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Category: Main -> Vonage Service

Question
·  Does my computer need to be on to use Vonage?
·  Can I transfer my telephone number to Vonage? How does this work?
·  How do I get multiple phone lines?
·  What area codes are available through Vonage?
·  My area code or local area is not covered. Can I sign up?
·  I have a Vonage account, but I want to change my phone number. How do I do this?
·  What exactly is a "Virtual Number"? How do they work?
·  Will my connection support Vonage?
·  How do I hook my Vonage device up?
·  Do I need a router?
·  How do I configure my network to support Vonage?

Answer
·  Does my computer need to be on to use Vonage?

No.

Vonage uses the Internet to make your calls, but it does not use your computer to do so. Your Vonage device contains everything needed to call over the Internet.

All you need to do is plug in a standard telephone (unless you selected a Vonage device that already has the telephone built in, such as the VTech IP 8100) and start dialing like any other phone!

You don't even need to have a computer, just a fast, reliable Internet connection.

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·  Can I transfer my telephone number to Vonage? How does this work?

Probably. Vonage makes it easy to check. Simply go to , click on the "Availability" link, and enter your existing phone number into the provided field for an instant answer. During the signup process, simply tell Vonage that you want to transfer your number. Vonage will issue you a temporary number to use until the transfer is complete, then they will send a request to your existing telephone company. When the transfer has completed, your temporary number will be disabled.

Remember that you will need to keep your current telephone service active and paid up while the transfer is in progress. Don't cancel your old service until the transfer completes, or you may lose the number!

An alternative is to sign up for a new account with a new number, then transfer your existing phone number as a new "Virtual Number" later. This will allow you to try Vonage out for as long as you like while maintaining your existing phone number with your existing company. Note that This will cost you slightly more (a the setup fee (currently $10) plus a monthly charge (currently $5) for the Virtual Number - prices subject to change, and are listed on the Vonage web site). Once the transfer starts, it is difficult to cancel, so it's a good idea to try Vonage out for a couple of weeks on a newly-issued number until you decide it is right for you.

If you start with a brand new number, then decide Vonage is not for you, you can simply cancel your Vonage account and continue using your old service.

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·  How do I get multiple phone lines?

To get multiple lines, you must open multiple accounts. At this time, Vonage does not offer a package for multiple phone lines or a discount for multiple accounts.  Most Vonage adapters support two simultaneous phone lines, or you can choose to use multiple adapters.

An alternative to multiple phone lines is "Virtual Numbers".  Virtual Numbers are telephone numbers that can be anywhere Vonage has service.  When someone dials one of your Virtual Numbers, the call automatically forwards to your Vonage line.  It is not a true second phone line, but is a "forwarding service".  Virtual Numbers are also not limited to the United States.  See the "Availability" link on the Vonage home page for details.

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·  What area codes are available through Vonage?

Vonage has service in many areas of the US, and a number of other countries.  For a complete list, go to the and click on the "Availability" link.

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·  My area code or local area is not covered. Can I sign up?

Sure.  You may select any area code you like to establish service.  Of course, people in your neighborhood may not be able to call you as a toll-free call.  Vonage is not tied to your local telephone exchange, so you can live in Chicago and have a San Francisco number if you want.

In fact, with "Virtual Numbers," you can purchase as many telephone numbers you want, anywhere Vonage offers service, and have them all ring to your Vonage phone line.

If Vonage adds your local area later, you can either add your local area as a Virtual Number, or change your number if you prefer.

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·  I have a Vonage account, but I want to change my phone number. How do I do this?

Log in to your web account and visit the Billing Section. From there simply select "Change Your Phone Number" and follow the steps to change your number. Please do note that there is a fee for this feature.

You can choose to keep your old number permanently (as a Virtual Number) for a monthly fee, or forward the old number for seven days, or disable the old number immediately.

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·  What exactly is a "Virtual Number"? How do they work?

A "Virtual Number" is an additional telephone number that automatically forwards to your Vonage line.  You may purchase as many Virtual Numbers as you like, anywhere Vonage has service, for a setup fee and a monthly service charge.  If you live in Chicago and have a family member or client in Los Angeles who calls you frequently, you can set up a number they can call that is local to them (assuming they are in an area that Vonage offers phone numbers) and the call is forwarded to your Vonage line.  Calls to your Virtual Number are treated exactly like a call to your main number.

Vonage also offers a toll-free Virtual Number, which is about the same cost as a regular Virtual Number, but has a limited number of included minutes per month with a per-minute surcharge once the minutes are used up for the month for calls made to the toll-free number. There may also be additional charges if someone calls you from a pay telephone on a toll-free Virtual Number.

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·  Will my connection support Vonage?

For quality calls, Vonage needs to have between 30 and 90 kbps (kilobytes per second) in each direction (upload and download). In addition, Vonage needs a good-quality "low latency" connection, which means the Internet connection does not suffer from long delays or excessive data loss. Most Cable and DSL connections, and many WISP (Wireless) connections or hotel Internet connections do well with Vonage. Satellite connections can work, but the long delays associated with sending the signal back and forth can result in frustrating calls. Some people have reported success in getting Vonage to work on dialup (at the minimal 30k bandwidth setting), but this is not recommended.

To test your upload and download bandwidth, use the testing tool on the Vonage Forum site, which can be found at this link. The site will indicate the number of Vonage lines your connection is likely to support.

To test your quality, use the VoIP testing tool at TestYourVoIP.com. The site will give you a summary score, which can give you an idea of how clear your calls on Vonage will be.

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·  How do I hook my Vonage device up?

This depends on your device and your Internet connection, but most of the devices simply require a connection to the Internet. That connection can be direct (many Vonage devices double as a router, or offer an Internet passthrough port to allow a computer to operate along with the Vonage device on your Internet connection).

You can also put your new Vonage device on any wired port with open access to the Internet. Specific directions for each device are available on the Vonage web site.

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·  Do I need a router?

Some of the Vonage devices, such as the RTP300 and WRTP54G, are already routers in addition to being Vonage adapters. Others are equipped with a "passthrough" port that allow you to hook one computer up to them. Still others need their own port, which means you will need a router if you don't already own one. See the Vonage web site for the description of your specific device.

Keep in mind that the Vonage routers are consumer-grade routers, so if you need advanced networking features, have more than one or two computers in your network, or intend to use P2P or other services that put heavy loads on your Internet connection, you would be well served to select a different router, and get a more basic Vonage device.

In particular, the Vonage routers are not equipped with very strong "QoS", which allows the Vonage line's traffic to be prioritized over regular Internet traffic such as uploading large files or running P2P programs.  Good routers include the Linksys WRT54GL (which supports aftermarket firmware), and routers with the Hawking StreamEngine chipset, both of which come highly recommended by various members of the Vonage Forum.

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·  How do I configure my network to support Vonage?

If you already have a router, conecting Vonage should be as simple as plugging your new Vonage adapter into an open Ethernet port that has access to the Internet, turning on the Vonage adapter, and waiting a few minutes for the PHONE light to light up (note that your adapter has to be "Activated" with Vonage if you purchased it in a retail store).

None of the newer Vonage devices require that any ports be forwarded, nor do they require any special configuration in your router (other than QoS, if your router supports it).

However, the Vonage device will require that certain ports be OPEN (not blocked), so if you have a corporate or other firewall that blocks any of the required ports, you may experience problems with Vonage.  The ports that need to beopen vary by device, and details can be found on the Vonage website foryour specific device, but many of the Vonage adapters need at least ports 69, 123, 5060 or 5061, and 10,000-20,000 to be open.

For each telephone call, the Vonage device and the Vonage Network will randomly negotiate a port between 10,000 and 20,000 to send the call data backand forth.

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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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