Voice over IP (VoIP)

Wednesday 17th November, 2004
I'm currently researching VoIP for personal use, I'd appreciate any feedback from anyone that has looked into it.

It's not exactly a new technology; but it's becoming easier and more competitive and therefore cheaper.

Basically you buy a new IP telephone (or just an adapter for an existing one) sign up online for an account and plug it into your broadband connection. Wireless IP phone are even available for those who prefer to be cordless.

You use it like an ordinary phone, dial it like your ordinary phone and receive calls on it just like an ordinary phone. Call charges are cheaper and there's very little or no base charges.

For me it would mean a switch over and then I'd just cancel my landline, a saving of about £10/month. This would make my combined TV/phone package with my cable provider (NTL) a little redundant...allowing me just to cancel it. I could then go any get Sky+ Satellite TV with the savings which is a much better service.

I'll report back with the projected costs/savings. I'm expecting the VoIP/Sky+ option to cost a little more but offer more features/quality/value. It will also mean I give less money to NTL who are a pretty poor excuse for a telecoms company. This is the NTL who left me with faulty broadband for a year and haven't been able to fix a crackle on my phone line in 3 engineer visits. Currently when I lose my cable TV, I also lose my broadband. A modern life disaster! At least Sky would avoid that eggs in one basket scenario.

Update: I'm currently looking into Internet phone company aql and looking at the hardware featured on this Business Serve page

  1. 1) Rock Said: (19/11/2004 16:21:55 GMT) Gravatar Image
    WEll, here in the states I use Vonage...

    I have had GREAT success with them so far - so much in fact that I switched my business line to them as well. I use the same phone I had before (it is a Panasonic, 2 line phone that can "add" additional headsets to it - I have 2 right now, about to get another one), and everything works the same.

    In fact, some things are much nicer - like getting voicemails as an email attachment. Also, I can travel and take my business adapter with me, and I can get my business calls anywhere - even when I am in Europe. It also has all the other normal features of a regular phone (caller ID, 3 way calling, call waiting, etc.)

    One other nice feature is that if, for whatever reason, Vonage can't talk to my router (e.g. my internet connection is down, or they have some problem on their end) then the calls are automatically forwarded to a number of my choice - in this case my cell phone - so I don't miss any calls.

    One caution to check into - here in the states we have 911 emergency service, which is like your 999 service. Since the VoIP router can be anywhere, they are not automatically tied to a particular street address. Therefore, out of the box, many of the VoIP services don't have emergency call service available. Vonage has you fill out a form for where the router will be physically located, and then they automatically route the call to the nearest emergency call center with address information for you - but you have to set this up separately, and some services don't offer it at all. Keep that in mind as well.

    Sorry I couldn't offer more in the way of suggestions for companies in the UK - but maybe this can help you know what features are available, and make sure they are available with your service.

    --Rock

  2. 2) Ben Rose Said: (19/11/2004 17:40:28 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Voice over IP (VoIP)

    Cheers Rock, which adapter do you use? Do I gather you have 2 adapters on one internet connection?

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