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Indiana627
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Location: Wheatfield, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:24 am    Post subject: Specific setup questions from a potential newbie Reply with quote Back to top

I'm currently with MCI and spend over $60/month for phone service and we don't even use it that much. I'm seriously thinking about going to Vonage but have some questions first and am hoping I can get some good advice here. I just have the basic signle line phone service and don't have a home office with a second line or fax machine.

1) I've read about lawsuits Verizon filed against Vonage and won but now there is an injunction against that verdict I guess so Vonage can keep operating. If Vonage ends up losing, what will happen to current Vonage customers? Is it a waste to sign up with a company that may be found to be stealing another company's technology?

2) I currently have Roadrunner. My setup is cable modem to wireless router (Linksys WRT54G bought 4 months ago). I have one desktop hardwired to the router (so I have 3 open ports on the router) and then my wife's laptop picks up the wireless signal great. Based on what I have, what Vonage hardware would I need? And where would I connect it: in between modem and router? After router? Or would I remove some of my current hardware and replace it with Vonage hardware?

3) My modem and router are in my front room, BUT my phone with built in answering machine is in a separate room in the back of my house. This is the only phone plugged into a phone outlet - it has 2 other satellite handsets but they don't need to be plugged into a phone outlet. I'd like to keep my router and modem where it is and keep the phone/answering machine where it is? Is this possible? The front room that the modem and router are in does have an available phone outlet (if that helps).

4) I also have a Directv Tivo upstairs in a bedroom that is plugged into a phone outlet. I will need to keep this Tivo connected so it can call in every couple of weeks for updates. Will I be able to keep this phone outlet live with Vonage so the Tivo can dial in?

5) I'd like to keep all my phone outlets live if possible just in case I need them someday - can I do this?

I appreciate the help. Thanks.

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rgnok
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

You're pretty close to where I was when I switched to Vonage -- I was spending $50 a month for phone service (AT&T) with caller ID and call waiting, but not much else, including no addtional lines, no long distance, etc. I've been very satisfied with both the savings and the service since switching more than a year ago.

To your questions:

1) Hard to say, but these things do have a way of working out. There was a time when RIM (Blackberry) lost a patent suit and some thought it would be the end of the Blackberry, but it just took some corporate negotiations and the Blackberry is stronger than ever. Personally, this issue would not keep me from switching.

2) With what you have, you would probably want one of the plain old Vonage phone adapters -- mine is the Linksys PAP2, no longer available directly from them, but still found in a lot of stores (at my local Walmart right now for $27). This adapter would have a couple of phone jacks (one for each of possibly 2 lines -- both jacks won't be active if you have only one line) and a wired network (ethernet) jack. You would just plug the network cable from the Vonage adapter into one of the wired ports on your Linksys router. At that point, assuming you've got active Vonage service, you should be able to plug a plain old telephone into the phone port on the Vonage adapter and it will work! There are a lot of suggestions here and other places about the BEST routers to use, and managing "quality of service" settings and such, but, honestly, I would go with the simple, straightforward setup like this first, then tweak it later IF YOU NEED TO. Of course, you could also replace your Linksys router with one of the Vonage wireless router / phone adater combo units, but I don't like having all my eggs in one basket!

3) Check out the hard wiring forum here at this site and you will see that it is usually a pretty easy process to connect your Vonage to your home's existing phone wiring, making all of the jacks in your house active with your Vonage service. And as easy as it is to connect it, you can undo and restore "regular" phone service in the future if you ever need to.

4) I have two DirecTivo receivers and it works. There is also a section here dedicated to Tivo, fax machines and other such things -- be sure and check it out as well. I will say this -- my satellite connections do not work FLAWLESSLY. I get a lot of "failed" calls and every once in a while get a nag screen because I've not completed a call in the last 14 days or something, but, the bottom line, at least for me, has been that for over a year IT HAS WORKED.

5) Two ways to interpret this question -- live with your Vonage connection? Yes, as I mentioned above, it is usually easy to distribute the Vonage connection throughout the house to all of your phone jacks so they will all be live. Or "live" as in regular old phone jacks -- again, anything you do to run Vonage through the whole house can be easily undone to return the jacks to the regular old status. The only thing that you can't EASILY do is have BOTH Vonage and regular old phone serivce and have some jacks in the house be Vonage and others be old fashioned service.

Hope this sheds a little light on things!
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Indiana627
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

rgnok:

Thanks for the feedback. That does answer most of my questions, but I do have a few follow ups.

In regards to #3, does the Vonage adapter HAVE to be in the same room as my phone? Ideally, I'd like to put the adapter in my front room on top of my computer cabinet where I hide my modem and router now while keeping the main phone/answering machine in the back room. In the front room there is a phone outlet. Can I simply plug the adapter into this phone outlet and then plug the phone in the back room into the phone outlet in that room and have a dial tone? All this assumes I have connected Vonage to my home's existing phone wiring, making all of the jacks in my house active with Vonage service.

In regards to #5, I meant all the phone outlets live with Vonage which sounds link can be done. I would cancel my service with MCI. Sorry for the confusion.

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rgnok
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Nope, Vonage adapter doesn't have to be in the same room as your phone/answering machine as long as you connect to whole house wiring. Assuming you connect to whole house, you just need the Vonage adapter connected to SOME phone jack in the house, so what you are wanting to do will work fine, with the Vonage adapter in the front room, using that jack as the "distribution point" to the rest of the house. And that should cover #5, as well!
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Indiana627
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Posts: 13
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks - you've been very helpful! I'm going to print this thread out so I make sure to have a copy to refer back to.

So for the adapter, the Motorola VT2142 on their site would be all I'd need?

You've been so helpful that I hate to bother you anymore, but I have a question about porting my current number to Vonage. I've already checked and I can port it from MCI, so how exactly does that work? Do I call MCI to cancel or does Vonage do that? Will there be a gap between when MCI is turned off and Vonage is turned on that I won't have any phone service? Are there any other issues I should be aware of?

Thanks again.

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kdf55
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Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 373
Location: Highland, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Your setup will be like mine. The motorola VT2142 will be fine. All you need to do is plug your Vonage device into a port of your wireless router and plug in your phones and you're good to go.
In porting your number, Vonage will take care of that. There is a form you fill out when you sign up for Vonage for porting the number.
I ported mine from Verizon and it only took 5 days. You cannot cancel your MCI before number is ported or it is lost and you will not get it back.

Another thing to check, make sure your cable modem is fairly new. It needs to be DOCSIS 1.1 or 2 to be compatible with Vonage. I had an old one that was DOCSIS 1 and had to update modems before getting Vonage.
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Indiana627
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Joined: Sep 25, 2006
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Location: Wheatfield, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Where do I check my modem's DOCSIS version? And what is DOCSIS?

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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Two things - one has been covered pretty adequately in the "home wiring" forums, and I think it was mentioned previously, but it bears lots of repeating (apologies if you've heard it already):

** Before connecting your Vonage device to your home wiring, make sure - make darned sure - that the local telephone company's wires have been disconnected from the house wiring. Having Telco voltage on the same set of wires you plug a Vonage adapter into is a really, really good way to ruin the device. Get a cheap phone that is powered off the line. Plug it in, and pick it up. If you see anything light up, or hear anything at all, stop and check the telco wiring connection before you proceed. **

The second...

On the DOCSIS - you can post your modem model and revision number, and it's likely someone can tell what DOCSIS revision it is. However, you do not absolutely need DOCSIS 1.1 or 2.0 for Vonage. That depends on your Cable Internet provider, and what they support and/or require.

Some cable companies limit bandwidth on the older DOCSIS 1.0 frequencies to "force" people up to the higher-bandwidth DOCSIS 2.0 frequencies. Some have eliminated DOCSIS 1.0 entirely. Ironically, though, some cable customers would do BETTER with DOCSIS 1.0 if the DOCSIS 2.0 frequencies are saturated - there may in some rare cases be more available bandwidth down in the "older" frequencies due to lack of use.

I have been using the same old DOCSIS 1.0 modem with Vonage for over two years now, with two different Cable ISP's (Adelphia and SusCom (now Comcast)). It works great. If you do a Voip quality test here on this site or on www.testyourvoip.com and the numbers come out good, then you should not have a problem with your modem. I'm not saying I'd not do better with DOCSIS 2.0, but my MOS scores are consistently 4.2 and better, and my Vonage calls are crystal-clear on both ends. So there's little room for improvement in my case.

_________________
Comcast Cable (3m down / 256k up) -> Linksys BEFCMU10 v2 (DOCSIS 1.0) -> WRT54G v4 ("Tomato" firmware) -> the rest of my network including a WRTP54G (Firmware: 5.01.04)
My Vonage Self-Help Guides: http://vonage.nmhoy.net
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kdf55
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Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 373
Location: Highland, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

In the Vonage guidelines, they do not recommend DOCSIS 1. You can check your Vonage compatibility with your cable modem here.

http://vonage.com/help.php?article=1097&category=124&nav=5&promo_id=USVONRPFMF&refer_id=OLNTX070401003W1
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Indiana627
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Posts: 13
Location: Wheatfield, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I checked that page on Vonage's site and my modem isn't listed. I have a Motorola SB5101 Surfboard. It was installed in March 2007. The Moto Surfboards listed on the Vonage site top out at the 4300 model. In the text, it says "If your modem is not listed, then your modem will work with Vonage." So I guess mine should be all set since it's not listed.

I also went to the www.testyourvoip.com site and got a 4.3 when testing Boston, a 4.0 with San Jose but only a 1.4 when testing Sydney. Is that OK?

Thanks again.

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