FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...



  • So I got the go ahead to switch our centurylink PRI over to a SIP solution. I had been testing with voip.ms and everything has been really good with their service and that was who I intended to go with. My manager though asked about continuing with Centurylink as the provider so I told him I would get quote expecting it to not be very competitive price wise. To my surprise though the quote is competitive.

    To be sure one thing I don't like is that it is not metered in that it is a flat fee for a fixed number of concurrent calls but based on my usage calculations the cost will be in line with what I would have expected on metered service at voip.ms.

    One thing that does concern me though is that their doesn't appear to be a lot of information on setting up FreePBX with Centurylink SIP and that which I have found leads me to believe it is not as straightforward as some other providers.

    See:

    https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FPG/Setup+Centurylink+SIP+IQ+trunks ; and
    https://www.savelono.com/linux/how-to-setup-a-centurylink-iq-sip-trunk-for-asterisk.html

    Has anyone successfully used Centurylink IQ SIP service with FreePBX?



  • CenturyLink is not someone that I would trust. Being "almost the same price" would be a terrible business reason to go with a poor carrier compared to a good one. Also, have you compared ML pricing from Skyetel which should be a bit less than voip.ms? If price is that much of a concern, that's the more competitive one. voip.ms is great, we use them for our secondary lines and international lines. But just getting the price more in line does nothing to address CenturyLink lock in risks, carrier risks, or support issues. Plus what you have found... documentation is going to be lean for obvious reasons, none of us work with carriers like that, there's no business case for it.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    To be sure one thing I don't like is that it is not metered in that it is a flat fee for a fixed number of concurrent calls but based on my usage calculations the cost will be in line with what I would have expected on metered service at voip.ms.

    How is this different from what you have today other than it's simply cheaper.

    Is the number of concurrent calls enough? - to many?

    Once nice thing about pure per min charges is they generally allow a near infinite number of concurrent calls (you do have to ask them to open the flood gates though - they are limited to cut down on fraud) - yet you only pay for what you actually use.



  • @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    CenturyLink is not someone that I would trust. Being "almost the same price" would be a terrible business reason to go with a poor carrier compared to a good one. Also, have you compared ML pricing from Skyetel which should be a bit less than voip.ms? If price is that much of a concern, that's the more competitive one. voip.ms is great, we use them for our secondary lines and international lines. But just getting the price more in line does nothing to address CenturyLink lock in risks, carrier risks, or support issues. Plus what you have found... documentation is going to be lean for obvious reasons, none of us work with carriers like that, there's no business case for it.

    These are all very good points many of which I have considered. The one benefit that I can see to using their SIP service is that they are who we have our fiber service with and it would seem that would remove any finger pointing between ISP and SIP provider should we have issues. That being said, I will concede that the testing I have done with voip.ms has been flawless which would indicate that would be a small benefit.

    Why do you not trust centurylink? We've not had any issues with them from either phone nor ISP service. Service has been very stable and the few issues we've had over the years have been resolved quickly.



  • @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    To be sure one thing I don't like is that it is not metered in that it is a flat fee for a fixed number of concurrent calls but based on my usage calculations the cost will be in line with what I would have expected on metered service at voip.ms.

    How is this different from what you have today other than it's simply cheaper.

    It's not different other than price, you're correct.

    Is the number of concurrent calls enough? - to many?

    I think it is a little high only because under this model I need to plan for max concurrent even though that will not be needed regularly. It seems to me that this model forces at least some oversubscription just to handle the max case. That's my primary reason to not like it.

    Once nice thing about pure per min charges is they generally allow a near infinite number of concurrent calls (you do have to ask them to open the flood gates though - they are limited to cut down on fraud) - yet you only pay for what you actually use.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    The one benefit that I can see to using their SIP service is that they are who we have our fiber service with and it would seem that would remove any finger pointing between ISP and SIP provider should we have issues.

    Rule of thumb is that that is the one vendor you rule out and never consider, they are the one vendor that can extort you and has zero incentive to do a good job.



  • How will Centurylink's SIP be delivered? is it actually just an IP you point to?

    Cox Communication for example is nothing like getting service from VOIP.ms. Cox must deliver service via a cable they run to my location. This is a requirement of theirs. This means I can't effectively use a hosted VPS solution like Vultr with Cox. It also means, even if I did have an onsite PBX, if my building burns down... I can't just spin up another PBX in another location - I'm stuck waiting for Cox to deliver service to whatever new location I get up and running - when they get to it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    The one benefit that I can see to using their SIP service is that they are who we have our fiber service with and it would seem that would remove any finger pointing between ISP and SIP provider should we have issues.

    Rule of thumb is that that is the one vendor you rule out and never consider, they are the one vendor that can extort you and has zero incentive to do a good job.

    Scott says this a lot - though I'm not sure what or how they are extorting you - short of you being stuck in a contract... but if they are providing bad service, hopefully you have written in outs for yourself.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Why do you not trust centurylink? We've not had any issues with them from either phone nor ISP service. Service has been very stable and the few issues we've had over the years have been resolved quickly.

    My own run ins with them have been that they absolutely lack competence. Others have had support and reliability issues with them. Far from the worst, to be sure. They are not WindStream or anything like that. But have never come across professional at all and I would classify them only at the technical level of a small hobby shop. Having spoken to their engineers, I couldn't use them as L0 phone techs. I absolutely could not trust them with my infrastructure.



  • @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    The one benefit that I can see to using their SIP service is that they are who we have our fiber service with and it would seem that would remove any finger pointing between ISP and SIP provider should we have issues.

    Rule of thumb is that that is the one vendor you rule out and never consider, they are the one vendor that can extort you and has zero incentive to do a good job.

    Scott says this a lot - though I'm not sure what or how they are extorting you - short of you being stuck in a contract... but if they are providing bad service, hopefully you have written in outs for yourself.

    Because they own your phone number and if they turn you off, you are screwed. If their Internet goes down or sucks, you can't fail over your phones. This is SO common. You are totally trapped, the protections you have everywhere else to "just leave" if a service sucks doesn't exist.



  • @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    but if they are providing bad service, hopefully you have written in outs for yourself.

    Nope, why would you think that when you know that I constantly point out that you don't?



  • Simple scenarios...

    Internet Sucks or Fails: Your phones are down. Just gone. What can you do but start a porting process? Nothing. How long does it take? Weeks, months? There is nothing you can do, your phones are just "gone". Doesn't matter why, there is no option to short term protect against ISP failure, and no way to protect against long term vendor extortion. As long as you maintain the bundle, you have a massive business risk that would cripple any CEO with fear of customers believing that the business had failed.



  • @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Simple scenarios...

    Internet Sucks or Fails: Your phones are down. Just gone. What can you do but start a porting process? Nothing. How long does it take? Weeks, months? There is nothing you can do, your phones are just "gone". Doesn't matter why, there is no option to short term protect against ISP failure, and no way to protect against long term vendor extortion. As long as you maintain the bundle, you have a massive business risk that would cripple any CEO with fear of customers believing that the business had failed.

    i know you don't trust CenturyLink, etc - but nothing keeps VOIP.ms from doing the same damned thing.



  • @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    How will Centurylink's SIP be delivered? is it actually just an IP you point to?

    Yes, it is IP based. We already have fiber service from Centurylink and that would be the interface.

    Cox Communication for example is nothing like getting service from VOIP.ms. Cox must deliver service via a cable they run to my location. This is a requirement of theirs. This means I can't effectively use a hosted VPS solution like Vultr with Cox. It also means, even if I did have an onsite PBX, if my building burns down... I can't just spin up another PBX in another location - I'm stuck waiting for Cox to deliver service to whatever new location I get up and running - when they get to it.



  • @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Simple scenarios...

    Internet Sucks or Fails: Your phones are down. Just gone. What can you do but start a porting process? Nothing. How long does it take? Weeks, months? There is nothing you can do, your phones are just "gone". Doesn't matter why, there is no option to short term protect against ISP failure, and no way to protect against long term vendor extortion. As long as you maintain the bundle, you have a massive business risk that would cripple any CEO with fear of customers believing that the business had failed.

    i know you don't trust CenturyLink, etc - but nothing keeps VOIP.ms from doing the same damned thing.

    Um, duh, voip.ms doesn't even OFFER the service. It's only one service, not a bundle. Voip.ms doesn't lock you to any ISP, let alone their own. Conceptually doesn't even exist with them, it's not even an optional component.



  • If voip.ms tried something similar, first of all they would go out of business and would make no sense as they are not an ISP and have no benefit to this like your ISP does, but also it would be straight up illegal and you'd sue the crap out of them.

    With an ISP, you can't prove intent, even though we all know that they bank on it and use it constantly to make you afraid to switch services, and you know that you are agreeing to the risk up front, so you have zero recourse.

    So in one case, they have no real ability to do it, and no reason to do it. In the other they have every ability to do it, and every reason to want to.

    See how they are as different as can reasonably be?



  • It's simple motivation and opportunity. In one case, there is motive and opportunity. In the other, their is neither.

    Basic human behaviour is to do things in your own interest (which is completely unlike a conspiracy, which is how marketing people try to sell this.)



  • @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Simple scenarios...

    Internet Sucks or Fails: Your phones are down. Just gone. What can you do but start a porting process? Nothing. How long does it take? Weeks, months? There is nothing you can do, your phones are just "gone". Doesn't matter why, there is no option to short term protect against ISP failure, and no way to protect against long term vendor extortion. As long as you maintain the bundle, you have a massive business risk that would cripple any CEO with fear of customers believing that the business had failed.

    I get what you're saying here but in my experience, limited as it is, I'm more concerned about the stability of the SIP provider than I am about Centurylinks network service. At our locations over the last 12 years that I've been here, we've had DSL, T1s and fiber service from them for our networking needs and have had essentially zero problems and the few we have had have been fixed quickly.

    Is there any reason to be concerned about the stability of the SIP providers such as voip.ms, skyetel or others in that space? Are these companies profitable with little chance of disappearing? I know centurylink isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe that's true of the pure SIP providers as well but I don't have a good feel for that. That's another concern I have about moving to them, porting our numbers to a provider such as voip.ms and then having them disappear with no good way for us to get our numbers to another carrier. How much of a risk do you see in that area?



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Is there any reason to be concerned about the stability of the SIP providers such as voip.ms, skyetel or others in that space?

    No, I've never seen any of them have stability issues, can't say the same for any ISP. Outages DO happen, but your ISP is dramatically your risk, not the phone carrier. By orders of magnitude.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    I get what you're saying here but in my experience, limited as it is, I'm more concerned about the stability of the SIP provider than I am about Centurylinks network service. At our locations over the last 12 years that I've been here, we've had DSL, T1s and fiber service from them for our networking needs and have had essentially zero problems and the few we have had have been fixed quickly.

    From a technolgy, market pressure, and observational position, that doesn't hold up. ISPs are huge risks, phone carriers are small risks. That you've had good experience isn't really a factor, that's not how you can look at these things. And you have to understnad that ISP risks are not "little blips here and there", they are often "month long outages once every two decades". Twelve years without an issue isn't even an observational window.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Are these companies profitable with little chance of disappearing?

    Yes. You are worrying about "what ifs" that aren't really reasonable, and ignoring a small, but vastly more common every day risk.

    It's like worrying about sharks and not about bathtubs. In the real world, sharks sound scary when you talk about them, and bathtubs sound safe. But a bathtub is way, way more likely to actually hurt you.

    You have to be really, really careful when doing "what if" risk that zero emotions come into play. A phone carrier might sound risky, and it has shark-like risks. But your ISP is a bathtub risk... it hurts people all the time.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    I know centurylink isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

    That's not the real concern. It's CL deciding to stop a service you need or sells it to someone or just doens't need to fix yours. Yo ushould be 100x more concerned with them "going away for you" than a phone carrier whose whole business depends on making that one product work. CL could drop you without blinking, voip.ms cannot.

    The very concern you mention, should have the opposite risk. I've seen CL drop products, so does MS and other big players. Looking at it from a "will they go out of business" perspecitve gives a meaningless result, that's not the outcome you should be concerned with.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    That's another concern I have about moving to them, porting our numbers to a provider such as voip.ms and then having them disappear with no good way for us to get our numbers to another carrier. How much of a risk do you see in that area?

    This isn't a real world risk. Could it happen? Sure. But CenturyLink would be every bit as risky there... which is to say that neither is even worth discussing. Both are big, stable players that aren't totally evaporating.



  • I would verify with your CenturyLink rep that you are actually buying SIP services on CenturyLink's network. I would be very surprised if that was indeed the case, as most of CTL's network is TDM. You are probably buying off of Level 3's SIP network, but dealing with CenturyLink's customer service. In that circumstance, the amount of finger pointing would be much much worse than buying Internet from one place and SIP services from another - at least in that case, the finger pointing is visible to you and you can make judgement calls. When the finger pointing is hidden from you, you just end up with issues that you can't solve and can't get any support on.

    Also if you do decide to go the route of us (yay!) or voip.ms, or whomever, you can easily track the call quality of the internet with voipspear.com (we offer this for free - but voipspear.com is excellent and cheap). This pinpoints the problems immediately... no finger pointing and no BS.

    The only other piece of advice I can offer is that there are federal rules that require telecom companies to provide customer's the ability to port their numbers away in the case of them going out of business in order to prevent an outage. The FCC does not want subscribers loosing access to 911 because a carrier had hid their losses until the last minute (we have to disclose financials to the FCC quarterly). Most companies (us included) have built-in contingency plans that provide for serious financial distress by being sold to or merged with a competitor. This is true of any registered carrier (voip.ms, us, flowroute, etc etc). So the worse case scenario is a stressful port - just make sure you go with someone reputable.



  • @Skyetel said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    I would verify with your CenturyLink rep that you are actually buying SIP services on CenturyLink's network. I would be very surprised if that was indeed the case, as most of CTL's network is TDM. You are probably buying off of Level 3's SIP network, but dealing with CenturyLink's customer service. In that circumstance, the amount of finger pointing would be much much worse than buying Internet from one place and SIP services from another - at least in that case, the finger pointing is visible to you and you can make judgement calls. When the finger pointing is hidden from you, you just end up with issues that you can't solve and can't get any support on.

    Good point, the worst of all worlds there.





  • Awesome screen cap



  • @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Awesome screen cap

    Awesome beard.



  • @Skyetel said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @scottalanmiller said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    Awesome screen cap

    Awesome beard.

    It's a bit wild due to being away from a trimmer for like two months. I cannot wait to get back home to my scissors and stuff, lol.



  • @BraswellJay said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    @Dashrender said in FreePBX with Centurylink IQ SIP ...:

    How will Centurylink's SIP be delivered? is it actually just an IP you point to?

    Yes, it is IP based. We already have fiber service from Centurylink and that would be the interface.

    Cox Communication for example is nothing like getting service from VOIP.ms. Cox must deliver service via a cable they run to my location. This is a requirement of theirs. This means I can't effectively use a hosted VPS solution like Vultr with Cox. It also means, even if I did have an onsite PBX, if my building burns down... I can't just spin up another PBX in another location - I'm stuck waiting for Cox to deliver service to whatever new location I get up and running - when they get to it.

    What I mean is - can you connect to Centurylink SIP via any ISP you want? or only via Centurylink's ISP?


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