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mikebrown Posted:
there, Please
check out -

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Hard Wiring - Installation
Hardwiring in a Rental House
On Oct 24, 2017 at 22:29:48

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

In The Forum:
Hard Wiring - Installation
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

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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
and get free
access while

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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?

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

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

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

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

In The Forum:
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:
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

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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

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New adapter and router -- MAC change
On Jan 11, 2017 at 01:07:21

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High-Speed Calling: Internet-Based Phone Service Goes Mainstream

Vonage In Print News

High-Speed Calling: Internet-Based Phone Service Goes Mainstream

April 4, 2004

By Eve Mitchell

Noel Frank Likes to talk to his friends and family both in the U.S. and Canada. Now, the Oakland resident has found a way to talk to them as much as he wants without racking up a big long-distance bill.

Frank is one of the growing number of consumers making inexpensive voice calls via his high-speed Internet connection and a regular phone instead of the traditional phone network that has been around since the telephone was invented more than 125 years ago.

"I have family spread out around the U.S. and Canada. That was one of the reasons. And the other reason I'm doing it is for entrepreneurial activity. Some time the business I'm working on may end up on the East Coast," said Frank.

Six months ago Frank signed up for a $19.95 monthly rate calling plan marketed under the name Packet8 by Santa Clara-based 8x8 Inc. For that price, he gets unlimited local and long-distance calls made to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, plus several calling features such as call-forwarding, call-waiting and caller ID.

Packet8 uses a technology called voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, which uses a special device attached to the phone and broadband connection that converts voice signals into data packets and streams them over the Internet. Users, who must have a broadband Internet connection, can make calls on a regular phone either while they are surfing the Web or not online, while the person getting the call just picks up the phone.

To get voice calls onto a Voip network, Vonage and Packet8 provide consumers with a free special adapter that attaches to a regular phone and the broadband modem. The adapter coverts voice calls from the phone so they can travel over the internet (at no extra cost) and then be delivered to the local phone network.

The adaptor is also what makes Voip portable. If someone living in Pleasanton wanted to use the service on a trip to New York, he would take the adaptor with him and plug it into a broadband connection.

"I see it as a marriage of the Internet technology and the phone system. The two services are going to meld together," said the 37-year-old Frank.

In much the same way that the cell phone melded mobility with on-the-go communications, Voip combines the power of the computer with the power of telecommunications.

Beside providing for a way to make inexpensive phone calls, Voip allows users to review outgoing and incoming calls and manage call functions online. And because the number is portable, you can take it with you when moving or making phone calls from any place in the world, provided there is a phone and high-speed Web connection available.

While the technology that allows making voice calls over the Internet has been around for more than a decade, analysts expect 2004 to be the year Internet telephony starts to become a mainstream product offered by major companies to consumers.

One reason is that more and more people are signing up for high-speed Internet access, according to analysts. Also, the technology now works with a regular phone and has seen improvement over the years. When consumers first began using Internet telephony in the 1990s, they had to use a headset and a computer-to-computer connection.

"The biggest factor is broadband adoption," said John Barrett, an analyst with Dallas-based Parks Associates, on what is driving Internet telephony. "We expect there will be 4.5 million residential Voip customers in 2007" in the U.S.

About 36 percent of the nation's Internet users now have high-speed Internet connections, a number that climbs to 44 percent in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to comScore Networks.

Phone giants AT&T and SBC already provide Voip service to business customers. They now plan to offer it to consumers as an alternative to their traditional phone service.

"It's regarded as the most substantial technology advance in telecom in the last 100 years," SBC spokesman Fletcher Cook. "We're totally committed to it. We're already a leader in the business space and are definitely planning to be leader in the consumer space."

In the Bay Area, AT&T plans to roll out its product by the end of the month. SBC also plans to launch VOIP, although a time frame has not been established. Comcast, the Bay Area's dominant cable company, plans to roll it out next year.

"We are working hard right now to refine all the processes so when we roll it out it works right away and (it will have) the standards customers will demand in telephone service," said Comcast spokesman Bob Smith.

Time Warner announced in December it is rolling out Voip service through partnerships with MCI and Sprint. In a market test in Portland, Maine, 18.5 percent of Time Warner's high-speed Internet customers signed up for the service in less than a year, according to the Yankee Group. Cathy Martine, an AT&T senior vice president, said its Voip offering for consumers will be targeted to areas that have a high degree of broadband users. The company plans to offer the service in 100 major U.S. markets by year's end.

"Clearly, the generation of youth and people in their mid 20s, 30s and 40s -- that is the growth market," said Martine.

The monthly cost for AT&T's Voip service in the Bay Area has not been released. But when it was rolled out in late March in parts of Texas and New Jersey it was offered at a promotional price of $19.99 a month for six months, and $39.99 a month thereafter.

Publicly owned 8x8 began offering its Packet8 service in November 2003.

The company and its chief competitor, Edison, N.J.-based Vonage, are considered the country's leading Voip providers.

Privately owned Vonage has about 120,000 customers nationwide, including more than 7,000 customers in California and more than 700 in the Bay Area. Industry sources estimate Packet8 has about 10,000 customers. Still, the numbers are just a sliver of the country's 104 million households in the U.S. that have traditional landline phone service.

While Vonage offers a $34.99 plan for unlimited calls placed anywhere in U.S. and Canada, it also has a plan priced at $14.99 for 500 minutes with calling features. (Vonage also charges a $29.99 one-time activation fee).

Traditional phone service plans by AT&T, MCI and SBC that provide unlimited local and long-distance calling to anywhere in the U.S. along with calling features are priced respectively at $41.95, $39.99 and $48.95 a month.

One of the reasons Voip providers can offer phone service for less is that they are not regulated. That means they are not required to provide 911 service or contribute to a Universal Service Fund for social programs that do things like provide phone service for poor people.

All that could change. Both the state Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are looking into whether Voip providers should be regulated. (See related story).

While Vonage voluntarily provides 911 service, the customer first has to provide Vonage with an address. Unlike enhanced 911 with traditional phone providers, if a Vonage customer calls 911 the address and phone number will not show up automatically on an emergency dispatcher's computer screen. And if you move to a new location, you have to notify Vonage. Vonage does provide directory assistance for 99 cents a call, but there is not an allowance of three free calls a month, as is the case with SBC. Packet8 currently does not provide 911 service. The company also does not provide directory assistance, but expects to offer a fee-based service later this year.

Unlike traditional circuit-switched networks, which consistently deliver a high-quality voice call, Voip calls tend to have the sound quality of wireless calls. The service also does not work in a power outage. And Voip users have to dial 11-digits when making local calls.

Frank -- who has Comcast for his Internet connection and still keeps SBC for local phone service -- can live with the trade-offs.

"(Packet8) is sometimes subject to quirks in the Internet," said Frank after a short sound akin to a truck horn was suddenly heard while talking on his Packet8 service. "We would consider getting rid of the landline instead of getting rid of the Packet8. The idea of continuing to pay (SBC) is not something I want to do."

Barrett pointed out that Voip service is not for everyone. For example, if someone doesn't make that many calls they might be better off sticking with traditional phone service since it would require paying for both a broadband connection and a Voip provider.

"If you are a (dial-up) subscriber and spend $70 on your (traditional) phone bill, you can save money by switching to broadband and VOIP," he said. (See Comparing costs chart.) "If the price of broadband goes down, Voip will become more popular."

Allen Long, a Castro Valley-based telecom analyst, thinks it will appeal more to younger people than older people.

"People who grew up with the Internet and grew up with a cell phone in their hand, they're used to things like patchy coverage and dropped calls. They'll put up with it. They like not having to pay for a second phone line," said Long. "Older people, they have more concerns about security and want a highly effective 911."

Packet8 and Vonage both partner with Baby Bell competitors to handle the beginning and end of the call that takes place on the circuit-switched network. The carrier partners also provide the phone numbers for customers.

"It's all a free pipe, the public Internet (backbone). Everyone can surf on the Web for free," said Louis Holder, executive vice president of product development at Vonage.

"We're trying to make it look as close to phone service as (possible). We send the customers a little black box in the mail. They plug it into the broadband connection," said Holder. "It's easier for us to (route) calls and cheaper to terminate calls."

Unlike Vonage and Packet8, which route voice data packets over the public Internet, AT&T, Comcast and SBC have their own Voip networks.

Martine, the AT&T executive, said Voip represents an "evolution in telecommunications. ... It's the convergence of broadband, voice and data communications, the ability to manage the capabilities of the phone and integrate the functions of the computer."

Huw Rees, vice president for sales and marketing for 8x8, noted that when the touch-tone phone replaced rotary dialing it launched a whole new set of services such as three-way calling and call-forwarding that went way beyond basic dial tone.

"(VOIP) is a huge shift in the way we view the telephone," he said. "You can move from a house and take the number with you. The concept of phone and geography will basically disappear."

This story also appeared in:
  • Alameda Times-Star, 4/4/04

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