You will find references to Junction Networks’ OnSIP hosted IP-PBX service scattered all over this site. I’ve use them since the summer of 2007 for my home office phones. They’re extremely reliable, 100% SIP based and even wideband capable in many respects.
The basics of the OnSIP service are pretty simple. If you are a company and need the usual services you establish an OnSIP account, selecting one of their monthly service bundles. These run from $39.95/mo to $199.95/mo, scaling up to suit companies of various sizes. They offer a 30 day free trial to let you get your feet wet.
Suppose that you don’t want to spend anything to start. You can choose their a la carte account pricing and have a free account. Assign as many SIP extensions as you like. You pay only for additional services that you might want, like voicemail, DIDs or calling the PSTN. Even then, you pay only on a usage basis.
Since this article was originally posted in July 2009 OnSIP has changed their web site. They no longer offer the al a carte option in the initial menu of plans, but you can select it later in the process of signing up.
The magical part of OnSIP is that they don’t charge a fee per extension! Yes, there’s no per phone fees.
Think about that a minute….
….You can have as many extensions as you like…for free!
Moreover, absolutely everything that you can define within the service (extensions, DIDs, VM boxes, ring groups, IVR menus) is exposed as a SIP URI.
Every phone you register can have a unique SIP URI, and all calls between them are free.
Oh, yeah…while you’re at it…go ahead and use wideband ’cause it basically just works. Calls between IP devices are wideband as long as both end-points support a suitable codec. Calls that go to machine delivered services like voicemail, the conference bridge, IVR, etc are negotiated down to G.711.
By default all extensions within OnSIP are setup as SIP:ExtNumber@YourDomain.OnSIP.com such that yours is a sub-domain off of their domain. Their knowledgebase provides info on how to setup your DNS records such that you can make your domain the primary, having sip:extension@YourDomain.com if you like.
Let’s be honest about this, OnSIP is not a wholesale termination provider. They are a retail establishment. Should you decide to call the PSTN you pay 2.9 cents/minute for termination. That rate includes all calls to North America and Western Europe.
The same is true for calls incoming on any DIDs that you purchase. Yes, you pay for incoming calls as well.
Essentially, you pay for anything that crosses the line between the IP realm and the PSTN. That’s not the cheapest rate in the world, but it’s not the highest either. For most families and many small businesses (i.e. not call centers) will save money over the more typical pricing model of $xx/mo per phone for yyy minutes of calling.
Even if you pay nothing and only make calls between your families IP-connected phones you will have opened up the realm of access via SIP URI over a pure IP path, and that means wideband calling.
Update: January 2010 – OnSIP has enhanced their service by adding HDVoice capability to the conference bridge that they offer as an option to paid accounts. See here for details.
Update: April 2011 – OnSIP recently offered a new service called GetOnSIP. This new service is essentially a free SIP registrar, more or less a virtual PBX like one of their paid OnSIP accounts. SIP clients registered with Get OnSIP, whether soft phone or hard phone, can call other GetOnSIP users. They can also call anywhere accessible by SIP URI. All for free. In some respects this is a great replacement for the late Free World Dialup and Gizmo5.
Mike Oeth of Junction Networks introduced GetOnSIP in an appearance on the VoIP Users Conference in April 2011.