I Finally Broke Down and Got Vonage

I've finally moved my phone service into the 21st century. I couldn't help it. Of course, if you compare the $25/mo unlimited plan to my existing equivalent $90/mo SBC plan (to be fair, I'm also redesigning the need for a $20/mo fax line out of my life) also made the choice pretty easy. They even threw in a $200 phone and a free month's service for signing up at the show.

So, now I'm up on Vonage, and I thought I'd share some a little about my experience in the last week...

First of all, the free phone is the Uniden UIP1869V VoIP phone system. It's one of these phone deals that allows you to add on 5.8GHz wireless headsets all day long, and only use one (in this case) network connection. I like the form-factor of the handheld unit, and it does a fair job of synching up (via USB cable) with Outlook contacts, etc. The big drawback is that the base of the silly thing is corded. How dumb is that! I can't remember the last corded phone I purchased. But no big deal, it ended up down in my command center being a gateway for my VoIP system, and allowing to make calls if I happen to be standing down there. (Don't laugh!)

Secondly, the quality is outstanding. I have a very high bandwidth internet connection. It's a point-to-point wireless radio transmitter through DLS, which is basically an anti-telco club. There are several articles on TechLore about this technology, such as this article if you're interested. But anyway, because my bandwidth is so significant, the signal is crystal clear. It's the best sounding phone I've heard in a while ... when it's on.

But it isn't always. Where other folks with VoIP have experienced relatively poor overall quality, I seem to experience great quality but at the price of some instability. In other words, the thing can drop you like a cell phone would if it gets in the mood. So every once in a while (too frequently really), I'm talking to someone and all of a sudden they're just gone. Not a peace-inducing thing to bring what is the bane of cellular technology into the home as well.

But one of the high points, which makes me tolerant of some of these problems, is the cost. Because I have a high-speed net connection that doesn't require a traditional phone line, like DSL, I was able to eliminate my phone service with SBC all together. $65/mo back in my pocket! Woohoo!

Last thing, Uniden makes like 4 other handsets that can tie directly into the same base station I'm using. That's not a Vonage or a VoIP thing, per se, but it sure is nice. Now, I have the excuse I've been looking for to upgrade my much older 2.4Ghz phones to a new phone network, including a nice blutooth-enabled one for my desk to go with the new smartphone and headset I'm eying for later this year. I'll let you know how that goes though. For now, though, I just switched plugs in my patch panel, moving all the phones in the house over to my new VoIP line. Worked like a charm!

So overall, positive. But I'm keeping an eye on this dropped calls thing. You may see me back in here up in arms someday. For now, my $65/mo can go towards my new phone. :-)


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