Thursday, December 9, 2004

VOIP Phone

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Circuit City and bought a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) device for the Vonage telephone service. When we were down at the Pinnacles last month, we had no service on our cell phones. The VOIP phone seemed like a way to have phone service almost anywhere because we can use the DataStorm satellite Internet system for the connection. Well, the test went well. It works.`It's OK most of the time in the RV and works perfectly on the house DSL connection. It's OK in the RV because the uplink breaks up occasionally due to the up bandwidth being only 20-30k while the downlink works well due to it being 250-500k. The devices lowest bandwidth requires 30k. There is a considerable delay of 1-2 seconds due to the satellite propagation delays. The delay takes a little getting used to. The delay is sort of like the delay you see on the nightly news where the reporter at their remote or network seems to be asleep when asked a question taking a couple of seconds to start their response. The sound quality is as good or better than our Verizon cell phone. In the RV, it works really well at night but during the day, sometimes, you don't get a good connection. Just hangup and try again and it usually is OK. In the house on DSL there is no difference from the SBC copper line.
What's really neat about this, in addition to the price ($15/mo for 500 minutes anywhere in US and Canada) is that you can have any phone area code you want and you can take it with you. Just unplug it from the RV, take it in the house, take it into the office, the library, anywhere there is an Broadband connection.
It's performed so well that I got another for our daughter Dawn's apartment. I'm a little upset with SBC's costs recently and while we have to keep the phone to have the DSL at both locations, we can keep the long distance and zone charges down by using Vonage. Another great thing, the hardware is free and it only requires a three month commitment. They must be confident it works. The PAP2 Lynksys adapter cost $60 at Circuit City and they give two rebates totaling $60.You can get a $50 rebate anywhere else or get the hardware directly from Vonage for free. It takes all of 5 minutes to have your new phone number working, including setup of the hardware and the account. I'm impressed!

The Vonage PAP2 adapter is the small box under the router in the middle of the picture.

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