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Your experience with VOIP

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    Your experience with VOIP

    I have a need for 2 home phone lines, and the local phone company is raking me over the coals on price. I'm paying $60/month which gives me unlimited minutes, all features plus voice mail on one line, but no features at all on the second line.

    I'm strongly considering switching to VOIP. What are your experiences as far as call quality and service reliability? Any tips or gotchas to pass along? Switching 100% to cell phone -- while tempting -- is not really an option for me. Thanks for your input.


    I made the switch from phone company land-line to Vonage about two and a half years ago. I have zero regrets and have saved tremendously compared to my former phone and long distance expenses.

    Caveat #1: You need a good broadband connection. 'Lite' cable/DSL service with very low upload throughput will not typically work well. Pay attention to upload speeds because most broadband service has plenty of download ability but some are lacking for upload speed. For example, a connection that has 3mbps down and 128kbps up likely won't perform as well with VoIP as one that has 1.5mbps down and 256kbps up, even though the former is considered the 'faster' service.

    Caveat #2: If you lose power, you lose phone service. Most people who have cordless phones experience this anyway and, as a result, some people keep a corded phone around to plug in if needed. With VoIP, you lose the use of the phone not only because of power loss to the phone but also because of power loss to your broadband modem and the VoIP device. This can be overcome by using a UPS. Other people just turn to their cell in such an event.

    Caveat #3: Keeping your current phone number can be delayed/can be a hassle. If you buy a Vonage device, for instance, tonight, you can set up and be using your phone tonight with your new number and incoming call ability also being set up quickly. If you want to keep your current number, it can take a while to get that latter part established. New rules about phone number portability, in general, and the prevalence of people going VoIP with providers or through the cable company, etc. have sped this up a bit in the last year or so.

    A misleading caveat: A lot of people complain about 911 service as if it were a major problem with VoIP. Fact is, Vonage offers enhanced 911 access. All you have to do is set it up properly; providing your address information accurately, and there should be no problem in the event that you need to use it. Where it could become a problem is if/when you travel with your VoIP device and use it in another location. If you use the device in this manner, you would need to update the info for 911 service, otherwise, if 911 is dialed, the info transmitted with be incorrect. Otherwise, this really isn't a problem any longer as it was when VoIP was in it's infancy.

    All things considered, I am completely satisfied with my service and have no intention of ever having a phone company land-line again.

    I highly recommend VoIP, in general, and Vonage, in particular.

    Last edited by poundwise; 09-30-2008, 06:29 PM.


      Thanks poundwise for your comments.

      #1 shouldn't be a problem. I have 10mbps download, 1.5mpbs upload.
      #2 understood. I do have a some APS backup power supplies that could at least keep my internet gateway and my VOIP device powered up for a half hour or so in a power outage
      #3 could be an issue. I don't really care, but my wife likes our number and doesn't want it to change.

      I've gotten a temporary reprieve -- at least on my main line. I called my phone company and switched plans. For almost exactly the same plan, I'm saving $15/month. I'm still strongly considering VOIP for my second line...


        Originally posted by sweeps View Post
        I do have a some APS backup power supplies that could at least keep my internet gateway and my VOIP device powered up for a half hour or so in a power outage.
        Most likely much, much longer depending on battery capacity. After all, a typical unit is designed to keep a computer and monitor running for a certain number of minutes. You'll get a multiple of many times over that if you are only powering a modem, VoIP box, and phone.

        Originally posted by sweeps View Post
        I called my phone company and switched plans. For almost exactly the same plan, I'm saving $15/month.
        It is amazing what they can manage to do if they think they will lose you as a customer.

        Congrats on the good deal.


          I use Skype for calls to the U.S. from the Philippines. Calls to regular area codes are 2.5 cents (USD) per minute and free to 800 numbers. I can only imagine how convenient and inexpensive VOIP service would be from one point in the U.S. to another.


            How is the call quality on Skype? The price is right. It appears if I pay for a 12-month subscription, it'll cost $60/yr for unlimited outbound calls, a phone number for incoming calls, and voicemail.


              I used Vonage as my main voice and fax lines in 2001 when it first came out, and was very happy with it. Since then, they have gone public and added many more features, which I'm sure just improved the product.

              Have poundwise or someone send you a referral if you decide to switch. You'll both get 2 months free service out of it. That incentive program has been around since Vonage's inception--I probably had a year of free service because of it.


                I have cable phone service through my local cable & internet company and absolutely love it. We were able to save a ton because we bundled our cable, internet, and phone together (we already had cable & internet through the company, but they gave us a discount and free installation for adding phone)- all three services are $103/month including taxes. The package also included upgraded internet service and DVR for the tv.

                The few gotchas we found were:
                • Obviously, the power issue.
                • We have an old rotary phone in our kitchen that came with the house and we absolutely love it. We can still receive calls through it, but cannot make calls on it. It's more of a decorative item than anything, and I realize we're way behind the rest of civilization, but we were bummed when we found out it couldn't be used.
                • We live in an older house, and the three previous owners had never had a television in any bedrooms or living room, only one in the basement (so only one existing cable jack) There was a phone line in the basement and in the kitchen, and the neighbors told us that one was added in a bedroom after the previous owner's spouse had a stroke in the bedroom. In order to install the phone system, we had to have several holes drilled throughout our house. They ran the cable through the basement and into a spare bedroom and did a good job concealing it and everything was professional- but installation took a good two hours when all was said and done. Again, this may not be an issue if you have cable jacks throughout your house, but it was kind of a pain for us.

                On call quality- I've never noticed a difference. It's very clear. I have family in other parts of my state and like that I can call them any time of day without it costing extra (free long distance).


                  I had Voip in the past and they were terrible. Modem and connection problems all the time. Maybe they have gotten better since, but I've been using Vonage for three years now and no problems. I love it. Customer Service at Vonage is also very good too.


                    I have had Viatalk for almost 2 years and no complaints at all. $199 for two years, but you do end up paying around $3.50 per month in taxes. It was not a hassle at all to transfer over the number. You may just have a temporary number for a week or two. Still debating over whether or not to renew when the contract is up. We really have NO need for this line since we have our cell phones. As cheap as it is, it would still be a waste for us.


                      Originally posted by dmontngrey View Post
                      I have had Viatalk for almost 2 years and no complaints at all. $199 for two years...
                      There is no way I would prepay ANY VoIP company for 2 years of service. The reason? One word: SunRocket


                        Originally posted by poundwise View Post
                        There is no way I would prepay ANY VoIP company for 2 years of service. The reason? One word: SunRocket
                        Yup, but I've had this for almost 2 years now so I obviously bought into this BEFORE the SunRocket fiasco. I really wanted to sign up with SR, but when I was ready for VOIP SR wasn't offering the 2 year deal. IF I want to renew with Viatalk, I don't have to sign up for 2 years again. They also have monthly plans. I certainly would never do a 2 year plan after what happened with SR!


                          I had a broadband and hone package that delivered call via VOIP and I havbe absolutly no regrets in switching.

                          I only wish I had takent a package directly with a VOIP provider instead of a landline company breaking into the sector.


                            It has the same quality as an ordinary line, it's just cheaper, and more portable. I've taken it on vacation with me and was able to use my own phone without paying long distance charges (international) - and my family could reach me in my hotel room by making a "local" call.


                              I have vonage (which, off topic, had become a penny stock the other day - just last year they were selling for over $3 a share). I also have roadrunner lite. The plan is for 500 mins per month, and comes with all of the extra features (call waiting, voice mail, call forwarding, etc).

                              The only difference I can tell is when I'm downloading a file - voices sometimes cut in and out when using the phone. That's no problem for me though because I don't download enough to worry about it. It's a minor annoyance.

                              Other than that, I love it. Ya can't beat $20 per month for nationwide phone service.