Vonage VOIP : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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Vonage VOIP

An Internet phone service that uses ordinary telephones on both ends. It requires you have cable or similar high speed Internet service already installed. It is sufficiently advanced that you could discard your ordinary telephone service. It works with a CISCO ATA (Analog Terminal Adapter), a little router-like computer that attaches to your LAN (Local Area Network) (and thus cable Internet service) that converts analog voice to digital TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) and back) The wallphones in your house then plug into the ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment), similar to Ooma.

From then on, you use it just like an ordinary telephone for both local and long distance calls, both outgoing and incoming. You have an ordinary telephone number, much the way you would with a cellphone. You can optionally keep your current phone number. One of my friends/customers signed up and he is quite happy with it. Most of the time, I can’t tell the quality apart from the ordinary long distance phone service. However, sometimes for hours at a time, the calls keep breaking up, where you hear only every second word. It is highly irritating. One major catch is it does not have 911 service yet, though it is promised. So you would probably want to use a cell phone or ordinary wall phone for just that.

There are two payment plans: $40.00 USD which includes unlimited domestic long distance and $26.00 USD which includes unlimited regional long distance and 500 minutes of long distance. Additional minutes are charged at about $0.06 USD a minute depending on the country. This is preposterously expensive given that Vonage does not actually provide any communications services. It uses your existing high speed Internet link, the same as Skype which is free. All Vonage provides is a bit of software and computers in various parts of the world to let you telephone people without Internet access on their telephone land line. There is an additional installation fee of $10.00 USD to cover shipping you the CISCO ATA.

When you sign up, if you are referred by an existing customer, you get a $40.00 USD credit to your account. He also gets a bonus. All you need is an email-id.

In Canada Shaw digital is about the same price, but gets higher call quality.

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