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Mon, 10 Apr 2006

I have a second telephone line which I am paying way too much for. For several months I've been meaning to do something about it, and I think I'm piling up enough momentum to do something about this. From what I can tell, the folk who read this blog are pretty technically savvy, so I'd like to know whether you are using Vonage (or a similar service), what your experience has been, and what your recommendations would be in terms of provider, plan, hardware, hacks, etc.

Here are some things that are important to me:

  • VoiceMail as E-Mail - I am horrible at returning voicemail - I hate the phone pad interface to voicemail, and I want to manipulate that stuff from my computer.
  • Caller ID - So I don't have to talk to spammers, I mean, telemarketers
  • Call Forwarding that tries a list of alternate phone numbers before dumping to voice mail, and the ability to turn this on from a web page - I always forget to forward my phone
  • The ability to dial phone numbers from my computer - that means a Mac.
  • Cost of the service is a factor, and free long distance is pretty much mandatory
  • I want a solution that doesn't tie up my computer or that will degrade because I've got both cores in the MacBook Pro maxxed out doing compiles, running tests, or rendering in Aperture.
  • Ability to keep my existing phone number

What are you using and why?

[00:40] | [gadgets] | # | TB | F | G | 13 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
I'm using Digitalrealm.  The pricing and features are excellent.  All of the features you are looking for are available except PC dialing.  Included in the price are Caller ID, anonymous call block, simultaneous ring, web interface for calling features, voice mail and free long distance.  This company sends an email with a wav file containing the voicemail.  One of the best features is the ability to create a list of phone numbers which get "special" handling.  I use it to block telemarketers that send Caller ID data.  They get a busy signal once blocked.

I think Voip uses 90K of bandwidth up and down.  This will test your connection:

You will also need to enable Qoss on your router.  I had voice quality problems without it when my internet load was high.  Proximity to your router is also a concern.  You get an ATA with your service that has to be connected to your router and telephone.  You can connect it wirelessly but I prefer wired (ethernet).  If I recall your setup, you'll need a cordless phone or an extra ethernet port in your office.
Posted by Dan Leung at Mon Apr 10 03:47:56 2006

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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