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Stackrat
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Joined: Jan 24, 2008
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: I'm considering Vonage and.... Reply with quote Back to top

I have a few concerns and I hope you would be kind enough to share your Vonage experience with me. I've been digging around here and have some background, but not all of my questions have been answered in the existing posts. I'm interested in hearing the positives as well as the negatives and most posts in this type of forum are from people who are having problems. Plus, this may turn out to be a good reference post for others coming to this site.

Thank you in advance for your honest responses.

1) Customer Service: This would be a deal-breaker for me and I have seen posts (here, but mostly elsewhere) indicating poor customer service. These posts were several years old, however, and I would like to guage how they are today. If there is one thing I CANNOT stand, its poor customer service and if that's the case, I'd rather stick with POTS (Cincinnati Bell for me).

2) Bandwidth Issues: First, I have not yet run the "test" I've seen on other posts from my home internet connection. I plan to soon, but what can you tell me about the amount of bandwidth a typical phone call will suck up? My kids do online gaming but NO limewire (et. al.) sharing and being the geek that I am, I've been known to suck up my fair share of bandwidth.

3) Bandwidth Issues, Part Deaux: It sounds like there's a "Bandwidth Saver" feature that will throttle back the phone bandwidth leaving more available for everything else. How is the call quality while using that feature? Can it be easily enabled/disabled? ...by my non-tech-savvy wife?

4) Delay: One of my wife's friends has Voip (don't know which one) and she complains of an annoying delay to the point were you start talking over each other. Part of that may be due to her friend being in NJ and us in KY, but she doesn't complain about that when talking to others across the country. At work, they switched us over to Voip about 8 months ago and it has a barely-noticeable delay. What have your experiences been?

5) FAX/TiVo Issues: I have an old fax machine and do use it occasionally, but I don't plan on having a dedicated line for it. From what I've read, it sounds like I may need to tweak a few settings to get it to work. Has anyone had issues where they absolutely, positively could NOT get a particular fax machine to work? As far as TiVo goes, this was mainly for the potential benefit of others. My DirecTV TiVo is hacked so it does not need to make any calls.

6) Virtual Numbers: Can you pick from available numbers or are they just assigned? I've moved twice (to two different states) in the last 5 years and I think it would be totally awesome to have my old numbers back, if they're still available. That alone might be worth putting up with some less-than-stellar customer service. Has anyone tried this?

That's about all I can think of right now.
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tophtml
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Joined: Dec 06, 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have been extremely happy with Vonage. The only contentious issue is their discontinuance of their WiFi phones. Other than that, and after I bothered my cable company enough to replace the neglected infra-structure in my area, Vonage works great.
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roscopco
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Joined: Nov 08, 2006
Posts: 1326

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I will try to answer your questions in the order you posed them.

1. CS - I haven't had too many problems with CS works for me.
2.Bandwidth- I download torrent files all the time, but I have port forwarded the ports that needed done and I also give priority to the phone calls.
3.Bandwidth saver, I think I have mine set to high. At one time you could dial *99, but I think that no longer works. You now have to go to your Vonage account and do it. Myself I would leave it at one setting and be done with it.
4. I have had some delay issues and also echoing, it doesn't happen often but it can occur.
5. You can disconnect your phone line and hook up your fax machine to send out a fax. Not sure about the Tivo thing. Hey how did you hack your DirectTV (PM me).
6. Virtual numbers, I think you are asking if you can pick a phone number from any area code. You can choose any area code that Vonage has available. A virtual number is something totally different and it does cost extra, you can only receive calls on that number.

I hope this has helped you out in deciding to get Vonage.
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Steve48
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Joined: Aug 30, 2005
Posts: 4777

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

On the issue of customer service, you may never need it. If you do need it, it may go very well. My own experiences have been good.

Nevertheless, technical service and foulups of one sort or another with business issues are Vonage's main weaknesses. If you know that this would really get you upset, then I wouldn't risk making the change. Of course, similar issues seem to be pretty rampant with a lot of companies these days.

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Orlando, FL
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Stackrat
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Joined: Jan 24, 2008
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Here are the results of my speed test. However, I ran the test several times and the overall trend was they were getting better. Since I have a cable modem connection, I imagine that's because more people are shutting down for the night.

Code:
Speed test statistics
---------------------
Download speed: 1444416 bps
Upload speed: 947744 bps
Quality of service: 41 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 332 ms
Average download pause: 23 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 128 ms
Average round trip time to server: 149 ms

Voip test statistics
--------------------
Jitter: you --> server: 3.5 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 19.3 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.0 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported Voip lines: 16
Estimated MOS score: 3.8


Compared to others I've seen here, I should do fairly well with Voip.


Roscopco (and any other's who may be interested):

First let me preface this by saying: You cannot hack your DirecTV TiVo to get free programming. This is illegal and if you even mention it on either of the two websites listed below, you will be banned from them for life.

You can hack it to do things like, change the behavior of some of the features, stop calling the mothership, allow it to use the USB port for an external NIC, add a web interface so you can control the box from your PC (once you've plugged the NIC into your home network), use the TiVo Desktop software to view photos or play mp3s on your TV, and a whole bunch more!!!

If you are interested in hacking a DirecTV TiVo (it HAS to be a TiVo), see the TiVo Community Website for the mostly script-kiddies or the DealDatabase website for the hard-core hackers.

WARNING #1: It you join either of those sites, DO NOT MENTION the existence of the other site. I don't know why, but they appear to have nothing but contempt for each other.

WARNING #2: Your will NEED the cojones to; disassemble your TiVo, learn Linux from a CLI (as in NO GUI), and accept the fact that you may screw up and wipe everything you currently have on your TiVo and have to learn how to reload the TiVo software from scratch. Fear not, however, for the only way to turn it into a paperweight is if you physically break it during disassembly/assembly. Software-wise, you can buy a standard IDE harddrive, buy a $20 TiVo software image download and reload everything from scratch. I've done it several times myself. All my DirecTiVo's have 400GB hard drives - that's 400 hrs of Std Def or 55 hrs of HD! Plus I have them connected to my home ethernet where I can download shows to my PC. I'm working out the bugs on burning them onto DVDs as I type! I'm relatively new at this. Others have been doing this for years!!!

One more thing... Since its Linux and you're not hacking it to get free programming - ITS ALL 100% LEGAL!!!


Last edited by Stackrat on Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stackrat
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Steve48 wrote:
On the issue of customer service, you may never need it. If you do need it, it may go very well.


True, I may never need customer service. But when I DO need it and its BAD, I know I'll have an uncontrollable urge to physically harm someone.

...and having lived in NJ for the first 36 years of my life, I know EXACTLY where Howell, NJ is and its only a 12-hr drive from here. 12-hours isn't NEARLY enough time for me to calm down after a bad customer service experience!!!
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tglea
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Joined: Nov 22, 2006
Posts: 433
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Stackrat wrote:
True, I may never need customer service. But when I DO need it and its BAD, I know I'll have an uncontrollable urge to physically harm someone....and having lived in NJ for the first 36 years of my life, I know EXACTLY where Howell, NJ is and its only a 12-hr drive from here. 12-hours isn't NEARLY enough time for me to calm down after a bad customer service experience!!!

Ok Buddy! Rolling Eyes Go throw your cack and beans around somewhere else!
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Stackrat
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

tglea wrote:
Ok Buddy! Rolling Eyes Go throw your cack and beans around somewhere else!


Sorry Mr. Moderator, but I was only trying to re-emphasize my point...

Stackrat wrote:
If there is one thing I CANNOT stand, its poor customer service... This would be a deal-breaker for me


Maybe I went a little too far. I really meant to say something like this: Wink

[soapbox]
Two years ago I relocated, but kept my Alltel cell phones even though Alltel doesn't directly service the area I now live in. The phones still work because they have a roaming agreement with Verizon, but if I have a problem with a phone, I have to wait for them to ship me a new one or drive 4 hrs (one way) to the nearest Alltel store.

Why didn't I just switch carriers (I had ample justification to end my contract with them)? Because Alltel's customer service is fantastic!!! I have had several occasions where I've had to call them for various issues and I have never been anything but completely satisfied with them. For example, they disconnected me once for non-payment. When I called, I explained that I was in the process of moving and didn't get the bill. After I paid over the phone with a CC, they had my phones working working within 2 mins and waived the late and re-connect fees without me even asking. I just re-uped with them for another two years and, as far as I'm concerned, as long as they keep up the good work, they'll have me as a customer for life!

On the other hand... I am completely frustrated with DirecTV right now and they are very close to losing me as a customer. My TVs work fine and I haven't had a technical problem in several years. However, because I added a TiVo box I purchased used off ebay a few months ago, they tell me I'm locked in for another two years. I own the box. I didn't buy it from them and it is not, nor ever was, leased. There is NO justification for them to lock me in for another two years, but the REFUSE to fix it!!! I'm almost to the point where the next call they get about this is going to be from my lawyer.

You see, if DTV had merely said, "We're sorry. Its our mistake and we'll correct it for you.", I would probably would have sprung for their new HD DVRs right then and there (they're giving out one for free -- with a two year commitment) and locked myself in for another two years anyway. Because they're trying to force me into a commitment --- I want out!!!

I don't care what business you're in, if you can't keep your customers satisfied, you don't deserve to have them and you don't belong in business... PERIOD!
[/soapbox]


Last edited by Stackrat on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:13 am; edited 2 times in total
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TaxPro
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: I'm considering Vonage and.... Reply with quote Back to top

I switched to UniaTelecom 2 months ago due to a similar experience with Vonage service. UniaTelecom is a Vonage Alternative for anyone looking to receive a better service with excellent customer service. Check them out: HTTP://WWW.UNIATELECOM.COM
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butterman
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Joined: Jan 29, 2006
Posts: 323

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

A few points for you to consider.

1. Overall I think Vonage Customer Service is fair.....at best. I don't use it often, but but I hear many more bad stories that good ones. So if you get excellent customer service from your POTS provider and are OK with the price I would stay. I moved to Vonage because it is much cheaper and the features are things that are very important to me (like voicemail emails, call forwarding, etc).

2. The results from your Voip test are quite bad. I would address this before trying Vonage or any other Voip service. Poor results here will often result in poor phone service and there is very little that a Voip provider can do to fix this.

Based on this and your posts I recommend that you do not use Vonage. I don't think you will find many people that call Vonage customer service fantastic, and from your posts this seems to be the most important item for you. As a consumer this is your right, I just don't want you to make the switch and then be dissapointed if/when you have something that requires customer service.

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ISP: Time Warner (RoadRunner)
Location: NC
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