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mikebrown Posted:
Hello, I think
you should consult
it with the Expert
they can surely
help you
...

In The Forum:
Hard Wiring - Installation
Topic:
Hardwiring in a Rental House
On Jun 24, 2017 at 09:15:34

Haniltery Posted:
For wipe call
history also some
of the offline, in
gengral , it
usually apply to
...

In The Forum:
Vonage
Topic:
How to Delete call history from online account?
On May 09, 2017 at 06:14:26

diana87 Posted:
You have to use
VPN service to
bypass
Geo-restrictions
and get free
access while
...

In The Forum:
Vonage
Topic:
Recent calling problem from Egypt
On May 02, 2017 at 17:28:06

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

In The Forum:
Vonage UK
Topic:
How do you call 999
On Apr 27, 2017 at 18:52:02

Trafford Posted:
Seems like a
simple
question. We
rely exclusively
on a Vonage system
for our
...

In The Forum:
Vonage UK
Topic:
How do you call 999
On Apr 27, 2017 at 10:42:50

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

In The Forum:
Vonage
Topic:
IP PBX for small business
On Mar 28, 2017 at 12:42:33

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

In The Forum:
Vonage
Topic:
Ethernet Cable; Wiring schematic? 568-B?
On Feb 23, 2017 at 18:33:52

beast321 Posted:
I don't know if
you heard, that
many more
Dreamcast games
are opened up
recently.
...

In The Forum:
Fax - Tivo - Alarms
Topic:
Using phone as a dial up modem for Dreamcast Gaming
On Feb 16, 2017 at 03:16:51

Av8rix Posted:
Sorry to start a
new thread on an
old topic but when
I google “Vonage
MAC address
...

In The Forum:
Vonage
Topic:
New adapter and router -- MAC change
On Jan 11, 2017 at 01:07:21

tplink Posted:
Im trying to add
my HT802 vonage
adapter to my home
network. I
currently have
...

In The Forum:
Hard Wiring - Installation
Topic:
Vonage behind switch
On Dec 05, 2016 at 12:35:11


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Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!
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You need some common sense.
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Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...
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Vonage Reviews

Voice Over IP


Vonage In Print News

Voice Over IP
Everything A Road Warrior Needs To Know About This New Technology


April 1, 2004

By James A. Martin

Voice Over IP for Mobile Professionals

When said out loud, "VoIP" sounds like something that should be quickly followed by, "Excuse me; it must be that burrito I ate for lunch."

But get used to it, because in the coming months, with AT&T and other companies entering the nascent market, you'll be hearing more about VoIP--short for Voice over Internet Protocol. And I'd advise you to listen, because the lower costs and portability of phone features that Voip offers makes the technology a potentially compelling new telecommunications alternative for mobile professionals.

What the Heck Is It?

Put simply, Voip technology converts the spoken word into digital packets that travel across the Internet (or any other Internet Protocol network), just as an e-mail message would. To prevent or minimize delays in a conversation, Voip relies on high-speed network connections such as digital subscriber line, cable modem, or T1 lines.

Unlike earlier Internet telephony systems, Voip doesn't require that you or the person you're calling sit at a computer to chat. Though Voip systems differ, the one that I recently evaluated from Vonage Holdings lets you use any standard telephone--such as a cordless or two-line phone--connected to a Motorola VT 1000 digital phone adapter. The adapter, in turn, must be connected to your DSL or cable modem (or to a T1 line) via an Ethernet cable.

Why Should You Care?

Voip offers lots of advantages for mobile professionals.

Portability. According to Vonage, you can use the Motorola phone adapter at any location that has a wired high-speed Internet connection, such as a hotel or a client's office. I didn't test the device anywhere but in my home office, but I can certainly see the potential benefits.

For instance, suppose you're traveling from Seattle to New York on business. By connecting the Motorola adapter to the phone and broadband Internet connection in your New York hotel room, you could receive any calls made to your regular office number back in Seattle. It's as if you've taken your phone system and services with you, including caller ID and call waiting. And your callers won't even know you've left town.

"So what?" I can hear you asking. "You can do that with a cell phone and call forwarding." True enough. But consider this: Long-distance and local calls that you make as well as receive in New York would eat into your cell-phone minutes. And with VoIP, you'd have more consistent and reliable voice quality than what a cell phone would deliver (more on that later). Even better, you could use the Voip system when traveling abroad to send and receive calls without incurring additional charges, the company says--a potentially huge advantage for frequent international travelers.

Cost savings. At a minimum, Vonage's compelling rates demand consideration. You can make unlimited local and long-distance calls in the United States and Canada for a monthly fee of $35 for residential customers. At the moment, Vonage adds only $2.50 in federal excise and other taxes, though that may change down the road pending efforts in Washington to tax Internet phone services. So for a total of $37.54 per month, Vonage provides you with voice mail, caller ID (with name), call forwarding, call waiting, and three-way calling. For details on Vonage's three residential and two small business plans, go to the company's Web site.

By comparison, in my area (San Francisco), SBC offers unlimited local and domestic long-distance calls for $30 a month for residential customers. But that doesn't include voice mail ($8), caller ID ($6.17), call forwarding ($3.23), call waiting ($3.23), or three-way calling ($3.23). Add $10.69 (residence flat rate service) and local, state, and federal charges (about $8, in my area), and you're paying $72.55 per month--nearly twice as much as the Vonage plan.

However, other phone companies bundle some of those services with their unlimited long distance plans. AT&T One Rate USA, for instance, costs $42 a month and includes unlimited local and domestic long distance calling plus a choice of four features, including caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, and three-way calling. Voice mail is an additional $5, so your total would be $47--plus the various regulatory and flat rate service charges. Assuming those charges equaled about $19, that brings AT&T's total to about $66, compared to Vonage's $37.54.

Also, unlike mobile phone service providers, Vonage doesn't require that you sign a contract. Vonage does charge a $30 set-up fee, however, though the company does not charge for the phone adapter.

Voice mail delivered via e-mail. Vonage subscribers can opt to have voice mail messages copied to their e-mail address as audio file (.wav) attachments. Or you could elect to automatically receive an e-mail notification when a new message appears in your voice mailbox. That's a nice convenience for those of us who check e-mail more often than voice mail.

Pros and Cons

In my tests, voice quality on the Vonage Voip service was slightly below that of a traditional landline. For instance, I heard occasional, mechanical-sounding "burps" in the other person's voice, and no doubt, they heard a few in mine. But the quality was far superior to, and more consistent than, any cell phone service I've used. And with the attractive rates Vonage charges, a little hiccup now and then may be a worthy trade-off.

Adding the Motorola digital phone adapter to my home network went smoothly. But a colleague, PC World writer Jeff Bertolucci, encountered incompatibilities between his DSL modem and the digital phone adapters from Vonage and VoicePulse, another Voip service provider. Jeff solved the problem by upgrading the DSL modem to the 2Wire HomePortal, a gateway/DSL modem. Jeff's Voip review will appear in the May issue of PC World.

My experience wasn't flawless, however. I returned to my office one afternoon to discover that the Motorola phone adapter had simply stopped working. Rebooting my DSL modem, the phone adapter, and my computer brought the Vonage service back online. A technical support representative told me this problem should be fixed with the latest firmware upgrade, which he said would be automatically downloaded to my Motorola adapter.

Other shortcomings: The Vonage user guide is really a brochure in disguise, with more emphasis on explaining the service features than on how to use them. Online help at the Vonage Web site wasn't all that helpful either. Toll-free technical support is available 24-7, however.

You must include an area code for every number you dial, even local ones. Also, you may be unable to get a phone number in your own area code. But you can transfer your existing phone number to a Vonage account.


The Bottom Line

The two-week trial period, coupled with the conveniences and cost savings, make the Vonage Voip service awfully compelling. So why do I hesitate? I don't mind making occasional business calls on my cell phone. But high-quality phone service is extremely important to my business, and at this moment in time, I'm not ready to potentially sacrifice quality on an ongoing basis.

Then again, call me in another month or two, and you may just hear me emit a little mechanical-sounding "burp."



 
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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.

** Certain call types excluded.

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