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Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK

Vonage, a review.

I have been looking into Vonage for about a month now. As a rule I never click on Web Advertisements, but when I was in my yahoo mail box (deleting spam, no less) the yahoo ad was for Vonage. It looked interesting, so I clicked on it.

I read through their web page, every page...at least once. I thought to myself, this "looks too good to be true". Since that old saying ends with "it probably is" I started doing some research on my own on the web.

I found this forum and other web sites with information about it. I found lots of news stories, and I kept looking for something that would indicate to me that I should be avoiding Vonage.

I never found it. Sure, there were comments on this forum about slow Customer Service, but when I e-mailed them for information I had responses almost immediately. So I stuck around here and read some of what you all had to say (thanks for your insight, by the way).

Friday January 31, I took the big leap. I wanted something to replace my SWBell service due to some issues with them in the past, so I planned to use number portability to keep my old number. As I went through the order form for Vonage my old skepticism got the best of me. I wondered, "What if the service is bad?", "What if it is not stable?" and a host of other questions. Basically, I chickened out. I didn't transfer my number. I guess I only took a small hop, not a big leap.

It came in on Thursday just before noon, in ten minutes it was hooked up, plugged in, and I was on the phone. It literally took longer to get it out of the box than it took to hook it up and have it working.

The Audio quality was great. Almost NO background noise (less than my PSTN line). Voices on the calls sounded better than I remembered them on Southwestern Bell calls, and FAR better than cell phone calls (as I had heard VoIP compared).

I called locally, I called long distance, I even called toll free numbers, all of them sounded perfect. I had people call me to test my incoming ability. I even called my own vonage number from my own cell phone and land line accounts, there was no lag to the first ring and every call went through flawlessly.

I had seen some comments that faxes had problems with Vonage, and despite being told by a Vonage Customer Service Rep. that faxes would work, I still held out hope that THIS would be the test that would vindicate my skepticism. I was proven wrong, faxes worked like a charm. I was able to both send and receive faxes with no problems at all, if I hadn't plugged the machine into the ATA myself I never would have guessed it was going through the Internet.

I liked the idea of having a list of my calls that I could look through, and found that the Dashboard updates almost instantly. I logged on to my Vonage account right after hanging up from a call, and there it was.

So, it seems, I am left with the fact that I must admit that I was wrong. Vonage is exactly what they said it was. When I thought I was being duped, I wasn't, they were right. It works, and what more can you ask for?

Cam


AJuan
Anon Juan
Premium
join:2002-08-14
Miami, FL
said by Cam:
It works, and what more can you ask for?
Lower rates?

Seriously though, thanks for the write up. I suspect your experience is not uncommon?

I can understand why it is so hard for people to believe that we can genuinely feel so strongly about the service or product until they actually try it for themselves. The cynic in me would wonder about strong support for something I wasn't familiar with too!
--
Unofficial Vonage FAQs
--


dconnor
Premium
join:2002-01-03
The Beach

reply to Cam
You know Cam_, the best is even yet to come. Vonage is coming out with some pretty neat new features and options, such as the one released today »Vonage Christmas Wish List that I reported on earlier.

You commented about DashBoard and instant call records. That in itself is fantastic. Changing features on the fly (changes that will cost you service fees and take days to complete with a RBOC) and the long and ever growing list of FREE features is amazing, no matter which rate plan you opt for.

Forums such as this are often used as avenues for people to blow off some steam about a poor service and/or company. It is nice to see someone like yourself posting in such a positive manner.
--
Dan

This is my story and I am sticking to it.

[text was edited by author 2003-02-07 23:54:24]


jayklm

join:2000-10-01
Brightwaters, NY
reply to Cam
I had vonage for about 3 days now. Calls are nice and clear. Called my mom in Hawaii with no noticeable problems. Talked for 85 minutes. At the end of the conversation I asked how the connection was, she said it was very good. I told her and told her the call was placed via the Internet. She could not believe it. I will give Vonage the rest of the month. If there are no major problems, I can finally get rid of Verizon!!! I will use my pre-paid AT&T cell phone as backup and emergency 911 calls.

Of course because Vonage is an Internet based service there will be issues from time to time. Sure my verizon phone NEVER goes out. Cablevision is good but my Internet connection sometimes goes down. Since I don't use the phone much, it shouldn't be an issue.

jayklm

midlife2
Fruit Of The Loom Sucks.

join:2002-05-23
Jamestown, KY
reply to Cam
Nice review Cam...I moved from Houston to kentucky and needed cheap phone to call the family back home. I also stumbled onto vonage from a spam mail in a hotmail account...glad i did...ive had the service for several months now and its great

dahauss

join:2002-02-05
Clementon, NJ
Question. If I keep my existing verizon line and get vonage and try it and then decide to can my verizon line, can I transfer my verizon # to vonage and is there a cost to do so? it looks like there is NO cost to do so when you sign up but what about after you have service?

Thanks

Dave
dahauss@unlimitedsounds.com


vonage town

join:2003-01-17
Edison, NJ
I believe you can do so at a later date for free.

Vonage Town Message Board - »www.vonagetown.com//ubbthreads/u···eads.php
--
Vonage Town Message Board - »www.vonagetown.com//ubbthreads/u···eads.php


Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK
reply to dahauss
Yes, you can do it at any time. They send you a PDF form that you fill out, sign, and fax back to them along with the first page of your current phone bill. They say it can take up to 15 business days after you get it back. There is no charge to do that, I know I just did last week.


aggiejy
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Wimberley, TX
reply to Cam
Man... what you said... ditto.

My experience happend almost EXACTLY the same way. I even saw the add on Yahoo mail while deleting spam. Weird. Then I looked around for info (including this forum). Chicked out on using my old number (even though I qualified). Got my new number, perfect ever since. Canceled my POTS line... saving money every day! I originally signed up for the $40 a month plan. After 3 or 4 months I realized I made most of the calls in the Dallas area (my local area), so I have since switched to the $26.00 plan. I went from a $80 pots bill (with long distance) to a $26 voip line with more features than before! This is some cool stuff. As long as they don't go out of business, we're all good!


--
"Don't lend people money...it gives them amnesia."

hifi19698

join:2002-01-21
Dickinson, TX
reply to Cam
I hate to be the bad seed of the bunch, but I had quite a few problems with my Vonage phones, from no dial tones on a very consistent basis to fast busy signals on a consistent basis. It was so bad that my telemarketers refused to use them and I ultimately had them sent back. When they worked, they worked great, but when they didn't.....well I had a bunch of angry workers on my hands. I did receive fairly good Customer Support but it took them a week and a half to address my problems. After lending me some tech support, corresponding thru email, and after talking with my RoadRunner Commercial Account Representative and a couple of RoadRunner Commercial Account Technicians and boosting my bandwidth to 1.5/1.5, I was still not able to come to a satisfactory resolution of the problems. It seemed that nothing would clear up the problems. I certainly was hoping that the phones would work out because they would have saved my company a ton of money on long distance calls, but unfortunately that was not the case. I know my case is probably one of the rare ones, but it goes to show that sometimes, things are too good to be true!!


Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK
I don't know how many lines you had into your telemarketing company. That may have had something to do with it. I do know that the more lines you have the more bandwidth you have to have.

I use the service in my home and have found that it works great.

hifi19698

join:2002-01-21
Dickinson, TX
I had problems regardless of how many phones I had running at any one time. I tried running only one phone at a time and had the same results. I tried decreasing the bandwidth that each phone uses, as recommended my a Vonage Tech Rep but still did not have satisfactory results.


somenamethatworks

@howard01.md.comcast.
reply to Cam

Re: Vonage, a review: some bad

I signed up with Vonage and immediately was impressed
with the service. I started with a temporary number until
they could switch over my Verizon number.

When that happened everything turned to crap! Dialing my
phone number from any line gives a dead line - no ringing
no nothing. I get a dial tone, but attempting any call
to anywhere results in a pause then a busy signal. During
the 14 hours when I could still make outgoing calls on
Verizon, I contacted Vonage customer service 3 times.
Each time the wait on hold was about 30 minutes before
I could speak to somebody. Each time they advised me to
reboot another component of my network (ATA, router, cable
modem) each time I begged them to stay on the line while
I did so and they refused. Each time it MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

Now I've been completely without phone service for 3 days
in a row and although I do have a "service ticket" open
it seems like nothing is being done. I'm sure the major
snow storm here on the East Coast isn't helping anything,
but I'm sure the problem is just a typo or something in
one of their computer databases. You'd think they could
fix it remotely.

I'm seriously considering playing with the FACTRESET#
and seeing if a new tftp upload will get the damn thing
going again but I don't want to make matters worse.

As you might imagine I'm a bit soured on Vonage at the
moment. Perhaps the incoming calls problem could be the
fault of some third party (who they need to jump on), but
there's no excuse for not being able to make outgoing
calls!

harry

clecrupt9

join:2002-01-22
GA

1 recommendation

reply to hifi19698

Re: Vonage, a review.

Business users will have mixed results with that ATA. It has to be deployed with QoS and DHCP issues resolved.

Best bet for heavy use is a data T-1 on a Cisco router with a Cisco switch. Why Cisco, because like equipment is always better than mixed, and Cisco has everything you need when it comes to TOS and QoS networking in my honest opinion. What would be nice is a 24 port ATA with switch integrated.


ITTOLEDO

join:2002-03-14
Toledo, OH
said by clecrupt9:

What would be nice is a 24 port ATA with switch integrated.
I definitely second that.


vonage town

join:2003-01-17
Edison, NJ

reply to somenamethatworks

Re: Vonage, a review: some bad

said by somenamethatworks:


As you might imagine I'm a bit soured on Vonage at the
moment. Perhaps the incoming calls problem could be the
fault of some third party (who they need to jump on), but
there's no excuse for not being able to make outgoing
calls!

harry


Perhaps with the blizzard on the east coast, it is taking them a bit longer than usual to resovle these things. At the same time, I heard the snow storm brought down some POTS phone lines in some areas, and those areas will be without their PSTN phone service for several days. Perhaps when everyone gets back to work, you will have this resolved quickly. Let us know how it goes.

In addition, the outbound calling problem may be related to your home router/firewall. If you want to give it a try, I recommend setting up a DMZ and placing the ATA on it and then trying to make an outbound call (just make sure to reboot your ATA right before making the outbound test).

--
Vonage Town Message Board - »www.vonagetown.com//ubbthreads/u···eads.php

[text was edited by author 2003-02-17 18:39:00]

[text was edited by author 2003-02-17 18:44:10]


Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK
said by vonage town:
I heard the snow storm brought down some phone lines in some areas, and those areas will be without phone service for several days.
This is true, I received notice that the FCC has instituted a communications emergency in some areas of the northeast and that several Amateur Radio groups have been called up to assist in emergency communication.

haceaton

join:2003-02-17
Columbia, MD
reply to vonage town
said by vonage town:

Perhaps with the blizzard on the east coast, it is taking them a bit longer than usual to resovle these things. At the same time, I heard the snow storm brought down some POTS phone lines in some areas, and those areas will be without their PSTN phone service for several days. Perhaps when everyone gets back to work, you will have this resolved quickly. Let us know how it goes.

In addition, the outbound calling problem may be related to your home router/firewall. If you want to give it a try, I recommend setting up a DMZ and placing the ATA on it and then trying to make an outbound call (just make sure to reboot your ATA right before making the outbound test).



Yes well I did the DMZ thing to no avail. In fact I did a bit more detective work and discovered that my ATA is doing a tftp request for a file named "ata000b46xxxxxx" where the xx are the rest of my ATA's MAC address and getting a "File not found" from Vonage's tftp server.

I did end up doing the 322873738# reset after being frustrated with nothing happening. After all the problem started Friday morning and the storm was no issue until Saturday night.

I did the reset partly because the document »www.vonage.com/help/ata.pdf described how to do that and then reconfigure the ATA.

I've since e-mailed this info to Vonage customer service; we'll see if they act upon it. I'd also point out that there is no voicemail nor forwarding ability - dialing my number is dead line every time no matter how the dashboard is configured. Finally that too was the same before the storm so it's quite a stretch to blame the problems on the storm -except for the slow response AFTER Saturday night.

Oh, and it sucks being snowed in (24 inches in my front yard) with NO PHONE!

But it was fun playing with the ATA configuration page.

Cheers,
harry


Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK
It sounds like your MAC address was possibly entered incorrectly, which should be a fairly simple fix for them when they are able to snow plow their way back into the office.

By the way, not to rub it in or anything, but it was 62 degrees here today.


AJuan
Anon Juan
Premium
join:2002-08-14
Miami, FL
said by Cam:
By the way, not to rub it in or anything, but it was 62 degrees here today.
Sounds positively chilly!

Oops! Did I say that?
--
Unofficial Vonage FAQs
--


Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK
reply to Cam

Re: Vonage, a review.

To bring this back full circle. I faxed in the document to port my Southwestern Bell number to Vonage. It took less time than they said it would, and it worked perfectly. I am now free of the confiscatory monthly Southwestern Bell bill. My phone bill has dropped considerably.

In my time using Vonage I have become even more pleased with the service than I was when I originally wrote this e-mail. (I can't even think how pleased I will be when I don't get a SW Bell bill next month!)

I did have one minor problem with the service (with a feature, not with the actual phone service) and that was resolved with a couple of e-mails to tech support. It was a minor thing that I probably could have done with out, but their Customer Service stuck with it until they found a solution for me.

Shortly after I signed up for Vonage I had to call SW Bell customer service about a problem with my service with them. The difference in the way my call and my problem was handled between Vonage and SW Bell, was like the difference between night and day. The Vonage people seemed to care that I was completely satisfied with my service, the Bell people didn't seem to care one way or the other.

As soon as a second line is made available I will be adding that to my service, and I look forward to the other additions to the service as they come out.