Vonage

Big_C

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I'm fed up with my landline monopolist Verizon and am looking into going VOIP with Vonage. I"ve seen a lot of reviews and about 1/2 say it is awesome and the other 1/2 say the customer service is terrible. People's experiences seem to be so polarized that I'm starting to wonder if the positive reviews are shills for Vonage or if the negative reviews are from some other VOIP service that wants to tear down the competition. So I'm asking you good folk what your experience with VOIP in general and Vonage in particular has been.

Thanks!
C
 

Caninelaw

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Not to hijack the thread Big_C but I'm thinking about the same switch. My big question is that I have DSL over the phone line. Do I still need a phone company line to have my high speed internet to use Vonage? I could see if you had high speed cable how you wouldn't need a phone line but I'm wondering how it would work with the DSL over the phone line?
 

pbrdog

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I have Cox everything. My phone is digital and must use the cable line somehow. Because when my cable or internet is out, so is my phone.
 

canadagoose

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You may know some of this already, but I figured I'd just give a brain dump and you can take what you like from it.

The quality you get from vonage will depend on how good your ISP is. I had it a year and a half ago with a good ISP, and the quality was pretty decent. It wasn't as good as POTS (plain old telephone service), but it was better than a cell phone with a great signal. It should be a lot better than Skype.

I've seen some mention of cable providers throttling the ports that Vonage uses, since they'd rather sell you their own service. Vonage filed some complaints against them for that, if I remember correctly, and they stopped doing it.

I was happy with the service. My wife didn't like it, but she has a low tolerance for technology that doesn't work perfectly.

If anyone in the house did a big download/upload during a phone call, you'd hear it.

Some other caveats to keep in mind:

You may not get traditional 911 service, since Vonage isn't directly connected into all of the E911 centers in the US. When I had the service, dialing 911 connected me to a local non emergency police number, the same as if you were calling your buddy Joe at work who happened to work for the police department. Check it out for your area.

I read some talk about that potentially exposing you to some liability if, say, your cleaning lady were to collapse at your home and dial 911 but not get the expected service. I'm not a lawyer, yada, yada, yada.

Modems don't work well over a vonage line. Normally you wouldn't care, given that you have broadband, but if you have a Tivo it won't be able to use the phone line. There can work around this by putting your Tivo on the network, but it's some work on your part.

I'm not sure how well fax works over Vonage. They talk about needing to tweak the settings (basically use more bandwidth and less compression) but I haven't tried it myself.

Initially, people told me I was very quiet when I called them (particularly on conf calls) but I called Vonage and had them bump some setting up to make me come through louder. Easy fix.

On the plus side, you can take the Vonage box with you anywhere, and your phone number goes with it (911 implications again). If you're visiting family on the other side of the country for a week, you can take your phone number along if you like.

It's also great that for less than $30/mo, you get unlimited calling, voicemail, call waiting, caller id, messages emailed to you, etc. Like I said, I was pretty happy with it. I think they give you a 30 day trial, so I'd recommend checking it out and spending a lot of time on the phone (particularly around 7pm which is peak web surfing time and you're most likely to notice if your ISP isn't so good).

Caninelaw, it is possible to get DSL without phone service. I did it through Covad (they called it "dedicated DSL") and basically added $10/mo to the service to rent the copper from SBC. I don't think SBC will sell them unbundled on their own. Not sure about Verizon.
 

BackCountryHNTR

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I have been very happy with using Vonage for about a year now...no problems...with that said, I'm seriously thinking canceling it because we just simply don't use it! My wife and I do most of our calling with our cell phones...just my 0.02
 

tmoniz

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I helped one of my clients setup Vonage. He dumped it after about a week.
Poor transmission.
Voip has been around awhile, but it only works well from my experience over broadband.

I have Cox for everything. Digital TV, HD TV, Phone and Highspeed internet. About 120.00 a month.
We all have Cell phones, mine added to my wife's package thru Cingular is around 9.95 a month.

You can spend hours trying to mix and match phone, tv and internet til the cows come home, but somehow the providers have engineered the cost factor to where it all adds up to the same.

And Yes. When the Cable goes out everything goes out.

So you have your Cell phone to live off of.
 

Big_C

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Caninelaw @ Mar 31 2008, 06:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Not to hijack the thread Big_C but I'm thinking about the same switch. My big question is that I have DSL over the phone line. Do I still need a phone company line to have my high speed internet to use Vonage? I could see if you had high speed cable how you wouldn't need a phone line but I'm wondering how it would work with the DSL over the phone line?[/b]
I'm trying to get an answer to that same question. There has got to be a way, but Verizon sure doesn't want to let me know about it. Otherwise, what's the point of spending an extra $30/mo for a redundant service?

I've heard that VOIP quality varies more if you have a cable internet connection since you share the broadband connection with the rest of your neighborhood.
 

BackCountryHNTR

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Big_C @ Apr 1 2008, 06:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Caninelaw @ Mar 31 2008, 06:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not to hijack the thread Big_C but I'm thinking about the same switch. My big question is that I have DSL over the phone line. Do I still need a phone company line to have my high speed internet to use Vonage? I could see if you had high speed cable how you wouldn't need a phone line but I'm wondering how it would work with the DSL over the phone line?[/b]
I'm trying to get an answer to that same question. There has got to be a way, but Verizon sure doesn't want to let me know about it. Otherwise, what's the point of spending an extra $30/mo for a redundant service?

I've heard that VOIP quality varies more if you have a cable internet connection since you share the broadband connection with the rest of your neighborhood.
[/b][/quote]

Dump the phone line and DSL, you just need cable (much faster anyway than DSL for about the same price), and vonage...
 

Gyopo

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I have the Time-Warner phone deal. It goes through the same modem as my computer line.
No one has complained about my voice quality during conversations.
Only issue is that if power goes out, cable has problems, or the modem goes out I will lose phone service. I had the modem go out, and they had someone out there the next day to replace it.
My wife and I have cell phones, so losing the home line for a day is not a big deal.
I am happy w/the service, and the cost savings.
 

Big_C

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So it sounds like only Tmoniz' client had a bad experience with Vonage and that sounds like it was an internet connection issue.

That's a little more reassuring than a lot of the stuff I have read.

Thanks for the input!
 

Big_C

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Update for Caninelaw:

I found out that Verizon offers what they call "dry loop service" which is DSL without a landline. They charge an extra $10 for this, so with a 1 year contract it is $41.99/month or on a month to month basis it is $48.99/mo.

For me, the extra $10 is nothing compared to what I'll save in LD charges with VOIP - I just hope the quality is there!
 

NatureDriven

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I've had Vonage for about half a year.

You do not have to have a land line in order to keep your DSL service. This is a myth that Verizon doesn't want you to know about. All you have to do is give Vonage permission to move your phone number over to their service. Once they complete this transaction, your land line will automatically be cancelled and you will continue to have DSL service.

Yes, the quality of the phone call relies on your quality of DSL service. However, they have an easy to use gadget that allows your phone call to use less or more of your broadband line if your not getting the clarity you would like.

So far, thier customer service has been EXCELLENT! Anytime I have a question I have it answered immediately. Not to mention that I'm not calling some foreigner who can't do anything but read the lines in English sitting in front of him/her on their desk.

As far as cost is concerned. If you don't use your land line very often, you can get nationwide calling including 500 outgoing minutes and unlimited incoming minutes for $18.99/month. If you use the phone more than 500 minutes, they have unlimited outgoing and incoming minutes for $24.99/month. I was paying nearly $70 / month for local and long distance with verizon because this entire time I thought i HAD to have local phone line for DSL. Those bastards. Now I pay $18.99/month. CANT BEAT IT!

Plus there are a million features you can't get anywhere else for free; voicemail sent to your email inbox, phone calls forwarded to your cell phone after X amount of rings, logs on your online account all the incoming and outgoing phone calls, you can also use your account to fax a document using your computer to a fax machine rather than having to have a fax to send it. Also, for those of you who have family through out the country, you can have up to 5 differnt phone numbers with area codes that you choose. So if you have family living in San Diego, you can choose a number with a 619 or 858 area code so that your family can call you and it won't be concidered long distance for them.

Hope this helps.
 

Big_C

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Thanks for the input, NatureDriven!

Did you tell Verizon to cancel your landline or did Vonage take care of it for you? What are you paying for DSL service only?

C
 

OC hunter

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Forget Vonage and Skype!!!

Here is the real deal!!!

We have this at work and it blows everything else away! $20 a year for unlimited calls to U.S. and Canada. Go to the website and read all the reviews.

Magic Jack
 

NatureDriven

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Big C,

I believe anytime your phone number is switched from one carry to another, they automatically must disconnect your service. Vonage sent me an email telling me when the number transfer was complete and stated I didn't need to do anything. I called Verizon just to make sure and discovered that my service with them had already been canceled. Currently I pay $29.99/month with verizon for my dsl service. That is with there max upload and download speeds. I've never heard of Magic Jack. Maybe something to look into. Hope this helps.

ND
 

billrob

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Verizon sucks big time!

I have had the same 2 phone numbers on verizon for 6 years now and their dsl service on both lines.
My wife shut down her e-bay store so I tried to cancel the dsl on the second line which is also my deidicated fax line.
Well, of course they cancelled the wrong one and tell me once it's cancelled it cannot be restored so I lost my e-mail address.
I immediately called time warner earlier this week and ordered their service and they told me today that Verizon refuses to allow them to transport either of my phone numbers.
So now I have to have 2 new phone numbers completely different and have to cancel my AT&T (old office) numbers that were on remote call forward up here.
Verizon was banging me for minimum $200.00 per Month on their so called freedom plan.

So now with Time Warner I'll have a home phone number but may need to go with Vonage or Magic Jack for the business lines.

Now new staionary, business cards, recontact all my clients with the new information etc;
I feel like I should be billing verizon.
 

tmoniz

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I've been researching Magic Jack for a short time now.
I'm not going to commit to it, but just get it strickly for long distance.
I like testing new gismos.
I'm leaving everything through Cox intact.

Right now there is a lot of phone, internet, tv, and cell games being played by all the companies out there.
ATT is frantically doing serious physical upgrades around these parts since they took over SBC.

Adelphia was taken over by Time Warner.
My clients went kicking and screaming into the change South of me, but so far the transition has been fairly smooth.

VOIP is coming hard, but make no mistake. It isn't going to be free.
Some one out there is going to see dollars in it.
 

billrob

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I will have time warner on Tuesday but they are only putting in 1 line so I guess I can use the dsl part with the jack and cell for voicelines and the one hard line for dedicated fax.
I was reading that the jack is not recommended for fax.
Time Warner told me that Verizon refused to allow them to transport my numbers so what a mess.
It cost me my 2 AT&T remote for eard lines from my O.C. Offfice.

"VOIP is coming hard, but make no mistake. It isn't going to be free.
Some one out there is going to see dollars in it".

Probably Uncle Slam
 

billrob

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I got my magicjack and so far it's working great.
I had a few hitches at first but it seems to be ok.
I like it better with a hard wire phone than a cordless.
I also tested it and if you play with it you can fax over it too!

They have tons of area codes to choose from so now it's not so bad that I lost my AT&T remote call forwarded OC numbers.

I'll keep using it and check back in on quality etc;

Anybody else using it yet besides OC Hunter?
 

bucknut

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I've been procrastinating, but I plan on ordering it. Thanks for the update billrob.
You said you like it better w/hardline vs cordless, why is that?
 
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