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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - August 19 - 21, 2005

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

August 19, 2005

By Daniel Connor

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

In today's edition, we'll look at why some California Internet Service Providers are afraid some of these big phone company mergers might lead to more port-blocking of Vonage. We'll take a look at Vonage's suggestions for upgrading the E911 calling infrastructure in the U.S. We'll look at a review of the Vonage-VTech IP 8100-2 Broadband Cordless Phone System. Today we'll see what some prominent bloggers had to say about Vonage this week. We'll also spotlight a Vonage Voip Forum thread about a familiar topic this time of year- fried routers.

Vonage In The Headlines

California ISPs Fear More Vonage Port-Blocking If Two Big Mergers Go Ahead

The California ISP (Internet Service Providers) Association is composed of some 100 ISPs that serve a combined three million customers in the most populous U.S. state. These are the ISPs that are not necessarily household names like Comcast or SBC, but just about all these ISPs offer broadband Internet access necessary for services such as Vonage to work.

Anyway, the ISP group is opposed to two big mergers of broadband service providers because they are afraid these mergers will provide consumers with fewer alternatives in case they find their Vonage service held up due to port-blocking.

With that in mind the California ISP Association's vice-president Mark Esser spoke to the powerful California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today in a hearing they are holding in Long Beach, Cal. about the proposed merger of Verizon and MCI. Esser also expanded his comments to cover the already-approved merger between SBC (the state's largest local phone company) and AT&T (California's largest long-distance company.

"We ask that the California PUC vote to oppose the Verizon acquisition of MCI, as well as the SBC acquisition of AT&T," Esser said. 

"Only by allowing multiple means of Internet access can we, the people, insure that these basic rights are protected," Esser said. "Already, within and without of the State of California, ISPs and many consumers have observed certain types of access being blocked or restricted to a speed much slower than advertised by the phone companies and the cable companies.

"An example is the blocking of Voice-Over-IP provided by Vonage by some phone companies and cable companies that has occurred in part of California," Esser explained. "Only when a certain phone company was called and assured that legal action was to be implemented, did they remove the blockage."

Vonage Says E911 Infrastructure Upgrades Are Necessary 

More details have come out about a memo Vonage wrote to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week explaining what's involved in terms of enabling Vonage and other Voip providers to be able to offer full E911 access for its subscribers. 

In addition to describing the complexities, Vonage has some suggestions about how to improve the E911 system so that it is more adaptable to the type of technologies they and other Voip companies use to route their calls.

"Vonage believes the key to the next generation should be the creation of a new, open platform, IP-based architecture," reports Roy Mark of  "In its FCC comments, Vonage encourages the FCC to develop a limited number of network access points (NAPs), points of interconnection at discrete locations which are similar to the metropolitan-area exchanges used for the handling of Internet traffic. 

"Such E911 NAPs would provide for the centralized collection of E911 calls at a limited number of access points in a manner that is consistent with and analogous to the network architecture currently in place for Internet service providers for the exchange of IP traffic," Vonage told the FCC. Under that scenario, Vonage says, Voip providers would deliver calls in IP format directly to the NAPs without conversion to PSTN transmission formats. 

"Instead of requiring dedicated trunk groups to an enormous number of selective routers, service providers could use secure, dedicated connections to those NAPs," Vonage told the FCC. Gives High Reviews to the VTech IP 8100-2 Broadband Cordless Phone System isn't necessarily a website only for geeks. It's for all users of technology - including you.

This week,'s Joal Evans gives the VTech IP 8100-2 Broadband Cordless Phone System - composed of a VTECH Router and two cordless handsets for Vonage access his "5 out of 5" rating for quality and "geekness."

"I give the Vonage VTECH IP 8100-2 Broadband cordless phone system the full 5 'Geekheads' for Quality," Joal writes. "Out of the box this thing was up and running in moments. It's also very sleek looking, and it's a full-featured phone with features that you'd probably never even use! In addition, the phone and router construction is solid. I actually had more trouble finding spare electric outlets than getting this thing hooked up. :-)"

The review also has several photos of Evans' VTech-Vonage setup. If you would like to read the full article, 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:

Om Malik of Om Malik's Broadband Blog calls Vonage's move into the small and medium size business space "a laudable move," but a move into a business where there will be a lot of competition as well as a demand for high reliability.

Jeff Pulver of says he's just completed a major interview with a New York Times reporter for a story they are doing about VoIP. Jeff says a lot of the interview covered his ideas about why companies such as Vonage and Skype are successful. When the article runs, we'll let you know about it here on the Vonage Voip Forum Digest!! 

Russell Shaw of the ZDNet IP Telephony blog has a very interesting piece about how, when you use Skype to call regular phone numbers, the fact that Skype's generic phone number shows up in their Caller I.D. might make the people you are calling think that you are a junk phone caller. Although he doesn't exactly say it, Russ seems to imply that if you don't want your callers to see these types of numbers, you would be better off with a standard Voip provider such as Vonage - where your real number will show up on Caller I.D. 

Tom Keating of VoIP Blog has a review of the new ZyXEL P2000W Voip WiFi phone, and says he believes it will work with his Vonage connection. links to several of our recent Forum entries, including a review of Vonage in September's Playboy Magazine.

Slashdot has more posts in a major discussion of our Groups Slam FCC on Internet Phone Tap Rule thread.'s DirecWay Satellite ISP Support Forum has several posts about getting Vonage to work with DirecWay's satellite-delivered Internet access service.

David Knighton of, a very entertaining and interesting blog I've just found, adds to his  running account of his ISP Clearwire's attempts to block ports necessary for him to use his Vonage account. I got a chuckle out of reading Clearwire's response, in which they spelled Vonage as "Vontage." "By the way, you would do well to know how to spell the name of your nemesis properly," David posts to Clearwire. "It is VONAGE, not VONTAGE." As I mentioned last week, 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. 

On Ted Wallingford's The VoIP Weblog, he links to a article describing the growth of VoIP, including Vonage. Ted also links to a Vonage Voip Forum thread on fixing firewall-related, one-way audio problems. Thanks, Ted.

And speaking of the Vonage Voip Forum...

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Well, here we are in mid-August. As I have said before, we are in the height of thunderstorm season. And when you have thunderstorms you have power outages. When you have power outages you have power surges. And when you have power surges, you can have fried routers.

Which seems to be the problem being faced by new Vonage Forum Member tarz9.Today, he starts a post which he named, appropriately enough, Fried Router.

"My old router that I had Vonage set up on got fried during a thunderstorm the other evening," tarz9 writes. "I went out and bought the same router but a little more updated version. So I hook up my Linksys PAP2 phone adapter and my router and I am now unable to get a dial tone."

Unfortunately, that didn't work for tarz. "The blue power light stays on while the Ethernet light continuously blinks," he adds. "Neither phone line lights up."

Not long after tarz9 made his post, fellow Vonage Forum Member pepperoni posted some suggestions.

"Tarz, first try to hook up the Vonage box directly to your cable modem," pepperoni writes. "Give it time to settle down and for the lights to stabilize. Then plug in the router to the Vonage device and power the router and let it stabilize before booting your PC. This is the correct configuration---- get it working before you make changes." 

Pepperoni says he is aware that many folks hook up the Vonage device to the cable device with the router between. 

"This configuration is possible, but does not yield the best quality of service and may slow trouble-shooting progress," he writes. Try the recommended config first, then you can make changes once the system is proven. Often, a good reboot is all that is needed." 

Finally, pepperoni suggests to tarz that he "unpower everything, and add power to one device at a time, starting with the cable modem. Then power the Vonage box (give time to stabilize), then the router (same-same, give it time) and then the PC."

Before we close out today's Digest, I'd like to remind you once again about some more options you have to receive the Vonage Voip Forum Digest every day. If you go to this page:, you will see a list of RSS Newsreaders from which with one or two clicks, you'll be able to get your Digest delivered directly to your Newsreader each morning. The Newsreaders we've linked to on that page include such reliable and trusted services as Bloglines, Feedster, My Yahoo!, Newsgator and Feedburner. I am open to add others, just contact me with the info of the Newsreader.

That's what's hot about Vonage today. Have a great weekend. Don't forget to check with us Monday morning for the next edition of the Vonage VoIP Forum Digest- including our popular Vonage Voip Forum Member of the Week  feature!!

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