Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 12:49 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 170
VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

Voice over internet phone seems to be taking off.

Currently, approx $20-25 dollars cheaper per month than say MCI's neighboothood ($49.95 per month). Also includes "more features" (ie.g. free *69, etc.).

VONAGE Holdings Corp, apparently is the market leader. *They appeared to be the most reputable (i.e. website, volume and range of comments on epinions).

Below is a link of providers.

http://www.voipchoices.com/
http://www.amvoice.com/
http://www.voipchoices.com/vonage.html

Thoughts?

Thanks,
TD

__________________

__________________
Tommy_Dolitte is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 04:23 AM   #2
 
Posts: n/a
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

We have been using AT&T's voip service for a couple of month's now - since we moved from the Northern Virginia area to central Virginia. We got a local Northern Virginia number, so that all our friends and family from Nova can call us for free and we can call anywhere toll-free. We are very happy with the service - have had no problems. We do notice a slight hum on the line that we can hear, but the people we are talking to cannot hear it. Cost is $29 per month.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 05:27 AM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 178
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

From an investment perspective...seems like VOIP might be good competitor for land line based on price, but haven't the same "early adopters" who would pick up VOIP tended to be the ones who have had their land lines switched off and now totally rely on their cell phones?

I haven't seen any studies but I'd hypothesize that VOIP's growth depends on a technology that's in decline i.e., land line. Unless there's some VOIP/cellular bridge that I haven't heard of...perhaps someone can educate me?

I predicate this on the US being a good number of years away from universal-access wireless internet. And of course it's a moot point in areas that don't yet have cellular service.

Ed
__________________
gratefuled is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 08:13 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Hyperborea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,008
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

I went with Lingo (www.lingo.com) as a replacement for long distance calls only. At $15 / month for an included 500 minutes of calls within North America and Western Europe plus very low rates to other countries it saves us a fair bit on the long distance bill. However, the people we call have experienced some "choppiness" in the voice signal (probably dropped packets). This occurs more often on the overseas calls. We only use it for the long distance calls and still keep our current regular phone.
__________________
Hyperborea is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

We've used OneSuite for long distance for over a year. It requires dialing a local number, then the number you wish to reach. From time to time the local number is busy, and sometimes I think the sound quality isn't the same as direct dial, but at $0.025/minute it is a great value. They also offer a fax # for $1/mo.

www.onesuite.com
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 08:44 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
charlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,211
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

Excuse me for asking the obvious but how do
you manage multiple phone outlets? Our home
has 5 regular phones but no cable connections in the
kitchen, bed rooms, etc. I suppose there is some
wireless gizmo or something that you could connect
over the house wiring system but have not actively
researched it yet. Any suggestions?

Cheers,

Charlie
__________________
charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 09:15 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Hyperborea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,008
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

Quote:
Excuse me for asking the obvious but how do
you manage multiple phone outlets? *Our home
has 5 regular phones but no cable connections in the
kitchen, bed rooms, etc. *I suppose there is some
wireless gizmo or something that you could connect
over the house wiring system but have not actively
researched it yet. *Any suggestions?
We have a VoIP box plugged into the router/hub beside the computer and use it for making outgoing long distance calls only - this can be a wired or cord-less phone. *A regular phone is plugged into the regular phone system in the house and is used for all other phone calls.

If you want more than that then you could get yourself one of the cordless multiline systems that are out there. *These consist of a base station that can take two phone lines (one the regular phone line and the other coming from the VoIP box) and then a number of mini-bases with cordless handsets. *The mini-bases only need an electric outlet and let you connect to either phone line. *Panasonic and Siemens (among others) have such phone systems. They seem to be about $200 for a base station and two or three mini-bases sold as a package - that would give you 3 or 4 phones all connected to both phone lines.

I suppose you could do something to keep it VoIP until closer to the phone by using WiFi (802.11) access points and a VoIP box where you want a phone but that will likely be much more expensive and I'm not sure how the VoIP companies will handle the billing or setup of multiple VoIP boxes.
__________________
Hyperborea is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 11:06 AM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 902
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

Quote:
Voice over internet phone seems to be taking off.

Currently, approx $20-25 dollars cheaper per month than say MCI's neighboothood ($49.95 per month).
We just pay for local service (about $15/month) and use a Sam's Club Phone card for long distance calls. All total we spent $375 in 2004 (~$31/month) for all local/long distance, and that includes phone calls to/from our daughter several times a week during her first semester away from home. Typically we'd spend $25 per month for everything.

We use Tracfone for an emergency phone in the car. That cost $60 for the phone, chargers, 14 months of service, and more minutes than we'll ever use in that 14 months.

VOIP just wouldn't be worth the hassle for us.
__________________
Bob_Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 11:32 AM   #9
 
Posts: n/a
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

I use a cell phone and the VOIP service from Skype (www.skype.com) when running tight on minutes. We have no land line (savings ~$20/month).

Skype was developed by the same guys who built the Kazaa file sharing tool. There are no monthly charges, the program does not include adware, and it's available for Windows, OS-X, Linux, and pocket-PC.

Calls to other Skype users are free. Calls to any phone in Europe, North America, or Australia is 1.7 eurocents per minute. To call regular phones you simply deposit money into your account, and then use your minutes. I like this model (as opposed to fixed monthy fee, and huge charges when you go over a limit).

The quality is excellent. One big disadvantage is that you do not gave an incoming phone number -- people on the pstn network can't call you (but you can call them). Other Skype users can call you.

__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 11:53 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

I've used ALL of these!

We have some sams cards, at 2.9c a minute...be advised that sams prices their products 'according to the local market' so if you're paying more than that for your sams card, seek out a sams club in the poor part of town.

Onesuite is very good, but sometimes I got a busy signal calling someone that wasnt on the phone, or very poor call quality and had to hang up and call back. Problems seemed to occur during high volume call times like 5-6PM and on hollidays. Super cheap though.

For emergency cell phones, we're still using our at&t wireless 'free2go' plan I posted about several months back. For $25 we got a free phone, about a hundred minutes of time, and at&t is adding 20 minutes a month and pushing our existing balance along and will do that for a year. So for $25 we get emergency cell phone for a year. After that, $100 buys 660 minutes that are good for 1 year, or 8.33 a month.

VOIP. So far I've used packet8, vonage and at&t's callvantage. On callvantage right now. Here are the ups and downs.

For starters, expect no level of service whatsoever, and presume you will have downtimes that may last a day or more when you will get no telephone service. If your power is out, the cable/dsl line is down, or the service provider has a problem, you have no phone. Do remember though that if you're using a cordless phone and dont have a $9 phone that works without being plugged into the wall, that an outage that takes out power or a car crashing into a utility pole will take out your regular land line phone as well.

When I had packet8 and vonage, I waited over four days to get calls back or emails returned on problems. My call wait times for vonage and callvantage are usually 20-30 minutes+ (but my call is VERY important to them, which is why they intentionall understaff their call centers). I had a full days outage with callvantage two days ago that they tried to pretend was 'just me' but by virtue of this new invention called "The Internet" I was able to determine that thousands of their customers had no service for that whole day.

The packet8 and vonage "telephone adapaters" MAY be hackable to work with other services, but most of these guys want you to send back the hardware when you terminate or they charge you $30-100. There are some "SIPP" adapters that can be bought and owned and made to work with a number of the 'offbrand' 3rd party VOIP providers that will blink in and out of existence with regularity.

Packet8 and vonage cant convert many local numbers to their service if you live in a non-urban area. When I used them I had to use a number with an exchange in a city 40 miles away. Callvantage let me keep my local number and converted it as though it was a cell phone number, letting me keep my old land line #. One of their few advantages.

Most of the 'telephone adapters' look like your home broadband router and in fact, thats what they are, plus a little board that handles the telephone part. Some are just plugged in 'behind' your router and you plug that into your existing telephone wiring with any old phone cord, which 'lights up' all the outlets in your house, or you just plug a multi-set cordless phone into the box. Be advised that if you plug it into your home wiring, you MUST unplug the telephone companies wire into the junction box at the side of your house or the voltage from the phoneco will burn out your telephone adapter. Its just a modular plug in there though, easy to do. Some TA's have to go between your cable/dsl modem and your home router. This may reduce your internet surfing speed substantially when you're on the phone, and may cause some games played over the internet (like quake3 or halflife 2) to stop working and require some configuration changes.

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 11:53 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

For the uninitiated, the way many phone calls work is that your call goes to a local 'central office', where its quite often converted to a data packet and sent over an 'internet like' connection, only to be reassembled and zapped out a wire to the phone at the other end. VOIP products cut out the middleman of your local phone company, packetizing your phone conversation directly in your home in the telephone adapter, zapping it over the internet to a central office somewhere else in the world, wherever you're calling to, then its put through that central office and to a wire and then to the phone you're calling. The connection at the 'far end' looks just like you're using a cell phone or some long distance provider to access the far ends local wiring. Vonage and packet8 pay a nominal 'access charge' to the local companies to connect their calls. Callvantage uses at&t's long distance network connections which they're already paying for.

Call quality for all of them is darn good. Funny story on that 'hum' you hear on your callvantage calls...they had to add that in because people frequently thought they had lost their connection during quiet times in the conversation because they couldnt hear that "background noise". Some TA's for all of the manufacturers do sometimes give off a hum...changing TA's can help that.

At worst, call quality is comparable to cell phone quality. At best, its better than a landline.

Faxes and modems (say if you have an old tivo or a directv receiver or similar) may or may not work through these. Packet8 has SOME abilities to do fax and tivo, callvantage just added it (and so far its working for me), vonage doesnt have it.

There are other weirdities. Callvantage for example doesnt support the "COD" signal which is sent by the regular phone company when a call disconnects. As a result, your answering machine may not work with callvantage if it wants to hear the COD signal. Short messages may record, followed by 2 minutes of the annoying beeping sound and the recorded "if youd like to make a call, please hang up and dial again". AT&T appears to completely not understand why someone would want to use their existing answering machine and not the at&t voicemail. The "wife acceptance factor" on this is very low at our house as our answering machine has a blinky light on it but to see if we have voicemail you have to pick up the phone and listen to the dial tone.

911 calling is also odd. You dont go directly to the local 911 center, but to the local emergency center, which may be the sherriffs office or somesuch. They know how to deal with emergencies but they do NOT get your local name and address automatically displayed as you do with a regular phone. Packet8 charges an extra $5 a month for this, its included with vonage and callvantage. This could be a big problem if you have a small child or someone who cant speak calling 911. This will get fixed at some point, but its not now.

Ok, thats the bad, heres the good:

- Free unlimited long distance anywhere in the US or in north america, depending on carrier.
- You can get a phone number, add an additional number thats anywhere in the US, or add an 800# to your phone at nominal or no cost. This may allow other people in other geographic areas to call you as a local or 800# for free, extending your free call benefits to them.
- Every single 'extra' you can think of - voice mail, caller id, three way calling, call waiting ID, etc, all included in the basic $20-30 a month service cost
- Flip off the local phone company...who will then absolutely PESTER you with calls "wanting you back" and offering all sorts of deals until you tell them if they call you again you'll hunt them down and kill them.
- Depending on the company, cool features like "do not disturb" that causes the phone to go directly to voicemail during the night, dinnertime, whatever, without ringing...while allowing someone to press "2" to connect in an emergency..."follow me" which will call your work phone, cell phone, or ring them all and connect to the first one that answers when someone calls your house, conference calling that lets you connect a dozen or more people on one call, etc.

The short answer is as long as you have an emergency cell phone, nobody with life threatening emergency problems, and dont care if nobody answers your questions or fixes your problems for days on end, its pretty cool stuff at a pretty good price. If you're paying more than $30 a month for long distance and have a broadband connection, its a no-brainer to add one of these and keep your landline, using it just to make your LD calls.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 08:11 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 909
Send a message via ICQ to Marshac Send a message via AIM to Marshac Send a message via Yahoo to Marshac
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

About a year ago I used Packet8, but the 256k up that our cable modem provided just wasn't enough (it was, but if anyone used the web, it would drop packets). I think that during the free month, we had a few hours of downtime.

Flash forward a year, I got Packet8 again (we have 896k up now), and it's great. Zero downtime so far (have had it 3 months now), and the free long distance is great. We have a cell phone, and could use that if we needed to make a phone call and packet8 were down (not that it has been.... yet).

My one complaint is that (unlike Vonage) my TiVo can't dial out on it. :P
__________________
Marshac is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-09-2005, 08:41 PM   #13
 
Posts: n/a
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

I've also been using www.onesuite.com for a while now, at 2.5 cents per domestic minute. (Learned about it on this board! )

The quality is not always good, but at this rate the price of my long distance calls is negligible. And, I think the quality has been getting better over the past few months...

Have also used it to Mexico with good results at 3.5 cents per minute!
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-10-2005, 12:01 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

Quote:
About a year ago I used Packet8, but the 256k up that our cable modem provided just wasn't enough (it was, but if anyone used the web, it would drop packets). I think that during the free month, we had a few hours of downtime.

Flash forward a year, I got Packet8 again (we have 896k up now), and it's great. Zero downtime so far (have had it 3 months now), and the free long distance is great. We have a cell phone, and could use that if we needed to make a phone call and packet8 were down (not that it has been.... yet).

My one complaint is that (unlike Vonage) my TiVo can't dial out on it. :P

My tivo (series 1) didnt work on vonage either. I have a modem init string for a series 2 thats supposed to make it work on packet8 or vonage. Callvantage has a 'modem/fax' mode you can put the TA in that both the tivo and fax work with. Unfortunately it QOS allocates 128K of your upstream bandwidth for the purpose and you have to reboot the TA every time you change the setting.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-13-2005, 07:55 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 495
Send a message via AIM to yelnad Send a message via Yahoo to yelnad
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

We used onesuite for awhile and it was nice.

Now we have Vonage VOIP. Incoming calls on that line go to our fax...we needed to get an additional line for the fax anyway. We use the line to call out for long distance. We still have our landline with local only and all incoming calls come to this line. This is important as we live in the sticks and need emergency access to a phone if the power goes out. We do not get ANY cell signal where we live, although we both have cells (he for business and me as a $10 a month second phone on his package for emergencies 0 my commute is long and sometimes trecherous).

Since we needed the second line anyway, and we use a lot of long distance minutes, it's worth it to us. Once inawhile our internet service would be interrupted when we made a Vonage call, but we seem to have resolved that.
__________________
Yelnad --"What you're paying for is an education, not a room at the Sheraton,and sometimes that education is uncomfortable."- Jim Terhune, Dean of Student Affairs, Colgate University
yelnad is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-21-2005, 11:22 AM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 373
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

Quote:
Excuse me for asking the obvious but how do
you manage multiple phone outlets? Our home
has 5 regular phones but no cable connections in the
kitchen, bed rooms, etc. I suppose there is some
wireless gizmo or something that you could connect
over the house wiring system but have not actively
researched it yet. Any suggestions?

Cheers,

Charlie

Two suggestions:

1)disconnect the phone line at the NAU outside you home, so that the phone co. does not accidently power the line.

Plug the voip adapter in, and connect the "phone" port to a nearby outlet (with a extra bridge connecter for a phone if needed).

Plug phones in anywhere in the house.

2)be sure the second line is disconnected at the NAU.

Get some 2 port connectors. Most home wiring has at least 2, sometimes 4 lines wired. The adapter plugs in and presents a line 1 and line 2 connection. Connect the VOIP adapter phone port to the line 2 connection. (again with a bridge if a phone at the VOPI adapter is desired). Plug a 2 line adapter into any phone port in the house, and connect a phone to it.

Or, as others have said, just use a wireless phone, possibly one with multiple handsets. Place the additional charger bases anywhere you can plug into house power.
__________________
wzd is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-21-2005, 12:02 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
BigMoneyJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DFW
Posts: 2,627
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

By NAU I'm thinking you mean the NID:


(from http://www.broadbandreports.com/faq/10706 )

On the right, there is a modular plug leading from the screw terminals to a modular jack. This is where you can unplug your land line and is where DSL support will have you plug your DSL modem in if you have problems. This is the demarcation point: the modular jack and wiring beyond belongs to the phone company and is there responsibility. The screw terminals and beyond belong to the homeowner and is their problem.

The ones I've seen look a little different than this picture; they usually have two plugs and have a taller box.
__________________
BigMoneyJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?
Old 01-29-2005, 06:52 PM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 373
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using?  Quality?

Yes, NID is what I meant. Not sure why I was thinking network access unit or point...maybe it's an outdated term.

Anyway, disconnecting a line there will isolate your building wiring from it, more for safety than anything else. You also don't need the length of supposedly open wire on the telco side messing up your connections inside.

For a while, I worked from home with ISDN service and an adapter for data/voice over the connection to work. I ran the voice on the third line to get access elsewhere in the house. (pull the phonejack faceplate, and count wires connected - up to 4 pair are common in recent installs). It was all special purpose hardware we were developing, pre-voip, for telecommute applications. Worked pretty well, even though it is already eclipsed with VOIP based solutions.
__________________
wzd is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?
Old 01-30-2005, 12:00 PM   #19
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 45
Re: VoIP -- Anyone Using? *Quality?

We use Vonage and monthly cost is $27. Before I was paying Verizon and AT&T over $100/mo. The month before I switched I had bills for ATT&T at $152 and Verizon $37. So I fired them both and now I'm real happy.
I got three panasonic remote phones from Costco with voice announcement caller ID. Its great. Has intercom feature in the handsets etc.
__________________

__________________
riverrat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
VOIP charlie Other topics 24 05-24-2006 04:18 PM
And more VOIP - Sunrocket, 2 years for $199 cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 0 04-01-2006 02:16 PM
voip equipment maddythebeagle Other topics 7 08-15-2005 12:20 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:29 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.