SpeakerNet News Compilations

Using Vonage

Billy Simms

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I am thinking about using Vonage for my business phone and fax line. If you have used or are currently using Vonage, can you please respond and give me your opinion about the service?

-- Mel Kleiman

Very happy with the service and it keeps getting better. Would not use if you do not have high speed connectivity.

-- Charlie Hawkins

Pretty good voice line quality. Customer service usually goes to an outsourcing firm in India, and very difficult to understand; plus they can't do anything much. The "corporate office" customer reps in New Jersey were a little more helpful.

For a single line, the cost savings vs. regional phone companies is real, primarily because they are unregulated, and thus avoid all the federal taxes.

It takes a while to get your numbers transported over. And if you ever want to go back, it's really difficult. You run the risk of losing your number. I almost did.

Equipment: the modem is fine. It's hard to use the internal wiring in your home -- the only way that seemed to make sense for extensions was to purchase phones that have wireless remotes. By time you do that, you are liable to eat up your cost savings.

When setting up the service, I asked about adding a "distinctive ring" service (one line, two different numbers, two different rings on the phone) and a fax line, and they said it could be done. It couldn't. Instead of a distinctive ring ($5 a month from Qwest), I would have had to set up another line at $25+, which blows away the cost savings.

Overall, not a great experience, and I switched back, investing about $85 in the equipment, which is now used as a door stop.

-- Judy Clark

I have been using Vonage for about 1 year. When I started I had problems and finally had to get tech support in to figure out what was wrong as my computer was crashing all the time. It turned out that Vonage was not compatible with my Internet provider. I changed providers and have not had a problem since.

Vonage is very inexpensive and easy. I have a business number and a separate fax number. When I have a message on my phone I receive an email indicating a message.

Once you get the setup ironed out, I recommend Vonage for small businesses. Occasionally I find that the phone is a bit "crackly", but I have noticed that this is often when there is a major weather system somewhere nearby. Not sure if that is the reason or not.

-- Gayle Martin

I thought about Vonage but decided against it when I heard you can not call 911 with Vonage. For me, the savings just wasn't worth the risk.

-- Ted Demopoulos

A friend uses Vonage and it's cheap but not what I consider good enough for business use. For the longest time both his cell and main phone would ring, or neither and he'd miss calls. Now, there seems to be a fraction of a second delay. Not noticeable, except that in conversation both parties tend to start talking over each other due to the delay. I find it disconcerting.

-- Carol Cannon

I have been using Vonage for over a year now, for my business. There have been no problems (maybe once, twice at the most when my Internet connection was down, I had no service). In the beginning, there seemed to be an echo, but that has improved. I save hundreds of $$ by using Vonage vs. traditional land lines. My office is in my home, and I still have a home land line as Vonage is not ideal for 911.

-- Mary Cantando

I've saved about $4,000 in the year that I've been using Vonage for my home office. But here's the downside: I frequently experience dead air for 3-10 seconds at a time; this happens once or twice on a half-hour call. This is acceptable in many situations, but for interviews and other calls that must be pristine, I use my land line. Also, remember with any kind of a VoIP service, if your broadband goes down, you lose your phone line as well.

-- Suzanne Woo

I've had Vonage since April of last year. I find the service poor to mediocre, but it could be a function of my Internet service, which is cable. I've had many calls where I can hear them, but they can't hear me. It's something to do with the upload speed of my Internet service. I'll be looking for another phone provider after my one-year contract is up.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions