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6ballsisall
11-22-2004, 07:46 PM
Has anyone here had any experience with Voice over IP Phone systems preferably residential? Up until we moved here we never even had a home phone line and just used our cell phones. Unfortunately our cell phones dont have coverage at our house and had no choice but buying the Home Phone. I am tired of getting sticked by Sprint for local phone service for $90 per month. They are the only provider here and they make sure people remember that. :mad:

AirJunky
11-23-2004, 02:20 AM
I've been using Vonage for about 10 months on a cable broadband connection & am pretty happy with it. I tried using Packet8 but wasn't able to use the line for faxing. So I canceled it & went with Vonage, which does support uncompressed data lines for things like a fax machine, credit card machine, TIVO, etc. My calls are about 90% totally clear, and then maybe one out of every 10 calls I take have an echo in them. If it's a short conversation I just deal with it. A long one, I call them back. It's definitely better than cell quality (I use Verizon). Either way, the price is worth it. I have 2 lines for our small business for voice & data. A Seattle # & a Spokane # so people in both cities can call without any long distance fees. Total cost is $60 per month, no long distance in all of the US or Canada, no time limits, etc. Comes with all the latest features, voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, etc.
Anyway, if you'd like to talk or email more about it, send me a PM. I can refer you to them & it kicks us each a free month if you'd like too.

jimmer2880
11-23-2004, 06:19 AM
Great info Air Junky... We're looking into it now because of your post. I'll let you know if we decide to go with it.

Do you know of a 4-port adapter? I already have a broadband router, so I really don't need a 2nd one. Do you know what would happen if you had say... 3 phones all tied in together, then plug that one plug into the adapter if that would work?

great info - it's truely amazing the knowledge on this group!

jimmer2880
11-23-2004, 06:20 AM
Also... If you get a digital phone, do you still need an adapter? I have my house completely wired in cat5 already... maybe that's a better solution?

6ballsisall
11-23-2004, 08:08 AM
Sent you an email Airjunky

jmac197
11-23-2004, 09:20 AM
Just remember that many of these voice over broadband companies are not regulated by the PSC. They don't have to abide by the same service standards as wireline companies do.

In saying that....ask them if their service will continue to work during a power outage. I'll bet they don't. I know I asked that question...the answer was no. Wireline companies have a significant investment in backup battery systems and power generators, mostly because they have to.

I don't work for any of the bells....I just thought I would relay the information in case uninterrupted service is a priority for you.

Later
Jim

BrianM
11-23-2004, 09:56 AM
I too use Vonage for my small business over a cable broadband line. We just have a single phone number and a dedicated fax line. The business rate for these two lines is $49.99 a month. If you want a single residential line the cost is just $24.99 a month. No limits no long distance and you get all of the features like voicemail caller ID call waiting etc. Can't beat the price anywhere. I hsve been extremely happy with the quality and features of the voice service. Yeah every now and then you get an echo on the line but that is a samall price to pay. The fax line gives us some issues however. I would say that 3 in 10 faxes have to be sent multiple times in order to get the whole fax through. I don't have to fax a lot so I deal with it.

As far as the PSC goes I just call that a good thing. Can you say 'my bill doesn't have a bunch of junk fees' Granted not all of those fees are because of the PSC but still my total bill was $54.49. I am sure that a 49.99 base price with a regular phone company would be well over $60 with all of the fees.

No the phone doesn't work when the power is out but I don't care and no the phone doesn't work if your broadband connection is down but again I don't care. We have been using it for about 6 months now and have yet to have a service interuption. A very small price to pay for the huge cost savings.

The service isn't perfect but it is way better than the alterative. Give Vonage a try. You don't have any contract so the most you could lose is the activation fee which isn't much.

Leroy
11-23-2004, 10:11 AM
Brian; You could put the AC powered equipment on a UPC and not lose service when the power goes out, but probably not a big deal.


What equipment is everyone using? At Thomson we have had VOIP products for years and they finally are selling at something beyond 100 for field trial. The whole network isn't VOIP compatible, so yes you will get bad connection depending on the routing of the message that would not impact data, but does voice. If you call again the odds of the same routing is very small so that normally fixes the problem.

jmac197
11-23-2004, 10:35 AM
The problem with a power outage is not just the residential equipment, it is also with the equipment at the broadband company's central office and regen sites along the route to your house.

I agree that for most the savings will far outweigh the inconvenience of interrupted service during a power outage. I also know many companies that could not afford to have their phones go out...ever.

Just laying out the facts.....

Later
Jim

AirJunky
11-23-2004, 11:57 AM
The problem with a power outage is hardly whether or not your phone works, but the tree sitting on your house or the butt cold temps your dealing with, or the torential downpour of rain outside or the monster truck about to hit your house.
The point is that if your power is out, chances are good that your phone &/or cable is too & the reason is far more serious than the symptom. In 10 months of using Vonage, I have yet to have more than about a 5 minute outage (due to the broadband). And Vonage has a failsafe that allows you to automatically forward all calls to another number (like a landline or a cell) in case of any failures. We have not had any reports of calls that didn't find us or a voicemail somewhere.
It works as well or better than the Verizon line I've had the last 5 yrs....... at a considerable savings.
Jeff, I sent you a referral directly to your email. If you or anyone else has any questions, feel free to drop me a line.
-
Bill - bill@airjunky.com

jmac197
11-23-2004, 01:11 PM
AirJunky,

I can't agree with your statement that most outages are caused by tree limbs and monster trucks hitting the house. Most are caused by loss of power to a substation or pop. Regulated entities, like the bells, are required to provide 5 9's of reliabiltiy. To accomplish this they design the trunks with several failovers or alternate routes as well as the UPS. In the event a tree limb falls on an overhead line, alternate routes are automatically taken. I'll give you the fact that there are no alternate routes from the pole to your house, but I am talking on a larger scale. Unregulated entities provide basic service with limited reliabity built into the network. Customers can chose this less expensive option with the understanding that the design of the network may or maynot provide 5 9's of reliabilty.

Thanks
Jim

AirJunky
11-23-2004, 02:06 PM
I'm not sure what all that meant, but my point was that if you don't have power, you may very well not have phone either, and have bigger problems to worry about. Maybe thats not the case where you live. But here it takes pretty big problems to knock the power out as all utilities are underground. In my last place, all utilities were above ground & the house was over 40 yrs old & we only lost power twice in 5 years when I was actually home & awake.

jmac197
11-23-2004, 02:29 PM
AirJunky,

Most of our local utilities are underground also. Maybe it's the power grid here in the northeast. Between thunderstorms and ice storms, we tend to lose power at least 6-8 times each year. It is a concern for many elderly and businesses who rely on their phones.

Later
Jim

jmac197
11-23-2004, 02:31 PM
I forgot to say....5 9's is an industry nomeclature for having a system up 99.999 percent of the time or only 5 minutes of down time per year.

Thanks
Jim

Leroy
11-23-2004, 11:43 PM
Losing power will not take the phone line down (or DSL) or cable TV (or Cable Modem) down. They all have back up and generators. People think the phone is down, but it's actually the cordless phone that won't work without electricity. An old rotary phone will work with power out, takes tree across phone or cable line to stop them, or as it's commonly called, backhoe fade!

jimmer2880
11-24-2004, 06:47 AM
And - in my opinion... the rare case when power goes out & I dont' have internet access - that's why my cell phone is for.

I'm probably going to go for it, just need to convince my wife who's a stay-at-home mom that 1/2 price of what we're currently paying is worth the risk.

captkidd
11-24-2004, 01:18 PM
Losing power will not take the phone line down (or DSL) or cable TV (or Cable Modem) down. They all have back up and generators. People think the phone is down, but it's actually the cordless phone that won't work without electricity. An old rotary phone will work with power out, takes tree across phone or cable line to stop them, or as it's commonly called, backhoe fade!
Actually it doesn't have to be a rotary phone, just one that doesn't require an electrical outlet. Cordless phones require an electrial outlet to supply power and to keep the batteries charged; corded phones don't need this so they keep working during power outages.

AirJunky
11-24-2004, 01:34 PM
I'm probably going to go for it, just need to convince my wife who's a stay-at-home mom that 1/2 price of what we're currently paying is worth the risk.

I ran both Vonage & my old land line for 2 months till we were satisifed that VOIP was the way to go. Took all the risk out of it & allowed me to tweek settings & rearrange hardware for a while without effecting the phones.
After about 5 months of using Vonage, we moved to another state, new broadband co, etc. I packed the network routers & switches, moved them to the new house & the phones worked as soon as the new broadband was hooked up. No arrangments or billing changes at all.