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January 12th, 2005


So a few days ago my wife and I were inspecting our phone bill and noticed that, yes, SBC was taking us for a little bit of a ride. I’d heard much about Vonage before and started doing some research… and it all sounds very good. Oh sure, there are some issues, but there are issues with the regular phone company too.

I’d like to know if any Pingers have made the leap to VoIP like Vonage, or are considering such a move. If you’re there, how is it? Any good? $25 for all-you-can-call is very, very tempting.

Posted in Technology

FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday January 12, 2005 -- 8:38:27 am
Just make sure you have enough bandwidth. You'll need 256K upstream with G729a compression to be safe. Also look into getting a router that supports QoS 9quality of service) to prioritize he voice packets.

I've got an IP phone in my home office, but due to bandwidth contraints at the office I tend to avoid using it.

FROM: Dave
DATE: Wednesday January 12, 2005 -- 11:55:28 am
I had vonage and now have broadvoice.. I'm using it on my verizon DSL line.. the only issue is that you cant usa a fax, or a direct tv tv with it as you can not send data on the line..

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Wednesday January 12, 2005 -- 7:54:51 pm

I figured you'd probably read about this by now, as they had an article about Vonage and it's competition in the most recent [i]MacWorld[/i], and somehow they attributed this to being relatively similar (whether it is or not, I'm not entirely familiar). A pal of mine, who attends school in Switzerland, contacts his brother in California via using this, as well as his parents that moved to the Las Vegas area (he contacts them with this on their land line, gets a substantial discount over long distance from Switzerland). He raved to me about it so apparently it must be pretty cool.

Once I upgrade to my new machine I think I'm going to get it myself. I'm not sure if this would be enticing to you or not Paul, but I figured I'd fire it your way. Knowing as much of a techie as you are, you probably already very well know about it but ::shrug:: doesn't hurt anything to mention it I guess. ;)

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday January 16, 2005 -- 2:46:09 pm
Skype is very cool, Marcus. I downloaded the software and gave it a spin... but being in front of the computer all the time is a downside. The rates aren't bad.

We decided to give Vonage a try. Today's the first day, and we experienced what seems to be a rather infamous "hum" issue that the Linksys PAP2 VoIP adapter exhibits. There's a workaround, though, and so far so good. The idea of not having to worry about how many minutes over our allowed long distance minutes we are is fantastic.

Maybe I'll even call Ryan. ;)

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday February 4, 2005 -- 5:46:04 pm
...and now, Vonage is gone.

Our first few days were actually very good with Vonage. We even did a call to Canada that went just fine. However, call quality really, really went south fast. We started having dropped calls, odd missed calls (ie, our phone would never ring,) and moments where people on the other end couldn't hear us.

We went back to SBC/AT&T/whatever and are going for a package that includes unlimited everything, but it's a good amount more than $25/month, sadly.

VoIP will be cool in about five years. Now it's just not ready for prime time.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 5, 2005 -- 3:05:38 pm
Paul: do you think it was mostly bandwidth? (what is yours, approx, if you don't mind me asking?) Were you using the connection during your phone chats?

I'm in the same boat, paying around $50/mo just so I can make one or two phone calls a week. It's really obscene the amount of taxes and fixed charges just to make $7 of long distance calls a month.

Work tried VoIP, but their network is massively hosed (>1sec ping times between offices, even over a 512K frame!) so it failed. But I live close to the main phone company, and regularly get 150K/sec throughput...


And I fully understand about waiting on new tech. I've become a luddite, myself. I waited on DVD players until a few months ago, so was able to get a pretty good one for $25...

FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday February 5, 2005 -- 7:05:02 pm
Merle, I've got 256k upstream (DSL). The issues with phone calls really weren't while we were using the internet... they'd just be calls, on their own. The funny thing is that on a few occasions when I was using the internet and my wife was on the phone we had no issues.

I have a pretty darn solid connection insofar as stability goes, so this was surprising. I don't think it was the bandwidth, ultimately. I think it was stuff that just happens.. latency, etc.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday February 6, 2005 -- 1:45:09 pm
Paul, thanks. My DSL is pretty comparable, but I can easily see latency being a big problem. I'll just stick to my landline for now.

Heck, I'm paying more for cable, and given how bad all the new episodes seem to be, I should drop that first. $55/mo will buy or rent a whole lot of DVDs...

FROM: Marilyn
DATE: Tuesday February 8, 2005 -- 11:19:13 am
Thought about Vonage; called SBC to see if I could keep DSL without phone service; told, "No." Anyone else find this? BTW Cable in my *rural* area doesn't have broadband service. So, we began a conversation with the service rep at SBC and found we could save $20 per month with a package deal that we never knew about. At least that's something!

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 3:25:36 pm
Yup, no DSL without a phone line. It's running on those phone wires; why would they let you use them for free? ;-)

You can probably drop long distance service and save a decent amount. We did that back in the modem days and saved ~$15/mo. However, you still get to pay all the extra fees for "long distance connectivity".

FROM: Johnny Boy
DATE: Thursday February 10, 2005 -- 3:45:44 pm
I use Vonage and Love It!

VOIP is here to stay baby!!


FROM: t3r3ssa
DATE: Thursday February 24, 2005 -- 8:32:32 pm
my old roommate had VOIP. i don't know who it was through, but seemed great. i think it was $10 a month for US and CA, and $20 a month to include Europe and some other countries. i don't recall any issues with it.

DATE: Monday May 16, 2005 -- 11:34:00 pm
I signed on to vonage and hooked up through cable. I do not use cable for cable tv, or anything else, I only have cable for high speed internet access. That being said, the quality of the phone connection with vonage is excellent. I have called eastern europe several times and the quality is much better than calling cards, MCI international, etc. The only thing different is when you make international call, let it ring several times, as the intitial rings don't occur on the other end. After about 10 to 15 rings it connects. It's a flaw I can live with.

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