Primary DID - SIP or Traditional POTS?

I’m curious what would be considered a standard for most VoIP integrations. Do you generally prefer to port a business’s primary DID to a SIP trunk provider? Or is it best practice to keep it with a local POTS provider? I see the benefits of having backup POTS lines for redundancy, especially when internet data connections are not stable.

It seems that if I keep the primary business DID with a traditional provider, all incoming calls would ring through that line, then Call Forward - Busy to a SIP DID that rings to the FreePBX server. The only benefit here seems to be the local White Pages listing provided by the phone company. (Does anyone use those any more?)

If I move the primary DID to a SIP provider, we have the benefit of having all calls rolling through SIP services. In case of an internet outage, they would fail over to the “backup” POTS line. My concern here is: How reliable is porting IN and OUT of such SIP providers? I have read and heard horror stories, including being able to port to such providers, but then being “stuck”, unable to port back anywhere else if required.

I would love to hear the thoughts/experiences of those who have experience with these scenarios and the general “best practice” approach. Thanks!

my two cents for what it is worth. port the did to your itsp. most itsp’s have a failover option so that if pbx is not reachable from the itsp, it fails over to whatever number you specify. as a general rule we have never had issues with porting either in or out of a carrier. the key is to have the corrrect porting, you do not have the issue of forwarding the analog did to your itsp either.

This statement belies a certain misconception about how FreePBX works.

In a normal FreePBX system your incoming DID would come in from a Trunk (POTS single line, PRI, T1, DS1, E1, or IP) and be handled by your FreePBX system. There’s no failover/routing/whatever. The source of the call is moot and completely irrelevant to the discussion.

Now, to the original discussion:

The phone company charges a flat rate of something on the order of $60 per line (channel) for connectivity with traditional phone services. This rate include a ton of fees, charges, access rates, remunerations, and other cruft that has nothing to do with you getting communications to your business.

With VOIP, most of that disappears. With my providers, you pay for the services you want to pay for (phone book listings, Caller ID, 911 access, etc, inbound numbers) and then for the time you use on the line (parts a cent per minute).

Now, some of my customers are concerned because the phone company rep has warned them that VOIP isn’t as reliable as their phone system. In the case of our local CLEC, this is disingenuous at best, because the phones are connected to the system that provides the Internet to the building through a Analog Telephone Adapter.

to assuage the fears of my customers, I set up the “high criticality” systems with two routes out. I get them two different Internet Service Providers. I also have the capability to route the incoming calls to other phone systems (like their cell phones) in the event of a real catastrophe.

I do it all with additional number, hunt-groups, having to screw around with coordinating what number rolls to what number with a bunch of technicians. Setting up a VOIP system is far more complex than setting up a single-line phone, but it’s also far more capable and far less expensive. Most of the businesses I’ve set up this year are operating their entire enterprise on what they were paying for a single inbound line. In fact, by support time costs them more than their phones do.

So, while it doesn’t make any different which type of trunk we use, it’s financially irresponsible to use POTS. The two orders of magnitude cost differencecan’t be justified by the 1% increase in reliability.

This may also depend on the stability of your Internet connection, geography, etc. Obviously if a tree falls on the lines your probably going to lose analog and Internet connectivity but if your ISP/IVSP connection is spotty you may need to fall back on analog as a backup. I have several clients in rural areas that only have one ISP option and sometimes even GSM isn’t available as a backup :frowning:

@cynjut - Thanks for the well thought out reply. A couple of questions though:

Perhaps I didn’t explain that thoroughly enough. Since a POTS line through a traditional phone service provider is delivered to FreePBX as a single line through a gateway device, when the line is in use, new callers would receive a busy signal, correct? If I wanted additional calls (channels), I would have to either buy more overpriced phone lines, or arrange for the phone company providing the POTS line to call forward on a busy condition to a DID I purchase through a provider such as Vitelity, Flowroute, etc. Although a completely separate DID, it would be delivered through IP services as a different Trunk, while remaining completely transparent to the customer and would then allow multiple channels (calls) without the traditional restrictions. In mentioning “backup”, I was referring to an area that has very poor internet connectivity and service disruptions occur on an (almost) weekly basis, lasting for only a few minutes in most cases. So, is my thinking correct in this sense?

Out of curiosity, what providers have you used? Specifically, so far I haven’t found one that offers phone book listings, which is still desired by most business owners. While many are often looking for the cheapest provider, I would like to be aware of and familiar with those that are full-featured as well.

It depends on the area and the nature of the outage.

In most of the rural locations that I’m used to dealing with (one of my target markets is farmers and ranchers in the area around Kearney, Nebraska, USA), the delivery of phone service and Internet is one and the same. If the phones go out, the Internet goes out, and vice versa.

We are experimenting with high capacity point-to-point 5.8GHz Wireless as an alternative, as well as GSM, satellite, Dish Network, and a host of other systems. Of all of these systems, the phone is usually the least reliable. Even in the metro areas where the phones are considered reliable, most phone services are now delivered over the same infrastructure as the Internet. Omaha (the nearest “big city”) has converted everything over to a multiply redundant SONET fiber ring that delivers everything to everyone. All of our phone companies and cable companies use the same cable for everything. Analog phones are now essentially delivered as ATAs that hang on the walls in the demarks.

If I understand the terms of my contract, “VOIP Innovations” will list your phone number with the national CName providers (for a fee) which then feed all of the Yellow Pages company (like Dex and that company out in West Omaha whose name escapes me right now - they do all of the business address process stuff for the trucking companies… - whatever…).

In our area (Century Link/QWest/US West), at least, getting listed in the yellow pages has nothing to do with getting a phone number. You get a white pages listing, but you’d get that by updating your phone number with the national 411/CName services. The last time I got a Yellow Pages listing, I had to negotiate it with the CLink Yellow pages People, then had to pay again when Dex rolled around, and then again when the other sucker-fish wanted me to be listed.

I don’t know where you’re located, but even people in Nebraska are starting to realize it’s the 21st century and are dropping things like hard copy phone books and land-line phones. Internet connected PBX systems are cool because we can extend them, but any single-use technology (like phones that are just phones) are quickly becoming a dying breed.