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Old 02-07-2007, 05:36 PM   #15
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I have used Vonage from Argentina & Brazil quite a bit over the last 18 months while I have been traveling. Conference calls can be tricky but if you have at least 256 Kbps upstream bandwidth you should be fine.
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Old 02-07-2007, 07:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by herrgirdner
One thing about VoIP. If the network you are using is congested,your voice quality suffers because the packets used are "throwaways" and are not retransmitted if they get beat up in transmission.....

That’s not true for all VOIP systems. It is true for Vonage (full disclosure: I work on VOIP systems for a living, but not for Vonage). Some VOIP systems work in a closed IP system. What that means is that the calls are originated on an IP network, but may be terminated over a closed IP network, or they may be terminated on the public switched telephone network (i.e., the “old” phone network). Or they can be originated and terminated on a mix of the networks mentioned above. These networks are considered “closed” because the phone service provider has complete control over the routing of the call and can ensure that all the packets that start out on one end, wind up at the other. Also, in this type of network, the phone call traffic is not mixed with the other IP traffic on the network.

Vonage uses a system whereby the actual internet is used as much as possible to complete the call. Your internet connection at home may be provided by Earthlink, for instance. You route thru Earthlink’s IP network to Vonage, then to your final destination thru Vonage or others. If you are placing a call to Grandma across the country, Vonage will route the call over the actual internet to her home town and make the “last leg” of the connection thru the local Bell operating company (assuming grandma has her home phone service from Ma Bell). That’s why quality will sometimes suffer on some VOIP systems. Lots of hops to get there and no guarantee that all the packets that start out at your modem will reach Grandma’s phone.

There are many variations and hybrids. AT&T use a sort of a mini-internet that only AT&T can access directly (you can’t surf the net over this type network). AT&T is using this type of long distance connection between some of its offices, not all. AT&T also offers large customers to access this type of network, but it is still considered a “closed” network because the customer has no control over it.

CATV and Internet Service Providers are beginning to offer VOIP in huge numbers now. In the Atlanta area, you can get VOIP service from Charter Cable, Comcast, Earthlink and AT&T internet services. There are more, I just don’t who they all are.

VOIP is the future of the telephone. These types of systems don’t require nearly as much hardware or other infrastructure to operate. The Regional Bell Operating Companies are working now to convert over to these new technologies. They simply have too much invested in the old network to change everything over night. The CATV and ISP companies see VOIP as a value added service for their customers just like they did high speed internet a few years ago. For a (relatively) small investment, they can piggy-back the phones over their existing networks. And by the way, the Bells are looking for ways to transmit Television and truly high-speed internet services over their existing phone lines. Cisco is designing it right now. Verizon has a few small cities around the country wired for 30 megabit internet service (DSL at best runs at 1.5 megabit). The Japanese have been doing this for several years now, BTW.

I started out working in the “old” network many years ago and have transitioned to the new IP based systems. I love it. But then, I’m the kind of guy that likes to learn new things.

JIM
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Old 02-07-2007, 08:20 PM   #17
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I've had Vonage for over a year. It does seem to have its problems over the last 6 months with echo and dropped calls. But the price is right.

I bought it mainly since I wanted to take my calls with me to our vacation home and while travelling to the Caribean.

Has worked very well at our vacation home and suprisingly well from Jamaica even.

I know my broadband at the home office is acting up a bit... which might explain some of the annoyances as of late.

Personally I recommend Vonage for those who want to take their calls with them on their travels. Otherwise I would be checking into other VOIP options.

PS. I've tried the softphone option with Vonage (using your computer as the phone)... didn't work so well. Last time I tried I couldn't get it to work, and ended up cancelling that opinion.
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Old 02-07-2007, 08:33 PM   #18
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I've had Vonage for over a year. It does seem to have its problems over the last 6 months with echo and dropped calls. But the price is right.....

I know my broadband at the home office is acting up a bit... which might explain some of the annoyances as of late.
That's definately the cause of some of your problems. Echo can be caused by several things, but dropped calls are probably caused by an inconsistent internet connection. Your ISP can help you with some of it.

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Old 02-07-2007, 09:05 PM   #19
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PS. I've tried the softphone option with Vonage (using your computer as the phone)... didn't work so well. Last time I tried I couldn't get it to work, and ended up cancelling that opinion.
I had this issue as well with another service. It seemed worse when the computer was operating near its capacity as far as memory.
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:59 PM   #20
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VoIP uses UDP (universal datagram packets) which are as close to realtime as the Internet can get. If your call is competing for bandwidth over the Internet with TCP packets, and your link is fairly narrowband, the TCP will occupy the bandwidth and your UDP's will suffer. The voice quality will be noted to be lower than the PSTN (public switched telephone network). If the network used is dedicated to only VoIP, then the congestion should not take place, and the voice quality will be about as good as a cellfone.
I agree that VoIP is the coming thing.
Yeh, I worked on VoIP systems for 10 years before I retired.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:19 AM   #21
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Ahhh, the innner geeek

I contributed my experience with Vonage to this thred, but it's funny to see how many deep technical folks use airstreams. Great conversations about packets, gives me shivers

The comment on 256kbps uplink is interesting since most of the sat broaband providers only have 128kbs uplink. That would rule out using a satelllite broadband provider such as hughes. So unless you have a campsite or hotel that provides good quality broadband you could be in a challenged situation.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:43 AM   #22
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The comment on 256kbps uplink is interesting since most of the sat broaband providers only have 128kbs uplink. That would rule out using a satelllite broadband provider such as hughes. So unless you have a campsite or hotel that provides good quality broadband you could be in a challenged situation.
There is a setting in the Vonage control panel that allows you to use less bandwidth at the expense of audio quality if needed.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:48 AM   #23
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turn it down

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
There is a setting in the Vonage control panel that allows you to use less bandwidth at the expense of audio quality if needed.
It's like turning down the volume, moving it to 30kbs is okay but if you use the phone line for faxing you'll have to crank it back up to 90kbs. Just ran into THAT little frustrating issue.

Anyone tried using voip with the sprint broadband networks?
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:30 AM   #24
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We have vonage and like it. We have Cox cable as an ISP. Quality is great and so far (3 months) no dropped calls.
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