January 25, 2006

VoIP - What About Those $25 Vonage Ads?

You've seen the advertising - an amazing cornucopia of telephone services for $25 and so easy to install, even the technology-challenged have no problem with it. Vonage can offer this service because it's using the internet, piggybacking on existing broadband cables and the like, to serve its customers. Think of the low overhead involved.

How can they do it? Through VoIP, "Voice over Internet Protocol," which is explained in great detail at HowStuffWorks.Com and at Wikipedia.

Should you switch? Yes, but maybe later ... VoIP service is only as good as that of your internet service provider. The reliability assumed with standardized phone service just isn't there for VoIP yet. Think power failures, viruses and worms, things like that.

And, importantly - there's the 911 issue. Right now, using VoIP means that the 911 system cannot automatically discern the source location of the VoIP call. If you call 911 and cannot tell them your address, they won't know. For this reason alone, perhaps it's best to wait on VoIP until the providers get these kinks out of the service.


Anonymous said...

There is also the problem of sound - calls get cut off or the caller sounds like someone inside a barrel. I agree with you. Wait.

Anonymous said...

Hi, love your site! I have to disagree with waiting on Vonage though. We have used it nearly a year and have had no problems. I love knowing exactly what my phone bill will be every month also. We used to be stationed in Oklahoma and now we are stationed in Northern Japan, and Vonage has been a lifesaver. My family can call us anytime and since our Vonage number has a California are code, it is just like calling down the street! Even though we are across the world, my daughter can call her grandparents to tell them what her hamster did that day, and it doesn't cost us an arm and a leg. Love it! We are living on a part of a base that is famous for the poor quality of the internet, and we even pay less for it than the folks in the main part of base because of that. Yet, still our Vonage calls are clear as a bell and we never have dropped calls. I would highly recommend Vonage to anyone considering it, especially if you live away from your family. For military members who often find themselves stationed all over the world, it is especially wonderful!

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