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Old 05-24-2004, 11:58   #1
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Vonage and other internet phone companies


I'm trying to find a cheaper way to make long distance calls and I think that "internet phone companies", have the best thing going (thats if you don't have Supra Telecom in your area). These internet phone companies like Vonage offer free local and long distance phone service via your broadband connection. If anyone could chime in on the quality of the calls and cheaper companies than Vonage I would truly appreciate it. Thanks, Tim
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Old 05-24-2004, 12:41   #2
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My Experience

My Company has used a product calle HearME VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for 5 years now.
Unfortunately the company went belly up but has sold the technology to various companies and universitys.

We are using it to give online classes all over the U.S.

This product uses a protocol called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)
It seems to be a more robust protocol than what other VOIP providers use, Which are called H.323 and some other ones I am not familiar with.

Now that I have bored you with some of the technical stuff.
Lets talk about company's.

I had a customer of mine use something called Epals?
She uses it to call her friends and family in Panama
ocassionaly she has to use the chat feature because the VOIP would crap out on her. But hey, she was happy and she was able to communicate with her Mother to tell her she is alive an well.

Here is another company that seems to be making some waves.
you may have to install some spyware with it, but read the licenses agreement carefully.

Yahoo messenger has a VOIP product built into it. I have used it but it takes some skill for the other person on the recieving end to set it up.

IP telephony is still in it's infancy. Allthoguh I have used it for 5 years now, it's only recently (2 years) that it has taken off.

Your voice quality will vary depending to who and where you are talking to.(Thier internet connection and what equipment thier ISP uses.)

If you stick to the U.S. you won't have much trouble. You'll have an ocassional moment of silence but I think you will be able to get your point accross.

You have to weigh the cost versses reliability.
You are venturing into the bleeding edge of technology.
You have to ask yourself, if they are offering free VOIP how are they making any money?

I heard just recently that a court ruled that Vonage was considered a phone company. So guess what, that means surcharges to 911,homeland security,My sisters dog's vet appoitment and other BS taxes are comming real soon.

If you are considering using VOIP for business you have to ask yourself, is every 4th word in your conversation "Can you hear me now" worth the aggravation?

On a non related note.

I went to a computer dog and pony show last year an ran into a lot of VOIP vendors. Most of what they were selling was pure crap. There was a company whos name escapes me who had a really sweet turnkey product.
The VOIP phones start arround $250.00 a pop.

CISCO sells a VOIP system, which is supposed to be a turn key system.
But a company they were doing business with told them to remove the phones and all thier equipment because it did not work as advertised.
6 months of headaches so they went back to a standard digital phone system.
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Old 05-24-2004, 13:33   #3
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Go for it, I've been messing around with VoIP since 1995 and every year it has sucked until recently and now it rocks. Vonage is one of the bigger companies. You will probably like it, especially with one of these packages that integrates your standard phone like Vonage sells.
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Old 05-24-2004, 18:49   #4
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I have Vonage, I have DSL at home but my DSL has too high of latency to make it work correctly. I have taken it to work where the latency is not so high and it works great. I would use it if I could. I also use MultiTech point to point VOIP products at work and they are great. Vonage probably works great other places but the brand of DSL that my telephone company uses is not so great. (Paradyne)
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Old 05-25-2004, 13:30   #5
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I had Vonage for a couple of months. It worked great and only caused the occasional router lockup, but the technology seemed pretty sound.

The only problem was the little box powering phones. You essentially have to plug your entire house into the jack in the back of their little box and if you have several phone extensions throughout your house, the box can get overwhelmed.

To solve this, I bought an expandable cordless phone system. One base station and up to seven remote cordless phones would link off of it. They could also conference call and share the same address book. One model even functioned as an alarm clock. So I bought one base station, the alarm clock, an extension for the living room and an extension for downstairs.

Then I looked at getting the phone signal from my basement to the Vonage box and then routed to the base station upstairs on the other side of the house. Then I looked at the $400 I had spent on a new cordless, expandable phone system.

I then returned all of the Vonage stuff, canceled the service and returned the expandable cordless phone system and resigned myself to spending the extra $5 per month to Verizon and using my cell phone for long distance.

But when I had the service, it worked pretty well.
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Old 05-26-2004, 13:01   #6
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My son-in-law wanted me to switch to Vonage. The only negative is that it doesn't work with my voice caller ID. I like hearing who is calling as the eyes no longer fuction well on the small lcd screens the answering machines have. This aside, their rates for international calling are really rock bottom. I'm still thinking of making the switch.
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:03   #7
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Hey guys - any updates to how you like the Vonage Service...

Looks awful tempting

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Old 08-26-2004, 16:37   #8
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I have never used vonage. However, a friend of mine uses it and swears by it. He was using it with a wireless ISP and he would get occasional clicks, lags and so one. He recently went with a local cable company and now the only way I know that he is calling from his vonage account is that the number comes up as a weird number on caller ID.
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Old 08-26-2004, 17:08   #9
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I have some hybrid DSL (Etherloop) from Paradyne, so it doesn't work well at my house but on a regular DSL line it works as advertised.
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Old 08-26-2004, 17:40   #10
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I've used PC to phone for the last 5 years. Formally the quality was a little poor but now I can tell no diff from the regular line. I call friends in Russia a lot , .12 per minute. $.o47 for calls anywhere in the US. I have a slow dial-up .45,000bps now. Another advantage I like is I can call from any phone and link up to it. Not nun up bills on my friends and relatives and can link up with a pay phone on the road ., By the way, you still use your regular telephone to make calls.
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