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Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review
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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - August 12 - 14, 2005


Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

August 12, 2005

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest.

In today's edition, we discuss why broadband ISPs don't want the U.S. government to issue rules against port blocking of services like Vonage.  We'll learn why some privacy groups are afraid that new rules to require Vonage and other Voip providers to enable law enforcement to intercept Internet phone calls could open the door for hackers. We'll even point to a Slashdot thread about the issue. In our Friday "In The Blogs" feature, we'll look at what some of the Blogs we read regularly are saying about Vonage this week. We'll  explore a very helpful thread in which a new Vonage Voip Forum Member seeks and gets some info about the Vonage service. 



Vonage In The Headlines

Broadband Providers See No Need For Rules Against Voip Blocking

During the just-concluded Reuters Telecommunications, Cable and Satellite Summit, executives at several cable and phone company broadband Internet Service Providers said there is "no need" for the U.S. Government to mandate that these companies not do port blocking on competing services such as Vonage.

The reason they are giving for this seems to be that if they were to port-block, customers would leave for rival ISPs that don't port block.

"I think if you try to sell a product that constrains what customers can get access to, you're not going to have a very marketable product," said SBC chief operating officer Randall Stephenson.

"Competition is a better regulator of the Internet than the government." said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Privacy Groups Fear Making Voip Intercepts Possible Will Encourage Hackers

Some civil liberties and privacy groups are afraid that new rules in place that will make it easier for law enforcement to tap Voip calls will encourage hackers.

The reason they give is that the rules will encourage "holes" that hackers could exploit.

"Once you enable third-party access to Internet-based communication, you create a vulnerability that didn't previously exist,'' Marc Rotenberg, executive director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center tells Jennifer Kerr of the Associated Press. "It will put at risk the stability and security of the Internet.''

I wrote extensively about this issue in Monday's Vonage Voip Forum Digest. Here's a link to that edition.

Major New Slashdot Thread Discusses Voip Phone Tap Rule

In our Vonage Voip Forum, we have a new thread entitled Groups Slam FCC on Internet Phone Tap Rule. The whole issue and the thread is being talked about a lot this morning, including on the highly popular Slashdot site. They have their own thread about it. The Slashdot thread, called "Groups Slam FCC on Internet Phone Tap Rule," links to our thread, and features a lot of lively discussion among some very opinionated Slashdot members. To go directly to this Slashdot thread, click here.

In The Blogs

We read about 15 Voip and IP-telephony-related Weblogs. Some we read more than others, but we enjoy most of them. Face it, bloggers are opinion-shapers. So today, as we do each Friday, we are going to give you a round-up of what the blogs we read said about Vonage during that week:

Russell Shaw of the ZDNet IP Telephony blog mentioned that Vonage is already working on a solution that would allow interception of Voip calls by law enforcement authorities in special cases. He analyzed reports of intermittent Vonage outages earlier this week, and correctly explained that they were considerably less in frequency than some Vonage users had feared. Russ also pointed out that Vonage competitor Packet8 - which often seems to be compared to Vonage in tests done by technical magazines and websites- may have trouble competing because their finances are tight.

Andy Abramson of VoIP Watch points to an article in cable television industry magazine Multichannel News about various high-speed cable Internet Service Providers' plans for Voip offerings. I read Andy's post, and he seems to be implying that Vonage and other Voip providers should realize that cable companies (Multi System Operators) are thinking more about offering their own Voip than just carrying the Voip services of competitors. By the way, here's a link to that Multichannel News article.

Tom Keating of VoIP Blog describes how, when he recently got pulled over for speeding and the officer asked where he worked, Tom replied that he reviewed Voip products. Explaining further, Tom asked the officer if he knew about "those annoying Vonage commercials. "Yeah yeah!!! I do!," the officer proclaimed. Not that there was a connection, but Tom got off with a warning. And no, I didn't make that up!!

On Ted Wallingford's The VoIP Weblog, he pointed on Monday to our own Vonage Voip Forum thread about Vonage users complaining about port-blocking. "More Vonage users are having difficulty using VoIP—and only VoIP—with their broadband ISPs. Check out this thread over at the Vonage forum," Ted wrote. "If all (or any of) these allegations are true, it’s amazing that ISPs think they can get away with this stuff without having the right wording in the user’s license agreement." OK, here's the link to Ted's post, and a link to our thread that he referenced, Is my ISP blocking my VoIP?

As I just mentioned, Slashdot has a major discussion of our Groups Slam FCC on Internet Phone Tap Rule thread.

David Knighton of BaileyBug.com, a very entertaining and interesting blog I've just found, has been posting a running account of his ISP Clearwire's attempts to block ports necessary for him to use his Vonage account. I think the issue is so important that I made a post about it on our Vonage Forum thread, "Is My ISP Blocking My VoIP?" Here's a link to the page on the thread where I made my post. And as I just mentioned, Ted Wallingford picked up the post and gave it a lot of traction in the Blogosphere.

BroadbandReports.com had a Forums post from odog who said he liked Vonage's "cost vs. performance ratio. I have the cheapest $14.99/500 anything plan and never used more than a few hundred minutes.".

Mark Evans of Mark Evans Blog compares Vonage's Small Business Plan to Bell Canada's, contrasts Vonage and Skype's impacts, and says that major Vonage competitor AT&T CallVantage should be taken more seriously.

Finally, perhaps the neatest Blog post mentioning Vonage that I read this week comes from this guy Dave on his PlaysWellWithOthers blog. In his 100 Things About Me post that he made on Tuesday, Number 45 is: "I have Vonage Voip telephone service." 

Well, so do lots of you. As speaking of, as far as our own site, the Vonage Voip Forum is as busy as ever. Let's hop over there and read what you are talking about today: 

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Although you would think that all Vonage Voip Forum Members have Vonage service, that isn't the case. In fact some of our Forum Members join because they are thinking about Vonage service, and want to talk to Vonage users about it.

New Vonage Voip Forum Member chojin fits that description. Just today, and with his very first post, chojin started a thread that he named, Possible New Customer - Questions.

Here are chojin's six questions:

  1. Is the WRT54G a bad router to have? 
  2. Is my hardware configuration not ideal for my situation? 
  3. What is the ideal HW setup or configuration to have given my setup? 
  4. How will using Vonage effect my other online activities or vice versa? 
  5. Do service providers (Sprint) allow you to have DSL and not a phone line? 
  6. Is the Soft-Phone feature standard with the Premium Unlimited or extra?

Soon after chojin posted his questions, one of our most knowledgeable members, paul248, took the time to post this very helpful answer:

"The adapter you'll likely be getting from Vonage is the just-released Linksys RTP300," Paul writes. "From what members have said on the forum, that one has excellent voice quality, but its reliability as a router might be questionable at the current firmware version. However, the WRT54G is regarded as one of the best routers available, as it runs Linux and can do QoS to give priority to your voice packets. 

"So, the ideal configuration in your case would be to disable the NAT and Firewall on the RTP300, and connect it after the WRT54G," Paul recommends. "Flash the latest firmware onto the WRT54G (or use the Sveasoft firmware if you're feeling adventurous) and set up the QoS to give high priority to the Vonage box. That should prevent your computer traffic from lagging the voice packets." 

He also suggests that chojin "go to www.testyourvoip.com first to confirm that your connection is 'good enough' for VoIP. "You need at least 90kbps of up/down bandwidth, but the most important thing is a low-latency, low-jitter connection," Paul points out. "There's only one option for the softphone: it's $10/month on top of the normal plan, and that includes 500 outgoing minutes. Naked DSL is an option with some providers in some areas, but not all."

Thanks again, Paul. That's what's hot about Vonage today. Have a great weekend, and check with us Monday morning for the next edition of the Vonage VoIP Forum Digest!!




 
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