VOIP in the meetinghouse

Discussions around standard phones and phone service in meetinghouses and what the future of meetinghouse telephones should hold
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JeffTurgeon
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VOIP in the meetinghouse

Postby JeffTurgeon » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:29 pm

[Admin note: Discussion moved from the When are units getting WiFi? thread.


I'm also hoping that in the future we change over to VOIP phone lines. Since we are installing out network equipment in the phone rooms this should be an easy upgrade. The church sure would save a ton of money using VOIP lines for voice transmissions. Besides, the phones are hardly used throughout the week.

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Postby sammythesm » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:14 am

JeffTurgeon wrote:I'm also hoping that in the future we change over to VOIP phone lines. Since we are installing out network equipment in the phone rooms this should be an easy upgrade. The church sure would save a ton of money using VOIP lines for voice transmissions. Besides, the phones are hardly used throughout the week.


Oh yah. The church would save a BUNDLE of money if they switched to VoIP. Plus, it would actually make having phone lines at the church useful as Bishops or Clerks could have calls forwarded to their home or cell phones during the week.

However, it is convenient that they have POTS lines so I have a completely discrete backup system for webcast audio that does not rely on the same internet, firewall or even wiring.

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Postby KenRichins » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:03 pm

our FM is switching to voip in several buildings. Our institute build has had voip for several years. the FM manager wants to put all our buildings on voip.

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Postby JeffTurgeon » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:49 pm

KenRichins wrote:our FM is switching to voip in several buildings. Our institute build has had voip for several years. the FM manager wants to put all our buildings on voip.


Do you know which VOIP service your buildings are using?

How has the cost been impacted as a result of the VOIP service?

I think my FM group would be more willing to let us try it if I had some solid data from other church units seeing success as well as savings from the implementation of VOIP.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:28 pm

My concern about VOIP in the meetinghouse has to do with disaster planning. VOIP relies on a local power source. That can be problematic for a disaster that runs longer then a few hours. Generally POTS will work as long as the wire isn't severed.
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Postby sammythesm » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:35 am

A few more downsides:

VoIP depends on your internet connectivity. As we all know, that tends to be a little more fragile than the POTS network.

Getting started costs can be high, depending on what kind of hardware you choose for the premise.

I'd see four choices when it comes to hardware:

- Analog gateway (i.e. Cisco SPA 112) tied into the current POTS wiring and using the existing POTS phones. This would be the least expensive (about $50 per gateway) and the easiest entry level solution.

- Hosted PBX with VoIP phones (Cisco SPA, SNOME, Polycom - $100 - $500 per phone). This would be like a RingCentral or VirtualPBX solution. The basic idea is the only cost is each phone, and each phone makes its own connection back to a SIP softswitch (i.e. Broadsoft) for call routing. If the church got serious, they could even roll out their own private service by putting a SIP softswitch into their current infrastructure.

- Premise PBX using existing analog phones. This would be something like a Cisco UC300 ($999) with the capability for multiple FXS ports which allow you to tie into the existing POTS wiring. The advantage of having a premise PBX is that you can do premise features like transfer, call forwarding, etc.

- Premise PBX with VoIP phones. In this solution you'd place your phones on the ethernet/data network with the PBX. You'd get maximum features this way (i.e. page from a clerk's office to the bishop's office, very helpful!) but it's the maximum cost.

If anyone were thinking about trying VoIP, I'd highly suggest the Cisco UC300 / Cisco SPA products. I'll reveal my bias - I am on the team developing that product at Cisco - and they are great, cost effective devices. You can even install the UC300 without switching to VoIP (just plug in your existing FXO/POTS lines to the FXO ports on the device).

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Postby aclawson » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:22 am

RussellHltn wrote:Generally POTS will work as long as the wire isn't severed.


During the great blackout a few years ago the POTS system stopped working on about day 3-4 of the regional power outage.

During BIG problems you should be relying on amateur more than POTS anyway.

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Postby john84601 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:36 pm

I'm not sure the current approved list of hardware would run VoIP very well. You might have more infrastructure costs (buying better equipment). Especially in a larger building (with more users) where you would want to vLAN off VoIP and set QoS.

The unmanaged cisco switches the church currently uses... won't support either of these (trunk based vLANs or QoS).

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Re: VOIP in the meetinghouse

Postby dpenrod75 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:03 am

Speaking to church headquarters a little while back, they are piloting a VOIP solution in a few stakes (Sounded like they were using Vonage). They may or may not decide to roll it out to everyone. They are actively looking for ways to cut cost. Wouldn't expect anything this year.

On the topic of disaster outages, we have hooked into the regional church amature radio network in our stake and have a couple operators called. Amature radio is the way to go if your looking at reliable communication in a disaster.

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Re: VOIP in the meetinghouse

Postby russellhltn » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:00 am

Given the limited bandwidth at some buildings, I hope they're careful about that roll-out. I also wonder what changes this means to the firewall and wiring. Will it be on "Public" system or will it have it's own subnet?

Also, some of the best deals are when you allow the internet provider to install their telephone service. That's what FM did for the stake center - put the FHC on the cable provider's phone service.
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