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Vonage Before I start, I'm in the UK, but I don't think this makes any difference to my questions.



Before I start, I'm in the UK, but I don't think this makes any difference to my questions. I've now signed up with Vonage and over the last 24 hours I've been trying to implement a company switchboard number (explained more fully below). So far all I've succeeded in doing is ruling out things that don't work. I'm wondering if anyone has been here before me and can offer any comments and advice.

I am setting up a small business with a colleague and we will both be working out of our homes. Originally I had planned to get 2 physical Vonage lines, one for each of our homes, and then a third virtual number that would be the "switchboard" number and would be set to simultaneously ring both our physical lines, the first one of us that picks up gets the call. This way we look a bit bigger than we are because we each have a direct dial extension (our physical numbers) and also a general info/support number.

The only problem with the scheme above is, if someone calls the virtual number and neither of us take the call, then what voicemail does it go to? Our only choice is to choose one of our personal voicemails and then that voicemail box is no longer personal because the other person needs to access it and listen to messages now and then to make sure there are none from callers to the virtual number.

So my next plan was, instead of getting the virtual number, we get a softphone number instead. I set it up to have the Softphone set permanently on call divert to simultaneously ring our physical Vonage lines and, if noone picks up, then have it set so that it is the SoftPhone voicemail that catches the call. This way we both keep the voicemail on our physical lines as private mailboxes just for our callers and we both have the password to the Softphone voicemail that will catch messages to the "switchboard". The only downside is the very slight increase in price of softphone vs a virtual number but that's no biggie.

I tried the solution above and it works, so long as the SoftPhone software is actually running. If SoftPhone isn't running then inbound calls immediately go to the SoftPhone voicemail. If I am on holiday or travelling then my computer will be shut down so the switchbard won't work (my business partner isn't as computer literate as me so I don't trust him to keep it running while I am away).

My next solution was to get a virtual number and use SimulBlast to redirect it to the physical Vonage lines plus the SoftPhone. There seem to be 2 problems with this. First, I am getting the same behaviour as above, i.e. if the SoftPhone isn't running then it goes straight to voicemail. Now, this could be because all the phones in the call list are off because I don't have my adapter yet so the physical Vonage line will also be seen as unavailable. Maybe it is only going to voicemail because it sees none of the numbers in the call list as available and, as long as at least one is there, then it would work. (If only I wasn't so impatient, I should have waited until the adapter arrived before doing these experiments.)

Unfortunately though, there is a second problem that I hadn't spotted in the help files and I only saw when I set up the call list for the virtual number. If there is more than one number in the call list then the features of the target numbers are disabled. I had hoped that it could go to both my and my business partner's Vonage line and that our lines would each be set to SimulRing with our mobiles so that both our mobiles get called as well. It seems clear that this is impossible using SimulBlast from a virtual number.

After my experiments I am left with the following conclusions.

1) Maybe when I get the Vonage adapter for my physical line then The SimulBlast from the virtual number will ring the physical lines and divert to the Softphone voicemail after 30 seconds if noone answers, and maybe this will still work OK even if SoftPhone isn't running, but I won't know for sure until either I get the adapter and try it, or unless someone here has tried this and it works.

2) If I also want to divert to our mobiles as well as the physical lines then I think I'm left with just biting the bullet and getting a third physical Vonage line for the switchboard number.

Have I missed anything? Has anyone found a clever way of doing what I want that is more cost effective than getting a third physical line?

- Julian



Read The Full Thread:

Implementing a "switchboard"


If your SoftPhone is in the list of SimulRing numbers and is not turned on your call
Thank you Stephen. The info about how a non-running SoftPhone will force the virtual
Well, just to close out this thread, I should compliment Vonage customer service.

Julian posted "Before I start, I'm in the UK, but I don't think this makes any difference to my questions." on 07/13/2005

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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

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