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Vonage for Phone
Old 07-06-2008, 06:34 PM   #1
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Vonage for Phone

I am wondering if anyone is using Vonage for their phone? We are trying to cut our expenses. I think we could use our cell phones, but DH wants a landline. Thanks
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:43 PM   #2
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I've had Vonage since January 2004 in Florida (urban) and Ohio (rural). I love the price and all the features and I've had no 911 issues. I've talked several friends into using it and they've loved it also. There's no long term contract so try it and get rid of it if you don't like it. My bet is that you'll be hooked once you try it.
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:45 PM   #3
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I was also thinking about dropping our landline all together and use cell phones only but I am concerned about 911 services. I know that Vonage offers such services but I don't know how well they work...
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:05 PM   #4
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May I ask if anyone trusts Vonage enough to run his business on it.
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:08 PM   #5
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Only problems I've had with voip is getting data services like fax and tivo to work on it, and when it stops working you become tech support between the voip company, your isp, your router manufacturer, your cable modem manufacturer and the voip company's box.

In this vein, the tech support seems to suffer somewhat. One voip tech support guy told me that the reason why my phone would randomly ring at 3am was that "there are worms on the internet" and that I needed to remove all of them to make this problem stop.

Of course, the problem was that the company sent out a bad firmware update and then started floundering towards bankruptcy and nobody really gave a damn.

They're also getting their pants sued off with great regularity...

Vonage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:15 PM   #6
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We've had vonage for about 3 years. Plan to not have phone sevice for the day of the switch IF you're xfering your exisiting number. Also plan to replace any older (not 9600 baud) phones.

Can't beat the price. Recently called regarding faxing problems ...they solved it within 20 minutes. We have two lines with them: at home and at the lake; nice to be able to xfer home calls to the lake when we're there. Only thing cheaper is to kill the land line.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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I've had Vonage since Dec, 2004. No complaints - I've had less than a dozen dropped calls in all that time. And those dropped calls are almost always because your local cable or DSL provider had a glitch in their network.

The best part of Vonage (other VOIP providers can do the same) is that when you're overseas, you can take your phone with you. I've talked for hours, received and placed calls, from Thailand with my local CO number. No additional fees for either me or those who call me.

The strangest part is that the phone seems to work better from Thailand than it does from here. Could it be they have better internet than I do?
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:33 PM   #8
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Had Vonage. No complaints, Moved and had to use satellite, It would not work on satellite internet. We have DSL now and have to have a land line to get internet. If I could I would have Vonage again.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:52 PM   #9
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Vonage comments

I have used Vonage for three years.

It works great for voice.

My Brother 4100 33.6 Kbps business-class fax will not work. They say it works with faxes but it does not work with this one. I think it will work with some slower faxes (14.4 Kbps) and high-speed faxes that can have the speed set to 14.4 Kbps or less.

We went overseas and I took my Vonage box (they are very small now) and plugged it into the internet connection where we were staying. Bingo! FREE calls to the US just as if we were at home. (Make sure you bring a US phone to plug into the box - European phones are not always the same.) People could call our regular home number and the phone would ring in Europe. The sound was perfect. Very cool.

You do need a high-speed internet connection, though. If you plan to have that anyway it is a great deal.
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:47 PM   #10
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We just switched to Vonage in February, 2008. We don't use the phone much so I got the Basic plan for $14.99. After taxes and mandatory fees it's $19.30 a month.

I like that all the features that the phone company charges for are included with Vonage. The one that's important to me is Caller ID. But I also use the feature that forwards the call to another number (my cell) if the internet is not available. So when we had a power outage and lost the internet, calls just went to my cell phone. Another nice feature is Anonymous Call Block.

The Vonage Voice Mail can be set to send you an email with the voice mail attached and you can listen to the message.

You can set up all these options in the Vonage web page for your account. You can also review missed calls and see how many minutes you've used. The Basic plan allows 500 minutes and we never come close, we use less than 150 a month.

Our DirecTV TiVo is supposed to make phone calls to "check in" with DirecTV. We never use Pay-Per-View so it doesn't really need to call to report in. The local number would not work with Vonage so I looked online and found info to use a number out of NY. Sometimes it could connect, other times it couldn't get through, so the TiVo would keep trying to call. The TiVo was using more minutes that I was, so I pulled the phone plug out of it and now it just reminds me that it hasn't made a call and I skip over the message. This is a TiVo issue, not a Vonage issue.

When I signed up with Vonage I used their Refer a Friend thing and used my BIL's Vonage number as who referred me. He got 2 free months and I got 2 free months.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue J View Post
This is a TiVo issue, not a Vonage issue.
Not to quibble, but your terms of service for directv state that you agree to keep the unit connected to a phone line at all times. To date directv hasnt been too picky about enforcing that requirement, but they may decide to do so at some point.

Besides PPV, the both the directv 'side' of the directivo and the tivo 'side' makes calls that update various pieces of information and also triggers software updates which are downloaded from the satellite.

There havent been many of those for the directivo, although one is upcoming shortly.

Inasmuch as VOIP frequently has difficulty managing any analog data connections over the digital media, it seems pretty reasonable to suggest that this is a VOIP problem rather than a tivo problem.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Not to quibble, but your terms of service for directv state that you agree to keep the unit connected to a phone line at all times. To date directv hasnt been too picky about enforcing that requirement, but they may decide to do so at some point.
I'm a DirecTV subscriber and haven't had a land line for more than two years. I've not heard anything from them about the lack of a phone connection. Maybe not ever using PPV and not having a Tivo has kept me under the radar but I'm thinking more and more people are going wireless. DirecTV might lose a lot of subscribers if they decided to enforce the requirement.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:43 AM   #13
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Agreed they could lose some subscribers. That having been said, directv seems to implement changes to their service that are not always in the best interests of retaining subscribers and...well...they dont seem to give a @#%$@.

Your PPV, sports subscriptions and multiple receiver sets mirroring subscriptions are the most susceptible to conflicts with not having a phone line.

Some of the newer non tivo directv receivers have ethernet connections and can do their thing that way. Some newer non directv tivo receivers can also connect to the internet directly.

I think my point was that directv/tivo specifically says you're supposed to have a connection and could in the future enforce that requirement. Vonage (and other voip providers) specifically say that some analog services may not work with their product, and they dont.

So characterizing the conflict as a tivo/directv problem and not a vonage problem didnt quite jibe.

Really this issue was more of a minor annoyance to me compared to other problems I had with voip. Two of the providers went out of business, one with 30 days of notice and the other was gone for 2 days before telling anyone. One held onto my phone number until AT&T yanked it back with extreme force. It took a week to get a customer service response by email and trying to do stuff over the phone was troublesome. At the end of it I had to replace a modem, router, have 40' of my front yard dug up and new cable laid and the problems still never were resolved.

I really, really like technology and really, really wanted the cost savings of VOIP along with the extra features. But man were there some issues. I think with the cable/dsl companies offering their own voip services the quality/support issues will improve since the base medium will have to support voip. The downside is that the cable offerings for voip in my area cost more than a land line.

I ended up going back to a plain old at&t land line, but I did get a deal that included all the phone features and unlimited local/long distance for $40 plus some fees. Ten bucks more but so far for 2 years when I pick up the phone I get a dialtone, everything that has a phone jack on it works, and people that call me always get through.

Bottom line advice from me is to try it, make sure you have a 30 day give-it-back-and-get-a-refund deal, and if you have any problems whatsoever, send it back if they arent resolved within your 30 day refund period. Specifically, make sure you like the quality of service in the mornings from 7-8am and from 3-7pm. Those are times the heavy neighborhood internet use can create delays, jitter and packet loss in your local segment. Not very noticeable when surfing the web, but pretty darn noticeable when managing real time interactive voice.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:58 AM   #14
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My understanding about the DirecTV TiVo needing a phone line was that you could go without it, but that DirecTv would charge an additional $5 a month if you didn't have a phone line connected. This was back when we first got installed, I think it was 2003 or 2004.

When I looked into switching to Vonage I looked into this online and found that many people deal with it the same way I did and that no one had been charged the additional $5. Well, out of the people posting comments online, none of them had been charged for going without the phone connection.

I can still connect if needed. I just didn't like the Tivo trying to call all day and all night and only being succesful once in a while. I'm thinking the delay in connecting may be because the NY phone numbers were listed online and more people are trying to connect.
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:58 AM   #15
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I have Vonage also, and like it. I bought a 12 month plan, and saved even more.
You can set it up to ring to your cell phone (or any other number) if the Vonage service is down.

My daughter called 911 when she was 1.5 years old while playing with the phone. The operator was nice and told me she saw I was calling from a VOIP number and wanted to verify my info. Everything was OK in her system. I filled out the enhanced 911 info thru Vonage and it looks like everything was updated fine.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:40 PM   #16
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Iíve had Vonage since 11/03. There is no better VOIP supplier. If you call Canada or internationally frequently, their rates are very competitive. If you travel to locations with high speed broadband, it is very easy to bring along the TA and just plug it in.

Vonage has had a couple of problems over the past 2 years. They had a major system failure late last year which caused some phones to go bananas - like phantom ringing at intervals, tone but no service. They have had systematic hardware issues as well, especially with the older motorola TAs. Their tech support was excellent in Ď03 but just ok now. Kind of like Dell or MS.

There are also issues with some broadband providers disrupting vonage routing and transmissions to advantage their own VOIP offerings. They are not well documented but they are well discussed at websites like DSL reports.

Call quality is highly dependent on signal quality and line speed. Vonage works best when the incoming broadband/dsl signal is routed through it and then the rest of the house. I personally donít care for this setup but it is the only way to ensure call quality.

For business, VOIP offers quite a potential savings unless you simply cannot take the risk of being offline.

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Old 07-07-2008, 07:29 PM   #17
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It sounds like CFB's old VOIP companies were startups in the late '90s and early '00s. I have heard similar horror stories from small business owners who upgraded early -- their phone company simply disappeared. I think I'll put my second line on Vonage and try it out for 2-6 months before switching the primary line.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:58 PM   #18
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Iíve had Vonage since 11/03. There is no better VOIP supplier. If you call Canada or internationally frequently, their rates are very competitive. If you travel to locations with high speed broadband, it is very easy to bring along the TA and just plug it in.
Just curious what you base that opinion on - what other services have you used?

I've been pretty happy with CallVantage (AT&T) - since I have AT&T prepaid phones, it is just $19.95 for unlimited local/LD ($24.95 w.o bundle). Canada is included - not sure how you can be more 'competitive' than that?

As far as taking the TA with you - you can do that with any VOIP provider that I know of.


Quote:
Their tech support was excellent in Ď03 but just ok now. Kind of like Dell or MS.
A friend of mine was pulling his hair out over the lack of Vonage customer service. He switched to comcast, even though he will be paying more.

I'd be concerned with Vonage long term health. They floated the $17 IPO after their plan to get bought up by some big fish failed, and they now are trading below $2. Another VOIP provider went belly up, and people who prepaid for one year were left high and dry. I doubt that will happen with AT&T, but no guarantee. But I do feel more secure than with Vonage.

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Old 07-08-2008, 02:43 AM   #19
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My internet connection is no where near as reliable as the phone system. I am using a Cable provider. Our internet connection is down frequently.

The phone company is definitely up close to 99.999% in a year except for local outages.

ISPs use general purpose server equipment and it is not that reliable. Closer to 99.9% Enough outage to be noticeable.

If Vonage was very low cost, like $5/mo... I would consider it. But it is not. IMHO it is not a reliable alternative at this time (cost/benefit wise). Imagine that your house is on fire or someone has a health emergency... Do you really want to rely on Vonage or your ISP to communicate?
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:51 AM   #20
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My internet connection is no where near as reliable as the phone system. I am using a Cable provider. Our internet connection is down frequently.

The phone company is definitely up close to 99.999% in a year except for local outages.

ISPs use general purpose server equipment and it is not that reliable. Closer to 99.9% Enough outage to be noticeable.

If Vonage was very low cost, like $5/mo... I would consider it. But it is not. IMHO it is not a reliable alternative at this time (cost/benefit wise). Imagine that your house is on fire or someone has a health emergency... Do you really want to rely on Vonage or your ISP to communicate?
It's actually more like 99.9% * 99.9% because you need both your ISP AND Vonage to work at the same time. I guess that's why the telephone expense I see on SMB financial statements are always $3000-$5000. OK, maybe $1k to $1.5k is for the owner's personal cell phone, but the rest is still quite a bit higher than if the business has gone completely VOIP.
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