SunRocket VoIP service
SunRocket Internet Phone Service offers a full roster of phone features, including Enhanced 911, for a mere $199 per year. That breaks down to $16.58 per month--cheaper than competing VoIP vendors such as BroadVoice, , and Packet8, all of which charge $19.99 per month, and significantly less than even the most basic landline service. (A monthly payment plan is also available, but the rate is $24.95.) You even get two phone numbers and a dual-handset, expandable phone system as part of the package. Our reviewer and our Labs-based VoIP tester found divergent results with regard to voice quality during uploads and downloads, which is not atypical for VoIP services; your mileage will vary based on your broadband connection and system specifications. Overall, we like the SunRocket service, but if you're wary about voice-quality issues, rest assured: SunRocket won't charge a cancellation fee if you decide the service isn't working out for you; the company will even refund the prorated balance of your annual fee if you cancel midyear.
From the moment we signed up online to the time our equipment arrived about a week later, working with SunRocket was a painless experience. We picked our two phone numbers from a list of about 30 choices, then set up the hardware. Our informal tests took place in a home outfitted with multiple PCs, a wireless router, and a cable modem.
Setup was a snap, thanks to SunRocket's illustrated quick-start guide. After connecting the proprietary AC-211-SR Gizmo telephone adapter to our modem and router and plugging in the phone, we had our dial tone in a matter of minutes. From there it took all of 30 seconds to activate voicemail, a Web-based process that requires you to choose a PIN and select the number of rings before calls get diverted. Recording your greeting and retrieving messages works much the same way as with your cell phone: you just dial in and follow the recorded prompts.
SunRocket's online portal provides complete access to your account information, voicemail, calling features, and a personal phone book. (Alas, you can't import names and numbers into the latter, but the company plans to add this capability in the future.) Everything is logically organized, easy to navigate, and effortless to configure.
In describing SunRocket's features, the phrase "embarrassment of riches" comes to mind. On top of unlimited local and long-distance calling, the service provides call blocking, call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling, and voicemail. You also get two phone numbers, one of which can have a different area code and a distinctive ring. The do-not-disturb feature automatically routes incoming calls to voicemail, while the Find Me option redirects calls to up to three other numbers.
SunRocket's voicemail is so cool, you'll wish for lots of missed calls. You can retrieve messages from your VoIP phone, an outside line, or the Web. When you have new messages waiting, the service alerts you in three different ways: the phone's LCD, which shows the number of new messages; a flashing red LED on top of the phone; and a distinctive stuttering dial tone. SunRocket also offers a wealth of remote notification options: e-mail, instant message, page, and phone call. In fact, you can opt to receive e-mail that contains the actual message as an attachment. The only wrinkle was that our IM aggregator, Trillian, wouldn't relay notifications. But they arrived fine when we used individual chat clients, such as .
If you choose to listen to voicemail online, you'll have to use Firefox. Curiously, when we retrieved messages by phone, they sounded fine, but the streaming and downloaded versions contained static and sounded flat--most likely due to the compression used to keep the files small.--messages won't play in