their phone bill in half. That is a little nuts.
I welcome any comments from others who are working on the same thing.

Matt Larsen

I'm sure there are some guys out there who are going to have some ideas on ways to improve this, so please speak up if you have some ideas.

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