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stockmanjr Jan 15, 05 5:17 pm

VOIP as home phone
 
I was curious if anyone uses VOIP for there home phone service and if which one do they use?
-howie

hsubbu Jan 15, 05 6:27 pm

VOIP - as home phone
 

Originally Posted by stockmanjr
I was curious if anyone uses VOIP for there home phone service and if which one do they use?
-howie

I have been using Vonage as my home phone

www.vonage.com.

I believe they are one of the major providers offering home phone service for people with broadband. they were profiled in Fortune magazine a few months back

Big plus:

at 24.99/month unlimited local and long distance calling within US
fairly cheap international rates, depends where you are calling overseas

some drawbacks

sometimes the voice quality does deteriorate . does not work well with some prepaid calling cards.

we dont care as we really dont use our home phones much

they are good with Local number portability. We got to keep our Verizon phone number after bugging verizon for several weeks. some phone companies delay transferring your current number to Vonage

If service is indeed offered in your area, there is a referral award both to the new customer as well as the person that referred.

hope this helps

PMD Jan 15, 05 6:36 pm

Some things to think about before changing to VOIP:

-Does it have 911 service? If so, is it the same type of 911 service you may have now? (Vonage 911 calls go to admin lines not the reg lines)
-Do they offer operator service?
-Does it work with your security alarm, sat TV, Tivo etc..
-Can you use all the phones in your house?
-If you have DSL, does your phone company let have DSL without a basic home phone line?
-VOIP service doesn't work without power
-If your internet service goes down, you have no phone service
-If you transfer your number, are you able to get it back if you leave?
-Do they offer directory listings and/or directory assistance?

I think VOIP is great, just be sure you know what you are getting or not getting.

SEA-Flyer Jan 15, 05 7:20 pm

Packet8
 
I've been using Packet8 for a year and a half, and have been pretty happy with it. Its not as full featured as Vonage, but its quite a bit cheaper.

Its been a huge savings for me over using a regular phone line. I live in Tokyo and have two phone lines - one Japanese one that I use for my local calls, and the Packet8 one that I use for all my calls to the US. For $20 a month I can place unlimited calls to the US. The Packet8 phone I've got also has a Seattle number assigned to it, so my friends and family back home can call me easily (plus, for those in the Seattle area, its just a local call).

Sound quality is very good, not perfect - roughly equivalent to a US West Coast to US East Coast long distance call.

FLYDCA Jan 17, 05 2:13 pm

I'm using Vonage but only as a supplement. The 911 issues on VOIP concern me so I still keep a basic landline for that and Tivo, Alarm sytem. There are work arounds for Tivo and Security systems but not for 911.

Voice quality is good most of the time. Once in a while I can hear the other calls fine but they say that my voice sounds low.

pinniped Jan 17, 05 3:35 pm

We switched to Sunrocket just a couple of weeks ago. So far, no problems with call quality beyond a brief echo at the start of a call (which goes away). Our goal was to (a) get rid of the landline and (b) reduce our monthly wireless plan by moving a lot of our cell minutes to VoIP. We have cable for TV and broadband, so we had no issues with DSL or a Dish needing a traditional voice circuit for data communication.

Sunrocket is $199 all inclusive. No fees, taxes, setup charges, shipping charges, or equipment charges. The $199 gets you a box with everything you need - a router, two cordless handsets, the necessary cables. Your service is one year unlimited domestic calling plus a $3 credit per month towards int'l calling. After that, they have cheap rates to everywhere we want to call - usually three cents a minute (e.g., UK, Japan, France, Aus., Italy, etc.).

If you don't like their handsets (they are cheap Uniden phones, which are fine for us), you can hook up your existing gear - they use a standard VoIP router: plug whatever phone you like into it.

If you are going to rig your entire house for VoIP through the existing copper in the walls, there are websites that tell you the do's and don'ts about how to do it. Long story short: it'll work after you disconnect the RBOC loop from your house, but follow the instructions closely so you don't fry your VoIP gear.

ScottC Jan 17, 05 3:40 pm

We use Vonage for all our calls. We did keep our SBS copper because when we tested the Vonage 911 service we ended up at the townhall with someone who was certainly not able to help us.

It's sad that the SBS line is $6 more than our unlimited Vonage even though we never make any outgoing calls on it...

skofarrell Jan 17, 05 8:36 pm

Another vonage fan here. ^

neatbrian Jan 18, 05 5:53 pm

Vonage fan here.

I have two phone lines into the house (both served off the same vonage box). I wired it directly into the house wiring -- so all of the jacks in the house connect to the vonage box (if I hadn't told my family members we used Vonage, they wouldn't know).

Contrary to the experiences of many others.. I have 3 tivo's -- none of them have ever had any trouble dialing out. I also use it heavily for faxing. No problems there either.

911 isn't an issue with Vonage -- they let you set up the 911 service for each line.

The line quality is exceptional. I also do at least 5 hours a week of international calls (a huge motivation in my original switch to Vonage). I also LOVE all the extra features they give you (free) -- such as the ability to have your Vonage number ring your cell phone AT THE SAME TIME (I no longer give people my cell number. I give them my vonage number. If I'm home, I pick up my landline -- if I'm out, I answer my cell).

Bottom line: I will never switch back.

If you DO decide to switch to Vonage, let someone on here know as they have a great referral program (2 months free!)

Brian

neatbrian Jan 18, 05 5:54 pm

Forgot to mention... the only problem of "if your internet service goes down, so does your phone line.."

Vonage has solved this by letting you enter an "out of service" number.. basically, it will ring that number if it's unable to communicate with your vonage box. I put my cell # in this field.

If Vonage loses connectivity, the calls are instantly routed to my cell phone.

pdhenry Jan 18, 05 6:14 pm

I suspect that a cellphone is a reasonable workaround for the 911 issue as well.

NickP 1K Jan 19, 05 12:20 am

I would always have the LOCAL Emergency number for *YOUR* police dept and fire dept stored in your cell # anyway. Most 911 dialing from a Cell will go to a regional emergency center (e.g. in California it's the California Highway Patrol). They will still help, but they have to route the request to your local agency.

925 Jan 19, 05 12:24 am

I work out of my home at times, and need clear cross-country phone calls. Has anyone had experience with ANY VOIP provider where VOIP is as good voice quality as a regular landline?

Also, I have three land lines at home. Can I get three VOIP phones on one 3000/256 Comcast cable modem to work well?

ScottC Jan 19, 05 12:27 am


Originally Posted by 925
I work out of my home at times, and need clear cross-country phone calls. Has anyone had experience with ANY VOIP provider where VOIP is as good voice quality as a regular landline?

Also, I have three land lines at home. Can I get three VOIP phones on one 3000/256 Comcast cable modem to work well?

I get BETTER voice quality on my Vonage line than on my SBC line. International voice quality is superior to ATT long distance too.

And yes, you shouldn't have too many problems getting 3 lines working on Comcast, you'll need 2 Vonage boxes (2 lines per box). Just make sure you don't do too much in the background (like file sharing etc...).

Do you need three lines, or would 2 lines with 3 numbers be enough? With Vonage virtual numbers you can do that...

925 Jan 19, 05 8:04 am


Originally Posted by ScottC
Do you need three lines, or would 2 lines with 3 numbers be enough? With Vonage virtual numbers you can do that...

Two simultaneous conversations max is fine (with call waiting on both). But I need something like distinctive ringing where the ring tells whether person A, B or C should answer the phone. Three distinct people. Two distinct conversations. Person A and B share one line and two phone numbers. Person C is dedicated on the other line.


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