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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Newbie still trying to understand a couple of basics........ Reply with quote Back to top

While trying to make a decision about switching to Vonage from my standard CO lines I need to clear up a few misunderstandings:

1) Technically speaking, it is my understanding that all that is needed is a DSL line void of all of the typical phone company's various features (and itemized charges that go with them) and I can have the equivalent of 1 or more 'phone' lines through my DSL modem - correct?

2) Obviously, I will still need a DSL that is provided, in my case, by Bellsouth. So my monthly Bellsouth bill will only consist of ultra basic DSL service once having switched over? Correct?

3) Once I have established a working Vonage 'phone line' through my DSL Modem, I can then call Bellsouth and instruct them to drop all services excepting my basic DSL service? And this includes 'Voice Service' as well? I am unclear about the latter because I had read the term 'Voice Service' elsewhere on the forum. I thought VS was as basic as you can get. Could someone clarify?

4) Business Application: a) I have four incoming CO lines at my business with one line being a dedicated fax line and the other three set by the CO to rotor to/from one another - and all four lines are routed through our PBX - meaning we CAN use the fax line to call out on if needed. Due to the fact our call volume has dropped considerably, we intend to drop down to two lines regardless. Question: Can Vonage lines be run through a PBX? b) We also pay Bellsouth for an inbound, toll-free '800' number used by our customers. Does Vonage offer inbound, 'toll-free' services and if the answer is yes, may we retain our existing toll-free number we have had published for the past ten years?

Thank you,

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: DSL is not only option, PBX Reply with quote Back to top

The answers to 1, 2, and 3 are:

You will have to keep at least basic phone service along with all the itemized charges – just less. This is because BellSouth requies you to have POTS (plain old telephone service) as a condition to get DSL. The only thing you can do is get the absolute cheapest POTS.

Remember “DSL” is not equivalent to “Broadband/high speed Internet.” You may have several other options for your Internet connection.

First question – how to get Internet access. Depends on what’s available in your area, how much it costs, and whether you want a second line.

To use Vonage you need good quality, low latency Internet access, preferably >>100 kbps down and up.

First of all, you need good Internet access – not necessarily DSL. If you need a second line that won’t make many calls, one option is to go with the most bare bones conventional phone service with DSL and add Vonage for most of your calling needs. One advantage here is that you still have a phone if the power or Internet connection goes out, but in these days of cell phones it isn’t a real issue for most folks.

If you don’t need a second line….

This does not mean you need DSL. If you’re planning to go with Voip, in many cases you’re better off going with Cable or wireless for your Internet access because the Telco usually forces you to get a phone line you won’t even use to be able to get DSL.

If you’re lucky enough to be living in an area where a DSL provider offers “naked” DSL (i.e., DSL without a conventional phone line), then DSL may (or may not) be the best option for your Internet access.

I would compare the following (if they exist in your area):

- Cable Internet
- Wireless Internet (typically 300-500 kbps, you install a small antenna on your house/business and communicate with a microwave tower for Internet access). These are generally independents.
- DSL (may have a choice of the local Telco and independents, such as SpeakEasy)

Assuming they meet your needs, I’d ask around for people who have one or another and how they’re satisfied with the quality (low and consistent latency and low packet loss are more important than raw download speeds). Then assuming quality is equal, go with what’s cheapest that meets your needs.

I would NOT look at the following: Satellite Internet (Hughes/DirecWay) – the latency up to 24,000 miles and back results in poor sound quality.

Now question 4….

Vonage is NOT designed to work with PBXes (not that it might not work).

Vonage does have some features that might make your PBX redundant. For example you can set up Call Hunt – this allows a call coming in on line1 to call line 2 if line 1 is busy and then to call line 3 if those two are busy, etc.

Vonage does offer incoming Toll Free. It’s $5/mo (plus taxes and fees, figure about $10/mo) and includes 500 minutes, then it’s 5 cents aminute for minutes over 500. This is their only plan, so depending on your call volume it may or may not make sense.

Since you’ve had the 800 number for 10 years you had better check that Vonage can port it before you take the plunge.

Finally, since Vonage has plans with unlimited calling to US, Canada, and several European countries, this amounts to outgoing toll free.

Hope this helps.
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