The First Rule of VoIP


  • Service Provider

    Never get your VoIP from your ISP.

    No rule needs to be stated more often or better understood. This is actually a VoIP distillation of a more general IT rule "Never unnecessarily couple services from your infrastructure carriers." Which is really just an IT distillation of the general business rule of "Never become unnecessarily beholden to a vendor."

    Your ISP is one of the most dangerous vendors that you deal with in any context. They own your "pipe" to the world. If you keep them as a pure ISP, their leverage against you is minimized and sometimes nullified. But if you bundle services into your ISP, especially services that are critical such as communications, identity, storage, hosting or security you become at risk by allowing the ISP to make things difficult or essentially impossible for you to control. The thread of cutting off one or more services if you attempt to dispute poor service or a lack of service means that even legal recourse may not be a reasonable option.

    Common ISP tricks include locking you into physical locations and crippling your physical corporate mobility, removing failover protections, limiting the ability to cancer services, uncontrolled price increases and so forth. An ISP is sometimes a real monopoly and is always partially a monopoly with exclusive or limited access to you physically. Bundling free market services into a monopolistic service means that those services because controlled by a monopoly that has no legal oversight as to those components.

    Beyond these ISP risks, your ISP is not a phone company. Their core job is physical infrastructure plant, not telephony services. It's the wrong type of company to seek for your phone service conceptually. You want a company that does phone service as a speciality and provides the features that you need.

    Going with an ISP for VoIP trunks fundamentally undermines that are assumed values of modern telephony such as physical location mobility, low cost, freedom of hardware, freedom of software, site failover, physical carrier failover, etc. While ISP delivered VoIP is technically VoIP because VoIP technologies are used, the standard advantages and reasons for using VoIP are completely lost as all of the limitations and caveats of legacy telephony are reintroduced for no reason.


  • Service Provider

    There is a myth that guaranteed call quality requires you to use your ISP (there is another option) and another that guaranteed call quality is of general importance (it is not) but these are not the point here. But they are common enough myths that it is worth noting that they have not been ignored.



  • @scottalanmiller Out of curiosity, how can call quality be guaranteed at all? Once your call reaches the open internet, there isn't anything the ISP can do to control anything downstream. That's always been something I could never wrap my head around as I always see this as an impossibility (for any calls that go over the public internet anyway).


  • Service Provider

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Out of curiosity, how can call quality be guaranteed at all? Once your call reaches the open internet, there isn't anything the ISP can do to control anything downstream.

    Using the ISP or a dedicated link means that the call never hits the open internet at all, that's the difference. Which is handy for call quality, but takes out that whole "calls over the Internet" advantage.



  • @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.


  • Service Provider

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.



  • @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    That's the brute force method. QoS and a bigger pipe normally work as well, if you are really saturating it. And the second pipe approach works almost always BECAUSE the Internet itself is not a bottleneck.



  • @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    That's the brute force method. QoS and a bigger pipe normally work as well, if you are really saturating it. And the second pipe approach works almost always BECAUSE the Internet itself is not a bottleneck.

    Well I was more talking about the main link being down for whatever reason.

    I've had cable internet at locations where 1+ hrs a month outage would be normal. Luckily that hasn't been the case for 4+ years.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    That's the brute force method. QoS and a bigger pipe normally work as well, if you are really saturating it. And the second pipe approach works almost always BECAUSE the Internet itself is not a bottleneck.

    Well I was more talking about the main link being down for whatever reason.

    I've had cable internet at locations where 1+ hrs a month outage would be normal. Luckily that hasn't been the case for 4+ years.

    That may not be the problem, but we can all point to your posts about your shitty phone service which was bought through your ISP and has had multiple, hours long, outages.



  • @JaredBusch said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    That's the brute force method. QoS and a bigger pipe normally work as well, if you are really saturating it. And the second pipe approach works almost always BECAUSE the Internet itself is not a bottleneck.

    Well I was more talking about the main link being down for whatever reason.

    I've had cable internet at locations where 1+ hrs a month outage would be normal. Luckily that hasn't been the case for 4+ years.

    That may not be the problem, but we can all point to your posts about your shitty phone service which was bought through your ISP and has had multiple, hours long, outages.

    Hey I'm not defending my setup - you know that decision was NOT made by me!


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @JaredBusch said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    That's the brute force method. QoS and a bigger pipe normally work as well, if you are really saturating it. And the second pipe approach works almost always BECAUSE the Internet itself is not a bottleneck.

    Well I was more talking about the main link being down for whatever reason.

    I've had cable internet at locations where 1+ hrs a month outage would be normal. Luckily that hasn't been the case for 4+ years.

    That may not be the problem, but we can all point to your posts about your shitty phone service which was bought through your ISP and has had multiple, hours long, outages.

    Hey I'm not defending my setup - you know that decision was NOT made by me!

    True. I should have said your employer's shitty phone service.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @NashBrydges said in The First Rule of VoIP:

    @scottalanmiller Right. That makes sense.

    But the reality is, the Internet doesn't have call quality issues. Not realistically. Your WAN link is always where there are issues. The open Internet is so fast and vast, yes latency can hit you there, but it's not where people actually get issues.

    Exactly - and that WAN link is the piece that I'm always personally concerned about - and to which Scott will say - if you are that worried, then you should have a second ISP delivering you service.

    Which you can't do if your phone service is tied to your ISP! So that is one of the biggest deals is that you give up ISP redundancy.



  • @scottalanmiller is right. The bottleneck is always the customer router. And not so much bandwidth as much as packets per second. Your dropbox sync is killing your phone calls 50 to 1 over bandwidth 99% of the time. Your $50 linksys router can't handle a million pps.

    Most ISP's are little more than Broadsoft resellers with no interconnects in their local market. Even on the WISP side speeds are so good now that bundling voice isn't relevant.



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