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dconnor Posted:
What is the main
number on the
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which one is the
virtual number?

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How do you call 999
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Trafford Posted:
Seems like a
question. We
rely exclusively
on a Vonage system
for our

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diazou Posted:
Hello, It's
compatible with
Android your phone
? Thanks!

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IP PBX for small business
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jeddaisg Posted:
Hi all We have
a Vonage VOIP
system for our
office. Lately,
our call quality

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beast321 Posted:
I don't know if
you heard, that
many more
Dreamcast games
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tplink Posted:
Im trying to add
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currently have

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The Promise Of Big Savings On Phone Calls

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The Promise Of Big Savings On Phone Calls Has Helped Propel ''Voice Over Internet Protocol" Out Of The Telecommunications Lab And Into Consumer Consciousness

March 29, 2004

By Peter J. Howe

For Bill Costello's law firm, switching to a phone system that carries voice calls in the same format -- and on the same wires -- as e-mail and Web pages certainly has helped cut costs, by $3,500 to $4,200 a month.

But it has also meant a huge new array of services and features that are revolutionizing the concept of ''telephone." Recent Voip converts tell stories like the one about the lawyer who took his laptop computer to Alaska and used it to make and take phone calls on his Chicago phone number. Or the accountants, suddenly flooded out of their office by a busted pipe, who simply unplugged their Voip phones and computers, reinstalled them to a conference room, and got back to work -- within 60 minutes.

''It's an exciting time to be able to replace a phone system," said Costello, the chief information technology manager for Banner & Witcoff Ltd., a 90-lawyer intellectual-property law firm with offices in Boston, Chicago, Washington, and Portland, Ore., that bought its IP phone system from Avaya Inc., the Lucent Technologies Inc. spinoff. ''There's no question in our mind that Voip is proven technology that is ready for mainstream corporate America. I wouldn't have said that two years ago, but we've got a lot of flexibility with this phone system that we didn't have before. It's been very cost-effective, and it's had a huge benefit in productivity for the partners."

In the consumer world, interest in Voip has boomed during the last year as companies such as Vonage and Packet8 offer unlimited calls over the Internet for as little as $20 a month. A free Voip software program called Skype, produced by the developers of the Kazaa music-sharing service, has been downloaded by more than 9 million people around the world to let them talk to other Skype users through their computers.

Big phone companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. are taking notice, readying their own launches of discount Voip services later this year to compete with Vonage and cable companies including Time Warner Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp.

But amid all the hype about the possibilities for big savings, what has often gone overlooked are the new features and services that the technology can deliver on specialized IP telephones and phone-calling software loaded into computers with headsets.

Many of these features -- getting voice mails as sound files in e-mail, dialing numbers straight from a directory stored on a computer -- are feasible with conventional telephone service, but much cheaper and easier when working in Internet protocol.

Cisco Systems Inc., which dominates the Voip handset market, is replacing 6,000 standard phones with Voip phones every day, according to Barry O'Sullivan, vice president and general manager of its customer contact business unit at Cisco's Boxborough campus. Over 2.6 million Cisco Voip phones are in use worldwide, O'Sullivan said. ''It's not just about saving money. People see the productivity and the features," he added.

The number of VOIP-enabled telephone handsets installed worldwide has grown from 1.2 million at the end of 2001 to 3.6 million as of December, according to analyst Tom Valovic of International Data Corp. in Framingham. Valovic forecasts the number will jump to 14.4 million by the end of 2007, as annual sales of the units jump from under 1 million now to nearly 5 million in 2007.

Cisco dominates with nearly three-quarters of the market, trailed by Marlborough-based 3Com with about 14.3 percent of unit sales. Other players including Nortel Networks, Avaya, and Siemens AG lag far behind those two, according to IDC.

Valovic said a factor slowing acceptance of IP phones is that traditional phone companies including Avaya and Nortel have been pushing IP-enabled corporate switchboards that can use conventional phones -- which saves money, but ''the less rapidly the customers involved can get the full strategic benefits" of calling in IP.

Despite Costello's bullishness on VOIP, many businesses remain leery until they feel more confident the technology will work just as well as standard Bell System telephone networks. While conventional ''circuit switched" phone services create two dedicated channels for continuous communication between two phones, Voip breaks down speech into the same type of packets as e-mail and Web pages, then reassembles them to create sound at the other end.

For a business carrying phone calls between two offices on a private network, it's generally easy to ensure good IP voice quality. But once packets go onto the so-called public Internet, guaranteeing quality is more challenging. In a recent InformationWeek Research survey of 300 business information-technology executives, 70 percent cited ''performance and quality of service" as their biggest concern about deploying VOIP.

This week, Brix Networks Inc., a Chelmsford start-up that sells network-reliability testing devices and services, is launching a new website called that gives users a free report on how well their network would support IP telephones.

The site requires visitors to download a small software program. By launching it, users initiate an automated telephone call to a Brix testing device in Boston or San Jose, Calif. Within about half a minute, the program leads users to another website that provides a 1-to-5 ranking of how well their network can support VOIP, based on comparing the simulated call to Bell System standards for sound quality and delay.

Dianne Mortenson, the information systems manager for Legal Sea Foods, which installed a Cisco Voip system when it moved its head office from Allston to South Boston last September, said it took just 24 hours to get the new voice and data network up and running. Mortenson said she loves features such as dialing phone calls from her Microsoft Outlook address book, getting faxes delivered straight to e-mail, using her office number at home through a cable modem and laptop, and moving a phone number from one office to another just by plugging the phone back in.

Mortenson said, however, that Legal is moving deliberately in expanding the service to take advantage of features such as letting managers at its 28 restaurants reach the head office and other outlets just by dialing a four-digit extension. ''We're definitely making a gradual transition, but I can foresee in the future much more integration with VOIP," Mortenson said.

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