General discussion

Broadband Phone Service

Mar 3, 2005 8:44PM PST

Has anyone tried the Broadband phone service, "Vonage" or another one like it? I am wondering how good it really is and what all you need to get it going if you already have a broadband connection.

Thanks,
Dave

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Comments
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VOIP
Mar 6, 2005 1:00PM PST

Yeah, I signed up with Vonage and then found out that they covered most of my area code but not my city, so my next door neighbor had to call long distance. Then I signed up with a company that was advertized here at CNet but couldnt get any terms of service documentation from them until I found out that they were a reseller of Nuvio.com. I would strongly suggest that you dont do it like me and research FIRST.
So far its ok, I dont do alot of phoning, so its cheap, I think the most important concern that I had before I signed up, was if my broadband bandwidth was adequate to give me good and steady service, and at this point, I think its been good.
If you sign up with a company, they will want about $39.99 ,either upfront, or when you leave them. They will send you a telephone adapter(pretty much a router with phone jacks) and the set up is usually fairly simple. If you have more than one computer, you will want to have your own router too.
It is unneccesary to have your phone and computer in the same spot, as long as you can reach a phone jack in the house, the adapter will function.
I think I'll be happy with it, but I have found that voicemail sound is so faint that its hard to hear - I'll have to call or email tech support to see if I can get that solved. The response is quick.
Good luck

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VOIP
Mar 8, 2005 11:44AM PST

Ok, the gentlemen makes 1 vary iportant point.

The way to avoid that is to see if they can port your existing number. if they can't do that, then, as he said, they might not cover the city your in. There is then, a vary slim chance that your neighbors would have to make a toll or LD call just to reach you on your VOIP number.

if they can port your existing phone number, then, nobody is going to be charged anything different than they were already paying.

As far as activation fees, wel, there is at least 1 company that doesn't do that.

http://www.sunrocket.com.
The cost is complete, they don't add on any extra charges at all. $24.95 a month or, $199 per year. So far, I have had no major problems. I don't know how long they will be doing this no activation thing, but, it is good right now.

They are only covering major cities, so, that could be a draw back!

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Skype works well and is free
Oct 13, 2005 11:41PM PDT

Hey if you're looking to dabble, there is a program called Skype (skype.com) that you can try out...and it is free. My husband goes overseas a lot and he can call home for nothing. We got a logitech webcam (around $20 now) and a Plantronics headset ($30 or so). We even have the option of using Video Skype. The kids love talking to and actually seeing their Dad on the computer when he's gone.
My only negative comment is that I'm used to multi-tasking while I'm on the phone (doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.) and with this you have to sit in front of the computer. I feel like I should be doing something else...though maybe I need to "just sit and talk"...it's is a good way to slow life down a little.

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re: skype
Oct 14, 2005 6:01AM PDT

Just basically a ditto post, Skype has been working well for me and I got a usb phone for under $20.00, since the new update, the quality of calls is much better and the price for your own phone number/voicemail and outgoing calls is great.

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cordless voip with skype
Oct 15, 2005 2:54PM PDT

Just a quick tip for using skype on the go. You can buy adapters on ebay for around $30 australian which will make it possible to connect your cordless phone to the computer without purchasing an expensive skype cordless phone. Do a search for 'skype usb adapter' on ebay and look around. I also feel the need to move around on the phone.

Jackson

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About VOIP
Oct 14, 2005 5:37AM PDT

I love the service with vonage that I get and I also have the 800 number in case my neighbors need to call, and I went with a South Bend, In., phone number. I pay $4.99 a month extra for this service. I have excellant cable internet service. We also have cell phones.

Vonage sent a router which was a very easy hookup. For basic setup had taken a totally of 10 minutes. They sent us a Linksys router with VOIP (adapter) that we hooked up to phone jacks. I also use 1 set expansion phones, 4 phones totally. But I have two corded phones plugged in phone jacks.

Our clarity is fantastic, it sounds like a person is right next to you

Hugs and I hope this helps

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Vonage-Questionable Reliability
Oct 15, 2005 5:18AM PDT

I have had Vonage for 9 months. Upon installation(and disconnecting my land line) I found my TIVO wouldn't connect and so had to install a wireless network allowing TIVO to talk to its programming service directly over the Internet.Extra cost and some problems in locating the right hardware.

Then I found my ADT alarm system couldn't dial out over Vonage..no solution to that one...in my area.

Ocassionally my Internet(COMCAST Cable)service goes down. Thus no phones and no way to know unless I happen to be on my PC or pick up the phone to find a dial tone but attempts to dial out are met with a constant busy signal. Fortunatly incoming calls are routed to a selected mail box.

Then there is the summer/winter storm electrical outage problem. At least twice per summer in my area.
No phones.

Some of my broadband cable and connections are above ground and exposed as is the green cable box serving our neighborhood...causing occasional outages due to weathering and degraded cable connections.

Then I have a monthly problem(about once per) that requires I power cycle the router and/or modem to restore my Vonage telephone service. No warning..telephones just go out...very dangerous if you are depending on telephones in middle of night from a bedroom and no idea how long they have been down! Linksys was no help on this problem. I am still trying to isolate the problem..modem vs router!

Quality seems variable. Sometimes the other party claims I am breaking up and garbled. Sometimes there is a short drop out altogether.\

Also there is the uncertain 911 connection.

All in all there are too many potential points of failure with Vonage. I may go back to landline.

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a few suggestions
Oct 16, 2005 3:25AM PDT

one suggestion is to get a UPS for your Modem,router and voip box, this will keep power to these items when your local power fails, so you can have a phone in those times. i would think an 80.00 UPS would supply a few hrs of service, but not sure of longevity of the ups with this equipment... i would check the linksys site for a firmware upgrade for your rougter, i have seen these firmware upgrades help alot with with dropped connection between the modem and router, which sounds like it may be the problem your experienceing.
yes the ADTs and other home security systems need to work with the voip manufactures to clear this hurdle.
hth
Tim Locke

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I've had different problems
Feb 17, 2006 4:21AM PST

My vonage service occassionally prevents inbound calls, but it doesn't rollover to my "safety" cell phone line as I configured it to.... and I can't deal w/ the background buzzing anymore (regardless of the broadband quality settings I request). It's worth $30/mo... not a buck more.

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Thinking about switching also.
Nov 19, 2006 7:36AM PST

I have questions about your TiVO box connection. If I switch over to Vonage, what do I have to get in order for my TiVo box (Direct TV) to work: so the box can connect to Direct TV servers for updates,etc.. You stated you had to purchase a wireless network - which is what I already use for my laptop. How will my box dial out once I make that switch? What do I need to get to attach to my box so it can dial out? If I understand you just plug in your box into the router using a regular phone line, is there anything else I must do so it will dial out using the Vonage VOIP?
Thanks in advance for your help?

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Vonage to Vonage Wrinkle
Oct 15, 2005 11:34AM PDT

Vonage users can call other Vonage users with no charge. However if a Vonage user#1 decides to drop the VOIP service and go back to landline with the same tele number ported back, be sure that number is removed from the Vonage database...otherwise Vonage users will not be able to connect with Vonage user #1 who is now on a landline with the same ported back number. As a Vonage user I was unable to call a former Vonage user for several weeks...Vonage took their good old time removing that number. Fortunatly I could reach the former user with a landline or cell phone.

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Broadband Phone Service
Mar 6, 2005 2:14PM PST

Based on my own experience and what I have read here about others experiences, you'll need to do your homework on this issue.
Personally, I've been using Vonage for almost a year, without one single problem. I believe that I can attribute this, in part, to the bandwidth of my Roadrunner cable connection. It's been very reliable, and I don't recall any service outage.
I signed up on the recommendation of a knowledgeable friend, and I'm glad that I did.
That said, If I were you, I would check it out in your area. All that glitters is not gold. Talk to others who have the service to find what issues, if any, that they have. It seems to be somewhat dependent on your location and the provider of the service.
And as for Wayne, I very much respect his opinion, but he's still a Telco man.
Best of Luck

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Is it really such a good deal?
Mar 6, 2005 11:18PM PST

How much does it cost anyway? $25 a month? Doesn't seem like such a good deal to me, even if it deliver the same quality of service as normal phone companies.

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Depends?
Mar 7, 2005 10:32AM PST

Where else can you get unlimited local and long distance phone service for $25 per month. I haven't found it anywhere other than Vonage broadband. As for quality, as I said before, I believe it is somewhat dependent on your location and quality of internet connection.
My local phone company charges $57.00 per month plus charges extra for other services and long distance.
I get high speed cable internet and unlimited phone service for less than I used to pay for phone service alone.
Do your homework. Ask others, who have the service in your area, about the quality of service.
Best of Luck

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getting rid of your home phone?
Mar 8, 2005 1:55PM PST

Does that mean getting rid of your home phone? What if you need to dail 911?

Besides, local calls on cell phones are free during nights and weekends anyway...

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getting rid of your home phone?
Mar 9, 2005 6:13AM PST

Yes, I had my land line disconnected. That was the purpose of getting broadband.
Vonage offers 911 service in my area. You should verify if it is available in your area.
I have also reduced my cell phone service to a minimum package with the addition of broadband.
The initial cost was about $40.00 bucks for the phone adapter. The setup was also very easy.
One item that they don't mention is that you need to physically disconnect from the land line before the service will work. I unplugged the incoming line on the outside. Usually a small weather covered box on the side of your house.

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Disconnecting From Landline
Mar 9, 2005 9:06AM PST

Stan, you mentioned that you successfully disconnected the proper wires so that you no longer had phone service coming in from your customer network box. Since you were successful in doing this, perhaps, you can help me?

I was told that the wire I needed to disconnect would be inside the box and should look just like a modular phone jack. Well, when I opened up the box, there are several of those modular jacks.

The person who lived here before probably added them so that he could get additional jacks in to the refinished basement. Well, anyway, that's how it appears. I tried disconnecting the 4 different modular jacks 1 at a time. I would disconnect 1, listen for a dial tone, then, reconnect it and disconnect the next 1. I got through all 4 of those, and, none of them totally killed service to the inside.

Since I am totally blind, I thought, I was missing something obvious, so, I had someone else look in there too. They said, it wasn't apparent which wire would kill all service going in.

People told me this would be easy, well, I guess I am just vary dumb!

There are also 2 wires on screw terminals, I was afraid to disconnect these.

Right now, I am waiting for them to port my number over from the old telco, once they do, I will need to permanently disconnect landline service. However, I thought I would do a test run, then, reconnect it until the day the number was ported over.

Anyway, if anyone has any other ideas, I would appreciate it.

I don't always monitor the forums here, so, if you could drop me an email at:
droy1000@comcast.net, I would appreciate it.

That isn't my regular email address, so, I am not worried about revealing it here.

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house wiring & alternatives
Mar 11, 2005 7:34AM PST

This is why I chose to go cordless in my house. I have telephone jacks all over the place, but chose not to attempt to use them. I just bought the cordless telephone set, plugged in the base, set the satellite units where I wanted them (and can move them at any time) & was in business.
You can buy a cordless phone set with 4 phones (base and 3 satellite) at Costco (and undoubtedly others) for $100 or so. It works.

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In-house wiring?
Mar 12, 2005 4:39AM PST

I currently have 2 lines in my house and wish to keep it that way. One for fax/business, one for home use.

How do I connect the VOIP into the home circuitry? Do I just feed a line from the adaper to the RJ11 wall jack? I have dedicated jacks for separate lines so theoretically I could run a line to both jacks.

Do I need 2 phone adaptors (Vonage)?

Also, has anyone heard of Lingo? I called them and the sales guy just wanted to sign me up, not provide any information.

Marty

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In-house Wiring - don't hook BOTH!
Mar 27, 2005 1:56PM PST

I don't believe you can hook both the VOIP and regular phone to the same system. The land line carries power that will fry your VOIP router - at least that's what I think I heard. You have to completely disconnect from the telco before hooking up VOIP to existing wiring. But you can go all wireless for the VOIP. Just buy a wireless phone set with however many handsets you need. Then you can keep both systems. It does require separate phones however. But you'll need that anyway. When you use VOIP you have to dial a 1 on every VOIP call, even local (at least I did on Packet8's service.)

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dialing 1
Oct 16, 2005 3:41AM PDT

A voip box CAN be configured to only have to use 1 plus the area code when calling outside your area code, call your Voip provider and have them help you set up your voip box to do this, not hard but without the proper knowledge, a nightmare to figure out. Your Voip provider should be willing to walk through this with you. its Customer Service, and is still alive and kicking. Believe it or Not.
Tim Locke

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No such thing as a voip box.
May 8, 2009 3:23PM PDT

There is no such thing called a voip box. You are probably referring to a phone adapter that is used to send calls over the Internet. VOIP stands for voice over internet protocol. It is a software standard used to send vocal information over the Internet.

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No need to disconnect your phone system wires in most cases.
May 8, 2009 3:17PM PDT

There is no need to physically disconnect your phone company's wiring if you have DSL. If you do, you will not have DSL service.
There are only two ways to have whole house phone service with Vonage for DSL.
1. Connect your V-Portal adapter to your DSL modem then, connect a cordless phone base to the adapter and buy a 4 cordless phone system.
2. This one is harder - attach your modem to the outside of your house near an electrical outlet and the d-mark box for your phone wiring. Next attach your V-Portal adapter next to the modem. Open your phone box and connect the incoming phone plug into your modem, plug a short ethernet cord into the modem and then into the adapter, next plug a phone wire into the adapter then plug it into the incoming jack in your phone box.

If you have cable internet you can connect your adapter to your cable modem and connect a 4 phone cordless system or run the phone line from your adapter outside to the d-mark box for your old phone system and then disconnect the incoming line from its jack and connect the new phone line into that jack.

Everything will work fine using either of these methods. It is much easier and more secure just using the cordless phones or in some cases using wireless phone jacks. Any body of adult age can easily do this using the cordless phones or jacks. If any one says it is hard or doesn't work, they don't know what they are talking about.

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house wiring & alternatives COMMENT
Oct 18, 2005 7:32AM PDT

WHY WAIST TIME WIRING UP THE HOUSE. pEOPLE HARDLY EVER USE A CORDED PHONE ANYWAY. ALSO IF THERE IS A PROBLEM USE YOU CELL PFONE FOR POWER OUTAGES OR DISCONNECTION ISUES ALONG WITH 911 SERVICE. NO BRAINER....

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disconnection of traditional land phone lines
Oct 16, 2005 3:36AM PDT

you were given the correct information, but as you found out, it can be tricky dependant on your home phone network. this is what i would do in your case,
find the line coming into your house box ( the outside box your landline provider fixes to your home ), and locate the line that comes into your box form your providers lines at the road... take a pair of wire cutters and cut it just below the box. But before you do that, go ahead and undo the 2 screws and remove the wires connected to the screws. these do carry a very low level of current, but dont worry, it is only enought to tickle. unscrew them from the terminals, fold the wires back so they wont touch each other or the terminals, then check for dialtone, if you still have dial tone, cut the incoming line right below the house box. this will work, unless you have a completely seperate phone line servicing your home, then you may need to phone company to come and disconnect all incoming phone service lines, but removeing the lines from the screw terminals should solve this problem.

HTH
Tim Locke

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cutting phone lines
Oct 20, 2005 3:14PM PDT

We have dial tone for 911 service on our land lines here in TN 37876 area. Cutting the lines would get rid of the 911 service. I tried to plug into the lines with the voip phones and got a busy signal. I was told by my wirless security service that they are still using the land lines and if they are cut the police will be called. My question to you is what is the purpose of cutting the lines? I have the AT&T call disavantage service and experience all the same problems as many of the other members and even more, like all my calls go to voice mail.No one can reach me except the folks at AT&T after each and evey unplug and plug session. What a joke. I can not beleave that they charge me for their service. They should pay my cell bills for the time I waste on the phone with them. When I complain thay ask me if I want to cut off their service. I tell them yes I do, but untill now did not know where to go for new service. I may try vonage.

Thank you

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Connecting Vonage to whole house telephone wiring
Mar 11, 2005 12:32AM PST

I have one telephone connected to the telephone router, supplied by Vonage and it works very well. I wish to discontinue SBC service and hook my four extension phones to Vonage. Assuming that this can be done, I know where the telephone box is and how to get into it. What must I do to disconnect SBC and how do I hook Vonage into my telephone system?

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You do not have to disconnect outside wiring
Mar 16, 2005 6:19AM PST

What I did is, I went from my Vonage ATA to the wall RJ11. Your house wiring is wired in series. I can plug into any of my homes RJ11 connection in my house with my phones. But I did eventually disconnect from outside.

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Best disconnect!
Mar 21, 2005 5:46AM PST

Recommend you disconnect your ouside phoneline(Ring and tip...green and red)Before you connect inside wiring system to Vonage phone adapter(router).if your outside line is still alive(before telco disconnects you), you risk frying your router! Best to first connect just a stand alone phone to your router, using it to check your Vonage setup and then AFTER telco disconnects and rest of house phones go dead, disconnect outside line...and then plug in house phones to the router

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