Making Use of Wideband Voice Right Now!: OnSIP

onsip-logo-160You 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.

OnSIP-Plans-500

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.

  • Mike Carson

    Onsip no longer has a free a la carte service — at least not on its website.

  • Leo

    OnSIP users can still do the a la carte option if they wish. It’s just not advertised on the pricing page anymore. 🙂

  • Mike Carson

    I’m trying Onsip now. The ala carte option is not on the website but it’s an option in the sign-up process on the website. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Matt

    Did you get MOH to work with your Siemens DECT phones or with your Polycom phones and the OnSIP service? I’ve set up with OnSIP but experienced issues getting MOH to work on my Polycom 650 and my U-Verse router. Do you use what your broadband service provider gave you or something else for better quality and compatibility?

    • I don’t need/want the MOH service so I haven’t bothered even trying. I did hear that in order to get it working with Polycom phones you must use their provisioning server, which was a new addition to OnSIP earlier this year.

      We use Comcast Business Class as our primary internet access, with a Covad DSL circuit as a backup. That said, I doubt that your provider is the issue. It much more likely to be something about the router itself.

      • Matt

        For my small home office, the MOH service is a big deal for me. I do use the onsip boot server, but they tell me there is some packet manipulation that my u-verse router is doing to prohibit using their onsip MOH stream redirection. I thought I read somewhere that the new versions of Polycom firmware supported a music stream directly set on the phone itself, but I’ve been unable to find how to set that option in the phone’s configuration. I realize that you haven’t played too much with MOH, but as the resident Polycom expert, is there a resource you might have to find out where to manually set that option?

        • I’m just a user and a fan, not really an expert. We’re all running v3.2.1 which is kind getting old. I’m hoping to upgrade to v3.3 when it releases to mere mortals.

          Where did you buy the phones? The resellers, like Mike @ E4 are the real experts. Moreover, when you’re a customer they have good reason to be helpful.