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The Internet Technology

VoIP Questioned 375

87C751 writes "C|Net is carrying a very FUDdy story on the downside of VoIP telephony. Alongside the reasonable point of 911 dialing being unavailable during service and power outages, the writeup mentions broadband over power lines as a possible solution to the power failure problem. (talk about your cognitive dissonance!) It also notes that VoIP customers may not be listed in the local phone book, causing problems with "major fast food companies" (do they mean pizza deliveries?), and that Tivo requires a POTS line for initial setup (which sounds like Tivo's problem, not VoIP's)."
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VoIP Questioned

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  • Series2 Tivo (Score:2, Informative)

    by StormRider01 ( 231428 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:28AM (#9738220)
    huh, my Series2 Tivo setup just fine over my broadband connection...
  • Other DVRs work (Score:5, Informative)

    by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:29AM (#9738234) Journal
    Tivo may not work, but Dish Network's DVR does. I moved this weekend, and had Dish Network set up. I already had an internet connection, so when the dish installers asked for a phone line, I quickly unpacked my Vonage box, plugged it in and let it initialize, then plugged the DVR into it. It's working without any troubles now.

    With that said, I love using Vonage, and hope I never have to deal with Verizon or SBC again.
  • by BMonger ( 68213 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:30AM (#9738251)
    The Tivo series 2 units *do not* require a phone line for initial setup. It said (or possibly still says this) on the Tivo web site but you can easily find information to set it up via broadband. I know it doesn't because I set mine up without a phone line as all I have is my cell phone.
  • Re:Series2 Tivo (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZeroGee ( 796304 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:32AM (#9738285)
    It sets up fine if you use the special broadband code in the "dialing prefix" box -- something like ",#401" if I remember correctly, but initial Guided Setup "appears" to require a phone line for all but the most tech-savvy. After guided setup, it will allow you to use your network card as the preferred connection type.
  • VoIP (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamis ( 16403 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:33AM (#9738286) Homepage
    The only issue I had with my VoIP (Vonage) service was yesterday with a disconnected call to my cable company about intermittent dropped cable modems connections.

    I realized what happened and whipped out the cell phone.

    As for the other points -

    1. I'd rather not be listed.

    2. I've had no problems with fast food delivery.

    3. ReplayTV uses a broadband connection.

    4. I have a UPS for the VoIP box, cable modem, router, cordless phone base-station. As long as the power outtage doesn't effect the cable company, I'm all set.

    5. 911 - Between what Vonage DOES offer for 911 service, 2 cell phones (mine and my wife's), and close proximity to neighbors (townhouse)... I feel safe enough.
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:34AM (#9738307)
    I've owned four Tivos over the years and only once did I have to use a phone line for the initial setup, my very first Tivo back when there was no network support on them.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:35AM (#9738322)
    1. With the introduction of SIP technology, the ability to create "phonebooks" is just a natural extension - after all, if a central server knows where you are registered to and what IP telephony capabilities you have, integrating that into a centrallised on-line database should not be too difficult.

    2. If the VoIP world goes the way of SIP then for it to truly work will require SIP service providers so that you can connect transparently to VoIP networks from any point in the world. Presumably there will be a charge for this service from those providers who will, in turn record customer account detailes and "numbers" no differently to the way traditional PSTN service providers do.

    3. Even though there is no centralised email database, this does not stop someone who I want to email me (as well as others who I don't want to email me!) from getting in contact simply by handing out my email address to the appropriate people.

  • Re:Other DVRs work (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bistronaut ( 267467 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:44AM (#9738423) Homepage Journal
    The TiVo thing is patently false. TiVos do work without a phone line for initial setup - I know, that's how I set mine up.
  • Re:Not that FUD-dy. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ravenrage ( 739755 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2004 @12:20PM (#9738794)
    "I'm sorry, but 911 service is not a small, inconsequential feature that VOIP-zealots make it out to be." know that even if you do cancel your land can still dial 911 and get thru....they can't exclude you from making 911 and toll free just keep a single phone plugged into the POTS network...that single handily kills your argument...
  • Re:Series2 Tivo (Score:2, Informative)

    by musicscene ( 453302 ) * <> on Monday July 19, 2004 @12:35PM (#9738921) Homepage Journal
    Wireless like mine. I was unsure at first, but it worked famously.
  • Re:Series2 Tivo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Monday July 19, 2004 @12:49PM (#9739042)
    You plug a USB ethernet adapter into the USB port. There is no Step 2.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2004 @12:54PM (#9739082)
    If you have powered phone (answering machine, cordless, etc.) then you're crazy if you don't have UPS. You should always have a non-powered phone (which costs pennies if you can find them at garage sales or few bucks or even free after rebate at various office supply stores) as a backup.

    Your cable/DSL modem and routers should have UPS, too. As well as separate ones for your desktops (unless you only have notebooks).

    And one dedicated just for your PVR, of course! (priorities would be cordless, PVR, modem, desktops, but that's my preference :-)

  • Re:Series2 Tivo (Score:4, Informative)

    by alkali ( 28338 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @01:00PM (#9739112)
    I haven't run Ethernet to the corner of the living room where my TiVo sits, but it updates just fine using my Vonage line as if it were POTS.
  • land line vs other (Score:3, Informative)

    by cuteintern ( 643644 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @01:07PM (#9739170) Journal
    Only a couple years ago this was the policy because cell phones weren't very common, nobody (statistically speaking) had cut the cord and it was really about security- being able to put a phone number with a physical place.

    This has changed over the last couple years as cell phones saturated the population. They are now too common to refuse the business.

    As long as the store adheres to security policy, there really shouldn't be a problem. Just leave your phone on so they can make a security call-back before they leave with the delivery.

    And make sure to keep it on you if it's on vibrate- one night I had to get a hold of this chick because she wouldn't answer the door and she never heard her phone 'cause it was set on vibe. A shame too, cause her order ended up getting there 40 min later than it had to (and, of course, I had to re-send the driver).

    If you really get mad, call 1-800-DOMINOS (iirc) or go to and fill out the email form.
  • by mqx ( 792882 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @01:27PM (#9739402)

    "Couldn't you put a small-ish battery in the VOIP box and have it switch over in case of power failure?"

    And how are you going to make sure people use the right type of boxes? Now we're taking FCC approval - all boxes certified to have backup operational mode that uses inbuilt cells or draws current from POTS.

    Can you hear the outrage as industry and consumers are told that the FCC is going to regulate domestic CPE (customer premise equipment) to ensure HA and emergency capability?

    Equally, can you hear the outrage when this doesn't happen, and we start to have reports of children dying because they couldn't get the 911 operator because VOIP was down because the little broadband wi-fi box was infected by a virus?

    I don't know the answer - but these are some substantial roadblocks.
  • by wsanders ( 114993 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @03:28PM (#9740318) Homepage
    If you call 911 on your cell phone in Bay Area, you will be routed to the CHP Golden Gate regional center and immediately placed on hold for 10 minutes. At least that's what's happened to me twice. I have the "local" numbers of various agencies programmed into my phone now.

    As for your cell phone working during an emergency, ha. As other posters have noticed, after even a minor disaster the first thing everyone does is jump on their cell phone. Since there haven't been any disasters in the SF Bay Area recently, my most recent data point comes from my brother, who was unable to use his cell phone for 45 min after the Seattle earthquake a few years ago.

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