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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - October 19, 2005

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

October 19, 2005

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest. In today's edition, we will take a look at the folks who argue Vonage's case to the U.S. government. We'll see how many folks saw Vonage's Internet ads last week. We'll look at new Vonage Forum threads from new Forum members who have yet to sign up for Vonage's service- but would like some questions answered before they do. Our Forum Members answer those questions - which is, I'd bet, one of the many reasons you are here.

So let's get started ...

Vonage In The Headlines

Vonage Lobbyists Profiled In Political Magazine

I realize that lobbyists sometimes get a bad name. But when it comes to Vonage, you'll find that the three people they have that explain the concerns of Vonage to a Congress where some members don't even know how to operate a computer- much less a Voip connection- well, those lobbyists have their place.

The Hill is a newspaper for Congressional representatives, staffers, and yes, industry groups. Today's edition features an interesting article on Vonage lobbyist Frank Cavaliere.

To help introduce himself and his company, he sometimes gives away bright orange Vonage T-shirts. But make no mistake about it: Cavaliere is not "cavalier" about his task.

“A law could be written tomorrow that writes Vonage’s business model away,” says Cavaliere, who was a senior policy aide to Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) before moving to Vonage.

The article's author, Jim Snyder explains that the Vonage lobbyists are there in large measure because "the stakes are huge for the company, as it tries to protect its access to networks, such as broadband cable lines, owned and operated by potential rivals."

Snyder points out that the last time Congress took a serious look at telecommunications policy, Vonage didn’t exist. Vonage has been around since 2001.

"As its business grew, however, so too did the potential for government interference," Snyder writes. Vonage’s lobbying expenditures, which were nonexistent in 2003, grew to $250,000 in 2004 to compensate. 

Snyder also introduces readers to the other two members of Vonage’s lobbying team. Both have impressive credentials.  

In addition to Cavaliere, who is all of 28, the team includes Chris Murray, 32, a telecom lawyer who joined the company last year from the Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, and Steve Seitz, 30, who previously was a lobbyist for the National Emergency Number Association. 

"The three work out of a first floor at 3000 K St. N.W. that looks like a Seattle start-up before the bust," Snyder writes. "A Golden Tee video game and a foosball table offer opportunities to unwind."

And given all the battles these three folks fight in D.C., it sounds like they really could use the opportunity to unwind now and then.

On Monday, Vonage said it would Covergence's Eclipse to provide E911 call routing, E911 call recording and E911 call detail records. Vonage said that by deploying Eclipse, Vonage it will be able to intelligently route E911 calls to the correct emergency services gateway, based on the customer information retrieved from the E911 service bureau database. 

Vonage says this will be a big help in its plans to meet FCC guidelines required of Voip service providers to offer E911 services.

But there's more. Vonage says Convergence's Eclipse will allow them to  record and create records of E911 calls. The benefit to that will be a database of information about E911 services that will help Vonage make even more refinements over time.  

"Vonage continues to seek out those technologies that will ensure our customers' safety and is rolling out E-911 services that will meet or exceed those currently available through traditional phone service," said Vonage senior vice president Martin Hakim Din. "Covergence provides us with another key piece of the puzzle and will help us to ensure that our customers receive reliable and efficient emergency phone service."

Vonage Is Now Internet's Number One Advertiser

Every week, the research firm Nielsen/NetRatings compiles advertising "impressions" made by leading Internet advertisers. They do this by mixing in their own surveys of how many people visit different Web sites, and how many times these sites show ads from specific companies. Ads shown on their own company Web sites don't count.

Guess what. For the week spanning October 3-9, Vonage ranked first, with some 2,835,579,000 impressions. You might think Vonage is on top every week, but not so. Last week, for instance, the leader was educational corporation Apollo Group, Inc., which owns the University of Phoenix.  But I am guessing that as September has gone into October, most folks who are planning to take courses this fall are already enrolled. That means less of a need for Apollo to advertise. So Apollo dropped to third, clearing the way for Vonage to top the list with all those ads about their services. 

And if you have questions about Vonage services, there's always the Vonage VoIP Forum. Speaking of.. 

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Brand new Vonage Voip Forum Member GregLC23 is so new to us, he's not yet a Vonage subscriber. Which is, I guess his reason for joining us and posting a thread that he's named, Want to try Vonage out, but have some concerns.

"I've been considering trying Vonage for some time now," writes Greg, who says he is tired of paying his current phone company "over $100 a month for a extended service line + long distance charges."

Still Greg wants assurances Vonage's customer service will meet his needs, and that he won't have to wait too long to get his existing phone number transferred over.

Then Greg offers some information about what he plans to use Vonage service for, as well as the scoop about his home computing environment and needs.

"I have Charter ISP cable with 3m/256 Average testing is more like 2700/230. I use an older Linksys BEFSR41 now and have 3 computers running off of it," he writes. "It is not unusual when everybodys home for all the to be online at the same time. One computer may be surfing and the other two may be playing Star Wars Galaxies." 

With all that activity, Greg says he's concerned that all the traffic on the network would make Voip impossible without better equipment. "I would like to hear how others have worked around similar problems," he writes.

Several Vonage Forum Members have responded.

"I think you'll find your connection bandwidth more than adequate for Vonage to work well," Vonage Forum Member ChrisFix writes. "If you get your adapter directly from Vonage, it is actually a router and phone adapter in one, and supports QoS that will help manage your bandwidth to preserve voice quality."

As to the number transfer process, Vonage Forum Member Vonager writes that it only took ten days for his number to be switched from his former phone company to Vonage. 

"Make sure you follow the process and do NOT call your current provider to cancel - let the process take its normal flow," he writes. "You do get a virtual Vonage phone number from day 1 so you can call out, and receive calls on it to people you give it to in the interim."

Vonager then makes another post with a point I totally agree with:

"On this and other forums, you typically hear of the problems as the happy campers do not post at all or their voice is diluted by the problems so you'd have to take what you read with a grain of salt," he writes. 

Today there's another thread from a new Vonage Forum Member thinking strongly about subscribing to Vonage. This thread is called Recommended Broadband Speed?. The thread has been started by voiping

"I'm planning to subscribe to Vonage," voiping writes. "However, my current Internet connection is a dial-up," he writes. "I plan to go in for a broadband service, which is available in various speeds - 64, 128, 256 kbps, etc. Does Vonage recommend a particular speed for running it's service?" 

Voiping also asks if anyone been successful in running Vonage on a 64 kbps connection, and if so, "how has the voice clarity and service been?"

This is one of those threads that has received lots of interesting posts. One of them is from Vonage Forum Member chevy1596, who writes: 

I'm on Comcast. At the "basic" 384 kbps upload, I had regular problems with the other party hearing me (they all said I sounded like I was on a bad cell phone connection). I upgraded to the 768 kbps upload and the problem has gone away," he says. 

Chevy1596 says he uses my line for a business, so call quality is very important. He also points out that he learned a long time ago that if "they want 90 of anything, you had better double or triple it. In this case even (the 384kbps) was not enough."

VonageForum Member ColdGin makes a post in which he "pours out" this advice:

"Go for the gusto, man! You won't be sorry," he writes. "You will be sorry if you try running Vonage on a 64kbps connection though. By default, a Vonage call needs 90Kbps for each call." 

But ColdGin is quick to point out the fact that this 90Kbps "does not take into account other computers on the network, and the fact that if you are paying for a 256Kbps connection, you will be lucky to consistently get higher than 200 in actual, day to day speeds. 

"I guess what it comes down to is what is your internet usage like in your household?," ColdGin advises voiping. " Do you or your family download huge files, using Bit Torrent or similar? Do you plan to have more than Vonage line?"

 As 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. We'll be back on Thursday morning with our next edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest.

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