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Packet8 page on DSLReports
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Reviews:
bullet 469 reviews (304 good) (100 bad)
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Review by bgetchel See Profile

  • Location: Waterbury,New Haven,CT
  • Cost: $34 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "It's not a highly contagious disease,"
Bad "Substandard voice quality. Frequent, multiple redials to connect. And so much more!"
Overall "Hate is a strong word -- but I hate Packet8."
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

[REVISED 22-MAR-2011]

We've done it again. Figuring P8 would have gotten their act together, we opted to give them a try -- for two YEARS this time.

At this moment, we have the most reliable, robust internet service we've ever had -- Charter 25 Mbps. Everything about the service (save for the occasional outages, which does not factor into this Packet8 review) has been stellar.

I'm going to be pithy with my details in this revision of my old review, considering in all this time P8 has actually gotten WORSE as every other service provider seems to be improving. Voice quality is OK, but is often garbled, unintelligible machine talk. Since this *could* be the connection itself (though I strongly doubt it, because real-time monitoring shows a stable, low-latency connection during these frequent quality drops) I'll call this a secondary issue.

However, dialing out using Packet8 is a case study in frustration. You simply can NOT use the auto-dial, redial, or speed dial features. In fact, you can NOT dial the phone normally as outbound calls almost NEVER go through. You have to P...U....S....H.... each button very deliberately for a good SECOND. P8 require you to take a good 10-15 full SECONDS to dial a number, or a connection is never established. It will just sit there for 30-60 seconds after you dial, only to return a "fast-busy" signal.

Next is with incoming calls. Every single day, at no specific time of day, random incoming calls do NOT ring! They go directly to VM, and then take an hour or more to show that we even have a VM waiting! And no, we are NOT on the phone and our connection is sure and stable.

In short, Packet8 is little better than using smoke signals or tin cans and string.

Bye, bye Packet8. Good riddance. Lesson learned (again). We shall never return and will certainly be sharing our "success" story with any who are interested.

[END REVISION]

We were looking to save a few pennies and perhaps get even better service. What we got instead was a MUCH higher bill for vastly inferior service. If you want to skip the details and only want the "executive summary" then avoid Packet8 like a rabid pit bull. Hidden charges, poor quality, and even worse customer service make P8 a bad choice -- plain and simple.

Based on a few reviews we decided to cancel our Vonage service and try Packet8 -- in spite of the fact that my sister-in-law is an industry insider and told me she'd heard "bad things" about P8. Well, I should've listened. Lesson learned!

When the P8 VoIP box arrived we followed the instructions and were up and running in a few short minutes. The equipment came in just a few days (despite ordering on a Saturday) and installation was a breeze -- a good omen. Or so we thought.

We made a few "test" calls both in-state, to a couple of mobiles, and to out-of-state land lines (to NJ and OR). We were quickly disappointed by the notable drop in voice quality versus my outgoing Vonage line. It was like talking on a cheap set of FM walkie talkies. Fortunately we still had my Vonage modem and line as it was the middle of the month (August) and we wanted to wait until the end, since we'd already paid. Well, the Vonage line, using the same Cable Internet connection, to the same numbers was FAR superior, a fact that didn't go unnoticed on the other end. P8 has no nifty "bandwidth adjuster" that Vonage has to increase/decrease quality; you get what you get. Well, we thought that we might be able to live with the quality difference -- which we could have -- if the savings were there to offset the quality drop.

They definitely were NOT!

My wife and I have friends in South Africa. Using Vonage to call a SA land line was $.09 per minute. P8 touts $.08 per minute for the same service (non-mobile, non-"premium") which isn't a "big" difference, but could amount to a few bucks per month plus the $5/mo service cost difference, which *should* have added up to ~$100 in annual cost savings. Yeah... sure.

Much to our surprise, P8 was actually charging us $.25 per minute (more than TRIPLE!!!), not the $.08 we had anticipated (Surprise!). The cheaper (advertised) price was THE reason we switched to begin with. When we called to have the price adjusted they wouldn't budge. Informing them that this was WHY we switched to begin with did nothing, so we asked them to cancel our account at the end of the billing cycle (end of Oct), at which time they spewed out their $59 "termination fee" though we offered to return their equipment at our cost -- the last nail in P8's pathetic coffin as far as we were concerned. Their "customer service" rep didn't seem to care at all, almost as though it were our privilege to be served by them.

This is the great part about having Visa fight your battles against unethical merchants for you!

[As a side note: When I called Vonage to cancel our service they put us through to a representative that tried to offer us incentives not to switch and was very concerned (or appeared to be) about what we thought was wrong with their service that would make us switch. When I told him we were switching to a cheaper vendor he made a "prediction" that we'd be back, in a very polite, non-condescending tone. Boy, was he right!]

In short, Packet8 provides lower quality and higher prices on the back end than Vonage or likely any other capable VoIP provider. Don't be lured in by the glossy cover of cost savings for "the same thing."

It ain't.



member for 14.2 years, 190 visits, last login: 1.6 years ago
updated 3.4 years ago

Comments:

Review by neumannu47 See Profile

  • Location: Cary,Wake,NC
  • Cost: $20 per month (12 month contract)
Good "Delivery, Price, Flexibility"
Bad "Call quality"
Overall "Not ready for prime time"
Web-site:
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Call Quality:
Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

I no longer use Packet8, but I cannot find a way to delete this review.

member for 12 years, 518 visits, last login: 30 days ago
updated 3.5 years ago

Comments:






Review by varrin See Profile

  • Location: Keene,Cheshire,NH
  • Cost: $39 per month
Good "Reliable company, generally acceptable to good service"
Bad "Constantly decreasing value due to significant price increases"
Overall "After nearly 6 years as a happy customer, I'm looking elsewhere"
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
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My Other Reviews

·voip.ms
·Time Warner Cable
If you're happy to pay extra for what 8x8 offers, I'd recommend them. I've had consistently acceptable to good service for the entire time I've been a customer. While I had some challenges early on with respect to local number porting and virtual lines, the last several years have been stable.

Unfortunately, 8x8 has continually raised their prices and is becoming very uncompetitive. While I've been generally happy with the service, I'm looking elsewhere for price reasons. When I first signed up, the total charges to my bill was $25 per month (unlimited plan + a virtual number). Now, it's nearly $40 per month, an increase of well over 50% while CPI has gone up less than 20% during that same period (never mind competition has actually decreased pricing in this segment). Additionally, our usage pattern has changes somewhat, so we don't even need the level of service they provide any longer.

I'd be happy to stick with 8x8 if they had lower priced options. As it is, we're looking at other solutions to reduce our costs.

Update 5-24-10: Switched service over to another carrier (included porting numbers). Had to call to cancel (can't do it via their website). They tried hard to keep me. They immedtiately offered to reduce my rate to $9.99 (not found anywhere on their website). After reviewing my usage, they offered me a 500 minute per month plan at $5.99 (again, not found anywhere on their website). I might have stayed with those prices if I had known about them earlier, but there's no indication on their website that those rates are available. They chose to raise the rates rather than lower them, so I went ahead with the cancellation having already done all the work (and it was quite a bit!) of finding a new carrier, porting over the numbers and all that. Other than fairly persistent selling on the cancellation call, all went fine with the port and cancellation. Happy with the new carrier so far.



member for 11.6 years, 10 visits, last login: 1.3 years ago
updated 4.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by ke4pym See Profile

  • Location: Charlotte,Mecklenburg,NC
  • Cost: $18 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 8 days
Good "Inexpensive if you order the yearly plan."
Bad "Watch out for the fine print - no pro-rated refund on yearly rates"
Overall "Price and call quality seem to be right"
Web-site:
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4/7/10 - In mid-January, I received a credit refund for the entire year of Packet8 service after the BBB got involved. I wasn't asking for a full refund, but, 8x8 gave it to me anyway.

8x8 also went on to respond to the NC Attny. General as well. Never heard anything from the CA Attny general. In both response letters, 8x8 included text from their agreement (and a link buried deep in their web site) showing where they don't offer partial refunds. No wonder I never saw it.

12/30/09 - I've sent complaints to my CC company, NC Attny. Gen.. and the BBB. CA Attny Gen. is next. BBB forwarded my complaint to 8x8. I don't expect much from them.

12/23/09 - Watch out for the fine print!

I called in October of 2009 to find out if 8x8 could do a better job on their yearly rate because it had jumped from $199 to $249. They couldn't so I immediately began searching for another provider. That took some time and long story short, my number ported over today so with that, I called 8x8 to cancel my service.

It was at that point I was asked why I didn't want to use the rest of my service. I asked "I expect a pro-rated refund". That's when I was told that annual plans are not able to have pro-rated refunds. They then explained that I should have received an email, voice mail, and warning on my October call. None of those things occurred.

Speaking to a supervisor was a waste of hot air. What kind of company offers such anti-consumer policies such as this?

I canceled the service and I've filed a complaint with my credit card company and state attorney general.

1/09 - Service remains solid. Phones work great, call quality is fine 98.9% of the time. It just works.
-------
Ordered Packet8 on a referral from my father. He scored a $30 Amazon gift card. 8x8 was running a deal on a free (after rebate) Uniden VoIP base and cordless handset. You can add a total of 10 handsets to the base.

The set is ok. It has some features I'm going to miss in my departing Siemens Gigaset. The base has no headphone/mic jack. If you're on speaker phone it won't hang up when the call ends and the handsets use proprietary battery packs. My Gigasets used AA form factor NiMH batteries that I could get for $5. Find a battery pack that cheap.

You plug the base into your switch. It has a port that you can plug your analog phones into as well. Other ports include a LAN (if you use the device as a firewall) and power ports. I chose to use my existing m0n0wall firewall's DMZ port (on a Soekris 4801 integrated PC) for my setup.

I got the phone the following Monday and it took tech support 3 days to reconfigure their back end so I could have a registration number to activate my account with. After that was done I made a few calls. I am happy with the call quality in general. The speaker phone on the base has very good call quality and the handsets are clear and free of interference.

The website is a little clunky. Typical PeopleSoft based interface. I've not found a way to listen to my voicemails online, but that's not a big deal. I do hate having to remember to dial a 800 number to remote-check my voicemails. With Vonage I was able to just dial my number and press * and I'd be taken into the VM system. I also don't like the fact that I can't use 7 digital dialing because my market has a area code overlay.

Caller ID name and number delivery work very well. I especially like the option to tell call waiting callers I'm busy or hang on or whatever by pressing a button. I chose the $199 yearly unlimited plan. It looks like they billed the plan and all fees/taxes for the year. After doing some fast math, it works out to $18 a month. Works for me.

member for 10.1 years, 4958 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 4.4 years ago

Comments:

Review by speed_phreak See Profile

  • Location: Culver,Jefferson,OR
  • Cost: $21 per month (12 month contract)
Good "Fairly reliable given the reliability of VOIP, low bandwidth"
Bad "Cost too much = dumped!!!! proprietary ATA would hang requiring a monthly reboot as to not miss calls"
Overall "voipo all the way... P8 has priced themselves out of the residential market"
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
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Tech Support:
Value for money:

this is my first review of packet 8 and i am going on my second year of service.

I don't always know how i feel about g.729, but it seems to require less bandwidth, not as picky with latency, and it doesn't sound that bad.

My service has been fairly reliable. I do need to power-cycle my bpg510 gizmo every 3 month or so, because i will loose dial tone and miss calls.

packet 8 has been around much longer than any other REAL VOIP company. like many people, i got burned by sunrocket. i am willing to pay a little more for a stable service from a stable company. this is important now more than ever with the tough economic times ahead.

packet 8 does seem to trail other VOIP providers in features. this can also be seen as a good thing though, because as other providers are constantly adding new features and destabilizing their networks, packet 8 just plugs along... like a trusty old diesel.

packet 8 also limits you to their proprietary gizmo ata device. some may see this as a limitation, but i see it as controlled environment with many constants. this is what allows for packet 8's reliability...

-------------------------------

Updated: 3/15/10 - i dumped p8 about a year ago when they jacked up their rates. they have priced themselves out of the residential market. their service was good, but not that good... moved on to voipo and am very happy with them!

member for 8.4 years, 329 visits, last login: 17 days ago
updated 4.5 years ago

Comments:

Review by Sly See Profile

  • Location: Johnson City,Washington,TN
  • Cost: $32 per month
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Cheaper than POTS, widely avaliable, excellent call quality, plug and play"
Bad "Taxes, contracts, consistant pricing increases"
Overall "After their latest price increase, I am leaving them. Joined in Nov 2003...farewell P8"
Web-site:
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Tech Support:
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My Other Reviews

·Callcentric
I've been with Packet8 since November of 2003. I'm still with them because of the simple fact that the service works, they have moderately good customer service and they are constantly improving by rolling out new features. One thing to realize, though, is that any VoIP connection is only as reliable as your Internet connection. If you have packet loss with your connection then you will have poor call quality with VoIP.

I have the Freedom 500 plan. I switched to it because it costs less than their unlimited plan. They have raised their prices over the years to where I no longer consider them an "amazing' deal. Now they are just a "good" deal. I still recommend them though. While I have seen others go through bankruptcies and scandals (Sunrocket anyone?) Packet8 has kept going.

[update] Packet8 has discontinued their Freedom 500 plan and has bumped me up to their unlimited plan. My phone bill started out at $19.95/ month in 2003 and now $26.98/month after taxes and fees. I have been a loyal customer but as soon as I find another provider, I'm leaving them.

[update] I have left Packet8 for good. They were good for a time but I no longer consider them worth it. They have a very poor and sluggish web interface, slow customer support (if any) and high prices with low call quality. Why give them any business??

member for 10.5 years, 4859 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 4.9 years ago

Comments:

Review by hariwanna See Profile

  • Location: Sequim,Clallam,WA
  • Cost: $33 per month (12 month contract)
Good "ease of installation"
Bad "spendy due to junk fees"
Overall "I switched to Callcentric"
Web-site:
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Tech Support:
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Packet8 has been in the VOIP market for over 20 years. They started as a silicon company and they hold numerous patents for chip designs in VOIP, FOIP and video over IP. I was a Packet8 customer for over 5 years. Packet8 has been transitioning their business into hosted virtual PBX service for small to medium size businesses. Their margins are much better in the hosted PBX products than in residential VOIP. In June, 2009 P8 notified their residential VOIP customers that their limited call plans were cancelled and all residential VOIP plans would be the unlimited calling plan priced at $24,99/month. P8 charges junk fees for "regulatory compliance" and other such nonsense to disguise the real price. I live in WA state where the state has invented new taxes for online services that bring my final monthly cost to over $33/month. My phone usage varies between about 300 minutes/month to 1500 minutes/month so I decided to switch to Callcentric's pay per minute plan. Callcentric is based in NY and is exempt from taxation by WA as it doesn't meet the "nexus" definition for tax liability in WA (where P8 has nexus in WA and is subject to state taxes on services).

P8 uses a proprietary locked ATA compared to Callcentric's bring your own device open standard SIP format. P8 is easier to install and if you do lots of calling their unlimited plan is comparable to Vonage. Check with P8 for taxes applicable to your state.

I rate the P8 customer service as pathetic. It has the advantage of answering your call after a short time in call processing and then you'll be able to talk to a live tech support person based in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale, CA. Tech support did a good job as far as getting the service set up. Tech support did not respond well to problems with call quality and service outages. They would usually blame persistent problem with echo on my ISP or on my home network.



member for 5.1 years, 58 visits, last login: 1.6 years ago
updated 5.1 years ago

Comments:

Review by chaud See Profile

  • Location: Anderson,Anderson,SC
  • Cost: $33 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Great quality and features."
Bad "Expensive"
Overall "Great quality but expensive."
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

My Other Reviews

·Charter
My Experience:

I placed my order for the DTA from Amazon.com on a Friday, and it arrived Tuesday. Ordering from them gave two months free, and a $60 rebate, which will reduce the cost of my DTA to -$4.00. The DTA arrived in a well decorated box, that protected the DTA well.

Once the main box is opened, there is smaller box inside, with all of the components wrapped in bubble wrap.

The items in the box included the DTA, a phone cord, power cord, power adapter, ethernet cable, startup note, tips sheet, and an invoice.

After I took the DTA out of the box, and plugged in the power, the Power light immediately turned on. I next plugged the ethernet cable into a free port of my router, and the Link light tuned on .I then connected a phone, and picked up, to find a dial tone. When a number was dialed, a packet8 recording telling you the URL to activate your service was heard. I went to the web address supplied, which matched the instructions on the sheet, and was told to enter my MAC address that was found on the bottom of the DTA. When I entered my MAC address, it returned an error

I tried three times, and each time the same error came up. I then placed a call to packet8 support, who answered after a few rings. I had no hold time at all. They confirmed my MAC address, and changed something in their system. I then tried again, and was put through. The problem, so far as I can tell, was caused by me buying it through Amazon, and the DTA must not have been registered properly in their system. After I had filled out the required billing information, I paid an activation fee, and printed my account details. I then picked up the phone, and placed a long distance call with perfect quality. I felt that the quality was almost as good as my land line, if not better. I did not have to configure anything special on my router, the DTA was truly "plug and play". The Phone light turns on steady when the phone is in use, and flashes while it is ringing.

After making several calls over a few days, I am almost satisfied with the Packet8 service. There are however some issues. One day, I placed a long distance call, and suffered horrible quality, and lost the call. When I checked the call log, I had 12% packet loss. However this was not Packet8's fault, as it was my internet connection. After a quick reboot of modem and router, everything was working perfectly again. In normal calls, I lose about .2% packets, but this may or may not have something to do with Packet8. This does not cause any quality problems though. The voicemail works reasonably well, except for the timestamp is sometimes off. I do wish we had the name on the Caller-ID, as we currently only have the number. After I was satisfied with the service, I went outside and unplugged my land line from the box, and marked it clearly. Then I connected my DTA to the wall outlet, and all phones were powered. I am able to hear people clearly with four phones up, which is all I have use for at this time. As for the quality, long distance calls sound much better, and local calls are loud and clear, people say they notice an increase in quality.

My only real problems with the service, so far, is the fact that 911 will not work right, and if I lose power, or my internet breaks, I will not have phone service to call and have it fixed.

For $20.00 a month, with unlimited long distance, it makes a great replacement for a land line. I recommend it!

Just updating this review, Packet8 now working fine in SC with Charter. Thanks P8!

12-24-05 - Still has great uptime and reliability. No problems

11-29-06

Still going strong with little downtime, have a few price increases, but still the most bang for the buck.

8-1-07

Still working well, loaded unlocked firmware and switched to g711. Sounds even better. No real problems with downtime.

6-1-09

P8 has raised the price several times, and now the cost is over $32, so I switched to my ISPs phone service. The features, uptime, and quality were great, but the price is no longer!

member for 10.1 years, 3777 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 5.2 years ago

Comments:

Review by choadchimmie See Profile

  • Location: Sharpsburg,Coweta,GA
  • Cost: $26 per month
  • Install: about 10 days
Good "Reliability"
Bad "Changes in billing, poor support"
Overall "Avoid"
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

My Other Reviews

·Comcast Business..
I was a packet8 customer for 6 years and have now left the company. I was happy with the service at first and convinced many of my family and friends to sign up. After the first year or two they started charging startup fees, fees to make changes your account, and of course all the federally mandated fees. What started out as straightforward 19.99 a month now equaled about 26.00 a month. I was never really dissatisfied with the actual service which was remained solid during the time that I had it. The few calls I made to tech support were handled slowly when i could manage to wait through the hold times. I believe packet8 is a good company that lost focus on its customers needs. There is plenty of competition in the voip market and packet8 gave me no reason to remain their customer.

member for 13.3 years, 139 visits, last login: 202 days ago
updated 5.2 years ago

Comments:

Review by rjbasye See Profile

  • Location: Dry Ridge,Grant,KY
  • Cost: $31 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "Reliable, Easy Install"
Bad "Expensive, Raise Rates at short notice to customers"
Overall "Avoid them since there are better providers at cheaper rates"
Web-site:
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

My Other Reviews

·VOIPO
·Time Warner Cable
June 2 2009 Update
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------
With only a 3 day notice notice given 8x8 formally Packet 8 raised its month rate from $21.99 to $24.99 with taxes and fees, it was over 30.00 a month. 8x8 also dropped its 500 minutes a month plan in favor of the more expensive $24.99 monthly plan. It seems 8x8 has no regard to its long time residential customers and is moving away from that market entirely. I am now porting my phone number away from them. Look elsewhere for a more honest VOIP company.

Update June 24/07
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------

I'm still with Packet 8 and after 2yrs I've experienced little down time and service, sound quality has been as reliable as POTS. They are now my primary phone service.

Update 4/18/05

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------

I decided to give Packet 8 another try after I had some problems with the local Telephone Co. I have to say that Packet 8 has improved since my first try with them over a year ago. I also upgraded my old router this time which seems to have improved call quality. Also, my cable provider has raised its upload and download speeds so this will improve reliability as well.

Packet 8 now ships the BPA 410 adapter which you can now run two phones simultaneously.

Packet 8 now offers true E911 service for an additional fee.

The bad thing is that there now is a $59 cancellation fee for 12 months so I hope I do not have problems after the 30 day trial.

Packet 8s website needs improvement as call features are a little hard to find.

Update July 22nd

After having used Packet 8 since April, I have only experienced a couple of outages. Service has been stable for the last month and a half and I'm very happy. Now if the can go to 7 digit dialing it would be just like POTS service. It's not a big issue for me as I programmed my phone to handle the 1+ Area Code. I still can recommend Packet 8 for VIOP.



member for 14.3 years, 6552 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 5.2 years ago

Comments: