Matt’s Talk on VOIP and setting up a home File Server I’m a self confessed geek who generally likes playing around with technology. Matthew Smith, works for big blue and is a certified IT Architect. Note all content is my personal opinion and not that of my employer. Questions..??? VOIP Why would I be interested? – Cost Savings VOIP Terms How does it work? What do I need to run it? Basics Cheap easy trial All out install Mega geeky install or SOHO Bandwidth requirements Things to watch out for Locked ATA’s Monthly Fee’s Should you get an inbound number..? Inbounds are tied to your provider ie can’t move.. Resources for more info Cost Savings Our example - 2 phone lines. When i work from home i need to be able to distinguish the 200 calls per day my wife receives from the 3 or 4 work calls :-) Was 2 x $27 rental and 1 x $20 mobile = $74 + approx 120 local calls @ 17.5c = $21 Calls to mobiles approx $30 and then STD calls to family approx 30@$2.50 $75 Total approx $200 but varies between $190 - $220 Now 1 x $18 line rental 1 x $20 mobile = $38 GoTalk $20 plan which gives me $15 worth of calls with 1 inbound number so don't need two lines anymore. Approx 150 calls @ 10c = $15 Calls to mobiles approx $30 Total $88 (Including $5 effective rental from gotalk) Saving per month approx $112..! VOIP Terms VOIP – Voice Over IP ATA – Analog Telephone Adaptors, box that plugs into your network on one side and a phone on the other. Softphone – Similar concept to the ATA but runs as software on your computer. VSP – Voice Service Provider, the company that provides the VOIP facility. PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network (ie a normal phone line) Broadband – Highspeed internet, much faster than using the older dial up modems. Router – The box most people have which connects them to broadband internet. Skype – Well known VSP great for free computer to computer calls, but call rates to land lines are not so competitive. Also doesn’t use standard codecs so cannot use standard ATA’s. How does it work..? Surprisingly the same as most mobile phones today…! Take your analogue voice and digitises it and then send it via a carrier.. Mobile phones use GSM and VOIP uses IP network.. Hence Voice Over IP. So instead of the phone breaking up your voice and sending it over the air, VOIP breaks it up and sends it over the internet. So if you can use a mobile you can use VOIP.. As for call quality.. Generally similar to a mobile phone call. Like mobiles though it can vary. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Can I call normal phones – Yes Can I get rid of my normal phone – Kinda 000 problems Internet outages VSP reliability No number portability VOIP Terms Codec – Software for the conversion of analogue (voice) to digital. Most commonly used in Australia are 729a and 711a 729a – Good compressed with some minor sacrifice of quality. Some ability to deal with network data loss. 711a – No compression, best voice quality but uses significant bandwidth and not good with data loss. Codec Approx Approx bandwidth bandwidth required per used in 1 hour second 729a *31kbps 14Mb 711a *87kbps 40Mb *Note Kilobits per second ie same measure as your broadband ie 256/64 Resources for more information Whirlpool VOIP Forums http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-threads.cfm?f=107 OZVOIP Forums http://forums.ozvoip.com/ Dial plan Generator for SPA-3000 http://www.taet.com.au/dp.nsf/SPADialPlan?OpenForm Excellent step by step guide to SPA-3000 http://www.jmgtechnology.com.au/spa_3000_guide.pdf VOIP Wiki http://www.voip-info.org Basic Option What do I need to give it a go? This is the cheapest and most simple way of testing VOIP. Broadband internet connection Cheap $15 headset from Harvey Norman or Dick Smith. Skype and purchase of some credit on SkypeOut or An account with a VSP (ie $10) Free Softphone software. Basic Option Summary Software phone Requires a PC to use it. Not much good for in coming calls as the computer needs to be on 24x7 and you need to be near it. Acceptable call quality but not generally as good as a dedicated ATA Able to select a range of VSP’s and obtain good cost savings, particularly for STD and International calls. Basic VOIP - Setup Integrated VOIP Ok, you have trialled it and are happy so now its time to get serious. The aim is to integrate it into your home so that when anyone picks up the normal phone it’s going out via VOIP. Also incoming calls ring on the same handset Integrated - Setup A good quality router is highly recommended..! Router with good quality QoS (Quality of Service) Why do I need it..? When you use your internet connection for uploading/ downloading files unless you have QoS your VOIP calls are going to get broken up. Most routers provided by ISP’s have fairly limited QoS capability… A good quality router will cost around $200. Integrated - ATA ATA An ATA connects to your network on one side and your phone on the other. Good quality phone calls. Most are programmable so you can have mobile phones go to one VSP and STD to another and local to another. Allowing you to mix and match. Unless yours is locked then you are tied to a single VSP… Go with a ‘locked ATA’? There are companies like Engin who offer a complete VOIP service, however that only applies if you accept a locked ATA. Benefit, is that its plug-in and up and running good support. Downfall is that you cannot add other VSP or customise the configuration at all and typically comes with a monthly fee. Advanced VOIP Asterisk software PABX feature highlights; Voicemail Multiple Extensions Redirection to extension based on the calling number. Full call monitoring and reporting More information here http://www.asterisk.org/features Advanced - Typical setup Advanced VOIP Asterisk Opensource PABX Offers excellent features and zero cost Whilst there is some excellent “How To Guides” does take reasonable computer skills to get up and running. Does require a dedicated pc to run on and needs to be on 24x7. Handsets IP Phones Excellent way of deploying VOIP if you are going to have multiple handsets as the handset simply plugs into your network. Some models even come with a mini network switch so you can plug your PC into your phone Multiple ATA’s and phones, usually the more expensive option but does allow you to connect any normal phone. Home File Server Why would I be interested? Multimedia PC’s Protecting important files from disk failure Share files / printers without having to leave all the computers on all the time. How does it work? Base Technologies RAID Linux / Samba (Compared with Windows Server) Networking, wired and wireless Backups? (Using Windows backup and DVD’s) Networking / File Server Terms RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. Typically used to provide data protection if one of the drives fail. Network Switch – Device to allow multiple Ethernet devices to connect together. NAS – Network attached storage NAS – Easy inexpensive option NAS Devices are small and robust, whilst they won’t have the performance of a dedicated server, they are affordable and easy to manage. Generally only support a single drive. Some have aftermarket firmware allowing limited support for RAID. Pricing generally around $200-$300 Why RAID? After a period of time all disks WILL fail. RAID provides redundancy in the event of a failure. RAID 1 mirrors two disks, in the event that one fails the other still has 100% of the data. Mirror = 50% overhead. RAID 5 stripes data over the disks so that any single drive failure won’t loose data. More economical as only a single disk is lost for redundancy ie 4 disks, 1 redundant therefore 25% overheard. Hardware v’s Software RAID Hardware RAID is done via a dedicated card added to the computer, cards with a dedicated RAID processor typically cost around $1,500..! Software RAID means that the computer has to do all the calculations for RAID. This typically doesn’t perform as well, however doesn’t cost anything above the computer. Looking after the disks Heat is the enemy of hard drives, keeping them cool will significantly improve their life expectancy. Make sure you keep a flow of air over the drives, when you stack more 2-3 in a case they generate a lot of heat. It’s as easy and cheap as a $5 computer fan and some silicon Linux V’s Windows for Server Linux = Free..!!!! Linux has lots and lots and lots of HowTo’s and free information on the internet. Great community that’s generally happy to help and share. Linux easy to install these days. Linux runs well on old computers. Linux has software RAID 5 included. (So does Windows 2003 Server) Setting up SAMBA (File and printer shares for Windows) is still harder than Windows networking. Linux generally just runs and runs and runs… Server running for 6 months without reboot is common. Webmin is a web based interface that will make managing and configuring the server much easier. Hardware for a Linux File Server Basically any old computer. For RAID5 I’d recommend a Pentium 500 minimum with 256Mb of RAM. (Can be built with significantly lower spec’s but performance will suffer) Note old computer, but NEW drives..! I also like to add a Gigabit Ethernet card which is helps if multiple people are playing video from the server at the same time. Backup..??..!!..?? Eventually you will accidentally delete a file or suffer from a disk failure or corruption. Windows XP comes with MS Backup Free. Also plenty of low cost options available. Schedule it to backup the network volume to your local computer on a regular basis Copy the backup onto DVD’s for safe keeping, make sure good quality DVD’s Cable Networking For the average home network a 100Mb switch is fine. If you want to be able to move large amounts of files ie 100Gb then consider going with a Gb ethernet switch. Without Gb network you will be limited to backup to DVD at 6x unless you copy the files over the network to your computer first. A Gigabit switch costs around $200 and a Gigabit network card is approx $50. Most new computers come with a Gb networking. Wireless Networking Generally pretty easy Check your channel is clear before using it otherwise you may suffer reduced distances and drop outs etc. Network Stumbler is an excellent free tool. SECURITY..!!!! Wireless Security My approach is to use layers, anything single approach isn’t enough. Things I’d recommend Change the default admin password on your wireless router. MAC filtering, whilst this can be ‘spoofed’ I’ve never seen anyone actually do it. It’s a good start. Encryption using WEP or WPA. WPA is better but some computers will not have support. If using WEP make sure your key is long and complex. Hiding SSID, don’t bother causes problems with getting pc’s to connect and doesn’t help security. From my home there are 3 other wireless networks in range, 2 are not secured.!! Network Security Should I enable user accounts on the file server or not? Simple answer would you care if someone got access to those files? Particularly if you go with wireless ensure your network is locked down. That way if someone does get into the network they won’t gain access to your files. I also restrict access ie the kids can view movies but not delete or move etc. Converting DVD’s to files Why..? Means the discs don’t get lost / damaged. With compression my server can store 100’s of movies. Kids don’t fight over the latest DVD. Opensource / Freeware available to ‘rip’ the DVD. This is now legal in Australia as long as you own the original. VLC Great free player also has inbuilt streaming server. How to play movies over the network Media PC – Connected to a TV or Projector Full PC includes a full range of options. Can even get PC’s in small cases the size of a VCR now. Xbox If you have an Xbox they support streaming of movies over the network Media Centre Dedicated box for reading network drives and playing movies / music to the tv / stereo. 2.4Ghz Antenna to beam from computer to TV The end The brave knight slayed (well almost) the evil telecommunications Dragon who was stealing from the hard working peasants. Then with the gold the villagers game him, he setup a home theatre that was enjoyed by all those in the land…!
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