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IP Phone Service

Chakara

Active Member
I've been thinking about getting IP phone service such as Vonage for a long time. After a fair amount of reading I hear mostly good things about

ViaTalk

Today is their birthday and for the first 1000 people who buy a year of service, you'll get a 2nd year for free. That comes to $200 for two years.

I have mine on order and will let you guys know how it goes. I am hoping to replace my POTS line.....
 

Mike

Senior Member
Not a bad deal. I have had them twice, once many years back and I dropped them due to quality (of course it could also have been my ISP at the time).

Then again more recently (say 2 years ago). Quality was improved, but still had some occasional glitches. This was on a superb cable modem connection so it was not bandwidth. I was using it for all outgoing calls at the end, and had all incoming calls coming to the land line (sometimes the phone would 'not be found'). I did not spend a lot of time troubleshooting with them, and these issues may have been isolated or fixed by now.

I later switched to the service offered by my cable company. The VOIP device is incorporated into the cable modem, so I presume they are doing their own QOS at the entry point.

However, even on the deal I got, I pay $29.99 a month (although buying cable modem, cable tv and phone from them gave an overall discount as well).

Question is, can you get your money back if you are unhappy? The price is definitely right as they normally charge $24.95 a month if I remember correctly. Then again at that price I'd say it was worth a shot. Worst case, use it as a second line if you dont like it as the primary connection, it's cheap enough.
 

Chakara

Active Member
There is a 14 day trial period. My hope is to eliminate MA Bell. One of the good things is fail-over and twinning. Basically you can have any other phone ring if the service is unavailable. It is also supposed to be possible to have the VT line and say you cell ring simultaneously.

I guess I'll find out soon enough and report back what I get....
 

jpkishere

Member
I have had vonage for about a year now with little to no problems, but I barely use my phone and was playing around 14 bucks a month for their 500 minutes/month plan..

Just signed up for SunRocket which had $199/yr for unlimited with 2nd year free.. That puts me at a little over $8/month for unlimited phone...

It was a 4th of July deal, but i don't see it on there website anymore, but I have seen it a bunch of times, so I am sure it will be back..

Also, if I cancel within the first 12 months, you get refunded a pro-rated amount..
 

Steve

Senior Member
I would be interested in your comparison of SunRocket to Vonage. I signed the 2 for 1 deal for Cinco de Mayo. I have had a fair share of drops, echo, static, etc. I have my Gizmo behind my router and need to move it in front to try it. Interested to see if you experience any issues with a similar setup to what you had with Vonage.
 

acheslow

Active Member
I've had Sunrocket for about six months. I've heard tales of people who say that their Sunrocet audio quality exceeds that of POTS, but I have always had problems. At one point a Sunrocket support rep had me set the bandwidth rate limit to something like 32Kbps and I think that actually made it worse. I believe you want to either disable the rate limit or set it to your actual upload bandwidth if you want the best quality.
 

Skibum

Senior Member
Quality is largely dictated by the codec that you are using. When making a call to PSTN the best codec to use is G.711. This should result in quality equal to or slightly better than a regular call. Truly high fidelity calls are reserved for IP to IP calls where the audio bandwidth of the PSTN is not the limiting factor.
An IP to IP call using Broadvoice 32 or Speex Wideband is far better than a PSTN call. Not even close.

BTW you can check your network/connection for its VOIP quality by running some tests on Test Your VOIP
You should test above 4.0 for good quality calls. I usually test 4.3 or 4.4.

Skibum
CounterPath Support www.counterpath.com
 

Steve

Senior Member
I have always tested well with these tests. I just tested 4.4 and 4.3 also depending on the destination. And my problems aren't consistent - some calls are fine, some stink (even with no simultaneous traffic on my DSL).

How do you know what codec is used? Is that on Sunrocket's side? In the Gizmo?
 

Skibum

Senior Member
I'm sorry, I have not used either client. In our client eyeBeam it is only a click away. (shameless plug) :)
 

Mike

Senior Member
That is a neat test. I just tried it and got 4.4.

If you have a lot going on in your network, one of those QoS routers may help. This would prioritize voice traffic so it gets the bandwidth it needs. I was looking at the DLink Gamefuel routers (the 4300 with wireless G and gigabit wired ports, or the 4100 without wireless).

They have been rated very well, but I do not have direct experience yet. I also suspect part of the reason why my cable VOIP works so well is it is integrated with the modem. Then again the cable throughput is superb so bandwidth does not seem to be an issue.

I do remember however, a few years back when I started with Vonage on the same cable setup, that there were some issues. Not huge but prevented me from dropping the POTS line (I was using POTs for incoming, vonage for outgoing). I think the small issues and inconsistencies coupled with them denying my rebate and getting a great deal from cable made me switch. Frankly, I have never questioned the decision since as I have not had any problems (and I no longer have land lines, my backup is two cell phones with different providers (happened to work out that way)).
 

Skibum

Senior Member
QoS and prioritizing packets will only help if you have a very busy network.

I've dropped my PSTN line too... and not looked back once. Asterisk and AMP is great for stats, plus I can call from extension to extension. (I gave an extension to my mother and sister both previously long distance calls.)
 

Tim

Member
I've had Sunrocket now for about a year and a half or so. I had checked and they rated higher than Vonage in this area. One thing I found out from a friend on Vonage, who cuts out from time to time, and everytime I talked to him before I got VOIP I knew he was on it, he mentioned that they charge you 40 bucks per line or number. So to drop them it will cost you 80 bucks, no matter how long you're with them. He was going to switch to Sunrocket but didn't want to pay the 80 bucks. CHECK THE TOS with Vonage!!

Sunrocket gives you a free expandable phone system, I've had some minor issues with them, but overall I'm very happy with them and the quality of the service. I did move my Gizmo behind the router, which really helps my speed for my computers accessing the net. I have not had any problems, with the exception of one time when I was uploading a bunch of files, the person I was talking to said I was breaking up now and then. I stopped the upload and it was fine. Most people don't even know I'm on VOIP and those I tell can't believe it in some cases, the quality has been that good. I'm happy!
 

Chakara

Active Member
Well, I'm on it now and am going to dump Qwest. Faxed in the forms to port the number over today (via the VOIP line). Faxing does appear to be spotty, but I almost never do it anyway.

There have been a call or 2 that may or may not have had issues. There was always a cell on the other end so hard to say. Either way, for as little as we use the phones and with the 2 cells on different carries (like Mike) I think we'd be crazy not to.

ViaTalk is cool in that they give you access to your Gizmo (or BYO) and also let you use use any softphone you'd like (plug for Skibum's X-Lite). However, I was not able to use the Gizmo and a softphone at the same time. Guess that is not too surprising.
 

Tim

Member
I tried faxing once, and it didn't seem to be much of a success. I called Sunrocket and asked them about it, figuring it probably wasn't supported. They informed me that "some" methods of faxing will work with Sunrocket, but there are compatibility issues with other methods. They suggested that I keep a standard phone line for that and 911 calls, which defeats the purpose of saving money on my phone bill in my opinion! Since I rarely fax, I figured this wasn't a problem. If one does allot of faxing, VOIP may not be a good option, but for the everyday phone user its great!

As far as quality, yeah it is difficult to say. I've had the same issue, they instantly say your phone sucks when they're on a cell phone you can never hear them on anyhow LOL I've found that some of my "issues" are actually on my end. Though one thing I can say for Sunrocket, when I call them they're honest about the problems they're having. The support has been great, many companies have lied to me when I later found out it was an issue on their end, not mine. I'm happy with it.
 

Skibum

Senior Member
Chakara said:
However, I was not able to use the Gizmo and a softphone at the same time. Guess that is not too surprising.
That is called concurrent login. Some providers allow this, most do not. This is a perfect reason to implement asterisk. askerisk connects to your provider (1 connection) and you connect as many phones as you would like to asterisk.
 
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