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tplink Posted:
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You can recollect
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massrman Posted:
The devices are
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Hi these are most
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robertplattbell
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:00 am    Post subject: Loved Vonage, but switching to wireless... Reply with quote Back to top

As I noted in my last post, I am saying farewell to Vonage. It worked well for me at one location, but at my new summer home, there is no cable and no DSL, so Vonage doesn't make sense anymore for my situation. I still like Vonage, though.

I spent 6 months a year in Florida, a few months on the lake in NY, and a month or two on the boat. What would work well for me?

Well, I decided to ditch my two landlines (Verizon and BellSouth, ugh! and ugh! plus) at $70 a month each, and eventually my Vonage line, which will save me over $170 a month overall in service fees.

The new service? Totally wireless. It works like this.

I already have a 1250 minute plan with Cingular, and I don't even use 750 minutes a month. So for $80 a month, I have more than enough air time to talk as much as I want, from anywhere in the country with free long distance, of course.

For home use, I bought a product called DOCK N TALK from Cellantenna corporation. You plug this into your phone lines after disconnecting from the telco, and then plug it into your cell phone. Bingo, all the extensions in your house are now making cell phone calls. It is totally transparent to the end user, and the DOCK N TALK generates a dialtone just like the Vonage box. All of your cell phone features also work (voice dial, etc.).

For the boat, the car, and the farm, I also use the Digital Antenna DA-4000 3 watt amplifier (also available from Cellantenna). This brings the cell phone up to the full 3 watts of power allowed by the FCC (remember the old car phones?) and increases range to up to 50 miles. Added bonus, no brain cancer causing radio waves next to your head. I have a 4 foot whip antenna on the boat, a 24" mag mount on the convertible, and a 24" glass mount at home.

Both products are about $200 each with accessories. Both worked right out of the box without even reading the instructions (!). It should all work like this, no?

I ended up buying a Motorola V557 phone ($250 retail) as it had the necessary antenna plug and bluetooth adapter. Again, the local retail center was helpful, but the on-line folks at Cingular treat you like a criminal. (Cingular has an odd policy of not allowing service centers to access your account information outside of your zip code, which is more than a bit backward. Cingular is an excellent example of a company succeeding despite its best efforts).

The result: crystal clear quality, one phone number, one phone bill, and phone service no matter where I am living at the time (even offshore!) and with the savings in land lines, the equipment pays for itself in a few months.

Clients have no idea I am talking on a cell phone until I mention it to them. Even though I work in the technology business, it amazes me when this stuff actually works as advertised!

Of course, Cingular customer service is a billion (trillion?) times worse than Vonage (and that is saying a lot) and their website is absolutely horrible. I found that dealing with a Cingular retailer a lot easier. Digital Antenna and Cellantenna were both top notch in terms of delivery, service, and customer service. Small companies. You call and you are talking to the boss.

Vonage has been OK when I was living in one place with cable modem. Since moving, however, I have had complaints from folks about the call forwarding (not working) or getting no connection when they call. Vonage techs (I got through to one!) tell me that if your Vonage box is not on-line, the call forwarding will not work properly (!).

I'm keeping my Vonage line for a few more months. I have a recording on the line advising folks of my new (cell) number. It is a PITA to switch numbers, but the advantage of going totally wireless makes it worthwhile. I might hook up the Vonage box in Florida for a while in the interim (Comcast cable). But eventually, I will go entirely wireless.

I would still recommend Vonage over the telcos for a landline, especially for a second phone line (if you have kids in the house, a handy thing to have! - just buy phones with multi-line capability. I recommend the AT&T 945 4-line phones sold at Office Depot or SAMs club. I have 14 of them and they work great).

I am not sure Vonage Service is ready for Joe Consumer who is not prepared to tinker with it, though.

And with the cable companies offering competing service, it will be interesting to see how Vonage fares in the long run.

Good Luck Vonage! Wish you all the best.

Regards,

--Bob.
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hookbill
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Good luck. Just why did you stay with Cingular? IMHO one of the worst wireless services out there. Could you not have used that equipment with Verizon?

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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Cingular v. Verizon is largely a function of where you are. When I was in Kentucky, Verizon was TERRIBLE. Cingular ruled the roost down there, and you just didn't bother with Verizon.

Here in Maine, Verizon OWNS Cellular. Yes, you can get Cingular, and it works fairly well, but Verizon coverage and quality is very high (I'm somewhat biased in that, because Cingular forced a GSM-only phone on me, and GSM coverage in Maine, well, not good - Verizon uses dual and triband gear, so it works in more places up here).

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hookbill
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

That also depends on what part of Kentucky you live in. In Northern Kentucky it was fine and so long as you stayed around I75 it was good too. However, you are correct...coverage in most of the state wasn't great.

But Cingular in Northern Kentucky, I head people complain all the time. Funny, because I was using Cincinnati Bell (AT&T) wireless at that time and I switched to Verizon because of phone preference. Little did I know that Cingular would be merging with AT&T.

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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Lived in Georgetown, worked in Lexington. Wink

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robertplattbell
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:05 pm    Post subject: Which wireless company? Reply with quote Back to top

I have an existing contract with Cingular, which I switched to as a holdover from AT&T when they merged.

I had my first cell phone in 1988 and tried a number of companies over the years.

My gut reaction is they all have the same horrible customer service, and the signal strength, as you point out, may be great for one company in one market, and then bad for another in a different market.

The AT&T anywhere(r) plan was great, as it eliminated roaming charges (remember those?) and got pretty decent coverage all over the place.

Cingular apparently programs its phones to go after the Cingular connection, even if a stronger non-Cingular link is available.

Verizon is a horrible land-line company. Not sure about their cell service.

I have a T-mobil cellular modem, and that works well for $20 a month, but their coverage is horrible. I would switch to them on price, but so far I am not impressed with their signal strength.

If there is a cellular company that is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of signal strength, price, and customer service, I haven't heard about it.

As a Bell Atlantic employee explained to me (back when I worked for them), with cell service, there is a higher "threshold of pain" that users will tolerate. Cell companies have horrible service simply because people will tolerate it (dropped calls, static, poor customer service). Price largely drives the market.

Frankly, the communications business is so crazy these days, I'd just assume go back to two coconuts and a piece of string.

FWIW!
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Trowski
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

hookbill wrote:
That also depends on what part of Kentucky you live in. In Northern Kentucky it was fine and so long as you stayed around I75 it was good too. However, you are correct...coverage in most of the state wasn't great.

But Cingular in Northern Kentucky, I head people complain all the time. Funny, because I was using Cincinnati Bell (AT&T) wireless at that time and I switched to Verizon because of phone preference. Little did I know that Cingular would be merging with AT&T.


I have had Cingular since they were Southwestern Bell Wireless, and travelling from Lexington KY to Fairfield OH (north of Cinci) it always seemed to work very well.

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scerruti
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Loved Vonage, but switching to wireless... Reply with quote Back to top

robertplattbell wrote:
and increases range to up to 50 miles.


Yeah, not with GSM. As I recall the range is not determined by signal strength but by timing. I vaguely remember an article where a special form of GSM was being deployed in rural parts of Australia which doubled the timing thus allowing double the distance.

If I recall correctly the maximum distance for GSM 900 is 35km, and the maximum for GSM 1800 is 8km. I think, but I do not know for certain, that GSM 850 and 1900 used by Cingular allow 35 km. Depending on how you use your boat, knowing this distance could be very important.

Nevertheless, that 3W is probably being wasted in most situations.

It is interesting to note that neither IDEN (Nextel) or CDMA (Verizon, Sprint) are affected by this distance limitation.

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scerruti
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Loved Vonage, but switching to wireless... Reply with quote Back to top

robertplattbell wrote:
Added bonus, no brain cancer causing radio waves next to your head.


I am thinking this might be a joke, but just in case people haven't heard all of the facts; Recent studies show that brain cancer occurs equally in people who do not use cell phones compared with those who do. The study also reported that for people who didn't know what side of the head that their tumor was on the brain cancer occurred 50% of the time in the side opposite where they normally held their phone. Only in people who knew what side of their head the tumor was on was there a correlation between cancer occurring on the side of the head where a cell phone was used. Thus, we can attribute reports of cancer occurring predominantly on the side of the head where a cell phone was used to be a case of selective memory.

At this time there is not even a demonstrated casual link between cell phone usage and brain cancer much less a causal one.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

They said the same thing about cigarettes and lung cancer. Wink

I keed, I keed.

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