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Dial Up over IP

Hello,

We have rack space in a data center and have a virtual environment configured where we host servers for our clients. We have a new client who has the need for dial up modem service for interacting with a vendor that they have. There is no way around using a modem to dial up to this vendor.

Presently, we have a VPN tunnel to our office where we have one of those COMTROL DeviceMaster RTS devices that basically allows you to use a serial device over TCP/IP. A 56k external modem plugs into the COM port on the DeviceMaster and the modem is installed on the terminal server as a normal modem that the users can access. This works fine except when we lose Internet service at our office or have some packet loss due to our less than reliable ISP we have here. The modem is currently sharing our fax line as well so there are conflicts there from time to time.

I can get a copper cross connect at the data center to Verizon for hooking up a POTS line for us but that will cost $275/mo for the cross connect plus the cost of the phone line (~$40/mo).

We have also thought about installing a Cisco router w/ CME and getting a T38 SIP trunk that's capable of data transmission but these are also up there in price and the cost of the router has to be figured in as well. We tried a magic jack and obviously it didn't work either as the quality of the dial tone isn't good enough to support the data connection.

Does anyone have any ideas on anything out there that I could get dialtone to a modem in the rack at the data center without having to pay these fees?
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cardscomp
Asked:
cardscomp
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1 Solution
 
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
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cardscompAuthor Commented:
I already have a functioning modem in the data center by using one of the COMTROL boxes to get the physical modem presented to a virtual machine so getting the modem hooked up isn't the problem, it's getting dial tone to it that is stable enough to handle data transmission.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
A modem requires a POTS phone line, therefor the customer needs to pay for the installation and service.
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cardscompAuthor Commented:
I am looking for a better way with doing something over IP. Paying ~$325 a month for one phone line is too much. There are alternatives available; just looking for someone who has experience with them that can provide some guidance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.38
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ArneLoviusCommented:
T.38 is for FAX not modem, it won't work for you.

Your only options are serial (or USB) over IP or a local PSTN hookup. $275 per month for a copper cross connect is a lot, but there might be a lower cost method, you might ask Verizon if they can deliver direct to your rack/cage
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kevinhsiehCommented:
The monthly recurring for that cross connect is stupid high. It costs the data center zero after the installation and that is just pure profit. Best to try to negotiate a lower cost, like $500 install and $10 monthly. T.38 is for faxing only and would die even faster than your current solution when the network isn't perfect.
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masnrockCommented:
What about an analog line tied to your current phone system, or perhaps considering using the cable company? Both options could cost you a heck of a lot less. Otherwise, you could technically just install an additional POTS line at the office, so as to separate from the fax line.
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ArneLoviusCommented:
There are also other alternatives to your existing Serial over IP solution

http://www.virtualserialport.com/products/serial-over-ethernet/
http://tibbo.com/soi/

they _might_ have better performance
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
This works fine except when we lose Internet service at our office or have some packet loss due to our less than reliable ISP we have here.

Time to change ISP's or have a redundant ISP, or a low volume higher quality ISP package (the bandwidth required is very, very low in comparison with Ethernet) and have the serial -> IP at the data-center.

The modem is currently sharing our fax line as well so there are conflicts there from time to time.

Since your client is PAYING for modem access, get another hard-line installed dedicated to that modem.
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cardscompAuthor Commented:
We have two ISPs here already.. both suck in our area and the VPN is setup to the more reliable one and we haven't bothered configuring failover yet since we thought of this current setup as a testing phase and temporary; We will certainly be buying them a phone line dedicated for this once we reach the final solution. Client is not yet paying us for this service as this is just the testing phase before we fully migrate them over to full production.

ArneLovius - The serial over ethernet system is what we have now with the comtrol devicemaster. Would just be great if you could pay a company to do a modem with a phone line for you at the other end so we don't have to have it here.

I have looked around for "virtual modems" with a phone line on them and haven't found much; that's kind of what I think the best idea would be.

I am in the process of negotiating the x-connect price with the data center as I think this is the best way to handle this. That way all the equipment stays there and we aren't depenedent upon connectivity outside the data center to somewhere else. Thanks for the suggestions and I'll let everyone know how we make out shortly. If anyone has any other suggestions or unique ideas please let me know.
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cardscompAuthor Commented:
I was able to negotiate the x-connect price down considerably (they actually made a mistake distinguishing between a 4-pair cat5e copper x-connect for data versus just a cat5e for a single POTS line; got it to $30/mo) and we are going to pay the phone company $35/month for the line with 400 minutes of long distance. I wish there was a way to do it over IP for around the same price but this will work just fine.
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