For 19 months I'd been pretty happy with Callcentric for our home VOIP, but that all changed last month. For two weeks, Callcentric was under a DDOS attack resulting in flaky service. Then superstorm Sandy hit the East coast. Amazingly, Callcentric has no redundancy or disaster preparedness in their system - everything is served out of a single datacenter in NYC with no backup in VOIP infrastructure. During Sandy, they didn't even bother to point their DNS to a temporary location so people could at least get a webpage with status. They just went off the wire - completely.

To add insult to that injury, Callcentric made no attempt to proactively notify customers about the DDOS events - they only way I found out about it was because I found our phone wasn't working, so logged into my dashboard to see what was up, and only then got presented with a message. Not an acceptable amount of communication.

I can accept one of these failures, but all these together is a show-stopper for me. Not having reliable (or any) phone service for 3-4 weeks is just not a workable solution, nor is lack of notifying customers. I say this not only as a customer, but as a developer of SAAS apps - I know that building a system capable of absorbing these types of failures is possible, if not simple, and really a requirement in today's wired world.

So a couple of weeks ago I signed up with Flowroute and switched the ATA over. So far, so good! Flowroute is not only cheaper than Callcentric, but DIDs (inbound phone numbers) are allocated instantly on demand, rather than having to wait a couple of days for an assignment. As an added bonus, Flowroute supports CNAM - which means you can add your name in outbound ANI (CallerID).

So far, the Flowroute experience has been excellent. I actually looked at them early last year before choosing Callcentric, but was put off by the $35 minimum payment. I was afraid that if I didn't like it, or wasn't happy, that it would be a hassle to get a refund. So far, I don't anticipate getting a refund, as the service has been great. $35 goes a long way for BYOD VOIP. Our DID is $1.39, as is E911 service. And per-minute rates are about a penny (half of Callcentric).

All the features I need are there - so feature parity, lower prices, and hopefully better service makes this a win.

Configuring the Linksys PAP2TNA ATA was no problem even though Flowroute doesn't document a specific configuration for this device. They support the G729a codec. Call forwarding from Google Voice seems slightly faster than with Callcentric.

Having a dual port ATA is handy when switching service, as the new service can be configured with no disruption to the old.

We'll see if in a few months, or a year, there's a round FOUR to this post. I don't really know if Flowroute can provide an effective level of redundancy - only time will tell, as anyone who's been through a disaster can tell you, disaster preparedness drills never cover everything.

You can read part one of this saga here and part two is here.
And another update here on using an Obihai OBi100 after my Linksys died.