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.

Extensions in another country? Yep, we do that too

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

Relay Control

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

Netgear Orbi Redux

A generic version of an email about Netgear Orbis and VoIP issues. These are home “mesh” units, not suitable for most businesses.

Good Morning!

The goal was to enable Gary in Jupiter Florida the ability to have an extension off of the main phone system at Acme Corp. We do this type of things for a significant number of people, especially in recent months with more people working from home. 90% of the time, it just works. The other 10% gets interesting.

Current status:

- Gary has a preconfigured adapter at his house, it connects but will not pass most audio.

- I have a test extension configured at my house, that also connects, but will not pass most audio. - The Orbi router at Acme Corp seems to be configured correctly, SIP ALG is off, which is usually the cause. It has been updated to the latest firmware and several configurations attempted.

- The ISP (Telecom Corp?) is an unknown. You seem to have a good internet connection with a static public IP, typically this would be the best possible configuration.

- Weirdest symptom: From my test extension 142, I can play hold music/recording (MP3) by dialing 708, but I can't get any typical voice traffic or system prompts.

My best theory: Either the Netgear Orbi is blocking specific traffic types, or the ISP (Fibernet) is. The easiest way to test that would be to swap out the Netgear Orbi, even if temporarily, with another router/firewall unit. If that solved the issue, it was the Netgear Orbi. Our #1 recommendation for a small office firewall is a Ubiquiti Edgerouter X, typically under $70. Then use the Orbi's as WiFi access points. Orbi's are famous for VoIP issues, and many other providers simply say replace them. TP-Link, Linksys and even other models of Netgear are options. This would require a service call with Nandor and may take an hour or three of on-site labor.

The other possibility is the upstream ISP (Telecom Corp) has some equipment in place that blocks VoIP traffic. Unlikely, but possible. If they have helpful customer service, it'd be worth asking them about it.

Of course, the other option is that you send back the VoIP Phone, we'll refund you for it and Gary will have to procure a usable phone line via other means.

–Mike–

2020/06/11 13:33 · admin

Home / Small Office Network Answers

I/we get asked this a lot. This is a copy of an email to Tyler, a friend. Copied here for reference:

Tyler, your house isn't that large or made of wire mesh.  I'd put one of these upstairs, one downstairs, as far apart from each other as practical or nearish the heavy usage areas. https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Unifi-Ap-AC-Long-Range/dp/B015PRCBBI/

Do NOT use a “mesh” solution. Run a cable to each access point. It's worth the pain.  This model does not require a centralized network control system (they call it a cloud key) like the enterprise/corporate style. It's easy managed by an app on your mobile (Android and iPhone).  For a firewall: Ubiquiti Edgerouter X. Yes, just this. https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-ER-X-Router/dp/B0144R449W/

For an ethernet switch AND PoE (Power over Ethernet) I'd start here (8 ports and large power supply)https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Unmanaged-Rackmount-Lifetime-Protection/dp/B07788WK5V/ for powering and connecting your two WiFi Access Points, and any other PoE equipment like security cameras or VoIP phones. I'd run a cable to your TV's or Roku/TV boxes.

This is very useful for making your house wiring neat. I have one at my house. It's just used for terminating the wired your run through the house. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QJD23KB

2020/06/04 02:08 · admin

Faxity Fax Fax! - a rant

We aren't going to lie, “Fax” is the most arcane anachronistic thing in the internet era that we can think of. Arguably goes back to Alexander Bain's British patent 9745 on May 27, 1843 for his “Electric Printing Telegraph”. 1880 for a “scanning phototelegraph” - but those were over RADIO. yes: RADIO!

On May 19, 1924, scientists of the AT&T Corporation “by a new process of transmitting pictures by electricity” sent 15 photographs by telephone from Cleveland to New York City with an intention of being used for photo's in a newspaper. And “telefax” was born. Yes: 1924.

E-mail, and photocopiers should have killed the fax in the 1990's. It uses a range of encoding and speeds that were designed to work over old fashioned analog phone lines. They don't work any differently because you have a 10+Mbps internet connection, they negotiate with the other end and end up at speeds typically ranging from 1200 bits per second (1200 baud) to 57k baud, with 14,400 bits per second being the most common.

Worse is the image quality: 98 to 200 scan lines per inch is terrible. Grab an old mobile phone, take a picture of a page and it will look better. Or use a cheap scanner and email the resulting image file or PDF and it will be awesome. Only use a fax for that old fashioned low tech look from the 1980's.

What should we be doing instead?

Use a basic scanner or a camera on a mobile and take nice high res images. Email the resulting image files or PDF's. Use pre-arranged and tested encrypted email if it must be secure.

But isn't fax secure?

NO! - There is nothing inherently secure about fax. Over analog lines a fax can be copied with a simple “tape recorder” or siamesed into a listen only fax machine. if faxing over most VoIP systems, that digital version of the stream is easily copyable. If using a web interface or email interface to send/receive faxes you have multiplied your threat/exposure surface. Type in a wrong number or hit the wrong speed dial and it's doubly sure the wrong place or person will get that fax. The FBI has had some epic failures from faxing things to the wrong places. There is no end to end verification.. and in some cases your received fax is floating in a pool of other paper or digital faxes for some human to parse and forward. There is no encryption or verification in a fax!

Why did it take 14 hours for them to get my fax?

Because your fax machine can send one fax at a time, they can only receive X faxes at at a time. It's a small finite number. If the receiver is busy, your system will try again and again every few minutes or hours. It can take many minutes or hours to send a single large (multi-page) fax. This is 202x: You can stream a 10 video's of dancing cats at the same time, why are you doing this? See below.

Why does ring-u support fax?

Because government agencies, health insurance companies and faxerthals require paperwork to be submitted via fax. Either they really don't want your paperwork/information or they are just prehistoric faxerthals (no insult to Neanderthals or other prehistoric species intended, we apologize and won't kick your pet dinosaur any more). We want to help our customers endeavor to be a high technology efficient business, even if it's dealing with faxerthals.

For more info on ring-u fax support: Just the FAX

Faxerthal Defined
A pre-internet creature or entity that still requires documents via fax.
2020/05/14 20:43 · admin