blog

a way to share and reference emails, rants, thoughts and musing to help our customers. These are official ring-u wiki pages, but actual full customer names, IP addresses, etc may be edited.

You'll see our best phone options at Supported Phones this is an attempt to explain why we prefer the Grandstream and Atcom phones.

Ring-u is a lot different from other phone systems and phone companies “under the covers”. We want phones that work together as a better phone system. In order to do that, we have to be able to configure them to work together, as a coherent unified system. We have to be able to make everything a normal business customer needs, work the way it should, without a human on site configuring everything at $150 per hour or more. The “telephony support industry” likes billable hours, support contracts and customers that are dependent upon them. Ring-u does not. Which is why we like Grandstream and Atcom phones, we can consistently configure everything about those phones that is commonly used. We don't care where you got them, if you can factory reset them they become useful.

We configure Grandstreams in 2 steps. They have a very useful SSH API. It's reasonably secure and well implemented across all of their products. The Hello Hub finds the phone and uses it to take care of the basics, then that phone communicates to the Hello Hub for the rest of the configuration. the Atcom's have a stable well implemented HTTPS API that allows configuration of everything but getting them on WiFi.

Rants:

Cisco. Awesome phones with more variants, configuration options and completely different proprietary ways of being configured than we can attempt to keep track of. Best installed manually by a knowledgable IT/telephony human. And they will need some tweaking every now and then. If you don't have a Cisco expert available: Buy the Grandstream GXP2170 or GRP2616 and be amazed how well they “just work”.

Poly/Polycom Like Cisco, awesome phones with a lot of variants, options and proprietary ways of doing things. For example: They have their own special sauce for broadcast paging that is not compatible with most other systems. We support 3+ generations of Polycom/Poly phones, with a lot of customers using them… and an insane number of variations. we also encounter people buying them from eBay or elsewhere used, that are locked to specific carriers and can not be reset to “generic”. Unless you already own the these: Buy the Grandstream GXP2170 or GRP2616 and be amazed how well they “just work”.

HTEK We really liked HTEK phones. And we may again if they fix the complete absence of authentication checks in their configuration API. Basicly, if you know the address URL, anyone/anything can reconfigure these phones even after a password has been set and supposedly required. With better firmware, we will change our mind, because otherwise it is a powerful phone at a good price.

Yealink Awesome phones with faux-encryption in Javascript. If you don't mind manually configuring them, they are very good phones. Their W60P DECT wireless portable handset and base are awesome with excellent range.

2020/11/04 15:17 · admin

This customer is in rural Colorado.. not near a city.

Sirs,

You asked a great question essentially: “why am I being charged City Taxes?”

Summary Answer: 2 out of 3 of your phone numbers belong under the auspices of 'Windsor, Colorado' and they apparently charge a city tax. Your 3rd number belongs to Denver Colorado, but they lose authority because the accounts favor who/where your numbers belong to.

Detailed Answer: Below is a database dump of your most recent invoice. It's crude, but it includes the raw data as we get it back from SureTax. Not easy to read, but it shows they identify Windsor as your 'Situs' for your phone numbers and the math used to calculate what they tell us to charge based on a detailed breakout of the components of the summary bill you see. Except taxes, we detail out the taxes so you see them.

* 1. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: Number
chargedesc: Local Phone Number
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 4.950000 chargetotal: 4.95

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 2. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: Lines
chargedesc: Lines
 chargeqty: 2.00

chargeamount: 24.950000 chargetotal: 49.90

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 3. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: E911
chargedesc: E911 Service on primary 
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 1.950000 chargetotal: 1.95

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 4. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TIF
chargedesc: Telecom Infrastructure Fee
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 3.150000 chargetotal: 3.15

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 5. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: AddLines
chargedesc: Additional Lines
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 24.950000 chargetotal: 24.95

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 6. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: AddNum
chargedesc: Additional Numbers
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 4.950000 chargetotal: 4.95

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 7. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: Fax
chargedesc: Fax Features
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 9.950000 chargetotal: 9.95

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 1
 taxentity: 
       tax: 0
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: NULL

* 8. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: STATE SALES TAX
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 1.010000 chargetotal: 1.01

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 12005
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":1,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"34.97","TaxAmount":"1.01","TaxAuthorityID":"12005","TaxAuthorityName":"COLORADO, STATE OF","TaxOnTax":"0.25","TaxRate":0.029,"TaxTypeCode":"101","TaxTypeDesc":"STATE SALES TAX"}

* 9. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: CITY SALES TAX
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 1.380000 chargetotal: 1.38

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 2882
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0,"Juriscode":"030142","PercentTaxable":1,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"34.97","TaxAmount":"1.38","TaxAuthorityID":"2882","TaxAuthorityName":"WINDSOR, CITY OF","TaxOnTax":"0.35","TaxRate":0.0395,"TaxTypeCode":"304","TaxTypeDesc":"CITY SALES TAX"}

* 10. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: COLORADO TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE SURCHARGE
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 0.180000 chargetotal: 0.18

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 12005
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0.18,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":1,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"26.20","TaxAmount":"0.18","TaxAuthorityID":"12005","TaxAuthorityName":"COLORADO, STATE OF","TaxOnTax":"0","TaxRate":0,"TaxTypeCode":"109","TaxTypeDesc":"COLORADO TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE SURCHARGE"}

* 11. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: WELD CO. 911 SURCHARGE
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 3.600000 chargetotal: 3.60

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 641
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":3.6,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":1,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"26.20","TaxAmount":"3.60","TaxAuthorityID":"641","TaxAuthorityName":"WELD, COUNTY OF","TaxOnTax":"0","TaxRate":0,"TaxTypeCode":"233","TaxTypeDesc":"WELD CO. 911 SURCHARGE"}

* 12. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 4.510000 chargetotal: 4.51

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 16
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":0.649,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"17.00","TaxAmount":"4.51","TaxAuthorityID":"16","TaxAuthorityName":"FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION","TaxOnTax":"0.00","TaxRate":0.265,"TaxTypeCode":"035","TaxTypeDesc":"FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND"}

* 13. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: FEDERAL COST RECOVERY FEE
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 0.250000 chargetotal: 0.25

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 16
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":1,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"26.20","TaxAmount":"0.25","TaxAuthorityID":"16","TaxAuthorityName":"FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION","TaxOnTax":"0.00","TaxRate":0.00962,"TaxTypeCode":"060","TaxTypeDesc":"FEDERAL COST RECOVERY FEE"}

* 14. row *

   account: 1406

transaction: 13571

chargedate: 2020-09-10
chargetype: TAX
chargedesc: FEDERAL COST RECOVERY CHARGE
 chargeqty: 1.00

chargeamount: 0.230000 chargetotal: 0.23

   created: 2020-09-10 14:11:02
   lastmod: 2020-09-10 18:15:09
   taxable: 0
 taxentity: 16
       tax: 1
       sku: 
shipmethod: 

entitystate:

   suretax: {"CityName":"WINDSOR","CountyName":"WELD","FeeRate":0,"Juriscode":"","PercentTaxable":0.649,"Revenue":"26.20","RevenueBase":"17.00","TaxAmount":"0.23","TaxAuthorityID":"16","TaxAuthorityName":"FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION","TaxOnTax":"0.00","TaxRate":0.0136,"TaxTypeCode":"060","TaxTypeDesc":"FEDERAL COST RECOVERY CHARGE"}
2020/09/10 18:59 · admin

Just got asked a common question: We are in zip code 7606X.. and a Tax Exempt Church.. What would our bill be for 3 lines?

Real answer: We don't know until we bill you.

Almost real answer: Oh. You are in Texas. Probably more than anywhere else.

How ring-u calculates and pays taxes

Unless you are one of the really big guys (AT&T, etc..) who have their own people that do this. Ring-u pays taxes like everyone else, we pay for a tax compliance calculation service and pay what they tell us to pay. We use a real-time billing API from wolterskluwer.com for every invoice (and hopefully payment) we create. They keep track of every taxing authority in the country and when we bill, make sure we charge for every little tax and fee every tax creating state, county and municipality governmental agency plus the federal government. It changes constantly, because in Acme County next Tuesday the local E911 charge increases to $1.1225 per line but the right of way charge drops 0.25. You get the idea, things are always changing.

When we bill someone, the system talk to each other and calculate the taxes. We pay taxes calculated into a big bucket, and from their, they pay every taxing authority out there. We pay when we bill, because that's when the liability is created. Collections is our problem. Welcome to Capitalism 101. 99.99% of the time this works really well.

Because of this, we really don't know until we bill you. A combination of your address and your primary phone number us used to determine “situs”, a tax lawyer term for who gets to tax you. And next Tuesday, or the 1st of next month, it all changes.

Most places

Our basic plan customers are charged $59.95 per month. When taxes and fees are added, their bill usually comes to less than $70.00 per month. Not bad. Eh? $68 and $69 bills are very common.

Texas

Let me explain. I love Texas. My son Ryan was born in Ft. Worth and is a citizen of the Republic of Texas as well as the United States of America. Taxes in Texas are complicated and expensive. Let me share two examples, one, like the recent question is a Church. Texas is BIG. Larger than most countries.

Example 1: This is a business in Texas, see that $10.56 per month fee? That's because Texas is spread out and the cost to bring you high speed internet is insane. All of those miles of muni-right of way to bury fiber on are a “revenue creation opportunity” as well as a real and valid expense. They charge you for it.

Example 2: Dallas is worse. This is a big mega church in Dallas Yes, that $22.32 for the same thing. They also have 3 lines, a full suite of services and a couple of extra phone numbers. Ever done anything in Dallas? It's expensive.

2020/08/13 23:03 · admin

Ring-u has several customers with remote extentions in another country. A logistics company has the night crew in the middle east, several companies have extensions in the America's and Europe. As long as the primary company address is in the USA and they are using a USA +1 10 digit phone number, we are good at it. We don't do other countries (except Canada) because we'd have to be legal and pay taxes / fees in other countries and we are not large enough to jump those hurdles. We also like doing what we can do well. While we can understand and speak a few words of Spanish, maybe even a few in Chinese, it's not good enough to be helpful.

Below is a letter I just sent, with some names/numbers edited. It may answer the same questions you have.

The letter

Sieder,

A few years ago I spent a couple weeks in Belo Horizonte working for CEMIG. Enjoyed my evenings walking around the city, neat place.

Unifying your calls / traffic with some remote extensions in Belo Horizonte should work well if you can configure “port forwarding” on the firewall at your location in Framingham. It currently is not configured for that.

Worth reading: https://wiki.ring-u.com/wiki/doku.php?id=externalremotephones

Our other option is providing a “cloud connector” - essentially a hosted system that the phones in each location can connect to. It eliminates the problems port forwarding through firewalls. We charge $24.95 per month to do this and takes about a day to setup.

Once we solve that issue we can work on the rest:

If there is someone in Belo Horizonte with a web brower and some english skills (I might still be able to order coffee in Portuguese… barely) we can talk them through configuring phones. I also suggest trying Zoiper desktop (http://zoiper.com) or other softphone on a computer with a headset for testing. It also work well for many people for daily usage.

Porting 508.861.XXXX (Comcast) over to ring-u is just some paperwork, it takes 3 days to 2 weeks and will work very well on the ring-u system. To start that process, on your customer portal (https://portal.ring-u.com) you can start by filling out the form located under My Services→Numbers→Port Request.

Porting your mobile: 508.834.XXXX is also possible, but if you are using it for WhatsApp and SMS, I suggest you keep that on the mobile and not port it. While we can SMS some, we can't do WhatsApp. Both work better for conversations on the mobile.

Cumprimentos, –Mike–

2020/07/21 13:50 · admin

We've had a few customers need some special interfaces. We made it “semi-standardized” so we can support these features for more people. Currently: July 2020, the Sainsmart USB controlled relays are the best generic control boards for common applications. Some applications may require different boards, and the world of control boards will evolve. We currently install the drivers on a system by system, attached board by board basis and help test.

These are useful for door access controllers, gates, alarm systems, lights…

Want to know more: Relay Control Wiki Page. Maybe we should call this: Door Striker Plate Control?

In one case, in a call center application, we setup a special “Parking Lot Monitor” so when a caller is in the parking lot, a large LED light on the wall in the center lights up: No abandoned calls. People know someone is stuck in the lot.

2020/07/16 00:13 · admin
  • Last modified: 2020/06/08 11:17