SIPSorcery Magic Rescues Voxalot’s Stranded Users

Aaron Clauson thinks his SIPSorcery is the natural landing place for Voxalot users who will be left with no service when the VoIP service aggregator shuts down at the end of the year. So he’s made it very simple for Voxalot users to make the switch.

SIPSorcery

Through the end of the year, Voxalot users are able to automatically import their settings into SIPSorcery and try out the service free for a week. After that, the user can convert to a SIPSorcery “Premium” account for $35.

Like Voxalot, SIPSorcery allows the VoIP enthusiast to use multiple SIP accounts over a single device: an ATA, like Obihai Technology’s OBi series, or any IP Phone supporting the SIP protocol. SIPSorcery’s servers do all the heavy lifting, including registration with VoIP service providers and call routing based on scripts created by the user.

But if you’re making the switch be aware: SIPSorcery is not exactly the same as Voxalot. It’s harder to grasp at first, and a whole lot more powerful.

“SIPSorcery’s typical customer is the tech savvy VoIP power user who feels comfortable learning to write scripts,” Clauson freely admits, though he adds that the Ruby scripts (or “recipes” in SIPSorcery parlance) the service relies on, while daunting at first, are not difficult to master.

SIPSorcery’s recipes, Clauson says, give the service “infinitely more power” than the simple dial plan manipulation Voxalot users get. As an example, Clauson points to an extensive script, written by SIPSorcery customer Mike Telis that demonstrates much of what can be done with the service. Telis’ recipe is long and somewhat complex, but is easily adapted to meet a user’s specific needs by changing a few well-commented variables near the top of the script.

Besides the scripting horsepower, SIPSorcery offers several features that should be welcome to Voxalot users, including online device provisioning, real-time call diagnostics and unlimited SIP account registrations. Clauson himself says his settings manage 40 separate SIP accounts, 10 with incoming call capabilities, though he makes clear he’s “definitely not the typical SIPSorcery user”.

Perhaps the single biggest difference a Voxalot user switching to SIPSorcery will notice is significantly better call quality achieved because a SIPSorcery call voice stream travels directly between the two endpoints. With Voxalot, the audio portion of the call goes through the company’s servers, resulting in often annoying delays in voice transmission between two phones and causing each party to speak over one another. By connecting the call and getting out of the way, SIPSorcery minimizes the internet hops a voice connection must wind its way through, resulting in much improved call quality.

But high-voice quality extracts a small price: Unlike Voxalot, SIPSorcery can’t offer services such as voice mail and conference rooms, which require that calls be controlled by the service from beginning to end.

Clauson believes voice mail and conferencing offerings are superfluous, as both services are available for free from a number of external sources. For example, the popular SIP Callcentric VoIP service offers free voice mail to anyone who signs up for it, and SIPSorcery can be configured to use it.

Unlike Voxalot, which is based on the often finicky open-source Asterisk PBX, SIPSorcery sits on an engine written by Clauson from scratch in Microsoft’s “.net” programming framework, and released as open source. His platform, Clauson believes, is more suitable to a cloud-based VoIP service than Asterisk, which usually runs on premise-based Linux servers.

SIPSorcery offers two plans: the $35/year Premium plan and a $99/year Professional plan. The more expensive plan comes with guaranteed business hours email support, though SIPSorcery’s customer forum provides decent help for users of the less expensive plan.

Most of SIPSorcery’s users, are in the US, though Clauson is based in Tasmania, Australia. The company’s main servers are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So why use SIPSorcery? Clauson freely admits the service is not for everyone, but suggests that there’s a subset of VoIP power that can take full advantage of SIPSorcery’s ability to route calls based on their destination, for example a call to Ireland using the low-cost Ireland-based BlueFace VoIP service, to Australia using FaktorTel, or to North America using VoicePulse.

Clauson also says his users often set up friends and family members in remote locations with a SIP ATA and manage their accounts through SIPSorcery. “Your grandmother in Ireland does not know how VoIP works, so you configure it through SIPSorcery and make sure VoIP works for her.”

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  • Felix Rabinovich

    I was looking at Voxalot, PBXes, and SIPSorcery over the years (including paying for a few times); but it seems that the use case for such service is very limited, especially in US, the article above notwithstanding. Would small business be their customer? Probably not – they want SIP trunking combined with VSP services (or, alternatively, hosted PBX). Branch office of a large organization? Not likely, either. Sophisticated dial plan capabilities are not that important, since most VSPs offer free unlimited US/Canada calling, and even international calling differ by less than a cent per minute. Not to mention that most VSPs don’t provide SIP credentials, and it didn’t cause much pushback among the customers.

    So, you are left with VoIP enthusiasts, who are *trying* various VSPs on a regular basis; value open SIP credentials, and enjoy tinkering with dial plans. *Very* limited market, as Voxalot found the hard way.

  • Aaron Clauson

    I’d agree that it’s mainly VoIP enthusiasts or power users who are most attracted to SIP aggregator type services; there are probably more people that fit that category than you think.

    Without knowing the details of Voxalot’s operation my guess is that running multiple Asterisk servers in 3 different countries incurred operational costs that were too high to support on a $15/year product.

    In SIPSorcery‘s case we can run with one central server cluster since it only deals with the signalling. This keeps the costs down to the minimum.

  • i found nice sip tutorials site: http://www.voiptuts.com/search/label/sip