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Vonage: a review

May 13th, 2003 · No Comments · Uncategorized

We’ve been using Vonage phone service for over three months, so I feel we’ve had enough time to get a sense of the quality of service to comment on it.

Vonage is voice-over-IP service that you can use if you have a broadband Internet connection. You sign up, and receive a Cisco box with two ports: one for your home LAN, and one for a phone. You plug it into your network and plug a phone into it, and away you go. Vonage gives you a phone number which works just like any other number. (They only offer area codes for some areas right now. I had to give up my 212 area code for 917, sadly.) You get a dial tone when you pick up your phone at home, and you dial just like any other phone. No computer is involved, and installation is simply a matter of plugging the router in and waiting for it to get an address from the DHCP server.

We’ve never noticed any problem with the quality of connection. It just works. I have reduced my monthly phone bill from $65-$70 a month, using AT&T and Verizon to $27. The bulk of my costs were “features” like caller ID and call waiting, which Verizon tacks on obscene surcharges for. Vonage includes a raft of features with their basic offering. I’ve opted for the 500 minute plan, though for $15 more there’s an unlimited plan available. We just don’t happen to use the phone that much.

The only service problem we’ve seen was a crossed line which was a real headache for a day or two. We called to report it, and within twenty-four hours, the problem was resolved.

The only caveat is the quality of the service is hugely dependant on the quality of your Internet connection. If you have bad or spotty Internet service, your phone service will be just as bad or spotty. Luckily our ISP here is very solid, with outages being extremely rare, and brief when they do occur.

Vonage is a great service and a good value for people with good broadband connections.

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