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View Full Version : Internet telephone? Any experience with it?


max
08-23-2007, 09:21 AM
I'm looking at the idea of removing my land line and setting up my phone on the internet.

Anyone use this? Any downfall to the setup?

Bolt
08-23-2007, 09:56 AM
I currently use a VOIP phone in my home for my work line. For the most part it functions well and most of the troubles I have had with it are related to how the phone is configured through my company's network. You would likely not run into those problems. However, the inconsistency/instability of your internet connection can cause intermittent disconnections and when the power goes out ... ;)

Craig Sheppard
08-23-2007, 10:36 AM
I have used Lingo VOIP service for about 2 1/2 years... It costs $8/mo + tax (~$10 total) and I pay 3 cents a minute for outgoing calls and all incoming calls are free. They have an unlimited plan for around $20 a month. I ported my old landline # with no problems.

You are basically at the mercy of your bandwidth. If no one in the house is doing anything, you'll be fine. Calls can get a little choppy sometimes, but normally they are perfect. They had a rough and tumble beginning, but seem to be working well now. I haven't had the need to do 911, but I'm not sure how well that works w/ VOIP phones.

I think the best service out there is Skype, but you do have to buy some equipment if you want it to operate like a regular phone. Lingo (like Vonage) just gives you a router box and you plug a phone into it. W/ Skype, you can buy an incoming number as well--but you can't port numbers.

Cruzer
08-23-2007, 10:48 AM
Check out the link below. There are several comments from VOIP users below it. From what I have read and from people I know that either have it or tried it and got frustratred with it VOIP seems like you love it or you hate it. I personally do not use a VOIP service and although the cost looks attractive there are still too many problems to justify getting rid of my land line that always works even in a power outage. Where you live will have an impact on the quality of VOIP service.

http://weblog.infoworld.com/robertxcringely/archives/2007/08/teleblend_and_t.html

Craig Sheppard
08-23-2007, 11:01 AM
Check out the link below. There are several comments from VOIP users below it. From what I have read and from people I know that either have it or tried it and got frustratred with it VOIP seems like you love it or you hate it. I personally do not use a VOIP service and although the cost looks attractive there are still too many problems to justify getting rid of my land line that always works even in a power outage. Where you live will have an impact on the quality of VOIP service.

http://weblog.infoworld.com/robertxcringely/archives/2007/08/teleblend_and_t.html

All true. Remember though cordless phones don't work in a power outage, so I assume you have an old school wired phone somewhere.

I ain't gonna lie, it can be spotty at times. It's certainly not dead-on reliable like a land line. But it seems to work for me 99% of the time... and a lot of times just a router reboot fixes any problems.

I primarily use my cell phone anyway, which would work in a power outage as long as the towers are functioning. And I can recharge it in my car...

Not trying to push this on anyone, it is really up to the user. I think a land line is a "nice to have" for doing things like interviews or using when my cell phone minutes are short or batteries are recharging. I also like having a garbage number I can put down for things like credit cards and "special offers!" and things like that...

You can always give them a whirl for a month or so since there aren't any contracts, decide if you like it or not, and go from there.

Nuke
08-23-2007, 11:13 AM
My employer is pulling out all the standard phones and setting us up with VOIP phones in the next few weeks.

Sean Dugan
08-23-2007, 11:32 AM
When my wife was in South America last year, I tried the Yahoo Messenger VOIP and it was terrible. I'm not sure what company is Yahoo's VOIP vendor.

Many of the calls were dropped and many had a weird echoing effect; it was kind of like talking to Max Headroom. ;o) But, it was like 3 cents/minute or something like that so I bought a few hours worth so we could communicate everyday and not have a million dollar phone bill.

Better than nothing......but I would never want to use that service as my primary phone line.

ShooterMcMarco
08-23-2007, 11:56 AM
When my wife was in South America last year, I tried the Yahoo Messenger VOIP and it was terrible. I'm not sure what company is Yahoo's VOIP vendor.

Many of the calls were dropped and many had a weird echoing effect; it was kind of like talking to Max Headroom. ;o) But, it was like 3 cents/minute or something like that so I bought a few hours worth so we could communicate everyday and not have a million dollar phone bill.

Better than nothing......but I would never want to use that service as my primary phone line.

That's the problem with VoIP vs POTS, the integrity of the call is subject to many external factors that are out of your control. The echoing effect is the result of lag and packets being buffered. Since VoIP is a packet-based technology that uses UDP instead of TCP, it basically means that if a packet is lost, it is not resent, which means that communication can be lost and fragmented.

I'm not sure as of late, but from my knowledge, the problem with VoIP is that if you dial 911, there may not be a static location of the person. With a land line phone, they can obviously trace your call. Not so with VoIP because you can be getting service through a wireless access point.

Craig Sheppard
08-23-2007, 12:23 PM
I'm not sure as of late, but from my knowledge, the problem with VoIP is that if you dial 911, there may not be a static location of the person. With a land line phone, they can obviously trace your call. Not so with VoIP because you can be getting service through a wireless access point.

On this last point, my VOIP provider made me register my home address with them so they could update 911 listings. I'm not familiar with the inner workings of the 911 system, but they made me sign a disclaimer saying that my address would be linked with the number on 911 service, so that if I called, my home address would appear on their system. Of course I could take the VOIP router anywhere and make calls anywhere in the world--but if i dialed 911 on their service, it would appear as though I called from my home address.

richw76
08-23-2007, 12:49 PM
On this last point, my VOIP provider made me register my home address with them so they could update 911 listings. I'm not familiar with the inner workings of the 911 system, but they made me sign a disclaimer saying that my address would be linked with the number on 911 service, so that if I called, my home address would appear on their system. Of course I could take the VOIP router anywhere and make calls anywhere in the world--but if i dialed 911 on their service, it would appear as though I called from my home address.

Yep sounds about right. The company I work for is huge on VOIP. Lingo/vonage and about 50 other larger voip companies are really just one company. And they all use the same E911 callcenter since it's too expensive to do in house. But yeah there is a huge DB but if you give inaccurate info there is no way to verify. Also, they have the same rules as att etc. They don't give out subscriber info to lawenforcement without a court order or supena. only loop hole if exigent circumstance(suicide hangup/kidnapping/assualt in progress etc.), and they still have a process. Have to call officer back through the number on file for there switchboard etc.

Per Sean Dugan the problem was most likely connected to the fact that you were in S. America, and there were some connectivity issues. If you have a solid cable modem or Dsl connection I'm sure your service would improve.(need dedicated 20-50k up/down for best quality-12k is minimum for acceptable quality)

I've been on vonage for 3 years now, and the two things to consider. If you have an alarm system. Vonage works with alarm systems but if you lose power you're dead in the water.... of course my alarm has an optional cellular backup so there are work arounds.

As for voice quality it's very good. If someone didn't tell you it was voip you wouldn't know. Also if you do lose power or cable modem goes out you can configure vonage to forward to a cellphone #