Vonage has crossed the chasm

You know you are no longer on the bleeding edge of things when you learn about new technology, like Vonage, from your non-technical neighbors.

After years of using and promoting technology that wasn’t ready for prime time, I have become a semi-Luddite and adopt new things only when they are stable, well supported, and have an immediate payoff.

Vonage, an internet telephone system, is all of these and more. While it may not be ready for your grandmother, it is a credible alternative to conventional phone system for anyone with a high speed internet connection.

For $29.99 a month, I have unlimited calling within the US and Canada. I am looking forward to chatting with Wayne Hurlbert and other far-flung blogging friends now that it will not push my phone bill to astronomical levels.

The voice quality is excellent and the features that cost extra with Sprint are included in the base price. Vonage provides an excellent customer experience, once you get it installed. The customer support people are so friendly and helpful, it almost makes up for the fact that their support lines are often jammed with other callers.

There are just three problem areas they need to handle:
1. Equipment purchased from a retail store may be difficult to activate because of problems with the unit’s MAC address.
2. Remapping of this MAC address needs to be simplified
3. Configuring the phone adapter/router needs to be simplified for situations where you have an existing LAN and router with multiple computers.

I was able to work through this with the help of their support people, but it needs to be made easier in order for internet telephones to become mainstream.

We did only one phone line to begin with, but we will transfer our other line to Vonage without delay. If I were a phone company executive, I would be sweating bullets, and would be preparing to convert residential accounts to VOIP rather than lose them.

It will be a time of great opportunity for some …and panic for others.

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0 Responses to Vonage has crossed the chasm

  1. fletch says:

    I’m seriously looking at VOIP because of these posts. Thanks for the info. Trying to think of any disadvantages, I came up with the power outage scenario. It’s rare, but I have been able to call the power co. and report the outage. With VIOP, without a UPS, I’m not sure this is possible..ie. you lose phone service with a power outage? I haven’t researched in depth yet…just trying to think of all possible disadvantages to switching. I’m assuming VOIP is using some sort of router that requires power.

  2. Hi Fletch,

    The power outage situation was my biggest concern also – and they have it nicely covered. If your power is out or the cat has gnawed through your LAN cabling, the calls get automatically referred to a phone number of your choice.

    I have my calls referred to my cell phone, which makes things simple. In a power outage, the only thing working may be cell phones, so I know when someone is trying to reach me.

    I tested this during my install period. Calls were forwarded to my cell phone as soon as the account got set up. Even though there was a delay in getting the phone adapter programmed, I was on the air immediately.

    If you are seriously considering Vonage, let me know and I can arrange for you to get a free month of service. I was impressed by what I have seen and registered as an affiliate.

  3. David says:

    Hi David,

    I have been watching the VOIP marketplace and SIP technology for sometime and remember running across a legal case with Vonage.

    Here’s a link to related info http://sipphone.com/legal/ SIPPhone’s CEO, Michael Robertson, is also the man behind Lindows.

  4. If the suit is successful, it will be the best of both worlds.

    As the first contender in the field, VONAGE is trying to get tie up internet access on the phone adapter they sell AND on the ones you buy in a retail store.

    My take on it is that the Linksys Phone Adapters sold in retail stores will soon be able to support any VOIP provider, not just Vonage.

    Meanwhile, we just keep on calling with those unlimited minutes. Broad smiles all around…and no Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! as the minutes pile up.

    I have now disconnected the inhouse telephone wiring from Sprint. It is now being fed by Vonage, so every phone in the house has access to unlimited calling.

  5. Hi David. I look forward to speaking with you as well. Talking on the phone with other bloggers adds another very personal dimension to the blogger’s written words.

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