How do you provision lines to your customers?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by -Sk3tChY-, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. OP
    OP
    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    There's a different between partner and wholesale? If a wholesale account is the lesser, this is likely all I really want/need.

    I literally just want to be able to provision lines and services for customers and have them billed to me rather than the customer - does a wholesale account allow for this?

    I understand there's the potentially for creating a billing nightmare for me - but I'd only be provisioning lines with unlimited usage scenarios, so pricing would never fluctuate.

    If I were provisioning PSTN services for someone, I'd only offer ones with an unlimited calling plan. If I were provisioning an ADSL services, I'd only offer ones with unlimited bandwidth.
     
  2. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    Different carriers use different terms to describe varying levels of engagement. You could be a wholesaler, dealer, partner, etc etc. Talk to different carriers and find out what options are available. Make sure you understand who the underlying provider is; try not to go with options that aren't 'native' i.e. the person you're buying the service from is actually buying it from someone else and then selling it to you. This is usually the way to the best deal and support.
     
  3. fredhoon

    fredhoon Member

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    If you provision services in your company name and onsell, be aware you are still liable for break of contract fees from the provider if your clients stop paying, regardless of unlimited usage plans and/or billing a month in advance. You're still setting yourself up to chase $ (as an unsecured creditor) and would be left holding the baby regardless of your contracted terms with the client.

    Much less hassle and risk providing the services on a commission basis wher you can provision and manage the service but the provider bills the client directly.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    This is not at all an issue for me in any way whatsoever, for a few reasons:

    1. I'd be integrating these lines/services into a managed service, for which I charge a small initial setup fee - I'd just add a small amount to this fee to cover a contact break if it needed to happen. Not to mention, the actual money I make from the MSA would cover a break in contract pretty quickly. Could even put an early cancellation fee into the MSA if I really wanted.

    2. There's actually plenty of well-priced month-to-month plans with the likes of Optus. They have a business ADSL plan for $80 month-to-month which comes with a PSTN service, unlimited local calls and unlimited data - this is actually exactly the type of service I'd like to provision for customers. Unlimited bandwidth usage so they couldn't ever increase the price there and the PSTN service would integrate into the phone system and only allow for emergency outbound calls when all SIP trunks are unavailable.

    3. I would only utilize plans with unlimited usages, negating the possibility of the end users causing the monthly fee to increase from excess usage.

    4. For dedicated VOIP links in my phone systems, I'm actually considering utilizing 3G mobile data plans with static IP addresses (apparently they don't do static on 4G) - should an issue ever occur I can literally just remove the modem from the customer site and either use it elsewhere or cancel the plan. Using optus again, they have a $50 month-to-month mobile data plan w/ 25GB. It's an additional $5 a month for a static IP address. HSUPA/HSPA+ is capable of 5.76Mbps upload, DC-HSPA 22Mbps upload. So provided the link itself is stable and speeds are respectable at the given site - this would be perfect for a voice link.

    ----------

    Again, literally my one and only concern is whether or not I'd be doing something illegal by provisioning the links in my own business/name and having them deployed at customer sites.

    I feel in every business there has to be a degree of liability present in order to be successful. I am more than happy to take on the liability, responsibility and potential billing nightmares of provisioning lines for my customers if it means I can retain control and billing.

    This enables me to provide simpler and more complete solutions to my customers, so it's a liability I'm more than happy to take.

    Thanks mate, great advice - I appreciate it.

    I think I'm going to grab myself a month-to-month mobile data plan, set it up on 3G with a static IP address, test it out for a few weeks with one of my phone systems to ensure it's actually a reliable link and if it is - contact Optus and ask them if there's anything against me provisioning a few of these plans under my own business account to put at multiple locations.

    Next time I need/want to provision a line/service for a customer, likewise - I'll just contact Optus and tell them I want to provision the line at XXX address that my business manages and see if they say there's any issues.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
  5. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    Yeah..... VoIP over ADSL is bad enough; if you're thinking that you can do it over 3/4G you're bonkers. Straight up, don't do it. Not only are the bandwidth figures you quoted max. speeds on paper (IRL you're lucky to get 1/10 of that), contention on the cell is so unreliable you'd be taking a punt using it for non-latency sensitive traffic like web browsing let alone VoIP.

    I get that this is all new and fun etc, but it sounds like you're setting yourself up for a world of hurt. People get mad if their internets is down; if they can't receive calls they go absolutely mental. You DO NOT want to be left holding the bag. Proper resiliency costs money that your target market isn't willing to pay.
     
  6. Doc-of-FC

    Doc-of-FC Member

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    At sub 1024kb/s don't forget ATM overheads, maximum cell filling, ethernet MTU and serialisation delay.

    Now if only i could find my lovely sawtooth diagram on cell utilisation and packet size :/
     
  7. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Pretty much this.

    Providing VOIP over Cellular works in a fault-situation with mixed results (depends *entirely* on cell congestion, signal strength, etc).

    VOIP is *incredibly* sensitive to latency, and there is flat out no guarantees on cellular networks.
     
  8. OP
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    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    Using 3G is just a thought for people that have shocking ADSL lines, but can't/don't want to pay for something else. Cable isn't available in all areas and I believe the next thing up would be VHDSL/SHDSL?

    What type of connection would you suggest?

    And yes, the numbers I quoted for 3G were a maximum; but I would at least expect the connection to be around 7Mbps/2Mbps, which again should be ample for up to 4 concurrent calls. I don't think bandwidth would ever be an issue. As you've said though, perhaps contention/latency could be.

    This is all still very early days for me, I have no intentions of deploying this anywhere soon without first learning everything a little better and thoroughly testing the system I'd like to implement.

    I agree with the hesitation, but I don't think it's an absolutely ridiculous thought to run a small VOIP system over a dedicated 3G connection being sent/received from a decent modem.

    Using my 4G Home Wireless Broadband as an example - I've tested it thoroughly using speedtest and without fail, regardless of the time or day - the results are pretty much identical:

    Latency - 19/20ms
    Down - 13Mbps
    Up - 1.1 - 1.2Mbps

    If I actually connected up a couple of external antennas, this would become even more reliable.

    Obviously, I would need to setup my PBX on this connection and test further, but at least for the moment - it does at least look feasible.
     
  9. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    If you want valuable input from people who have been there, done that - you're getting it.

    If you want the same people to endorse your stupidity - you're not getting it.

    Do whatever you want - when it breaks, we will tell you we told you so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  10. OP
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    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    I am appreciatively taking all of the input onboard.

    If a human just listened to and agreed with every person that had told them something couldn't be done - we'd have achieved far less in this world.

    Again, I agree entirely with what you and others have said - 3G/4G may be entirely unsuitable due to unreliability/contention/latency; but from what I've been seeing lately however with my recent 4G Home Wireless Broadband setup - at least in my area - is a relatively stable looking connection, with both good throughput and latency.

    Of course; the first thing I'd be seeing is "they were right" in my head too, but at least I'd have my definitive answer.

    This stuff interests me, I do this out of interest - it's exciting to me to test out a VOIP system on a 3G/4G connection to see how it stacks up. Again, I'd be doing this in my own time, in my own home, on my own systems, not on some customer's business critical infrastructure.

    Question - Have you actually ever tried to run a small VOIP system over a dedicated 3G/4G wireless link? Presumably, no. My assumption is you're just making an educated guess that simply wouldn't work and have never actually tried it for yourself.
     
  11. BAK

    BAK Member

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    Have you ever tried to stick your head in a microwave just to see if you can? My assumption is you're just making an educated guess it might hurt you, and have never actually tried it for yourself.

    Perhaps a little hostile, but you don't seem to be getting the points that multiple people in this thread are making. 3/4G would be a useful failover in a pinch, but SIP(/VOIP) is very susceptible to latency/jitter and except in a "yay, it works while $mainconnection is down" situation I wouldn't rely on it.

    The risk of expanding your business products into areas you obviously don't understand well and bundling everything together is that people assume all of your products are the same quality as the worst of them.

    But hey, it seems like you're the sort of guy who comes up with an idea and runs with it regardless of what advice is offered, so good luck to you.
     
  12. fredhoon

    fredhoon Member

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    Have you considered that testing a low volume of calls over a short period of time on your home wireless connection is not representative of business use or the connection that is available from a different cell (which you have zero control over). Also that adhoc use of SpeedTest.net is not a useful measure of link congestion or latency.

    I'd suggest that recommendations and advice offered in this thread are the culmination of past experience + understanding of the technology applied / extrapolated to your proposal. Following BAK's analogy, one does not need to have tried warming up their hands in a toaster in order to tell others it's a bad idea.
     
  13. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Yes.

    Don't.

    We're not all like you and speak volumes of shit without experience of doing it in the real world. Generally the people in BE&C who start quoting paper knowledge preface it by saying something along the lines of "I'm pretty sure that you can do X because of Y" or "The spec says X".

    Here's the deal. There is ZERO guarantees on a cellular service. 3 years ago, I could get 80/20Mbit ways on my kitchen table with a 4G Mimo antenna, a sierra 320U and a dovado edge router. Now i struggle to hold 20/4.

    Latency is consistently all over the shop.

    It is a shithouse experience for a business to be put on - and I'd drop you like a hot sack of shit if you put me on it, and tell everyone I knew about it.

    Is it better than nothing? yes. Would I live on it with any other option? no.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  14. Urbansprawl

    Urbansprawl Member

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    There's a real simple rule when it comes to this stuff - don't fuck with voice.

    Unless you spend a lot of money to contractually cover yourself, if you sell a service that can be used to make phone calls then it could be considered to be a Standard Telephone Service -

    http://www.commsalliance.com.au/Standards-Guidance/3-standards-writing/3.11

    I'm sure you could get away with it anyway and the above may not apply to you if you white label the right product but it could hurt you -

    http://www.allens.com.au/pubs/tmt/focmtdec05.htm#Most

    The fact this was written in 2005 should tell you that not only is this a bad idea, it is a bad old idea.
     
  15. Wynne

    Wynne Member

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    I'm not going to weigh too heavily into the connectivity discussion, thats seems to be pretty well covered. Personally I would not be backing PSTN connectivity over 3/4G.

    Doing it over the internet and without QoS is absolutely unacceptable for the big guys, even with solid fibre pipes.

    You could however try something like Twilio, Plivo or a bunch of other SIP Trunk over Internet providers if you want to be able to control the PSTN connectivity yourself.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    Seems some people have way over-estimated the stuff I've been asking.

    1. Haven't even considered deploying anything to customers yet - if certain ideas are bad, obviously they won't be implemented.

    2. We're talking very, very, VERY small phone systems here - no more than 4 concurrent calls in most cases.

    3. Considering the aforementioned demographic and the fact that VOIP calls shouldn't really consume any more than 100Kbps/100Kbps - I don't understand why people are scoffing at the thought of running a very small phone system over a dedicated 3G/4G wireless or ADSL2+ wired internet connection.

    ----------

    Anyway, I've setup a small 3CX PBX at home using my Optus 4G Wireless Broadband with a dynamic address and will do some testing to see just how bad/unreliable running on such a link actually is firsthand.

    And yes, obviously it's difficult for me to replicate the way a small business would use the phone system at home - but I can very easily make a few concurrent calls to/from the mobiles we have lying around the home at different points throughout the day and see what happens.

    Again, this is all just experimentation and fun for the moment. Hypothetically if I were to get to a point to where I was wanting to deploy something for a customer, I'd likely go with a dedicated wired link just to be safe.

    ----------

    Seems the thread went a little off topic - thanks for the recommendations on ISP's. It seems since I'm a really small fish the best thing I can do it start off with an ISP as a reseller and handover billing to the ISP.

    Otherwise my only other option is to setup a business account with someone and just provision lines using my own account at a customer site - whether or not this breaks any T&C's is something I'll just ask an ISP directly.

    Thanks for all the input, much appreciated. If any of you care to know how things go with my small PBX at home running on the 4G link, feel free to PM me. :D
     
  17. Primüs

    Primüs Member

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    I can tell you now - as the operator of a wholesale network that sells to vISP's (white label, we do all the heavy lifting you just sell) its too hard a market now. Most of our clients are downsizing or closing shop. Customers dont want to spend the price for a 'good' service anymore and just want whats cheap as possible.

    It's really likely not worth your time, unless your clients are happy to spend $$.
     
  18. fredhoon

    fredhoon Member

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    You still have the 3G area / usage variable to eliminate - you can't guarantee that your prospective customer's 3G coverage and congestion matches yours.

    Try diverting your mobile to a VoIP number and use that for a month over your handsets 3/4G data.
     
  19. wwwww

    wwwww Member

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    Nothing stopping you from setting up 4G with a static IP. Essentially they use 4G to connect to an ISP which uses the internet to connect to your network and you issue them a public IP. You can NAT public, static IP addresses to any internet connected device (even a mobile device connected to a public WIFI).
     
  20. OP
    OP
    -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    Well to be honest I don't really require any sort of white labeling really. If the modem uses an @optusnet.com.au username to authenticate, I'm not fussed. If an IP lookup shows the IP is with Optus, not fussed. If a reverse lookup resolves to an Optus name, not fussed.

    Exactly what is it you get with 'whitelabelling' the service?

    Previously my biggest concern was billing, because if the customer wanted to view their calls for example, without whitelabelling I'd have to manually download an invoice and extract the information. If they wanted to see their calls each month, this would have became very tiresome very quickly.

    In this instance I'd be dealing with unlimited plans and the PBX would be able to generate the call reports/logs for me.

    Yes of course; but if it failed miserably for me in my testing environment at home - it would be a good indicator that it's perhaps not a viable solution.

    Of course, it could be the contrary - my home area is bad and a customers is good; but at least I'd have some sort of expectation of what's going to happen.

    Again, people are saying it's such a terrible idea - but I think for a very small, non-critical environment it could be perfectly fine.

    This is what I kind of plan on doing. I have a 1800 number which currently terminates to my mobile. I'll reconfigure this to terminate at my home PBX which is currently connected via my Optus Home Wireless Broadband.

    A little confused with your wording, sorry how does it work?

    I figured that at least technically, there wasn't anything stopping me from having a static IP address on 4G - Optus at least, simply won't do it; not entirely sure why, but they'll only give you a static IP address on 3G.

    My only guess is they perhaps don't want people hosting services using 4G and chewing up bandwidth, creating congestion, etc.

    I figured they'd just go into DHCP and set a reservation for my device and voila - static IP address.
     

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