TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Home PBX Info: Switching Between Landlines and VoIP

Home PBX Info: Switching Between Landlines and VoIP

Lee Sweet (
Tue, 08 Mar 2005 15:20:57 -0500

I've got an application that may apply to many with VoIP. I've got
two home landlines (one for myself, and one for my wife). I also have
a Vonage line for LD and Fax. We are keeping the landlines for the
usual reasons, including inability to port, E-911, etc.

Now, what I want to do is have all outbound LD calls go out on the
Vonage line automatically. Right now, I have a separate cordless
phone for that line, but that's not the optimal answer! :-) \

I'd like to have the various corded and cordless phones and the three
lines hooked to some sort of home PBX where, either by dialing the
required '1' (best answer) or perhaps an '8', calls are connected to
the Vonage line. Else, they go out the (correct) landline. (I assume
each handset could know its 'proper' outbound landline for local
traffic if each input phone jack on the PBX can be programmed to use
the appropriate outbound line.)

Now, before PAT jumps in with his PBXtra recommendation :-) , I've
discussed this with Mike Sandman, and he really doesn't recommend it
for this application.

I'll bet a lot of people have Vonage as an extra LD/Fax line, still
have landlines, and would like to do this.

Any recommendations/pointers about home PBX info? Thanks!

Lee Sweet
Datatel, Inc.
Manager of Telephony Services
and Information Security
How higher education does business
Voice: 703.968.4661
Fax: 703.968.4625
Cell: 703.932.9425

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I _know_ what Mike Sandman says about
PBXs in general as opposed to multi-button phones with all the
features such as holding, call transfer, flash, etc on individual
buttons. He has never yet met a PBX he liked, and Lee, he told me
that you called last week and he explained 'why PBXtra would not
be suitable.' I talk to Mike on the phone a couple times per week.

Mike's complaints can be summarized thusly: (1) People cannot be trained
to do a proper flashhook, therefore as often as not cutting off the
person. (2) People cannot be trained to correctly dial the number they
want to reach, and forget the 9 or 8 or whatever at the start of the
call. (3) People do not usually have their houses wired in a 'star'
configuration (needed for using PBX) although their office may be
thus wired. Mike seems to feel a phone with umpty-dozen buttons (for
line selection and feature use) is a better deal, even though to
install/move such a phone requires many pairs of wires and is quite
labor-intensive to install/move/replace. That's Mike's opinion, to
which he is certainly entitled. If I have overlooked other complaints
by Mike, perhaps you or he will permit me to stand corrected. Oh, and
we have talked off and on about 'custom calling features' such as
hookflash to three way call, hookflash to answer call waiting, and
hookflash to interject other features in the middle of a call, such
as forward to voicemail, etc but he does not think all that matters;
its just the dreaded hookflash used on PBX transfers, etc which he
dislikes so much.

PBXtra works perfectly well in small applications like mine: more than
one phone instrument in a large (geographic space) house; a person who
is a wee bit handicapped like myself getting to a phone in time to
anwer it before the caller disconnects; a situation where there are a
bunch of computers, each of them has their own 'extension' and modem,
in addition to a phone in my bedroom, my parlor/dining area, the
computer room, a phone where Lisa sits to work, etc. The traffic both
inbound and outbound is very slow here, so the PBXtra being 'virtually
non-blocking' is almost an overkill. The phone in my bedroom (ext. 104)
and the one in my parlor (ext. 105) are both wireless headset style
phones, with a range of about half a city block, which I guess is also
an overkill. I put all my long distance calls via Vonage (dial 8 +)
and all my local calls over Prairie Stream (dial 9+) and answer
incoming calls from either line by dialing *70 (forced pickup from the
'operator' line). The modem ability (between computers or in/out from
wherever to a computer is about 28.8). Not the best, but okay, since I
usually use the cable for the computers, not the modems.

Do as you wish, Lee, but Mike Sandman is just one voice in the
wilderness here, mine is another voice. PAT]

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