I have been meaning to experiment with VoIP service for a while now. So when the Vonage sales droids called me the other day offering a free month of service I thought I would give it a go.
It only took a couple of days for the Motorola box to arrive. This box is basically a VoIP to POTS converter. Ethernet in and two POTS RJ-11 jacks out. Setup is simple, hookup the Ethernet port and plug-in a phone.
So far I am pretty impressed with the service. No one I have spoken to in the last week has said anything that would indicate the quality was different from my old POTS line. I have been able to make the quality bad by starting a large upload while talking on the phone but this is party due to my network topology. Instead of putting my home network behind the Vonage Motorola box so that it can do some QoS magic I have simply plugged it into my LAN. My home network configuration has some routing requirements that make it impossible for me to put their box out front. I’m pretty sure I can deal with this quality problem with the Linux QoS features on my router anyway.
What I like most about the service is that everything can be controlled from the Vonage website. Setting up call forwarding is as simple as typing in the phone number. No more *91, wait five seconds etc. What I like even more is that voice mail messages are accessible online. You can listen, save and delete your messages from the website.
Another nice feature is being able to take your VoIP to POTS box to any location with high speed Internet. This means your home number can now travel with you. Vonage also sells a soft phone service so that you can use a SIP client on a PC or laptop while traveling. This avoids carrying the converter around.
I haven’t decided yet if this is just an experiment or if I will be canceling my Bell POTS line but it is definitely looking good.