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  • VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

    Many of you might have seen the Vonage banner that's running on the site. I would encourage you to click on it and take a look at the site, if not just sign up for the service.

    Vonage is a hybrid POTS/VoIP phone company that is addressing conventional voice phone service in new way. You get a small module that plugs into your router/firewall and then allows you to plug your phone into that. You get your dialtone over your broadband Internet connection and are able to use your phone like normal but without a traditional twisted pair copper phone line.

    $24.99/month gets you UNLIMITED calling anywhere in the US and Canada and also some GREAT international calling rates. You also get a bunch of free services like voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, 3 way calling included. The voicemail system is pretty cool in that you can have your voicemail messages e-mailed to you, or simple e-mailed notifications. You can get your voicemails over the web through your account control panel or just call up like you would with a conventional phone system's voicemail service.

    In many cases Vonage can even port over your existing phone number to your new VoIP service so your number won't even change.

    I have personally switched over my local phone line (Verizon) to Vonage and won't be spending the usual $75+ per month on my phone any more. The $24.99 seems to fit me a lot better. :-)

    They have a bunch of other options that can be added on as well, things like Softphones that let you use your computer as a telephone but with a portable number that can be accessed anywhere with a broadband connection. I haven't done the softphone yet but the VoIP service is great. Save yourself some money and check this out. They do also have a plan that's cheaper than the $24.99/month deal, but it only allows for 500 minutes/month.

    Click HERE to check out Vonage.

    They also have a pretty neat referral program too. So that's more incentive to get other people to check it out and sign up. But when you find that the service is worth the cash, you'll want to spread the word.. :-)
    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

  • #2
    Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

    Please do let us know what you think of this service after you've personally relied on it for some time.

    Thank you for sharing. This technology is exciting.
    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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    • #3
      Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

      Originally posted by Wyzcrak
      Please do let us know what you think of this service after you've personally relied on it for some time.

      Thank you for sharing. This technology is exciting.
      Will do! The technology is really exciting though, you are correct in that. It's going to save me close to a thousand dollars a year.
      Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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      • #4
        Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

        From the way it reads, one phone per account? (since you have to plug the phone into the box) That is to say, you couldn't have a whole home (2+ phones) with this, correct?
        [volun2]
        NS Game Officer. TF2 Admin. BF2 Admin / Scripter. PM with issues.
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        • #5
          Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

          Originally posted by Pokerface
          From the way it reads, one phone per account? (since you have to plug the phone into the box) That is to say, you couldn't have a whole home (2+ phones) with this, correct?
          It is my impression that you can have as many physical phones hooked up to the converter as you like, but the service offers only a single phone "line" so only one person can be connected to the converter at any given time.
          Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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          • #6
            Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

            Here's some detailed information. Looks pretty straightforward to me. I've also looked up the product specs for both the Linksys and OEM Cisco adapters that are used to provide the gateway to the VoIP switch and they both will support an entire house full of phones..

            One way to use Vonage on multiple phones is to modify the existing telephone wiring in your home to distribute the Vonage service to all of your phone jacks. Then you can plug a regular telephone into any jack and make a call.

            This option works best if you own your own single-family home. If you live in an apartment or a multiple-family dwelling, chances are your landlord and neighbors won't want you to mess with your building's telephone lines. It also helps if you are handy around the house and have a basic understanding of telephone wiring. It's not very difficult to modify your home phone wiring, but because you're dealing with lines that carry voltage, there's always a risk of causing a fire or damage to your phone lines and equipment. If you're not comfortable doing the work yourself, you should hire a professional electrician or telephone technician to do the job instead.

            It's important to note that by modifying your telephone wiring to distribute Vonage throughout your home, you'll be totally disconnecting yourself from the phone company. But the process is completely reversible. So if you sell your house in the future, for example, you can restore your old phone configuration with minimal difficulty.

            INSTRUCTIONS

            STEP ONE - ISOLATE YOUR INSIDE WIRING

            To re-wire your home for Vonage, you first need to isolate your inside phone wiring from the lines that come into your house from the phone company. This is a step you shouldn't skip, even if you think your phone line is already dead. If you don't isolate your inside wiring, and the phone company decides to send voltage across the line you thought was dead, it could damage the telephone equipment inside your house or worse, cause a fire.
            To begin, find the box on the outside of your house where the telephone lines come into your house from the street. This is called the Network Interface Unit (NIU). It's the legal demarcation point where the outside wiring from the street (owned by the telephone company) meets the wiring inside your house (owned by you). When you open the box, which is usually locked or fastened with a screw, you will have access to the side containing the wires going into your home, but not the side with the lines coming from the street. You'll also see a ground wire coming out of the phone company's side of the box. This wire protects you against lightning strikes, so make sure you never disconnect it.
            Once you've opened your side of the NIU, you'll see one or more sets of screw terminals inside. Each will have a short piece of telephone wire coming out of it with a phone connector on the end plugged into a corresponding jack. If there's only one line coming into your house, you'll most likely have only one set of screw terminals. To disconnect from the phone company, simply unplug each of the short telephone wires from its corresponding jack.
            Next, you need to make it obvious to others that you've unplugged the wires on purpose and they shouldn't undo your modifications without risking damage to your inside equipment. Start by wrapping the end of each of the telephone wires you just unplugged with electrical tape so it can't be plugged back in without unwrapping the tape. Then, clearly label the inside of the box with a message that says something like: "Do not reconnect! May cause damage to inside equipment!" A sign written or printed in waterproof ink and taped inside the box works well. No matter how you choose to label the box, be sure it is obvious, clear, and easy to read.
            Once you've clearly labeled the inside of the NIU, close and refasten the box. Then, just to be safe, label the outside of the box as well. To be extra safe, you can also wrap a cord or nylon tie-wrap around the box so it can't be opened without cutting it. Remember, to avoid damage, you want to make it as inconvenient as possible for someone to change what you've done without your knowledge.

            STEP TWO - CONFIRM THE LINE IS DISCONNECTED


            After you've isolated your wiring from the phone company's, it's important to confirm the line is disconnected before installing Vonage.
            Go back into your house and pick up a phone plugged into a jack that previously worked. You should hear absolutely nothing; the line should be totally dead. If the line's not dead, go back and check your work. If your work looks correct and the line's still not dead, it means that voltage is somehow still being carried on the line and it's not safe for you to proceed any further. Consult a professional electrician or telephone technician for help.

            STEP THREE - CONNECT YOUR PHONE ADAPTER


            If you've successfully isolated your wiring and you've confirmed the line is dead, the hard part's over. It's time to connect to Vonage!
            Simply plug your DSL/cable modem into the Vonage phone adapter. Then plug your phone adapter into any telephone jack using a standard telephone cord. Finally, plug regular phones into the other jacks in your house. Telephone jacks are wired in parallel, so when you plug your phone adapter into any working jack, it will spread the signal to the other jacks in your home.
            Like any telephone line, there is a limit to the number of phones you can connect to a single Vonage line. If too many phones are connected, the signal will fade, and not all of the phones will ring when a call comes in. Therefore, we recommend you only connect five phones maximum to a single Vonage line.

            Congratulations! Your home is now wired with Vonage!
            LINK
            Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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            • #7
              Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

              Vonage Update:

              The connection kit came in and included a LinkSys Broadband Firewall/Router with VoIP ports on the back! It's a full fledged home Router/Firewall with a 3 port hub and 2 VoIP ports.

              Setup was self explanitory and included an installation CD that ran seamlessly. Once I ran the CD install to program the router, and plugged in a phone, I got dialtone.

              The quality is far superior to what I get from my traditional phone line and I've even found settings in the Vonage control panel on their website that lets me change the bandwidth used (and thereby the sound quality) on my VoIP ports. The highest quality uses about 90Kb/sec when in use. There are a ton of features in the control panel that allow you to change all sorts of phone service options/settings and features. I thought that was very cool.

              The service has been flawless since installed and I haven't had any issues at all to date. All of the extra features like Caller ID, Voicemail, etc. also work just like their traditional counterparts.

              Wiring up the whole house has also been a much easier task than expected. I went to the network interface box where my local phone company (Verizon) drops the phone line to my house and simply dis-connected their feed from my inside wiring. As long as you leave your inside wiring cross-connected, you can just plug a phone line from one of the VoIP ports into a nearby phone jack and it will feed all the jacks in the rest of your house. I plan to go to Home Depot and pick up a basic RJ11 phone jack and a small Split 66 block and wire it up a little nicer, but that's coming from my traditional telecommunications training rather than any sort of necessity to do so. :-)

              I'm still standing with the thumbs up on this one. If you're spending more than $25/month for a phone line/long distance calls and other services, go check out this new phone service....

              Vonage - The Broadband Phone Company
              Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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              • #8
                Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                So do you still pay verizon for your IP service? If so do you still have to pay local carrier fees for the copper?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                  Originally posted by Wyzcrak
                  Please do let us know what you think of this service after you've personally relied on it for some time.

                  Thank you for sharing. This technology is exciting.
                  Some things to watch out for when deciding to go with VoIP phone service:

                  1. Some companies do not offer emergency 911 services. MAKE SURE YOU FIND THIS OUT, so that you are not surprised at a bad time when the call doesn't go through. Ask, or test early in the AM, or late in the PM.

                  2. Your house alarm system. A typical alarm system would operate on the POTS (Copper) lines running into your house. If you shut those down, the alarm will not operate correctly. Even hooking it into the VoIP port can cause the system not to operate, because of line security features. There are new technologies coming out that allow alarm transmissions to be made over the net now, so that would be something to check into. I deal with this on a daily basis, as I support over 30,000 alarm customers, and many licensed alarm techs.

                  3. Power outages are always a pain, but if you want a phone when it happens, you will need your high-sped modem, router, and other equipment on a UPS unit.


                  I am all for this technology, as it will pave the way for exciting, cheaper, and alternate methods for communication. As far as I know, right now the VoIP industry is not regulated by your state, like standard phone lines.

                  Bring on the new stuff... especially if it's cheaper!!
                  birdie_in_Texas:ok..i feel stupid here..what is "NS"..? Wyzcrak:Natural Selection. Don't feel at a loss for not knowing the acronym. Feel at a loss for not having experienced the game.

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                  • #10
                    Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                    Originally posted by RandomGuy
                    So do you still pay verizon for your IP service? If so do you still have to pay local carrier fees for the copper?
                    I've already called in a cancellation order for my traditional phone line. So I won't be paying Verizon for anything. My IP service is carried over my broadband connection that I get from COX High Speed Internet. So no, there is no fee from Verizon for any service delivered over copper.

                    I pay about $47/mo for my COX Broadband service. I only use them for Broadband and don't pay for their traditional Analog/Digital Cable TV service.
                    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                      Originally posted by ImAWuss
                      Some things to watch out for when deciding to go with VoIP phone service:

                      1. Some companies do not offer emergency 911 services. MAKE SURE YOU FIND THIS OUT, so that you are not surprised at a bad time when the call doesn't go through. Ask, or test early in the AM, or late in the PM.
                      VONAGE offers emergency 911 service. You need to sign into your account and fill out your residence address and some other information and activate it. 911 service relies on ANI (Automatic Number Identification) technology rather than Caller ID. Since broadband VoIP doesn't support ANI they need to "emulate" it on their switch.

                      2. Your house alarm system. A typical alarm system would operate on the POTS (Copper) lines running into your house. If you shut those down, the alarm will not operate correctly. Even hooking it into the VoIP port can cause the system not to operate, because of line security features. There are new technologies coming out that allow alarm transmissions to be made over the net now, so that would be something to check into. I deal with this on a daily basis, as I support over 30,000 alarm customers, and many licensed alarm techs.
                      This service would work for a typical alarm system. Most alarm systems are wired into your telephone demarc and have the capability of grabbing the line away from any other device using it. If you treat the VoIP port as a traditional demarc and wire it into a network interface / split 66 block as would normally be done you can wire up an alarm system the same way they are done with conventional alarm systems. If you just plug your phone line directly into the VoIP port then you would end up with a lot of issues with an alarm system.

                      3. Power outages are always a pain, but if you want a phone when it happens, you will need your high-sped modem, router, and other equipment on a UPS unit.
                      A very good thing to mention. Traditional phone lines are not powered by your electrical service in your home. Old style phones that do NOT require external power will function normally with traditional phone service in the absense of electrical service.

                      I am all for this technology, as it will pave the way for exciting, cheaper, and alternate methods for communication. As far as I know, right now the VoIP industry is not regulated by your state, like standard phone lines.

                      Bring on the new stuff... especially if it's cheaper!!
                      I was very uncertain about it at first. But considering the phenominal cost savings vs. copper based POTS and VoIP, i'm very pleased with the results. I normally won't pimp a product/service unless it really is worthwhile..

                      This one is worthwhile provided you understand the restrictions already mentioned above...
                      Last edited by Apophis; 11-18-2004, 02:32 PM.
                      Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                        Originally posted by Apophis
                        Traditional phone lines are now powered by your electrical service in your home.
                        Was this a typo? My understanding is that phone lines are not powered by my home's electrical service?
                        Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                        Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                          Originally posted by Wyzcrak
                          Was this a typo? My understanding is that phone lines are not powered by my home's electrical service?
                          Yes, that was a typo.. I'll fix it now.. :)
                          Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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                          • #14
                            Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                            Happy with it!

                            I'm enjoying Vonage quite a bit. The service has been completely reliable, all my phones and my fax all function normally with no service issues.

                            The one thing that's annoying is the telephone "alert" tone that sounds when you leave the phone off the hook. It seems to kick in a lot quicker than normal and my answering machine sometimes picks it up on incoming calls. But with free voicemail, once I learn their system I'll most likely just switch over to that. It's more feature-rich in comparison to my answering machine.

                            The online reporting of incoming/outgoing calls is nice, and being nearly real-time it's at least an amusement factor to look at.
                            Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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                            • #15
                              Re: VONAGE Banner - VERY cool, take a look...

                              Thanks for the update. I'm going to have to look into this at home. Verry cheap, and I've yet to hear any negative issues.
                              birdie_in_Texas:ok..i feel stupid here..what is "NS"..? Wyzcrak:Natural Selection. Don't feel at a loss for not knowing the acronym. Feel at a loss for not having experienced the game.

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