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Vonage

Postby smartin4 on Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:47 pm

Does anyone currently have Vonage Broadband phone service? I am most likely moving at the end of February and I am seriously considering them as an option. I can pick up the adapter at BB/CC for between $25-$30 (I think that was the price). I also like the fact that I am able to "bring" my current phone # with me when I move.

If anyone has it, what is your opinion/experience?
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Postby cfitz on Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:16 pm

I have been using it for 7-8 months, and overall I am very pleased with it. Sound quality is quite good, I've not had any problems with it intefering with Internet access (I am using it on a Comcast cable connection), and the price is great. And don't forget all the free features like (computer enabled) voice-mail, caller ID and three-way conferencing.

I have only two negatives to report:

1. Sometimes the lag is a bit longer than what you are used to with a traditional phone. It isn't bad, but it can lead to both parties talking over one another because they each think the other has paused.

2. Occasionally I am treated to a blast in the ear as if someone pressed a dialing key on their phone. I believe that support for DTMF (touch-tone dialing) is the root cause of this issue. Due to the packet-switched, compressed-audio nature of voice-over-IP (VOIP) telephone networks, it is impossible to transmit a pure sinusoidal tone as required for DTMF.

My theory is that in order to get around this, Vonage has digital filter circuitry/software that detects attempts to transmit DTMF tones (e.g. when you are entering key-presses while navigating an automated telephone menu system). When this circuitry detects such a tone, it inserts a command that tells the Vonage network interface at the receiving end to substitute a locally generated pure DTMF tone rather than the normal voice signal reconstructed from the compressed audio packets.

Anyway, that's my theory. For what it is worth, I only notice this when talking with women who have high-pitched voices, particularly during squeals of laughter and such. No one has complained about the same effect at the other end, presumably because my voice is too low to mimic DTMF tones and trigger the synthetic DTMF tone substitution algorithm.

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Postby smartin4 on Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:36 pm

Thanks for the info cfitz. If I move, I too will be in Comcast territory, though I am going to go with Direct TV over Comcast cable. I know the broadband is more if you aren't a subscriber, but I like what the dish has to offer. Mostly because, even though the season is almost over, NFL Sunday Ticket & (if they were playing) I could see about a billion differnet NHL games.

Living in central NJ, NFL coverage every Sunday sucks. I have to put up with watching the $%#& NY Giants or the @#$& Eagirls, and the times that the Giants aren't on, I usually have to deal with the fact that the Jets are on (CBS vs Fox) and then Fox preempts it's game so as to not compete w/the Jets game. Damn local contracts.

Yes being a Dallas Cowboys fan in NJ sucks, unless I get the dish. I can hardly wait.
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Postby MediumRare on Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:41 pm

cfitz wrote:I only notice this when talking with women who have high-pitched voices, particularly during squeals of laughter and such.

Sounds like you have some very interesting conversations. :wink:

Pardon my ignorance (as a denizen of Europe)- what is Vonage?

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Postby smartin4 on Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:50 pm

Vonage is one of quite a few companies that offer telephone service via your broadband connection. They include extra features for free that the telco charges for, such as caller id.
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Postby cfitz on Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:58 pm

smartin4 wrote:Thanks for the info cfitz.

You're welcome.

smartin4 wrote:If I move, I too will be in Comcast territory, though I am going to go with Direct TV over Comcast cable.

LOL... When I say cable, I mean just for Internet. I get what television I get via the good old rabbit ears - no cable TV, no satellite dish, no nothing!

smartin4 wrote:I know the broadband is more if you aren't a subscriber

Yep. I get ripped off to the tune of $58 a month for just Internet. I think it is "only" $43 a month if you also purchase their cable TV. But, I work from home a lot and I need it, so I have to pay. :(

smartin4 wrote:Yes being a Dallas Cowboys fan in NJ sucks

Doesn't being a Dallas Cowboy fan suck no matter where you are? :-? (Sorry, it was too tempting to resist :wink: )

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Postby cfitz on Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:01 pm

MediumRare wrote:
cfitz wrote:I only notice this when talking with women who have high-pitched voices, particularly during squeals of laughter and such.

Sounds like you have some very interesting conversations. :wink:

If only the reality lived up to the perception... :( :wink:

MediumRare wrote:Pardon my ignorance (as a denizen of Europe)- what is Vonage?

As smartin4 mentioned, it is a telephone service that transmits calls via the Internet. You hook up a regular phone to a special router, then the router to your Internet connection, and then you use the phone just like a regular phone, making and receiving calls to/from anyone on any phone, including the traditional switched telephone network. It costs me $25 per month for unlimited long distance calls in the U.S. (and Canada too, I think... hmm, maybe a call to dolphinius_rex is in order), $0.04 per minute to Japan.

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Postby TheWizard on Sat Jan 22, 2005 11:29 pm

FWIW, take a look at Broad Voice. My brother has them and he is pleased with their service. With their Unlimited World Plus Plan, you can talk all you want with Japan for no per minute charge. Just pay $25/month, like Vonage. :)
No, I like women.
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Postby cfitz on Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:37 am

Thanks TheWizard. I'll look into it. This is a fast-changing market.

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Postby smartin4 on Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:09 am

cfitz wrote:Doesn't being a Dallas Cowboy fan suck no matter where you are? :-? (Sorry, it was too tempting to resist :wink: )

cfitz


Yeah, I guess I left that one out there for ya' cfitz. The last 4 or 5 years have really sucked!!! One day though, things will be back to normal, with the ' Boys dominating the NFL like the ''70s & the '90s. :wink:

Do you need a special router for the Vonage service? I thought it was just an adapter that you can plug into your existing router? I know the unit I looked at in BB was not a router.

$58 bucks for the broadband is a little steep, but if they are close to as good as Cablevision is, I could live with it. That combined w/the Direct TV will come close to what I pay now for both cable & Internet, so I am not too upset about that.
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Postby MediumRare on Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:14 am

cfitz wrote:
MediumRare wrote:Pardon my ignorance (as a denizen of Europe)- what is Vonage?

As smartin4 mentioned, it is a telephone service that transmits calls via the Internet. You hook up a regular phone to a special router, then the router to your Internet connection, and then you use the phone just like a regular phone, making and receiving calls to/from anyone on any phone, including the traditional switched telephone network. It costs me $25 per month for unlimited long distance calls in the U.S. (and Canada too, I think... hmm, maybe a call to dolphinius_rex is in order), $0.04 per minute to Japan.

cfitz

OK I understand. Similar services are being introduced here too, but the rates weren't very attractive last time I looked (although this seems to be changing rapidly) - 3 Euros base rate per month is OK, but they still charge 1 cent / minute within Germany (this is available in the evening from call-by-call services as well).

I can call Canada (and the U.S.) for 1.5 Eurocents per minute using a call-by-call long distance provider- the IP-phone rate is 2.1 cents (Japan and Korea 9.9 cents). So at present, it's a no-brainer for me.

G
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Postby VEFF on Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:16 am

Major advantages of Vonage (Voice Over IP - VOIP) phone service:

1) It allows you to choose ANY area code in the US as your HOME number's area code, regardless of which state you actually reside in!
The benefit is that all calls withing that area code are local, so if you have a friend or family member in another state, you can call them 24/7 for free if you choose the same area code as they have.
Now that Vonage has in effect reduced the fee for its unlimited plan from $29.99 to $24.99, this is no longer a benefit since those on the $24.99 plan automatically got UNLIMITED free calling to every state in the US and to Canada, UNLESS you have the $14.99 basic plan, which has limited minutes; in that case freedom of area code choice is still a big plus!

2) You can take the adapter with you ANYWHERE where you have access to a PC with cable or fast DSL internet access and make and receive calls
as if you were still home!

3) Price considering caller waiting, caller ID, web based voicemail retrieval are included free!
They also include call forwarding - You can have calls forwarded to your cell phone, so you don't miss an important anticipated (or unanticipated for that matter) call.

If you have problems with a VOIP carrier, make sure it isn't your phone
causing the problem(s).
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Postby smartin4 on Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:36 am

This is the unit I was looking at, I was a little off on the price :oops: , but considering that there is $59 in MIR, I may do it anyway.

There's only one thing that has me hesitating, I don't want the MIR (may take up to 12 weeks) to get lost because I have moved. I don't have a ton of faith in the USPS, sorry.

linky

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Postby cfitz on Sun Jan 23, 2005 4:04 pm

smartin4 wrote:Do you need a special router for the Vonage service? I thought it was just an adapter that you can plug into your existing router? I know the unit I looked at in BB was not a router.

It is a combined router/voice terminal. Mainly it serves as the voice terminal, but it also routes your computer traffic and the phone traffic to the Internet, giving priority to the phone traffic. The connections go like this:

Internet <-> Vonage Router/Voice Terminal <-> You router/firewall/pc/etc.

Thus, all traffic gets routed back and forth through the Vonage router/voice terminal.

I have the Motorola VT-1005 that came from Vonage. I forget how much they charged for it, but it wasn't too much, and it made set-up easy.

Before you buy make sure to Google for one of the sign-up offers (first month free, etc.). That might be a better deal for you. Or I could give you a referral for a free month.

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Postby cfitz on Sun Jan 23, 2005 4:11 pm

I thought I didn't pay anything for my router/voice terminal/adaptor:

http://www.vonage.com/features.php?feat ... ne_adapter

If I were you, smartin4, I would pass on the retail package with hassle of the rebates, sign up directly (with either a coupon or a referral for one month free), and get their free adaptor. Call or email Vonage first to make sure you can combine all the offers.

cfitz

P.S. They are free because they have locked firmware that will only work with Vonage. You can't get one, cancel your Vonage service, and then use it with another VOIP provider.
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Postby smartin4 on Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:09 pm

Thanks cfitz, I will give them a call tomorrow after work and sign up. I actually called them last week for some info, and the sales rep said that if I signed up that night, they would wave the activation fee + give me the 1st month free. I think I will probably get the same offer.

He also said that it takes around 20 days for them to make the change over with the telco if I want to keep my number.

BTW, I checked the link you provided, may I ask which adapter they sent you? They are all simple to install, but the Cisco one hooks into your router as opposed to the other 2 that you hook your router up to.
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Postby cfitz on Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:49 pm

They sent me the Motorola unit. I sort of like the idea that it sits between the Internent (cable modem) and my computer. That way it can give the VOIP packets for the telephone highest priority to make sure there is always enough bandwidth available for the call. I don't want my browsing to interfere with a telephone call's quality.

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Postby smartin4 on Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:52 pm

Just signed up tonight. The equipment is free, first month free (-$24.99), waived the activation charge (-$29.99). I just have to pay $10 + 6% NJ sales tax for S&H, should be here 5-7 business days.

@ cfitz-The woman on the line said they would be shipping me the Linskys adapter, which hooks up like your Motorola model, between the cable modem & my router. What you said about packet priority makes alot of sense, thanks.



PS-Thanks for the info guys.
Last edited by smartin4 on Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cfitz on Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:52 pm

Good deal, and you are welcome. I think you will be pleased with the service.

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