View Full Version : Can we revisit internet phones?

02-23-2006, 12:58 PM
I am considering this, but wonder:

Can I have multiple extensions?

Can I use a fax?

I've visited Earthlink, Sunrocket, Verizon and Vonage but it is not clear to me.

Do you like your service?

02-23-2006, 03:29 PM
Sorry, I have no idea. I just didn't want you to think no one wanted to revisit internet phones.

02-23-2006, 04:06 PM
I just didn't want you to think no one wanted to revisit internet phones.

Now, that's being right friendly!:D

I don't know anything about these phones but am interested in what anyone has to say about them! By the time they reach our area, they will be expensive. :(

02-23-2006, 04:08 PM
I don't have the service, but have wondered about that too. I was thinking that you could have extensions since you would connect wirelessly. I picked up some phones from Costco recently to use in the basement. Only one needed to be plugged into a line, and the other just into a wall plug. I'm assuming with internet phones, it could work the same.

02-23-2006, 04:11 PM
This site looks like it has some info:


02-23-2006, 04:46 PM
Christie, i'm glad you began the thread, altho' it looks like it may be going nowhere fast....:rolleyes:

i hadn't thought about internet phone service myself until the Living Beyond Your Means thread and i heard about Vonage. but, i have the same questions. we have 3 land-lines: basic phone #, computer, and extra ('cause it's always been there, costs $10/mo, and help when the kids visit for another puter line). we have no cell phones, nor do we want/need them. we have a good LD phone calling plan, including overseas, thru our ISP provider, and we need that, b/c some of the grown kids are working/studying abroad.

but...our basic phone bill is $70/month before we ever make a call. plus another $25/mo in LD calls, thru the ISP/LD provider.

perhaps like you, i'd rather read 1st-hand anecdotal info from persons here than go out into the wilderness of 'net researching something i don't understand...:(

02-23-2006, 04:54 PM
You might check these old threads (http://community.cookinglight.com/search.php?searchid=274167) about VoIP...

02-23-2006, 07:47 PM
My experience with vonage was horrible! I was excited about the thought of saving $50 a month with Vonage. 30 days after I ordered the service they STILL hadn't ported my number over and I couldn't get any answers. Of course they start charging from the first day you order their service. As the money back guarantee was only for 30 days, I bailed - returned the equipment and demanded a refund. Reaching customer service was awful and nearly impossible. I was given the wrong info more than once. Sigh....

I also have a Skype account that I use to call overseas.
www.skype.com If you call skype to skype it's free anywhere in the world, easy to set up too. If you want to call Skype to phone it is still very cheap for international calls. (pennies per minute).

02-23-2006, 08:47 PM
We're in the middle of our first month of phone service with our cable provider. So far, no problems. If I've understood everything correctly and the sales person was completely honest, the change should save me a lot of money each month. My primary phone bill (including long distance) averaged about $55 a month. My new service, because it is bundled with my cable tv and my high-speed interent, will be considerably less. It's advertised as $39.95 a month, but with the additional discounts on the bundle of services, it will actually be about $32 a month--which translates into a savings of more than $20 a month.

I had read or heard that internet phone service only activates one jack, but that is not the case with our service. All the jacks in our house work and access the internet phone line. On the other hand, I run a small business that requires me to have an a business line in the house. For some reason, our service can only support one line, so my business number is still a traditional land-line (and that's fine by me--this way we have a secure line should we have any problems with the internet line).

We are able to use our fax machine on the internet line, although they warned me that some older fax machines might not recognize the signal

We haven't had any technical problems so far. I'll update once we receive the first bill.

My FAVORITE feature is that we get caller id on our tv. I didn't think I'd care one way or the other, but it's too cool knowing who's calling without even getting up off my rear end to look on the phone. I LOVE it!

02-24-2006, 08:55 AM
Technically, b/c it's IP, a single jack *should* support mulitiple phone lines. Not sure if every service will offer that, though.

In all honesty, VoIP service & quality is still a ways off. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it or that you can't start saving $$ immediately. But, just know that you'll have lots of quality problems.

Skype, btw, is free through your computer. You don't even need a phone. We use that a lot w/LD family & friends. The quality is unreliable, but it's free, so we don't complain much. And, you have to sit at your PC...no walking around the house.

I'd recommend researching some reviews in magazines online. go to idg.com, as they have multiple tech/electronics magazines. There's also Telephony, Wireless Week and several others. There are a few home office publications, but I don't remember their names offhand. I'd bet that Consumer Reports has researched this topic, too. Good luck!

02-25-2006, 04:56 PM
We switched to a Vonage account about 2 months ago and have had no problems. I love the option of forwarding to my cell phone! I did this last week when I was waiting for the pediatrician to call me back and I needed to run to the store.

I'm not sure about the multiple extensions or fax.


02-25-2006, 05:31 PM
I'm not sure about the multiple extensions or fax.

With Vonage, you can add a dedicated fax line for $9.99 a month.

Christie, instead of extensions, you might consider going cordless. I use a cordless Panasonic that came with two phones for around 99 dollars and it works with both. I could also buy additional handsets if I needed more.

I just made the switch to Vonage and because of my horrid experiences with Verizon up here, I'm thrilled. (I also cancelled their non-existent cell service almost immediately after the move.) I'm far from being a "phone person," but my service was so bad it reached a point where I dreaded picking up the phone. Most days it was pure static. I had important business calls that were embarrassing. I had them out here countless times and my favorite answer was "Well, somewhere between here and a box out on the main road two wires might be touching from time to time." Well, hello, why don't you go look for it?

Because I do use the phone so little, I even went for the plan below basic, just $14.99 for 500 minutes per month and I'm not only happy to save forty dollars, when I picked it up to use it for the first few times I was overwhelmed by the clarity of it.

I know it's still new to me and some of what the others have said make me a bit apprehensive, but I've found customer service to be both prompt and helpful so far.


02-26-2006, 06:28 AM
Thanks for the replies, I'm still on the fence, I rarely use my home phone, I have cheap service but just the taxes start to add up. I'm thinking I could maybe get the VOIP, reduce the minutes on my cell phone and be $$$ ahead, but we do use our separate fax line. I don't want to buy new phones if I don't need to, that's why I asked about regular extension phones. I would like caller ID, I just don't want to pay for it. :) . The Verizon plan appears expensive, I have Verizon cell, it has the best reception, so I keep it, their customer service is another story. I'm waiting for the all in one - cell, internet, every where you go service. How long will I have to wait? :D :D

02-26-2006, 09:03 PM
We have had Vonage for over three years now and have had no problems with clarity, billing or customer service. We have three bases with three wireless phones; bedroom, kitchen and kids room. No fax, sorry. We do use skype for international. I do like being able to say to guests "Don't worry about the calls, we have Vonage!" I also like being able to forward calls to my cell when I need to get an important call and also the feature where you can have your voice mail messages sent to your computer so you can listen to your messages at work. Very handy.

02-26-2006, 09:53 PM
I have the $50 unlimited local/long distance plan through the phone company, SBC, up here. Our families and my best friend are out of state, so we talk on the phone a lot. It's nice not to have to worry about when you call or how long you talk. Most phone companies have an in-company VOIP system that makes it feasible to charge so little for their service. I have this so I still have 911 service; I've talked about my Vonage experience before. I don't really like SBC, but it works better for us than Vonage did. The unlimited local is a must since most calls around here are toll calls. Our cable internet, Comcast, is still pretty flakey so I'm not ready to trust them for my phone yet.

I just wanted to let people know this might be an option in your area. AT&T had this, but their plan cost $75.

02-27-2006, 06:14 AM
I'm very surprised that no one has brought up the problems of using 911 with Voip phone services - is that something that has been resolved?

02-27-2006, 06:33 AM
Well, aside from the fact that my rescue station is 1/6 of a mile down the road, they could have heard me yelling more clearly than they would have heard me on my miserable Verizon connection. Of course, I'm at an age where being alone in the woods kind of freaks me when I stop to think about it, but I don't have any issue with Vonage's solution, plus I maintain cell service.

Their lengthy explanation follows.


Vonage Provides 911
Because Your Safety Is Important

At Vonage, we provide a safe and reliable means of communication in times of emergency. Vonage 911 Dialing service operates differently than traditional 911, and because your safety is important to us, you'll just have to fill out a short form during the sign up process that tells us the street address where you will be using your Vonage service.

Most of our customers (other than WiFi and Softphone customers) have access to either basic 911 or Enhanced 911 (E911) service. With E911 service, when you dial 911, your telephone number and registered address is simultaneously sent to the local emergency center assigned to your location, and emergency operators have access to the information they need to send help and call you back if necessary.

Customers in locations where the emergency center is not equipped to receive your telephone number and address have basic 911. With basic 911, the local emergency operator answering the call will not have your call back number or your exact location, so you must be prepared to give them this information. Until you give the operator your phone number, he/she may not be able to call you back or dispatch help if the call is not completed or is not forwarded, is dropped or disconnected, or if you are unable to speak. As additional local emergency centers become capable of receiving our customers' information, Vonage will automatically upgrade customers with basic 911 to E911 service. Vonage will not give you notice of the upgrade.

Certain customers do not have access to either basic 911 or E911. If you don't have access to basic 911 or E911 your 911 call will be sent to the Vonage national emergency call center. A trained agent at the emergency call center will ask for the name, telephone number and location of the customer calling 911, and then contact the local emergency center for such customer in order to send help. Examples of situations where 911 calls will be sent to the Vonage national emergency call center include when there is a problem validating a customer's address, the customer is identified with an international location, or the customer is located in an area that is not covered by the landline 911 network. In addition, if you use a WiFi or SoftPhone, due to the portable nature of these Devices, your 911 calls will be routed to the Vonage national emergency call center. Emergency personnel do not receive your phone number or physical location when your 911 call is routed to the Vonage national emergency call center.

You must register with Vonage the physical location where you will utilize Vonage phone service (Service) for each phone line. Also note that if you move your device to another location, you must register your new location it's easy just log into the features section of your web account and follow the instructions. If you do not register your new location, any 911 call you make may be sent to an emergency center near your old location. You will register your initial location of use when you subscribe to the Service. This process can take several hours, and you will receive a confirmation email once 911 Dialing has been activated for your initial location or for a newly registered location. Regardless of what address you register for a WiFi or SoftPhone, emergency calls you make from these devices will be routed to the Vonage national emergency response center.

Remember that our 911 Dialing service will not function in the event of a broadband or power outage or if your broadband, ISP or Vonage phone service is terminated.

02-27-2006, 06:44 AM
I also have a Skype account that I use to call overseas.
www.skype.com If you call skype to skype it's free anywhere in the world, easy to set up too. If you want to call Skype to phone it is still very cheap for international calls. (pennies per minute).

I use Skype all the time to call the US and I love it! It accidentally disconnects once in a while, but other than that I have had no problems with quality. They just added a video feature too, so now you can even do video calls for free! I haven't tried using Skype to call landline phones yet, but I know people who have and seem satisfied.

02-27-2006, 07:39 AM
We have an internet phone service through road runner, the local time warner cable service. As much as I hated the idea of paying TW more absolute dollars each month, it is saving us money over SBC. We have one of those package deals.... internet, cable TV and phone. So far it has been just fine. I can't tell a difference in phone quality. We have several extensions in the house and if there is a power outage we know to use our cell phones for 911 service. I expect it to save us about $30 per month.

I just love the fact that my best friend is now a no toll call.

02-27-2006, 07:47 AM
We have Vonage and have been very happy with the service. I love paying much less for more features!

I have a fax machine for work, and it gets used at most 4 times a week. It has never had it's own dedicated line. We have always had it daisy-chained to the phone - per the instruction manual. When we switched to Vonage, we just need to change the baud rate, per the instruction manual.

I send and receive my faxes just fine.

09-02-2006, 01:37 PM
I'm bringing up this old thread because my husband is trying to talk me into trying SunRocket...anyone tried this service?

According to the info he has, it's $100 cheaper a year than Vonage ($199.), there are no activation, shipping, taxes or fees, it has an enhanced Emergency 911 service, and we get up to 100 free minutes of international calls a month to call his family in Australia, and if we go over that, it's $.03 per minute...sounds too good to be true, but I'm almost convinced!