A while back Robert mentioned to me he was going to make the jump to Vonage, a Voice Over IP (VOIP) telephone service created to replace your actual phone company. I told him it all looked good, but to let me know what he thought after using it for a while.
After about a month I asked him what he thought, and he spent the next 30 minutes extolling the virtues of the service and how he hardly noticed it was there, except for lowered phone bills. Well, this had me very intrigued.
I then started convincing Maggie that we needed to give it a try and shortly after our move, we ordered it and the equipment arrived two days later (right on time). One of the huge bonuses for us is that we get to keep our existing number from Verizon, without keeping the higher cost of their service.
My biggest concern was getting all the phone jacks in the apartment setup. But I got lucky because our apartment complex wired each apartment as if they were their own house, so I had the normal external phone connections you would find at a house. Using that, I was able to follow Vonage’s wiring diagram for using the parallelism of the interior phone wiring to plug a phone line from the Vonage router to one of the phone jacks in the house and have that supply the phone service to all the other jacks. That made things very easy.
We’ve had the service for about a month now and can’t be happier. We can use their online management portal to see all the calls we have received and made. Also, we get email notifications when we get voicemail and can actually listen to them online. We get all the standard features of normal phone service all for 1/3 of the price. That includes unlimited calling to anywhere in the United States and Canada.
Another really cool feature is the ability to get virtual phone numbers in other area codes, so it looks like you have a phone number in any city you want. Kinda cool, especially say if move across the country and want to possibly setup a number that would still be local to all your friends and family. 🙂 (Haven’t done this yet, but it’s on our list to consider)
One more thing that hit me was you can “take your phone with you”. Basically, you bring the Vonage broadband router with you on a trip and plug it into some broadband, plug a phone into it, and your number will ring there. It’s a bit crazy, but if you were going somewhere for a while unexpectedly and you knew you would have access to broadband, it would be worth it.
The only drawback I have found is that our DirecTivo units can’t seem to make their daily call over the service. We can fax fine, I just think the dial tone times out too fast for the slow dialing modem in those boxes. I’m going to look into seeing if I can extend the timeout for the dial tone because plenty of people have posted that they have successfully gotten the DirecTivos to make the daily call. But luckily, the units continue to work fine even without that call since they get their program information from the satellite.
I highly recommend anyone out there who wants to save a ton of money on their phone bill to check out Vonage. Well worth the money.