gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for the ‘VoIP’

Replacement for my Unlimitel dialplan

April 11, 2008 @ 22:44 By: gordon Category: VoIP

When I started using Voice over IP technology, I acquired a wholesale DID from Unlimitel for an extremely reasonable monthly cost. Shortly thereafter I created an Asterisk-friendly version of the dialplan information they provided and made it available for download. It was a very simplistic set of Dial() statements, one per areacode-exchange combination. This resulted in a large number of statements and as Unlimitel’s on-net service area grew, so did it. It also meant that it was easy for my dialplan to be out of date as new exchanges were added. If you wanted to do anything before the Dial() statement you had to either create another context with a pattern that caught what you wanted to do and then went to your outbound Unlimitel context or you had to take my dialplan and insert new statements.

Way too much work and also way too many statements.

I had thought about writing a small Perl program to parse the dialplan information and collapse it to match with broader patterns, but never found the time. And when I had the time, I really didn’t feel like it because, frankly, things were working for me so I didn’t feel like changing it.

When I upgraded my blog a few months ago, I dropped the dialplan from my website during the migration. I hadn’t updated it in months and I knew that Unlimitel had made whole sale changes. A reader looking for my dialplan asked me if I would put it back up.

Recently, I overhauled my dialplans and made things more efficient with macros rather than explicit Dial() statements for every combination of areacode and exchange. For various reasons, I use a couple of different providers to provide outbound paths. Since most of my calls are local, I first try to send the call out via Unlimitel. If Unlimitel doesn’t handle the destination, I then try to send it out via Link2Voip.

The result is that I have eliminated most of the lines being loaded while eliminating the need to maintain an unwieldy dialplan.

Here’s how I did it…


VoIP update

March 20, 2008 @ 10:00 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I haven’t blogged about VoIP recently. If you look back through my blog, you’ll see that I started dabbling with voice over IP (VoIP) technology at the end of December 2004 and bit the bullet and started using my Unlimitel number as my main phone number in May 2005. I’m happy to report that the savings I wrote about realizing in an entry I wrote at the end of the first year of the experiment continue to be realized. I still have a Bell Canada phone line, primarily as a backup in the event of an emergency. Though my Unlimitel service does include 9-1-1 access, I haven’t had occasion (thank goodness!) to test it out. If there’s a prolonged power or ‘net outage I know that I can still call 9-1-1 if I need to. (Of course, I have a cell phone that I can call 9-1-1 from, too.)


Some days I hate the Internet

January 20, 2007 @ 14:49 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General, VoIP

For most of the last 24 hours, I have been without network access at home. Calls to my ISP go into their phone queue system, which tells me that it there is a network problem their technicians are “diligently working to repair” before telling me that it can’t connect me right now because all their reps are with other clients and then hanging up.

It appears that the block of network addresses that my IP address belongs to is no longer being announced to the world, meaning that I can fling packets into the ether and though they might get to the destination, the destination system doesn’t know how to connect back to my address.

This means that I’ve had to make alternative arrangements to transfer my voice over IP (VoIP) phone stuff to a server that’s not on my ISP’s network, so if you’ve called and left me a message, I’ll get back to you next time I check my voicemail.

Update: As of Sunday morning at about 02:43:47, my Internet connection is working. 02:43:47 is the first log entry in Pinetree’s sendmail logs and it happens to be a piece of spam. (Anyone surprised it was spam?)

Updated Unlimitel dialplan

June 07, 2006 @ 07:20 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I’ve updated my Asterisk-friendly Unlimitel dialplan based on the information provided by Unlimitel on 03 June 2006.  It’s available here.

Looking back at the first year of VoIP

January 28, 2006 @ 23:52 By: gordon Category: VoIP

It’s been about a year since I started using VoIP for my home phone service. In all, I’ve spent about $150 on minutes with Unlimitel and about $30 for a DID from them. I’ve spent about $350 on IP phones, one wired and one WiFi. In terms of long distance, I’ve probably spent about $50 with sixTel and Link2VoIP. I use sixTel for inbound longdistance (I have a local number in Columbus, OH and a tollfree number in the US I use as a calling card when I’m on the road there) and Link2VoIP for my outbound longdistance. And, I’ve eliminated overseas charges to talk to friends in the UK.

Generally speaking, I’m very happy with things. Occasionally, the quality of the long distance providers is not as good as it could be, but for less than 2 cents/minute, one can’t really complain. On the other hand, my local service from Unlimitel has been excellent — audio quality is top notch.

So, in my opinion, the first year of experiments has been a great success. After the initial capital investment for the phones, I’m well ahead of where I’d be compared to traditional phone services.

Asterisk 1.2.0

November 19, 2005 @ 10:22 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I upgraded to Asterisk 1.2.0 last night. It went fairly smoothly, though I did end up scraping the first attempt and recompiling everything. The only hiccup were the pre-existing files in /usr/lib/asterisk/modules. A couple of the modules there weren’t installed by the new installation so when asterisk fired up, it tried to load them, couldn’t and died. Removing them and recompiling seemed to do the trick.

One of the new features I haven’t tried yet is the new syntax for the dialplans. There’s a new option that allows you to specifiy the order of the priorities by the order they appear in in the file rather than by having to manually number them. This will make it much easier to insert/delete an instruction in a dialplan because you won’t have to manually renumber anything.

The only other annoyance is the appearance of a warning on the console every 50 seconds telling me that update_registry is restricting registrations for a peer to 60 seconds when 1200 seconds were requested. There’s probably an option somewhere I have to tweak to make it go away.

Updated Unlimitel dialplan

August 17, 2005 @ 00:02 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I’ve just updated the Asterisk-friendly Unlimitel dialplan I host based on the most recent information from Unlimiltel. It’s available here.