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I am looking at VoIP providers and many of them have a part of their TOS that says they don't allow "non-IP originated traffic."

Excerpt from TOS:

You shall only send to [DELETED COMPANY NAME] network traffic which is originated via Internet protocol (“IP”). Your causing, transmitting, or routing of any non-IP originated traffic to our network may result in the immediate termination of Service by us, in our sole discretion, without prior notice to you. You agree to indemnify and hold us, our Affiliates and subsidiaries, employees, directors, officers and shareholders of the same, harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, judgments, damages and expenses, including without limitation attorneys' fees and costs, resulting from or arising out of your sending non-IP originated traffic to our network. We may, in our sole discretion, pass on to you any additional charges or fees which result from your sending non-IP originated traffic to our network.

Can anyone give an example of a case where traffic would not originate from IP. What are they protecting their business from?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

IPX? :-)

Doing a google search on the phrase you're asking about seems to indicate that you can't send calls over this VoIP link if it originates on POTS. If someone calls into your HQ office from a POTS line, and you then route it to one of your branch offices over your provider's VoIP link, you're in breach of your contract, and they're probably in breach of FCC regs, which is why they threaten with the big stick.

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Could also be Appletalk ;) – Joel Coel May 24 '12 at 17:48
Come on... token ring over ethernet! – SpacemanSpiff May 24 '12 at 17:57
I'm interested to know how sending POTS traffic over a VoIP connection is in breach of FCC regulations – Mark Henderson May 24 '12 at 20:39
It can be a nightmare to setup 911 call routing properly on VoIP, unless you have your own equipment in house. I'd bet that this is part of the reason. Let's say you dial 911 from your HQ, and it gets routed out the hosted VoIP instead of out of the POTS/PRI. The 911 dispatcher would, in that case, send emergency personnel to the wrong address (and its an FCC violation to not have 911 call routing set up properly). – David W May 24 '12 at 21:31
@DavidW - that sounds fair enough. When we use VoIP here our VoIP provider made us sign a waiver indicating that emergency calls are not guaranteed to work (as a result, we set up a call route rule to transmit 000 (our emergency number) to a POTS line if available) – Mark Henderson May 24 '12 at 21:35

I suspect they are referring to POTS-originated traffic. In other words:

Your causing, transmitting, or routing of any non-VOIP originated traffic to our network…

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I'd add this as a comment but I don't have enough rep yet:

Where I've seen the term Non-IP traffic in the past generally refers to how providers will charge you for incoming calls from the PSTN. Basically, hosted VOIP providers are trying to mimic the charge conditions you'd get with an in-house PBX. Corporate PSTN accounts generally have a per-minute charge, but any calls inside your own PBX are free, because they never leave your system. Even if a customer calls from a Vonage phone (making it technically VOIP originated), it enters the PBX as a PSTN call and counts as such.

In a hosted VOIP environment, technically all calls are going out of your network to the providers network, so they use this terminology to distinguish between calls from your own system and calls from the PSTN.

Now why the provider you quoted would prohibit ALL calls originated on the PSTN (vs. just charging for them), I'm not really sure how that would work, unless they expect you to maintain a Key system or PBX or something locally and only use their hosted VOIP to route calls between locations.

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IP is the third layer of internet protocol (Networking). The networking layer describes the addressing scheme (IPv4) as to how to locate the MAC address of the remote computer. While IP is by far the most common for external network traffic, there are alternatives:

You can send data over the same link layer (eg Ethernet) that uses a different way of finding its destination. IPv6, for example, is an incompatible networking address system, as is ICMP and IGMP. I guess they don't want you sending raw OS error messages (ICMP) through their routers that aren't set up to route them.

Take a look here:

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