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Author Topic: VoIP - Internet Phones  (Read 3582 times)
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jimmyorr99
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« on: January 14, 2005, 03:37:02 PM »

Has anyone ventured into the world of VoIP yet?  I signed up for it a little while ago and am liking it so far.  It's so much cheaper than the old phone line.  Does anyone else use this, or do people know much about it?
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2005, 10:53:48 PM »

Not much to add, but I know much cousin uses it as he has a cable modem.  He loves it as well as he's saving quite a bit.
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2005, 12:55:08 AM »

I'd love to do it but I'm scared with Direct TV and X-Box Live - Anyone know about using Vonage with them?
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2005, 02:43:43 PM »

I signed up for Vonage a month ago to try it out and I'm going to be cancelling my standard phone line today.  It's worked fine so far and I can't tell a difference in quality between it and my standard phone line.  

My only qualm about it is the fact we may not have a phone during a power outage. I'm going to pick up a UPS so I can keep things going on my end, hopefully roadrunner has plenty on their end too. It's not a big enough concern though that I'm going to continue to pay $50-$75 more a month for phone service than Vonage is charging me.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2005, 02:47:14 PM »

Now, I have to say this - there are free communication services out there, but they require both ends to have a headset, programs, configurations, etc.

That's why you have to pay for this - it allows you to chat with anybody who has a standard phone via the internet.
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2005, 06:34:06 PM »

Quote from: "Destructor"
Now, I have to say this - there are free communication services out there, but they require both ends to have a headset, programs, configurations, etc.

That's why you have to pay for this - it allows you to chat with anybody who has a standard phone via the internet.

there are also free internet-based phone services that let you make PC-phone calls.  the only catch is that the person with the PC has to initiate the call.  i used to do it all the time as a way to save money on long distance calls when i was away to college.
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2005, 05:50:31 PM »

Quote from: "disarm"
there are also free internet-based phone services that let you make PC-phone calls.  the only catch is that the person with the PC has to initiate the call.  i used to do it all the time as a way to save money on long distance calls when i was away to college.

There are? I'm unfortunately at work so I can't initiate my Google-Fu (blasted cheap connection), but I'm now really interested. Care to post a few links? smile
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2005, 07:01:50 PM »

unfortunately, it's been several years and i don't remember the site i used.  i'll see if i can come up with a link and will post it here if i figure it out.  it's not something i've used for quite a while, so free services may be hard to find now that people have started to charge for it.  the one i used was a website where you would enter the phone number you want to call...it made the connection, and you talked through a mic to the person using a phone on the other end.  i'll see what i can come up with now...
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2005, 07:56:52 PM »

Slashdot just linked to an article in PC Magazine that reviews 6 VOIP providers.  Link to the article below.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1746584,00.asp
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2005, 08:51:14 PM »

I've heard that there are issues when calling 911 - they don't know where you are located. True? False?

I only pay $19.95 for my current phone service - kind of hard to beat that - and it works during a power outage and 911 knows who I am.
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2005, 09:14:26 PM »

Answered my own question about 911 by reading the PC Mag article. Recommended reading for anyone interested.

The Lingo Basic option piques my interest: $14.95 a month and that includes 500 minutes anywhere in the USA, Canada and Western Europe.

I use the phone very little, so the cheapest option out there interests me. I'm always looking for any way to save money.
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2005, 10:58:28 PM »

I've been usng it for 2 years and it is awesome. I get it through my DSL provider and it has saved me literally thousands of dollars in international calling. Quality has been very good 99.9% of the time. The 0.1% of the time it sounded like the voices on the other end were robotic - a kinda cool but annoying effect that cleared up on a re-dial.

* Just so you know, I live in a Japan and through my VOIP provider (YahooBB) the rate to call the US is 8 yen per minute compared to about 55 yen per minute through standard phone service.
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hitbyambulance
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2005, 01:26:38 AM »

Quote from: "disarm"
Quote from: "Destructor"
Now, I have to say this - there are free communication services out there, but they require both ends to have a headset, programs, configurations, etc.

That's why you have to pay for this - it allows you to chat with anybody who has a standard phone via the internet.

there are also free internet-based phone services that let you make PC-phone calls.  the only catch is that the person with the PC has to initiate the call.  i used to do it all the time as a way to save money on long distance calls when i was away to college.


what services are these?  i haven't seen free PC-Phone services for years.

currently i use Skype, which has great voice quality and is FREE if you know other Skype users (otherwise you pay like 2.5 cents a minute or so)
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2005, 01:35:38 AM »

I've read about VoIP quite a bit today, and was getting quite interested until I realized that if I get it my home security system won't have a phone line anymore!!

There's gotta be a way around that. I'm wondering if there's a way to run a wire from the adapter that the VoIP company provides to the box on the side of my house. Maybe then all the phones in my house would work too...
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2005, 01:58:40 AM »

And once again poking around via Google yields the answers to my questions.

http://michigantelephone.mi.org/distribute.html

Way too easy!
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2005, 02:44:35 AM »

Ive been using Vonage for over a year, and am extremely happy with it.

Service outages are handled in two slick ways-
1.  I have a UPS for my cable modem, router, and VoIP box.  I *think* new users are starting to have one provided for them free now.

2.  The Vonage user account manager will forward your calls to another number in the event that somebody calls you and your VoIP box cannot be contacted.  Very nice if you also have a mobile phone, and it will be seamless as far as the caller is concerned.


As for 911 service, they have a 911-equivalent service which you have to activate, and you need to tell them the physical location of your service (since I can get a local NY City number sitting in an apartment in Columbus OH or wherever).  In my area, at least, it works pretty good.  I say its 911 equivalent because it goes to a managed call center who then contacts your local police department.  For some reason I dont think they can directly tie in to the standard 911 service, Im guessing a technical reason.

Vonage has a referal deal, so if anyone wants to try it out, let me know- it will get you (and me) a free month.  Speaking of which, the bills are a ton less than standard phone in my area.  Local phone, after b.s. charges for things like long distance I dont use, tons of taxes, line fees, etc, it costs around $60 just for the dubious honor of having SBC connect my house to the world at large (and if you want DSL, they required you to have a standard phone line, at least in my area).  Vonage, which piggybacks on the Comcast broadband I would have anyway, only costs me right around $27.50 per month.
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2005, 03:20:58 AM »

Quote from: "hitbyambulance"
Quote from: "disarm"
there are also free internet-based phone services that let you make PC-phone calls.  the only catch is that the person with the PC has to initiate the call.  i used to do it all the time as a way to save money on long distance calls when i was away to college.


what services are these?  i haven't seen free PC-Phone services for years.

maybe they don't exist anymore...like i said, it's been a few years since i used a service like that.  i wouldn't be surprised if the free ones have disappeared now that providers have realized they can make some money on the service.
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2005, 12:49:16 PM »

I used to use those too.  Free calls were a great use of the "new economy" stupid business model- most people either didnt know the difference, or didnt care.  The bad thing about them was the 'lag' of about one second between speaking it being heard, but you get what you pay for, as always.

Another thing I noticed when I was poking around my Vonage dashboard- I can degrade the quality of sound to conserve bandwidth.  Ive never actually had any problems, and Comcast just raised my bandwidth again, so this isnt really useful to me personally, but its nice to have that level of control.
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2005, 03:38:03 PM »

The company I signed up with is called SunRocket and just went national on Christmas Day.  I started using them when they were just getting started regionally and have been very impressed.  I save so much money each month now, that I will continue as a customer for as long as I can.  I encourage people to check them out: http://www.sunrocket.com
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2005, 11:09:06 PM »

Quote from: "jimmyorr99"
The company I signed up with is called SunRocket and just went national on Christmas Day.  I started using them when they were just getting started regionally and have been very impressed.  I save so much money each month now, that I will continue as a customer for as long as I can.  I encourage people to check them out: http://www.sunrocket.com


Yowza! $199 for 12 months of unlimited USA calling! Good deal!

Are there lots of things added to your bill like the typical phone bill (taxes, fees, etc)? What is the bottom line per month?
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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2005, 11:34:31 PM »

Just found the answer to my own question on the Sunrocket web site:

https://www.sunrocket.com/our_services/low_pricing.html

The $24.95 a month is the total you pay - nothing more.
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jimmyorr99
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2005, 01:27:13 PM »

It's a pretty great deal in that what you see is what you get.  The price is all inclusive so that you don't get hit with all the hidden charges and taxes like you normally do with other phone companies.  I was a bit leary of VoIP at first, but I have to say that this company has exceeded my expectations.
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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2005, 02:07:38 PM »

Quote from: "hitbyambulance"
currently i use Skype, which has great voice quality and is FREE if you know other Skype users (otherwise you pay like 2.5 cents a minute or so)

For fun I pulled Skype after reading the article, and I was very impressed by the voice quality. Far better than Xbox Live, which was my previous way of chatting long distance for free.

And, according to the site, as long as you're calling somebody in the US, parts of Europe, or Austraila, you'll get roughly 10 hours of talk time for about $13 (based on conversion rates, as they're based in London somewhere). Very impressive.

I'll stick with the free chat option for now though. I'm a cheapo like that. smile
Thanks for all the help though!
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2005, 04:34:32 PM »

With SunRocket, you get $3 free worth of international calling a month, and to many countries it's only 3 cents, so you get around 100 free minutes.  It's a pretty good deal.  I'm a big fan so far of VoIP, in general.
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2005, 05:56:29 PM »

Anyone in the Phoenix area have any chime-in on this?  (As I look at the Vonage ad banner up top...)
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2005, 02:46:20 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Anyone in the Phoenix area have any chime-in on this?  (As I look at the Vonage ad banner up top...)


Is SunRocket available in Phoenix?  You can check the availability at their website with your area code.
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2005, 09:19:27 PM »

Interesting... I was looking at adding a second line to the house for my business, but I may just go with VoIP instead.  Best Buy sent me an ad/coupon for AT&T's CallVantage thingy.  Has anyone tried/used it?
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« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2005, 05:34:16 PM »

Sorry, the only company I've used up to this point is SunRocket, and I don't see myself trying anyone else at this point.
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« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2005, 11:29:49 PM »

I submitted a couple questions to Vonage on January 23rd, and just got a reply (it's Feb 6).

Impressive....
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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2005, 01:45:15 PM »

Just to inform you all - I just tried out the Skype service much more intensively last night via confrence calling (the free chat program, not calling somebody via landline) and whatnot. It was clear, had no dropouts at all, and it sounded like they were right in front of me. I'm really impressed what you can get for free.

This will be the way I'll be doing my online gaming chats for games like Rainbow Six and World of Warcraft from now on.
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« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2005, 02:40:57 AM »

i wonder since 911 can't get your location, if the cops will have trouble tracing your call too? Even tho it does eventually run over POTS, at one point its gonna hit a gateway it can't get past?

Still I'm sure if the cops were tracing your number, they'd be able to figure out where you are at by checking the provider's call records.

Sorry, just paranoid and concerned that the system might get exploited.

I'm guessing the US emergency number gets your location based on your number and not by any trace (ie what exchange u go thru based on your number etc).
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« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2005, 01:58:30 PM »

Quote from: "pengoz"
I'm guessing the US emergency number gets your location based on your number and not by any trace (ie what exchange u go thru based on your number etc).

From what I know, yes, 911 just uses a simple lookup to find out where you're calling from. That's why you can't call 911 through one of these services, as you have no originating call number/location.

But you bring up an interesting point though... These sites must keep some kind of call record though. They just have to. Then it's a matter of tracing the call back to the account record (and at the very least the credit card information used to purchase minutes for the call).
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« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2005, 04:55:16 PM »

I was just talking to a guy about SunRocket, my service, and he directed me to a release they just put out that looks like it will really help their 911 service.  Here's a snippet:
--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 7, 2005--TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (NASDAQ:TSYS), a global leader in precise location and wireless data technology, announced today that SunRocket, a premier provider of nationwide residential Internet phone service, has added TCS as an emergency 911 provider. TCS is providing SunRocket subscribers with a network-based 9-1-1 VoIP solution that routes 911 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), based on the caller's location, similar to TCS' wireless emergency 911 in-network delivery methods.
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« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2005, 03:53:54 PM »

Quote from: "PaulBot"
I've read about VoIP quite a bit today, and was getting quite interested until I realized that if I get it my home security system won't have a phone line anymore!!  There's gotta be a way around that. I'm wondering if there's a way to run a wire from the adapter that the VoIP company provides to the box on the side of my house. Maybe then all the phones in my house would work too...


I was recently looking into VoIP and I had the same question.  Have you been able to figure this out?

Also, is anyone using the e911 service or checked whether it works correctly?
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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2005, 06:31:52 AM »

Quote from: "ElijahPrice"
Quote from: "PaulBot"
I've read about VoIP quite a bit today, and was getting quite interested until I realized that if I get it my home security system won't have a phone line anymore!!  There's gotta be a way around that. I'm wondering if there's a way to run a wire from the adapter that the VoIP company provides to the box on the side of my house. Maybe then all the phones in my house would work too...


I was recently looking into VoIP and I had the same question.  Have you been able to figure this out?


From what I've read, you need to have a phone cable going from the gizmo you get from the VoIP provider to the box on the side of your house AND disconnect the incoming cable from the phone company. This way the gizmo provides phone service to all the phones in the house.

I've also read that people with Vonage are able to get their alarm systems to work with the service. I have not read about anyone with SunRocket getting their alarm working with their service.

I have not ventured into the VoIP world yet just because I don't feel like screwing around with who knows how much stuff to get everything working right and buying a UPS to keep my phone service going in the event of a power outage.
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« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2005, 05:38:42 PM »

So it is possible.  Good enough for me.  

I am willing to dive in.  When I started, I thought I would go with Vonage but SunRocket basically has all the same services, a lot better customer service, and they give me deal for 2 free phones and $199/year  biggrin  Make me happy.

As far as getting all the stuff.  What is there?  The Gizmo is sent, phones are sent, maybe a UPS (actually have a spare one), and some wires?  I don't expect much of a hassle?  What are you referring to?
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« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2005, 04:50:13 PM »

It's pretty easy to setup the SunRocket stuff.  I know some people that have experienced plug and play with both incoming and outgoing calls.  The free phones are a nice little feature as well.  Hope it works out for you.
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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2005, 06:45:28 PM »

Quote from: "ElijahPrice"
I don't expect much of a hassle?  What are you referring to?


Hopefully things will work out for you. Please keep us updated on how it goes. Sunrocket sounds like the best one to go with if you don't have an alarm system. They are definitely the one I would pick.

Hassles I'm referring to: whenever I embark upon a project such as this there always seems to be something that pops up and ends up sucking up tons of my time to rectify the situation. A few months ago I decided to convert a PC over to recording TV for me and you'd think adding a couple tuner cards and installing some software would be a piece of cake. It has turned out to be a nightmare and I'm about ready to toss it out.

I just don't need another potential mess - especially when we're talking about something as important as the only phone at my house (we have no cell phones).
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« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2005, 04:10:25 PM »

The package got here two days ago.  Setup was a breeze so far.  But I had trouble getting both numbers to work properly.  Since they say that it may take 10 days for incoming calls to be processed I decided to lay low for a few days and let it work itself out.  But i cna make out-going calls and it sounds great.

The two phones they sent as part of the promotion are awesome.  They are tiny, portable, and have all the features that I could want (and since they are listed at about $70 its a sweet promo).

Was wondering, is there an advantage to setting it up before or after the router or is that just a troubleshooting thing if it doesn't work?  Thanx. Paul.
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« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2005, 07:52:40 PM »

I set mine up in front of the router and it works pretty well.  Have your incoming calls started working, or are you still waiting?  I think it took about 6 days for mine to work when i signed up with sunrocket.
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