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Ahead of IPO, Vonage Faces User Complaints 212

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Internet phone-service provider Vonage (whose planned IPO was mentioned on Slashdot last week) is confronting complaints of poor sound quality, dropped calls and other glitches, the Wall Street Journal reports. From the article: 'Customers who try to leave are complaining of bureaucratic hassles and snafus, particularly when they seek to switch services and take their numbers with them. Ironically, Vonage has long complained that local phone giants drag their feet in releasing the phone numbers of customers who want to leave.'"
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Ahead of IPO, Vonage Faces User Complaints

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  • Tried Vonage; didn't like it; walked away and left my money on the table. The money lost wasn't significant enough to warrant the time.
    • by Pxtl (151020) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:29PM (#15362444) Homepage
      Same deal here. The simple fact was my ISP didn't give me good enough connection for consistent phone quality - and I wasn't on a lite plan or anything. Good product, good support, but trying to leave or even downgrade my plan was an expensive hassle. There was also a massive problem with getting the unit delivered in the first place because of difficulties with DHL. Their technical people are great, but everybody else that I talked to there drove me nuts.
    • Your problem with faxes was probably user error - you can't use fax machines with Vonage (or any other VoIP, for that matter) voice lines. Those routers use audio compression to send your voice over the internet, and audio compression is lossy. Trying to send a fax transmission over a VoIP voice line is like trying to compress the data on your hard drive into an MP3. Audio compression isn't bit-for-bit equivalent, and fax transmissions will error when bits change.

      You need a second line to send faxes, and
      • by phantom1584 (954858) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @10:31PM (#15362700)
        You sure can fax over the main vonage line! I do this all the time via my winmodem, and I don't have a second vonage line, just the primary. Just set the baud rate to 9600, and fax away....never had a issue
      • vonage also told me i could fax over the main line, but i ordered the secondary line for fax anyway. its set to highest quality automatically and cant be changed.

        mostly faxes go through, but occasionally some done. fax is old tech and lots of shoddy faxes out there my wife has come up against...

        i been on vonage about a year and the quality is no where near a standard phone line. but the cost is so much lower is not even funny. with her family across the US now, I am saving a TON of money. Mostly the ca
      • AOL does/did most of their cancellation service(internally the dept. is called 'SAVES') inhouse. $4-$7.00 bonus to reps that got a member to stay for longer than 90 days (thus the free 3 months deal, then you will forget to check your cc statement and blammo, billing continues).

        If Vonage uses the same principle for their cancellation svcs, I may just cancel my Vonage acct tomorrow. (not really, SBC/ATT is the phone service here, and they can go to hell if they think I'll ever go back)

        cheers.
      • Because you think first generation FAX worked by sending *plain data bits* over *lossless line* ?!?!?

        First generation (pre-ISDN) FAX used modem. The modem will convert the binary data to waves. Waves that can be conveyed as sound over the very same copper wire. You can't call an analog phone conversation as lossless.

        The problem doesn't come from the lossiness of the VoIP lines. It comes from the fact that the modem is optimized for a specific kind of lossiness that is characteristic of analog lines (transmi
      • Your problem with faxes was probably user error - you can't use fax machines with Vonage (or any other VoIP, for that matter) voice lines. Those routers use audio compression to send your voice over the internet, and audio compression is lossy.

        Sure, you can. It's not the compression, it's the level of compression. If you're running your fax machine at 14.4kbps, and the codec you're using for VoIP is 6-8kbps, you can't expect to see great results. Use a higher bitrate codec such as G.711, or lower you fax'

      • I just have it forward my voicemail to GMail. No slow download problems there. I used to also have it simultaneously ring my cellphone and send a copy of the voicemail notification as a text message.

        My *BIG* problem with Vonage is that after looking at their absolutely dismal financials, I'm left wondering, IPO or not, whether they're going to be around much longer.
  • by dew (3680) <david@Nospam.weekly.org> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:22PM (#15362407) Homepage Journal
    I signed up for the Vonage service, tried it, didn't like it, tried to leave. I went through a bit of a nightmare trying to cancel the service and ended up needing to resort to the BBB. I wrote up the experience here: http://david.weekly.org/writings/vonage.php3 [weekly.org] - apparently from the comments others have had similar experiences.
    • I had a similar experience with Cablevision/Optimum Online, and Skype, and Vonage...now I just use a pedestrian POTS line again. I resent having to pay all the BS fees and taxes, but it simply works and I don't have to take time out of my day chasing around my service provider when my incoming and/or outgoing phone service just stops for no apparent reason.
    • All voip carriers have problems with faxes and modems. Normal voip is compressed but when sending a fax the both terminating and originating voip gateway has to detect the fax tones and switch to no compression(64bit). Then you have problems with codec properly grabbing all the information due sampling rates etc. Faxes and voip is so hit or miss due to these issues. 56k Modems and voip is another story.
      • I slowed my fax machine down (9.6 or 14.4k, I forgot which) and set something about error correction and it's worked great since. The default settings seemed to be geared towards a POTS line and did not work well on the VoIP line.
    • I signed up for the Vonage service, tried it, didn't like it, tried to leave. I went through a bit of a nightmare trying to cancel the service

      This is consistent with my experience with Vonage. I signed up because they told me I could keep my old number. This turned out not to be the case. They told me they would return my sign-up fee when I returned their hardware, which I did. Not only have they never returned my sign-up fee, they tried to charge me a cancellation fee, although their customer service m
  • no complaints here.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by sdnoob (917382) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:23PM (#15362413)
    ..except that they can't get local numbers everywhere yet, but that's the fault of the smaller telco's who aren't under the fed's microscope.. and don't let 3rd parties in the door.

    did have a call quality problem initially, but that ended up being the connection it was using; 128k upstream was too slow, even though it's only supposed to need ~90k or less. upgraded the dsl to 256k upload and everything is perfect (aside the fact from our telephone number being based in a city on the other side of the state).
    • You can get them to change the codec you use to a less bit-hungry one. That has helped a few people I know who have Vonage.

      You can test your connection to see how it will behave http://testyourvoip.com/ [testyourvoip.com] and you can try different codecs to see what the difference is. Try it a few times throughout the day to try to characterize your line better.

      -ben
  • ...complaints of poor sound quality, dropped calls and other glitches...

    But when you listen to their commercials, you might get the impression that VOIP and Vonage were the next best thing after sliced bread!

    • Dropped calls in at least some cases would seem to indicate an underlying problem with the ISP you're using. Most people don't even notice when their broadband connection disconnects because it reconnects automatically and you can't tell much of a difference when all you do is surf and get e-mail. A bad ISP becomes obvious when doing something that requires a constant connection, like VOIP, remote desktop, large downloads, games, etc..
    • I've had sliced bread, Vonage is better. Granted that doesn't say alot but still.
    • But when you listen to their commercials,

      Who listens to their comercials? I'm too busy watching the lobster or that guy do a Beavis and Butthead dance in the background.
  • by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:25PM (#15362426) Homepage
    I had a few problems with Vonage that I think are probably endemic to VOIP systems:
    • Any time I wanted to download a big file on my computer while on the phone, I had to accept that I'd have dropped packets and delay on the call. The truth is that DSL/Cable Modem providers need to provide some kind of guaranteed-bandwidth service for VOIP to work. That or the modems need to somehow set aside a bit of bandwidth for that. Actually, that could be a good idea... something based on Linux shaper stuff, maybe?
    • The service wasn't actually that cheap. I now have AT&T local and unlimited long distance services and I'm paying about $15 more per month than I was with Vonage.
    • I had lingering concerns about 911. I've actually had to call 911 once because I was being burglarized (the cops actually came in time and caught them!). So, I'm extremely sensitive to the question of 911 not getting routed properly.

    Of the 3 problems, the first was by far the biggest. The quality just wasn't professional some of the time, and it repeatedly emabarrassed me with customers (I'm a software contractor). Also, when the audio was breaking up, I could never tell. The person I was talking to had to inform me. At a minimum, Vonage should make some sound happen on the your handset to let you know something's not right.

    • Just to forestall the comments. Yes, I had a router with QOS. It didn't really work. I think that's because the amount of (especially upstream) bandwidth with your ISP isn't actually stable.
      • No, it's because you can't shape ingress traffic. If you're downloading a file, that data is saturating the downstream channel between your ISP's router and your cable/DSL modem. Which, of course, happens before it even reaches your router/firewall/gateway. Not much you can do about it, except to stop downloading or get a fatter pipe.

        QoS comes into play when you're uploading. So it's only going to make your voice sound less choppy to the person you're talking to, not the other way around. This is because y
        • You can shape ingress traffic. . .I do it on my OpenWRT router. More specifically you can drop TCP packets but not drop UDP packets, which will cause TCP rates to go down, leaving more room for UDP, which is what VoIP uses.
          • Dropping packets once they've already gotten to you is rather pointless. They've already traversed the distance from your ISP to you, consuming bandwidth you're trying to conserve. Dropping TCP datagrams will just cause the sender to immediately retransmit those same packets. The end result is that you're actually consuming more bandwidth.
            • Maybe you should learn a little about how TCP congestion control works. TCP will notice lost packets and drop off, causing bandwidth to go down because it thinks the pipe is full. By your logic every TCP session would incessantly hammer your NIC and saturate everything with no regard for actual available bandwidth. That's not how things work.
              • Sounds like somebody needs to post a packet capture! :-)

                It is true that ingress queueing of TCP traffic has some effect. It may depend on how fast the queueing device reacts (bit buckets and all that), how many TCP connections are active (2 vs. 20 connections sending max MTU would be a noticable difference) and how much non-tcp traffic might be present.

                And the congestion could be elsewhere in the network, like on the shared cable modem segment uplink. In which case throttling your ingress traffic does not h
        • Or, if you want a REALLY low-tech way to not swamp your incoming, do what I do when I need to download something from Easynews when I'm at work and don't want to swamp the whole connection - use wget with the --limit-rate option. Works amazingly well.
        • I doubt the issue has anything to do with QoS. Voice is extremely sensitive to delays, and simply being too far from the Vonage server will be enough to kill any chance of getting a decent quality phone call. On the LAN, strict prioritization must be observed at every router to get decent quality. In general, I think VoIP over the Internet is a fad that will go away soon, and Vonage is going to be toast. I mean, let's see... the Internet is controlled primarily by phone companies -- they own the backbon
        • QoS comes into play when you're uploading.

          Qualtiy of Service (QoS) is prioritization of data packets based on how they're flagged. For QoS to work, it needs to be implemented end-to-end - every routing device between the two parties needs to be able to prioritize traffic, or else you lose QoS and you take your chances with your ... well, your quality of service.

          This goes both ways, back and forth. I was around for an internal VoIP installation for a company on a leased-line LAN. The company had to upgrad
    • by XorNand (517466) * on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:40PM (#15362486)
      - How is bandwidth issues Vonage's fault, or even your ISPs? There are many, many gateway devices that are specifically designed to provide QoS for VoIP calls. Dlink makes a consumer-grade, idiot proof box [dlink.com] that works pretty good. It simply plugs in between your modem and gateway.

      - Lack of e911 features also can't be pinned on Vonage. Despite FCC mandates, many LECs *still* don't allow other companies access to PSAPs [wikipedia.org]. VoIP companies have been fighting an uphill battle when it comes to this. Complain to your state representatives or public utilities commission, not Vonage.
      • Who cares whose fault it is?

        It matters if you're assigning blame, but if the service sucks I'm not going to use it. I wouldn't go "oh, well, Vonage gets an A for effort" and use it anyway, I'd change to something that works.
        • I've used Sun Rocket for two years. Never had problem one.
          Just like my anlog phone. Everyone I've tipped to this company has had the same experience.
          VOIP can be done right. SR is also cheaper than Vonage ($199/year full service - $10/month limited service)
          Two numbers, web configuration, all the bells and whistles.
    • I have not used their service. However, my experience on the other end of Vonage VOIP calls has been sufficiently unpleasant enough to make me wary. I have to ask the callers to shut off any downloads when their voices begin to skip and chop. There's also digital artifacting that makes the audio incomprehensible from time to time. As much as I like to be a geek, this seems like a service that is too much for the network it is using. In addition, I, too, have concerns about 911. When you consider how much th
    • In my experience, the problem is that Vonage and other pure VOIP services cannot compete with the deals the good ol' telcos and even cable cos can ring up. Verizon and Time Warner, for instance, offer great bundles on DSL/POTS/wireless or cable/cable internet/VOIP for a steal compared to obtaining such services separately. And remember, Vonage does not offer cell phone service or cable TV just yet. Antitrust?

      • Verizon and Time Warner, for instance, offer great bundles on DSL/POTS/wireless or cable/cable internet/VOIP for a steal compared to obtaining such services separately.

        $39.95 for Time Warner VoIP with no price break on my static IP line is better than the $24.99 I'm paying Vonage? Yeah, I know TW offers QoS, but that only is guaranteed within the TW network, and they already has enough problems providing me with uninterrupted connectivity. Using their own online calculator, I find that their VoIP serv
        • Yeah, I know TW offers QoS, but that only is guaranteed within the TW network...

          FYI. Time Warners digital phone service uses it's own IP address. Basically with the digital phone modem, your assigned two IPs. One is for the phone service, the other is data. If you want to use Vonage or Lingo, you *must* NAT your connection.
          • I'm not sure I see what difference this makes. Most router/ATA units provided by VoIP vendors do packet prioritization, so whether the phone is on a separate IP shouldn't really make any practical difference unless you've got a router that won't respect QoS in between the VoIP unit and your cable modem. NAT overhead by itself should be minimal unless you've got some ridiculous routing/filtering going on.

            I have my ATA NAT'd behind a Netopia 3381 router with a fairly healthy set of rules, which in turn g
    • The truth is that DSL/Cable Modem providers need to provide some kind of guaranteed-bandwidth service for VOIP to work.

      Yes, it is called QoS (quality of service) and it is built into IPv6 and it is one of the ways the telecoms are using to provide preferred bandwidth to companies that pay them money while arbitrarily increasing latency to companies that don't pay them their blood money. It seems like a good thing for the reason you stated, but it ends up as just a way to squeez more money out of customers,
  • by masterpenguin (878744) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:38PM (#15362481)
    I have vonage, and I'm pretty happy with the service. I'd say 8 out of 10 calls are good enough. I use the service more as a 15 dollar voicemail service. As I don't like phones, this is a cheap and easy solution for me.

    However I've had some odd experences. For instance a friend of mine had it, then canceled it. When he had vonage, he setup call fowarding to his parents cell phone (they all lived in the same house). Well, they canceled for a bunch of reasons (mostly quality). Now when I call their house the call gets automaticly fowarded to the cell phone, since I'm a vonage customer. They've called them about the problem several times and there's "nothing they can do".

  • Poor Vonage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hyrdra (260687) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:46PM (#15362513) Homepage Journal
    I kind of feel sorry for Vonage on this one. I've had their service, and while I'm about to switch (to free true VoIP services), I've had no problems with their service at all. That said, I also know how to manage a stable Internet connection.
    The fact of the matter is Vonage is too hard for most people. All the things that can go wrong with a regular cable/DSL Internet connection now suddenly affect their phone service.
    I work for a VoIP phone company. We get people calling in because after they unplug their modems to move them downstairs, they have no phone service. They're angry and mad and just don't understand how that would cause them not to have a dial tone. This is only one example, I'm sure you can think of others. Their old Bell South phone service 'just worked', and now they are having to reset routers and make sure the MTA is plugged into a phone jack/NIU. It's really complicated for the average person.
    To make it worse, some Cable/DSL ISPs throttle their own VoIP traffic above all other traffic, and it's my beleif they have a way of changing the priority of other carrier's VoIP traffic to boost the quality of their own service (in comparison). Even if they don't admit to it or not, I wouldn't put it past them.
    Add all this to Vonage's off-shore support who are at times hard to understand for the average 60 year old customer and you have some very miffed people. They feel the phone service is at fault, when they actually need to reboot their modem.
    I'm sure Vonage has even more problems than I do, because we happen to be both the ISP and VoIP provider. I can only imagine what unknown variables they have to deal with, which are 100% required to deliver a quality, stable service.
    • They feel the phone service is at fault, when they actually need to reboot their modem.

      The need to reboot the Vonage box is the single biggest complaint I have. (I call it the "Vonage" box rather than the "SIP" box because it is locked down to Vongage and useless for general VOIP usage, which is my second biggest complaint. I should be able to make Internet to Internet calls having nothing to do with Vonage, which is just a VOIP to POTS bridge service after all.)

      Contrary to the experiences / assumpti

      • The need to reboot the Vonage box is the single biggest complaint I have.

        I was having a problem at work where the phone adapters would crash and then not receive calls. Turning them on and off settled the problem, but it kept coming back. Of course, nobody would have a clue phones were down until trying to make a call. Pretty unacceptable. I solved that issue by buying a timer people use for christmas lights and such. I set the timer to turn off at 3:00 am and back on 3:01 am. Haven't had a problem

        • Re:Poor Vonage (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209)
          That said, I'm keeping my home service with vonage, but my home phone is pretty unimportant.
          Same here. I keep Vonage because I'm cheap and because I don't freak out when my phone doesn't work. I wouldn't do it for a business.
    • by Secrity (742221) on Friday May 19, 2006 @08:48AM (#15364696)
      The current state of VoIP technology is not good enough for normal telephone users to use. When PC users can't secure their wireless network and have malware clogged PCs, how can they be expected to be able to successfully use VoIP telephone service at home?

      I think that mass market home VoIP service is doomed, at least in it's present form. People have been conditioned to expect to be able to pick up their home telephone handset and hear dialtone, they don't need a phone system that has to be rebooted on occasion to make it work. When the power goes out with VoIP, the entire telephone line goes down unless you have battery backup for the modem and the router. I have had to remind several family members with POTS that they need to have at least one regular non-wireless telephone in the house for when the power goes out. I understand that many VoIP routers have backup batteries and broadband providers provide battery backup for the customer prem VoIP telephone equipment that they provide. How long do those batteries last?

      How long does a broadband connection last when the power goes out?

      Recently there was a large storm that caused the power in my neighborhood to go out for almost two days. If I had Vonage, it would have only lasted for as long as the cable TV broadband lasted. My cable TV service and broadband connectivity lasted just a few hours after the power went out. The batteried in my UPS, which powers the cable modem and router lasted for much longer than the broadband service did. My cell phone went to analog roam after 8 to 10 hours (and that signal was essentially unusable). My wired POTS phone worked fine the whole time. I had neighbors who were surprised that my phone still worked because their (cordless) phones were dead. The same neighbors were later grateful that I could stop the beeping noise that was coming from their cordless handsets -- they also didn't know how to put the batteries back in after the power came back.

  • by John the Kiwi (653757) <<kiwi> <at> <johnthekiwi.com>> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:47PM (#15362515) Homepage
    I use Cox cable and I'm not having any problems with Vonage yet. I'm so happy with it I'm going to use it as the main line for my home based business.

    I haven't noticed any quality issues, however this may just be because my ISP isn't a telco. I wouldn't have bothered posting to the forum except that I am interested to know how many people are unhappy with Vonage and if those people's ISP's are all telcos.

    This is probably the biggest network neutrality battle that there is today and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the majority of people with complaints have all had their service screwed with by those telco based ISP's.

    John the Kiwi

  • by CottonThePirate (769463) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @10:00PM (#15362567) Homepage
    I had vonage, tried to cancel after 11 months of mediocre service. Refused to cancel without charging a $42 cancelation fee even though they claim month-to-month with no contract. I charged it back and luckily mastercard is sticking up for me, but an incredible hassle! Avoid Vonage like the plauge
    • I believe the catch is the "free" hardware box you get when you sign up - in order to quit without repaying them for it, you have to return it with *everything* - box, instructions, ethernet, cable, everything. In theory, I believe you can quit without a fee if you manage to do this.
      • I got Vonage in early 2005, and they were going to give me a $50 rebate if I bought the phone adapter at Best Buy.

        Sent the rebate in, making sure to copy all of my forms.

        A few months later I get a letter saying I forgot to write the MAC address on the form.

        Send in a photo copy of my copies, along with a letter giving them the details.

        No $50.

        I was debating buying into the IPO, but I guess since I'm not a happy customer I'm not sure I trust them.

      • The cancellation fee is on top of what they nick you for hardware. I returned everything, and didn't get the hardware fee back despite promises to the contrary. They also charged me the cancellation fee, which I fought through my credit card company and won, like the OP.

        I have never heard of a Vonage customer who cancelled the service and didn't get nailed with both fees for hardware that was correctly and completely returned, and a cancellation fee on top of that. They are just not a good company to deal
  • All I know about Vonage is the horrid, obnoxious commercials that have made sure I'll never use the service. From those commercials, it seems they sell you a box that lets you use your own broadband connection for voice and then charge a high monthly fee to use it. Wouldn't it be the same as using Skype for free (or very cheap if you want a phone number)?
  • I've had Vonage for over a year and now have two lines. I used to complain about the quality as did others on the other end of the call. I recently rebuilt my network (and got rid of my PoS netgear FSV318) and now the quality is absolutely flawless. I'm on a 15mbit/2mbit cable link and I can use nearly all of my bandwidth without even a hiccup on the line. Here's the trick:

    I ordered a 2nd IP from my ISP and separated my data network from the voice. In other words, I stuck a switch behind the cable modem wit
    • What if you have a router with your VoIP integrated?

      I've got the linksys RT31P2 - three downstream ethernet and 2 phone jacks. Never had any issues.
    • The consumer-level devices simply can't put out the pps to support network usage and simultaneous VOIP usage.

      Really? I have my Vonage box behind a Linksys WRT54G and with the QoS prioritized to the Vonage box, the quality is excellent, even when I'm hammering the downloads. Even without the QoS configured, the voice dropouts are very minor.
    • Something tells me that your 2Mbit upload has more to do with it than anything else. I'd bet there's a pretty strong relationship between upload speeds and Vonage (or other VoIP) problems.
  • I suppose it makes for a better story to claim Vonage has a million problems. I'm sure they are not perfect, but many of the problems mentioned in these comments are not Vonage's fault. If your ISP can't keep a connection alive or provide sufficient bandwidth, theres a separate issue.

    I absolutely love my Vonage service. I've been a customer for almost a year.

    * It works quite well (I have my internet service via a cable modem with Charter)

    * I love that I can control forwarding, voicemail functions, etc onlin
  • One thing I have noticed from my adventures in techsupportland, is that not only are most people getting subpar phone service, but also an unexpected side effect of no internet. I suppose this could directly correlate with the lack of tech knowledge for some people, but with VONAGE in particular... I've had far to many instances where a customer will have great phone service, but the voip modem/router provided to them acts as a very effective web filter. NO internet whatsoever. From most of them that i've e
  • by Elminst (53259) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @10:37PM (#15362729) Homepage
    I work for TimeWarner cable. We've got the digital phone product (not true voip, btw, but voip thru the cable system before it's handed off to Sprint).
    We are happy to port numbers from other providers... the "normal" is 7 business days to get the number from Verizon.
    It takes TWENTY business days to port a number from Vonage. That's a full calendar MONTH.
    And they have the balls to bitch about telcos dragging their feet??

    At least they don't do what Frontier (smaller local telco in upstate NY) does; Give/Sell your number to telemarketers before porting it! Nothing like a little "fuck you!" as you leave them...
  • So who /should/ I be using as my VOIP provider if I don't want my phone records recorded and scoured by the government, want 911 access, and want my techno-phobic aunt to be able to call our house? I'd take 2 out of 3 (meaning I don't /really/ need to talk to my aunt).

    As serious a question as it comes, I'm afraid.
    • I currently have 2 providers, Vonage and Sunrocket.

      If it wasn't for Vonage giving me some credits recently, I would already have cancelled. My bill keeps going up as they raise their fees, and now they are charging me local taxes, too. If I wanted to pay unknown taxes and fees, I would have stayed with my telco.

      But anyway, Sunrocket has been great. While their Customer Service is notably lame (but I expect nothing less), they have better features than Vonage, including E911. Plus, they give you some pre
    • Qwest. You might have to move, though.
    • No one. Whether your ISP or VOIP service does or does not cooperate with three-letter agencies doesn't matter. Your traffic will go somewhere they can record. Then again, so do your cell calls and land line calls. In short if you're scared of these things, you should not be using any technology at all.

      However completely unrelated to all that, personally you can take my POTS line from my cold, dead hands. I will never choose to use a VOIP product.
    • It doesn't really matter, because at some point you're touching the PSTN network, and that's where the sniffing is going on. About the only thing you could really do would be to set up your own Asterisk box, encrypt everything going out of it, and make anyone that needs to talk to you use something (IP phone, softphone, etc.) that will work with it via the Internet. Not very practical, though.
  • My Vonage service has been rock solid. But then it seems like Cox has its shit together in RI and I'm pretty competent at keeping things running.

    That being said, I really don't think VoIP is quite ready for the average user. Hell, wireless networks aren't even for the average user. I can't tell you how much money I've made fixing botched up networks, both wired and wireless.

    And lately I've been absolutely LOVING Skype. So much so that I think I'll part with the $38 and get my own SkypeIn number. Talk
  • I've had Vonage for almost a year now. The technology works great for me, aside from a very rare echo on the line during a call. Their customer support is lacking. They're email contact form turns you away about half of the time, saying something like it's too busy or something, and you have to wait on hold for WAY too long before you get to talk to someone.

    However, I tried out their competitor, Packet8, for a month because Vonage couldn't get me a local number and Packet8 could. Packet8's technology

  • by 222 (551054) *
    I use Vonage and love it. I can't say I've never had a complaint about voice quality, but it's pretty rare, and for 25 bucks a month... unlimited long distance in US + Canada is awesome. I'm also a network admin, maybe it simply requires more administration than the average user can supply?
    I can only imagine a network infested with spyware, zombie PC's, and of course every P2P app running trying to provide enough bandwidth for VOIP.

    On a side note, I maintain a Cisco VOIP solution at work, and it's amazing.
  • I have vonage, and currently love it, but I have to say getting into it was an incredible pain.

    I got Vonage 3 years ago. I decided to port my local number so people could still call me. Well, the FCC says this should take no more thn 3 days or so (I forget the exact number of days)

    It took Vonage 2 months.

    I called them repeatedly to check on the status. They had the fucking nerve to lie to me and say it was verizon's fault for not releasing the line. That was the initial response, but then as I pressed t
    • Vonage had to deal with some third company for the number transfer when I switched my number to them. I don't know if this is what caused delays for you, but that seemed to be what took the biggest chunk of time.

      I'm not saying that I think Vonage is perfect or anything. A couple of weeks ago, I had 3 or 4 days of outages. I'd still rather give them money than SBC.
  • I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere, but my Indian friends (as well as friends from other countries, but particularly India) tell me that a lot of people are getting Vonage units here in the US, with a US phone number, and using them in India for low priced/easy phone calls to the US (not to mention an easy way of taking calls from friends/family in the US.)

    I hear their pleased. After all, what number do they have to port-over?
  • by sumbry (644145) on Friday May 19, 2006 @03:36AM (#15363831) Homepage
    I've had Vonage for almost a year now and am having 0 problems with them. I can't actually believe that my situation is not the norm? Their service has been excellent. I use them along with cable service and QoS actually works, and works very well. I can literally watch myself downloading a large file, pick up the phone, and see my transfer rates drop. And I rarely get dropped calls.

    I have a Vonage business account and use a fax line as well, and basically turning ECM off fixed all the problems I was having with it not wanting to talk to some fax machines.

    Happy customer here. And no, I'm not buying into the IPO but I'm so happy with 'em I got my parents to switch to using them as well. VOIP is cheap now, take advantage of it while you can. And all the cool call routing features and voicemails in my Inbox are clutch.
  • I'm not rushing to Vonage's defense or anything, just figured I'd share my experience with them. I live in West L.A. and I have Comcast as an ISP. I pay $25 a month for Vonage. I've had it for two months, and it's great. They mailed me a router, I plugged it in, plugged in the phone, and moments later I had a phone signal. I was actually VERY surprised by this, I didn't have to set up ANYTHING. I've had no dropped calls. The voicemail works really well. (Being able to download your voicemail through
  • I've had a problem with Vonage, and I don't even subscribe!

    A few weeks ago Vonage had a promotion in the U.S. where select individuals received a solicitation in the mail to sign up with Vonage, and giving them a special 1-800 number to do so.

    Only one problem: it wasn't Vonage's 1-800 number.... It was mine.

    I think my business received over 1000 calls. At some times, all three incoming lines were in use. Since my business sells IC design consulting and training services, callers were confused with our cal
  • and am happy with it. For less than $20 a month, relatives in Europe can cll us; the quality and clarity is fine and the price is a lot less than calling via a landline. Would I use it for a primary line in the US, no; but as a secondary line installed overseas it is great.
  • I recently quit Vonage. Had no trouble with the service (other than when I was making heavy use of my bandwidth for other things) but the issue was that I have DSL and the govt lets the phone co get away with forcing me to have a land-line even though I get my DSL throught a totally different company. It just simply wasn't worth the extra money to pay for long distance. I ended up just getting my wife a cell phone on my plan and everyone's happy.

    If the government gets its finger out and stops allowing the p
  • by robpoe (578975)
    ive had vonage since november. consider me a happy customer. i have no issues with them, service is great. no dropped calls, and quality is dandy (except when I upload a huge file at a large outbound rate, and that's more of a cable modem issue than a vonage issue...

    the only switching problem i had was with MCI .. they would not release my phone number due to a mistake on their part. vonage had nothing to do with that.

  • I drive on a heavily traveled road every day to and from work (read: lots of cell towers), and every day that I make a call along these roads using my cell phone my signal drops, or the quality degrades, or I endure 15 seconds of silence followed by perfect quality. All this while I can see the cell phone towers along the sides of the road and I know that they belong to my carrier. The quality and reliability of my cell phone is probably 1/8 of my Vonage phone at home.

    Regarding the power outage problems -
  • Same here. I don't completely blame them for the quality issue, as I knew it would be a bit of a risk to expect VoIP to play nice on a consumer DSL line, but to have low expectations and still be disappointed is ridiculous. The scenarios could be summarized like this:

    1. Computer downloading large file = VoIP quality at 25% (no way to carry on a conversation)
    2. Computer engaged in a VPN session = VoIP quality at 50-75% (sometimes conversations are ok, but the chance of quality degradation increases exponenti
  • There are a lot of complaints about Vonage in the comments right now, and I am sure that most complainers are being serious and truthful in their own experience with Vonage, but...

    What about the hordes of people with o real problems? I've had Vonage for a while now, I know several others who've had it for differing lengths of time. Each of those experiences has been overwhelmingly positive.

    1) The service is cheaper.

    2) The service "just works" in my experience and the experience of everyone I personally k
  • I was initially attracted by the low cost international calls, but unlimited long distance is pretty good. All of their features have worked fine for us (over cable -- we briefly tried it over DSL and it was terrible, with really wierd lag in the audio) and even large file downloads don't seem to be a problem.

    That said, Vonage looks to me like a financial train wreck. The fact that they're making it hard for customers to leave seems to be indicative of a company that has lost sight of its true goals. (You m
  • I implemented Vonage a few months ago on my home phone. Now, granted since my wife and I both got cell phones we rarely use the home phone except as a voicemail box... but my wife still likes having a "land line". So be it, I don't use it much.

    Now, when I implemented I had a 600/128 ADSL connection from Speakeasy. Worked OK at first, but I was hit quickly by the fact that I host my own email and web server... so that every time I received an email or someone hit my website I was suddenly struck with breakin

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