Friday, 30 October 2015

What Is BYOD DIY VoIP?

Just what do I really mean when I refer to Bring Your Own Device and Do It Yourself?  And, what good is BYOD if you can't DIY?

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device

Let's start with BYOD.  What is it and what does it really mean?

When it comes to VoIP hardware, for me it means:  You bought it; you own it; it's yours to keep....forever -  for better, or for worse.

And, when it comes to VoIP hardware, it also means your device is unlocked.  "Unlocked" is a very important aspect of BYOD hardware.

For example, if you subscribe to VoIP service and your value-added ITSP sends to you a device (ATA, or IP Phone) as part of your VoIP plan, chances are this device has been preconfigured by the service provider and then locked so that you do not have admin level rights in the device's web login control panel. Without Administrator rights, you cannot alter any of the device preconfigured settings.  For the average person, that is just the way life is and they probably don't really mind.

But, suppose you are experimenting using different service providers in hopes of finding "the perfect match".  Well, what do you do if you change to another provider, or perhaps you want to try two different services at the same time?

Many services will require that you to return your VoIP device to them when you terminate their service.  So, in this case you are not really BYOD, you are just "renting the device" and must return it to its rightful owner at the end of your contract.

But, even if you do end up owning your device at the end of some predetermined contract period, what good is it if you change ITSP's?  The device is locked and will not work with another service.

True BYOD Means You Purchase An "Unlocked Device"

So, let`s say you did your research and found a VoIP hardware retailer and ordered your first shiny new VoIP ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). By virtue that you are ordering a new (unused) device, it is expected that it should be - unlocked.

Now, with your shiny new unlocked VoIP device, you are free to do with it as you please.  You will have full Admin rights to twiddle and diddle until your heart's content, that is, once you do your homework and learn just enough to be dangerous (kind of like I did many years ago).

With This New Found Freedom Comes.... Responsibility

You are now solely responsible to fiddle and diddle correctly, if you want it to work as expected.  But, with a little research and dedicated learning you are now the master of your VoIP endeavors and destiny.

There is no doubt about it, learning to do DIY VoIP can be a lot of work, in the beginning.  Like many things in life, a bit of sweat and tears up front can lead to many rewards later on down the road.  Those rewards can come in the form of self-satisfaction of doing it yourself and the cost savings that go along with it.

All that said, BYOD DIY VoIP is not for everyone.  I wrote an article on this topic some time back.

BYOD Also Means Flexibility And Versatility

The true value in BYOD ownership is in the ability to change service providers, at will, and without obstacles.  Not only can you change ITSP VoIP providers, but you can also subscribe to multiple services simultaneously while using a single VoIP device, or even with multiple VoIP boxes if you like.   This can be done using multi-line ATA's and/or multi-line IP Phones.  And, in some cases it could be a small IP-PBX appliance if you have advanced to that level.

DIY - Do It Yourself

DIY is really the second half of BYOD.  The whole point of BYOD is to DIY.  As I mentioned earlier, DIY literally does mean do it yourself by taking responsibility to do the research and become knowledgeable enough to configure your shiny new unlocked VoIP device....on your own.

So, to sum-up the BYOD DIY process, the essence becomes:
  • Do your research and self-learning.
  • Purchase your preferred VoIP hardware - unlocked.
  • Sign-up for an account with a BYOD DIY ITSP VoIP service.
  • Do some more research and self-learning.
  • Login to your ITSP and configure your VoIP account as needed.
  • Do some more research and learning.
  • Configure your VoIP device(s) and service line(s) to match your ITSP settings as required to connect and register in order to send and receive VoIP calls.
  • Enjoy the savings of having installed your own telecom services.

One final piece of advice for anyone embarking on the journey of BYOD DIY VoIP.  Please do not disconnect your incumbent Telco phone service until you have proven to yourself that you are satisfied with the results of your DIY VoIP solution.  Start out just making local and long distance outbound phone calls.  If you are satisfied with outbound calling, then purchase a local DID (a phone number) with your DIY ITSP.  Test that all incoming calls work just fine and as expected.

Once you are happy with the results of inbound and outbound calling, you are all set to port your incumbent Telco phone number into your VoIP account.  Then, you are ready to pull the big plug on your PSTN landline provider.

One more final word of advice.  Be sure to check with your prospective BYOD DIY VoIP provider and ensure that they can port your PSTN landline to your VoIP account.  Unfortunately, many if not most of the smaller communities are not able to get local DID phone numbers through a BYOD DIY VoIP service.  I learned this lesson the hard way when I moved from the big city to the smaller communities in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

Happy VoIPing!