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Switching from Phone to Voice-Over-IP?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the searching-for-the-pitfalls dept.

Upgrades 103

An anonymous reader asks: "I am fed up with the telcos. My last phone bill for one line was over $100 _without_ the $45 for ADSL, so i'm looking to cut as many costs as I can. I've compared my current Voice + Internet solution to one consisting of Voice-over-IP and Cable Internet and it looks like I would save over $50 a month by throwing away my land-line phone and switching to Cable/VoIP. I'm new to the whole changing-from-POTS-to-VoIP process though, so what are some of the 'gotchas' involved with switching? Can I keep my existing number? Will calls suck my bandwidth dry? And most importantly, do any of these VoIP providers work with or support Linux?"

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103 comments

Skype has better sound quality... (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185653)

Skype has better sound quality than a regular telephone, and it is free, for now.

And is also Windows-only (4, Informative)

notsoclever (748131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185688)

and doesn't support incoming landline phonecalls

and doesn't let him keep his phone number

but other than that, yes, it totally fits the bill!

Link to Skype. OneSuite. (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185721)


Link: Skype [skype.com]

I've been using Skype to talk with a friend in France, from Oregon. The sound quality is excellent, much better than crackly old telephones. The link is computer to computer, and we both have high-speed internet connections.

Also, try OneSuite [onesuite.com]. 2.5 cents per minute to use a regular, scratchy traditional phone.

Both of these make me realize that the telephone companies are charging too much. When you talk, you are only transferring a few bits of digital information. Everyone's conversations are aggregated into a huge data stream that is very cheap to send by optical fiber.

Open Source Skype replacement? (2, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185752)


Another thing. Skype operates with a totally firewalled computer. When it finds that its ports are closed, it uses the browser port, port 80. This raises interesting questions of security. Anything can be transmitted over port 80.

It also raises interesting questions of writing an open source version of Skype that would hook to regular phone lines.

Re:Open Source Skype replacement? (1)

tadheckaman (578425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186361)

gee, sorta sounds like Asterisk
http://www.asterisk.org
http://www.digi um.com

no additional hardware... (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186452)


I thought Asterisk required special hardware, but I guess not: "Asterisk needs no additional hardware for Voice over IP."

Anyone have any experience with Asterisk without special hardware? Can I connect to an Internet address directly?

Is the sound quality as good as Skype?

Re:no additional hardware... (1)

tadheckaman (578425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186517)

join #asterisk on irc.freenode.com but yes, works fine without hardware (things like music on hold, conference rooms need hardware for timing) quality depends on bandwidth and server, it supports SPEEX for audio, and ilbc is pretty good quality.

Re:Link to Skype. OneSuite. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8186041)

Both of these make me realize that the telephone companies are charging too much. When you talk, you are only transferring a few bits of digital information. Everyone's conversations are aggregated into a huge data stream that is very cheap to send by optical fiber.

Please dig up all of north america and bury fiber. Then get back to us about how cheap it really is.

There is already too much fiber. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186063)

There is already too much fiber. More than 50% is not being used.

Re:There is already too much fiber. (1)

Kalzus (86795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186513)

That would probably because it's been laid in the wrong places and doesn't connect to enough profitable endpoints. Which makes it about as useful as the proverbial solar-powered flashlight.

Re:There is already too much fiber. (1)

yuri benjamin (222127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186514)

There is already too much fiber. More than 50% is not being used.
There is never too much fiber. It will be used. When you say "50% is not being used" are you talking about average load or peak load? Peak usage can be orders of magnitude larger than average usage. Think of Christmas (or Thanksgiving for you American types).
What about virus outbreaks? They tend to double or triple the amount of email traffic on the wire at any one time.
If your 2GHz CPU had an average load of 1%, would you replace it with a 20MHz CPU?

Re:There is already too much fiber. (2, Informative)

samjam (256347) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187020)

He means "not used" period.
Do a google search on "dark fibre" (avoid the textiles links)

Lessig in is "The Future of Ideas" refers to this, the fiscal value of the communication commons depends on managing the scarcity.

Try this story [theregister.co.uk] where we learn about the lack of scarcity on London.

In theory, yes (4, Interesting)

notsoclever (748131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185672)

Supposedly the FCC number portability rules apply to landlines as well as cellphones, though it's still a bit hazy whether it applies to VoIP or not (I think it's supposed to though).

Linux support-wise, Vonage supposedly supports Linux, though honestly I'd go with one of the hardware VoIP phones anyway, just for matters of simplicity (like when it comes to devices grabbing your hardware and fighting between mp3 playback and phonecalls, and just simple matters of Linux audio sometimes being a pain to deal with).

Personally I just use a cellphone for my primary phone line, but it sounds like you make way more calls than I do.

Re:In theory, yes (1)

EvlG (24576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185714)

I havent seen any information anywhere about number portability of local landline numbers. Do you have more information on this?

Re:In theory, yes (2, Informative)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185729)

Vonage [vonage.com] will let you port your number to their service. You can even port your Cell number to vonage as well. Check here [vonage.com] for their LNP information.

Re:In theory, yes (1)

p4ul13 (560810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185863)

I've done just this. My cable company supplies the broadband connection and my "landline" is through vonage. I ported my old land line over and it works fine, but sometimes I get calls that don't forward to my cellphone like its supposed to.

Re:In theory, yes (1)

kableh (155146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190292)

Just a sidenote, Vonage may or may not have a POP in your area code. The area I live in has 2 area codes, and when I moved to Vonage I had to take a number in the newer of the two area codes. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.

I've been fairly impressed with Vonage's service, but the quality is similar to a cellphone... It sounds good, but you can tell there is a fair amount of latency. Sure beats paying my local telco monopoly, though. =)

Re:In theory, yes (1)

technos (73414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204161)

What Vonage actually sends you is a little box made by Cisco that uses DHCP to obtain an address and only communicates with two or three hosts.. (the DNS server, sip.vonage.com, and.. Drawing a blank)

They're pretty dummy proof. Plug one jack into your switch, one jack into a patch cable to a jack on your existing phone wiring, or straight into a phone, and plug in power. They're sent with the info they need to get started already on 'em.

No software required, deals with shitty DHCP and shitty NAT rather well, and if you want to take your number with you, just unplug the Vonage box and stick it in your carry-on.

new search engine!!!: google.com (-1, Redundant)

errgh (744846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185692)

Re:new search engine!!!: google.com (4, Insightful)

greenhide (597777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185864)

Yup, it sure sounded to me like he was interested in the latest in research on VoIP technologies.

Oh, wait a tic. He wasn't.

He wanted human-readable information about what the relative costs and reliability of VoIP was; whether he could receive incoming calls to his current number; and what some of the "gotchas" might be in switching to VoIP.

None of which were addressed by the matches to your search.

The only possible question that might have been answered is what VoIP providers support Linux. I have a feeling that since he already pointed to Vonage, he has done *some* preliminary research on Google. No doubt he wants assurances from those who have actually tried VoIP, not just companies trying to sell it, that they actually support Linux.

If the most helpful comment you have is to tell someone to use Google, then keep quiet. Unless the slashdot is something along the lines of "What is the definition of blah-blah?" or "Where is a good place to buy computers?", the person has probably googled it, found that the results weren't useful, and turned to /. for help.

NAT nat nat.. (5, Informative)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185699)

Your biggest concern with this will be what sort of device you're using for performing your NAT. (See here [sipphone.com] for some info about consumer routers that have NAT issues) Asking "do these services work with linux" is a very vague question, are you using linux as a router? desktop? You should also keep in mind the underlying issues involved with making this work. In order for your phone to be told to ring, your telecom provider needs to send you a message saying "hey, ring that phone". Depending on what kind of VoIP you're going to do you may also encounter problems if the other person is doing VoIP and is behind NAT as well.

Most of the commercial providers will solve these issues for you. I'm currently using vonage [www.vonage] at home for my second line. I still keep a traditional landline for E911 and other functionality. The whole "where is your service located" issue is quite interesting on this front when you call emergency services. Since I could take my Vonage hardware with me to a friends house if I were traveling, it makes it quite tricky. Plus you don't need to have a phone number that is within your local calling area.

I'm interested in hearing from vonage (and other) VoIP users that have called 911 and if there were any complications..

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185820)

Phone companies are required by law to relay calls to 911 regardless of whether or not you have phone service. If you get a dial tone when you pick up (which you should, even when you don't pay for service), you can call 911.

You are wasting your money.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185900)

I'm not exactly wasting my money, I do live in a somewhat rural location and happen to be in a lucky situation where I have a T1 into my home. I don't have any "broadband" choices (aside from satellite). It's quite likely that in the 10+ miles (of cabling) from my location to the closest fiber hut where my service goes on to a lightspan, if I turned off my service I would no longer have dialtone.

I'm additionally insuring that if I do lose my internet connectivity (employer change, etc...) that I am not without my existing home telephone service. What you consider a waste, I consider insuring that I have reliable telephone service of one sort or the other.

While what you say is true, 911 is available to everyone that has dialtone, there are no assurances that I will keep that dialtone if I'm not paying for any service. (Plus, it's nice to have incase I need to dial-up or send a fax for any reason).

Tell that to Qwest (1)

notsoclever (748131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185915)

Here they actually charge you for the dial tone on top of the normal phone service...

Re:Tell that to Qwest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8198255)

Uh I have Qwest and dialtones are free.

Re:Tell that to Qwest (1)

notsoclever (748131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8198299)

Dialtones are included in the cost of a line. But it's one of the many nickel-and-dime "hidden charges" they add on. Read your itemized bill someday. Though this could be something they inherited from US West.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

ers81239 (94163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189739)

Have you ever moved? When you move into a new house there is no dialtone. When you cancel your phone service because you are moving out, there is no dialtone.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8198222)

I've moved more than 6 times in the last 8 years. Everytime there was a dial-tone on the phone when I plugged it in. If I tried to dial a number before we ordered service, it would say something to the effect of "No service is currently provided on this line. Please contact blah blah blah." However, if you dialed 911 it would go through. This was all on Qwest (formerly US West).

This is the law! A federal one at that. If you move to a new home and there is no dialtone, the phone company is breaking the law and you should report them.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192776)

I do not, and never have, gotten a dialtone without paying for service on a landline.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8198231)

Next time you move and there is no dialtone, report them. It is a violation of federal law! They get away with it because most people don't know it's a law, and wouldn't report them if they did, as they usually order service anyways.

Re:NAT nat nat.. (1)

Prior Restraint (179698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190398)

Your biggest concern with this will be what sort of device you're using for performing your NAT.

Not to downplay what you're saying, but I think the biggest concern is that moving away from a telco means you can't get a dialtone during a power outage. It's one of the three remaining reasons I keep traditional phone service.

DISCLAIMER: I work for a telco, but not the one the submitter linked to.

Might be cheap now (1)

Slowtreme (701746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185718)

Legislation will close up those loop-holes soon.

The cost savings for a single user just are not going to be there. VoIP might be cheap for large companies that do $10K in long distance a month. But for Joe user it's not cost effective and the sound quality can suffer. It's cheaper to get a Cell phone with free nights/weekends and a good min/month plan.

$100!? (1)

narftrek (549077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185720)

Dude! A hundred dollars? I haven't tried VOIP but I switched to MCI's neighborhood and I only pay $60 with taxes. My wife has used 2000 minutes of long distance in a month and it cost the same (can't STFU imagine that). At least swap to a unlimited program even if you decide VOIP isn't for you.

Re:$100!? (0)

Wicked187 (529065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197352)

I would have to agree... I do not think VoIP is capable of competing with such plans, especially in the residential market. The investment required to have acceptable service is just not within the means/desires of the average person.

DSL is the killer here (2, Interesting)

EvlG (24576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185740)

It's too bad you can't get DSL service without paying for phone service from the phone company.

Why haven't these 2 services been separated? What if I want DSL for Internet access and Vonage for phone (for example). Why should I have to pay the phone company tax to get that?

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185870)

Why would they? That would allow people to get VoIP. They would be killing their own business. I realize most people wouldn't do that (they'd probably go cell) but still. This will NEVER change unless regulation says that they must seperate the two. It makes no sense (from the phone company's point of view).

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

PompousAsshole (639710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186526)

There are some places like Miami where you can get the phone company (BellSouth) to give you a dead line (read regualar line with dial tone filtered out at the NID) with just DSL singal. From here you only pay for the DSL and not the phone line. The service is more complicated to get because its not openly advertised, but ive seen it done. I dont remember the name exactly, sorry. Though it may be worth inquiring about.

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

RackinFrackin (152232) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186865)

That's interesting. In the Atlanta area, Bellsouth won't sell DSL service without regular phone service, or at least they wouldn't do it last summer. I don't really understand why. The regular phone service costs another $30/month, driving the monthly phone/internet bill up to around $80. For single people who use only a cellphone, this make cable internet at $45/month a much better option. Bellsouth is losing customers because of this.

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

EvlG (24576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8191772)

Regulation really needs to get on the ball with this one IMO.

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186401)

Do what I'm planning to do. Run an old BBS on the spare phone line. That it's DSLed means that you won't get 56k, but you should manage at least 9600 and since I'm intending to run it on old 8-bit hardware, I don't think the phone line will be the bottleneck.

Or think up something else yourself. a truely spare phone line is a wonderful resource to play with.

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

JoeD (12073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188839)

Who says you can't? You need a phone number to get DSL initially installed, but once it's installed you can have the phone service disconnected while still keeping the DSL service.

That's what I did.

Don't believe me? Call your phone company.

Re:DSL is the killer here (1)

Unleashd (664454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190455)

Same thing worked for me. Got DSL and phone linegot sick of the phone bill and disconnected the phone I had my DSL working for several months after that, before I moved.

Primus.ca for Canadians (3, Informative)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185789)

I just got a flyer from Primus, a long distance and internet provider. They have something called 'Talking Broadband'. You order it, and they send you a little thing to plug into your network, and you connect the phone to that. Not only do they transfer your phone number over, but you can pick a new number, and you can pick the area code of any place that they service, no matter where you live. As well, you can attach up to two 'alternate' phone numbers with their own area codes. I live in Edmonton, and I'm thinking of signing up for the service and getting an alternate number with a Toronto area code. That way, phone calls that friends in Toronto make to that number are local calls. I get one-way unlimited long distance for $4 a month. I can't phone out on that line, but that's okay.

Check it out. Primus also does business in the States, though it doesn't look like they have this service in particular. You should mail and ask.

Former Vonage Customer... (4, Interesting)

Landaras (159892) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185793)

I used to be a Vonage customer. I will detail my reasons for leaving at the end of this post.

As far as Vonage and Linux goes, Vonage will supply you with an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) that plugs into your existing network. Run a patch cable from your router / switch to the ATA, and a telephone cable from the ATA to a handset and you're good to go.

There is no interaction between the ATA and your desktop systems. It doesn't matter if you're running Windows / Linux / MacOS / Amiga / Whatever.

As for why I left Vonage, I was unimpressed with the call quality. I had Road Runner Business Class (I think 1.5M down, 768k up, although I might be mistaken) coming into my residence, and I would occasionally get static and dropped calls. Also, about 1 out of 10 calls the other party would not be able to hear me at all and hang up in frustration (assuming it was a crank caller or the like).

Two other problems I ran into were getting my assigned number and a "cancellation fee." When I signed up over Vonage's site, I was told that Vonage would automatically cancel my existing land-line service. However, my area code (513 - Cincinnati) was not offered, so I went with 614 (Columbus).

I found out later (when Cincinnati Bell kept billing me) that since I didn't transfer a number Vonage didn't cancel my existing service. The wording on Vonage's site did not lead me to believe that this was the case. To Vonage's credit, after I complained about this they credited my account for what I had to pay Cincinnati Bell.

I was disappointed when I eventually cancelled my Vonage account (to move back to Columbus and just use my cell phone as my only number) that Vonage charged me $41.19 as a "cancellation fee." They refunded this upon me shipping their hardware back, but I was very put off by being hit with that. I told Vonage that they should reword that as a hardware deposit or something more palatable.

I'm not angry with Vonage for my experiences, but I'm not falling out of my chair to recommend them. I want to see VoIP continue to mature and eventually become ubiquitous. Whether it's ready now or not is up for discussion.

Hope this was helpful!

- Neil Wehneman

Re:Former Vonage Customer... (2, Informative)

Bill Wong (583178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185990)

By ATA, I assume you mean a Cisco ATA 186 (which are no longer sold/made by Cisco anymore, and because of that, they are in fairly high demand now!).

Vonage stopped giving out Cisco ATA 186's sometime after November 2003, and now give out Motorola vt1000's instead.

Guess what? Quality is even worse with the newer Motorola hardware. :(

At least you got out fairly cheap. We had a few dozen lines we had to kill, because quality kept getting worse... You don't want to know the cancellation fee we had to pay :\

Re:Former Vonage Customer... (1)

Landaras (159892) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186075)

I actually got one of each, as I learned with the Cisco ATA 186 not to plug a 12v power brick into a 5v device [I grabbed the wrong brick on accident]. The smell of frying components in the Cisco ATA was...enlightening.

I shelled out $100 to get a Motorola vt1000 replacement, since this screwup was my own fault. I made arrangements to move back to Columbus to finish school (Go Bucks!) soon after, in mid-November.

I assumed that ATA was a standard industry abbreviation. Was I wrong in that respect, and / or is there a better term I should be using for such devices?

Re:Former Vonage Customer... (2)

kcurrie (4116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8198022)

As for why I left Vonage, I was unimpressed with the call quality. I had Road Runner Business Class (I think 1.5M down, 768k up, although I might be mistaken) coming into my residence, and I would occasionally get static and dropped calls. Also, about 1 out of 10 calls the other party would not be able to hear me at all and hang up in frustration (assuming it was a crank caller or the like).

I've had vonage since last April, and when I *first* got it it was great-- no problems at all. I have fiber to the house, going back to a neighbourhood T1 (shared by only ~5-6 people in the end, and that went back to a T3 I believe). Anyway, once Nachi came out it basically wiped this ISP off the map as they had absolutely no filtering of any kind (i.e. windows networking fully available all over, etc). Once nachi traffic rose my phone was basically unusable. The ISP lost a ton of money and pulled out of Austin completely, except for Alarm monitoring apparently. Anyway, I got a TW business class cable modem too (2.5 down, 768K up in this case) and since getting it I've had not a single problem with Vonage. I can even have another IP phone running through a hw vpn concurrently with no bandwidth issues.
The thing that makes the biggest difference is setting of traffic shaping/QoS. I set up an OpenBSD box and use it's altq with excellent results.

For me the free long distance to Canada was the biggest thing-- we had phone bills over $100 all the time, now we pay $35.

Define the problem better. (4, Interesting)

greenhide (597777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185812)

As a geek, it's a knee-jerk reaction to turn instantly to a new technology to solve the problem. But depending on why your phone bill is expensive, Voice over IP might be a difficult/costly solution to your problem.

If your main costs come from calling someone long distance (particularly for long stretches of time), may I suggest one of the many 1 cent (or your denomination of choice)/minute phone cards? I used them in the past with someone with whom I would have long (2+ hours) conversations, and once the initial connection fee of 30 odd cents was paid, I could pretty much talk as long as I wanted. My phone bill went down from $60-80/month to one phone card ($20) per month or less (2000 minutes is a lot of minutes).

There are also 3-4c/minute phone cards with *no connection fees* and just a weekly "mainenance" fee on the card of 35c or so.

Many of these cards are now also rechargeable through the Internet or over the phone.

My experience has been that the sound quality of these cards is pretty adequate for voice conversations. If you're using the phones to swap recordings of symphonies, then I wouldn't suggest it.

Finally, my understanding is that there are many phone plans offering *unlimited* minutes for a reasonable rate. This may do the trick for you as well.

My point is, there are a lot of solutions to your problem that don't involve tossing your phone.

Re:Define the problem better. (1)

Grayskies (749277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186393)

aye, i'd hold off till the technology was a bit more advanced/user friendly... the advantage of phone cards is that you cant trace the calls. disadvantage, you cant have people just user caller-id to call you back..

Re:Define the problem better. (1)

RockyMountain (12635) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197790)

I can't speak for the original poster, but I'll describe why this solution doesn't work for me.

I live in Colorado. Not sure if it's the same in other places, but here basic home phone service is nearly $40 a month. That's even before you pay for long distance, call time, anything. That's just flat monthly fees and taxes for having a dial tone.

No big deal, if you're amortizing that $40 over zillions of hours of calls. But, in my case I make very few calls. And I need a cell phone too. My call volume is so low, it makes sense to just use the cell for everything, and disconnect the home phone. I did this a few months ago, and it works great: the little extra airtime is a drop in the bucket compared to the $40/month saved.

The one problem I haven't solved yet: What to do about overseas calls? Most (all?) cell phone plans available here _either_ have totally outrageous charges for international calls, _or_ have high monthly fees, incompatible with my low call volume. And they all block the use of calling cards for international.

I have a cable modem, and my hope is that some VOIP solution will eventually solve my international calling dilemma. I'd be happy with outgoing-only VOIP service. (Incoming international calls go to my cell, and I keep the call short and tell the caller I'll call back on the VOIP.)

Some have suggested trading in cable modem for DSL plus land line. But that costs more where it is available, and isn't available where I live, anyway.

If anybody has any experience with low- or no- monthly fee VOIP that solves this problem, I'd love to hear about it.

Voip Gotchas (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185858)

The problem with Cable + VOIP is QoS. When your cable goes out, no phone. This includes power outages - and even if YOU have UPS or whatever, the likelihood is that your cable headend doesn't have anything but a few minutes of battery. POTS is generally provisioned to run indefinitely independent of power outages etc.

Other things to watch out for are 911 service, Caller ID.

Operating system is generally not an issue - VOIP means installation of a Cisco or some other such box that sits on your LAN.

Personally I chose AT&T One Rate USA instead. I didn't want to deal with the VOIP teething pains.

Re:Voip Gotchas (1)

gsabin (657664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186195)

The problem with Cable + VOIP is QoS. When your cable goes out, no phone. This includes power outages - and even if YOU have UPS or whatever, the likelihood is that your cable headend doesn't have anything but a few minutes of battery. The Headend/Hub will have power to last for days, using very large diesel generators. The network (amps etc) will have a much smaller power supply. Many (well at least where I used to work) have power supplies that last between 3-6 hours, and if those start to go we would roll a truck and setup a small gas generator to power the amp. So the case may not be grim, not saything that there are not headends who have old crappy headends that might only last a couple hours, depends on where you live.

Re:Voip Gotchas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8186395)

Many (well at least where I used to work) have power supplies that last between 3-6 hours, and if those start to go we would roll a truck and setup a small gas generator to power the amp.

Where I live my cable modem service goes out within 10 minutes of power off.

You are really dependent on how well the cableco maintains the batteries on the poles.

Re:Voip Gotchas - Power consumption (1)

CaraCalla (219718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188633)

And don't forget to count in the power consumption of any additional devices you need. My own (rather old) cable modem draws 30W, thats 250 kWh a year, or (depending on the cost of electricity) up to 80$.

Cheers
Edgar

Re:Voip Gotchas - Power consumption (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197535)

If you are getting that kind of electrical cost, you can buy a new modem for just the power savings. My Toshiba cost me $50 and draws 6W.

I know who to ask. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8185859)

Ken Leja. He knows everything! He's a whiz!

Are you sure you want to completely switch? (2, Insightful)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185879)

One of the reasons phone service is expensive is because of the 911 access. With POTS, you're able to call 911 easily and reliably, even in severe conditions (e.g. blackout). With VoIP, you don't get the ability to do that well. Any time your internet service goes out (admit it; it's more often than your POTS goes out), you'll lose the ability to call 911. What if there's a blackout? Will your DSL/cable modem and computer be hooked up to a good UPS? And what if you're under attack or something? Will you have the time to wait for your computer to boot up before calling 911?

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8186160)

One of the reasons phone service is expensive is because of the 911 access.

Ummm, no. Many areas have a dedicated fee that goes for 911. It's not much.

Phone service is expensive because the phone company wants to make money. If I ran a phone company, I would do the same thing - it's a business, not a charity. I own shares in some phone companies, and they do pretty well.

The more the telco charges, the more they make, since (up until recently) everyone wants a phone at home and the office. People look at you funny if you tell them you don't have a phone number. What kind of business doesn't have a phone? Demand for phone lines doesn't depend much on price.

Up until recently there was little competition in residential phone service, and there still isn't much. If your business needs 60 phone lines on T1s, there is competition in that market.

However, as more people decide to only have cellular & voip, alternatives to plain telephone lines become more viable, and the telcos will have to lower prices to compete.

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186224)

My cell phone dials 911, and as a bonus, I can carry it with me. If I walk outside and am promptly crushed by a falling tree, I can still call 911 while the tree rests on my lower body.

One other neat thing about cell phones: you don't even have to have a cellular plan to get emergency service. So, go ahead and throw away your POTS, get a cable modem and Vonage or whatever. And bum an old unused cell phone off someone, or pick one up really cheap from eBay. You can keep it in your car, or easily accessible in your house somewhere. Hey, if you're really paranoid, you can keep an old cell phone on a charger in every room of your house.

I have a cable modem and a cell phone, which saves me money because I'd have the cell phone anyway, and I don't have to pay for a land line I'd never use.

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (1)

polymath69 (94161) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186775)

One other neat thing about cell phones: you don't even have to have a cellular plan to get emergency service. So, go ahead and throw away your POTS, get a cable modem and Vonage or whatever.

This may come as a surprise, but there are plenty of places in the US where they simply don't work at all. Even here in the high-tech state of Connecticut, if you venture into Litchfield County, there's nary any coverage. Replacing land lines is not an option for everyone.

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187380)

If you live out in the unpopulated boondocks, you'd be dead before the ambulance finally got there.

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (1)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189430)

You might be surprised... often rural communities have faster response than in cities. No traffic, there are often nearby volunteer EMTs stationed all over the place. Sure, it'll take you longer to get to a hospital, but an EMT can stabilize a lot of problems.

cell phones (1)

ajagci (737734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187035)

With POTS, you're able to call 911 easily and reliably, even in severe conditions (e.g. blackout).

Most people who have high-speed Internet access probably also have cell phones. And whether you want it or not, you even have E911 with your cell phone.

The 911 issue is a marketing gimmick by the phone companies.

Re:cell phones (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192855)

The 911 is reasonable - I ditched my landline for Vonage anyway, though. My reasoning was that if it's important enough to call 911, someone can run to the bar next door. Or kick in the neighbors door, or something.

The only issue I've had with Vonage has been people refusing to believe where I live because I had a non-local area code, and one issue with a snarky Dominos who wouldn't deliver for the same reason.

Re:Are you sure you want to completely switch? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8196493)

Of course, there's another way to look at it... if some disaster renders my VoIP *and* my cell phone unable to reach 911, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that the fine folks at 911 wouldn't exactly be in much of a position to help anyway.

"BellSouth 911. May I help you?"

"Yeah, my house is on fire."

"I'm sorry, sir. We're in the middle of a category 5 hurricane. There's nothing we can do for you. "

For that matter, does ANYBODY think you'll REALLY achieve anything useful by calling 911 after a jet crashed into your neighborhood and buried half your house in flaming wreckage?

Maybe hurricane andrew and September 11 just left me permanently nihilistic about emergency assistance. But I still think, if things are SO BAD that BOTH your VoIP and cell phone stop working and you need emergency assistance, you're pretty much screwed any way you look at it.

Lots of VoIP info... (5, Informative)

Gravatite (21346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185894)

Playing with the various VoIP solutions is a bit of a hobby of mine, so allow me to share some of what I have learned:

Vonage is a great company, they have area codes in a lot of places, and they also support number portability. The downside is you're stuck using their equipment (cisco ata-186). It's a nice box, doesn't require a computer, provides a plug for normal phones, and works quite well behind a Linux firewall. If that's what you're looking for, then by all means, go with Vonage. I currently have a personal line, and a business line w/ fax line through them.

Packet8 is another company where you're stuck with their equipment. I've heard of problems with their service, but I have yet to experiance anything. The price is right, and the quality is good enough, and they also support lots of area codes. I currently have a personal line through them, but I've only had it for about 4 months.

iConnectHere is another one that supports lots of area codes. The quality is ok, but I had lots of lag issues with them. The price is pretty good, but you have to supply your own equipment. The good news is it works well with most sip devices (I've used an ata-186 with it, as well as a few soft phones). You'll hav problems using softphones behind a firewall though, but the good news is, it integrates pretty well with Asterisk, the open source pbx software. I used their service for a few months, but I no longer have it, the lag issues were too much for me.

VoicePulse is my current favorite solution. Aside from SIP, they also support IAX (via their VoicePulse Connect! service). With IAX, it integrates extremely well with Asterisk even behind firewalls. They have a pretty good pricing plan, and you get all your incoming minutes for free. You can add as many phone numbers as you would like, but the only problem with their service is their limited area code availability, which will hopefully get better over time. They support multiple inbound and outbound calls simultaniously, and several codecs, so you can balance your requirments of bandwidth vs. voice quality. VoicePulse also has a service that's more like what Vonage offers, but I haven't tried that. As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I'm currently using the VoicePulse Connect! service as my PSTN gateway for my Asterisk PBX, and so far it's been working remarkably well.

I hope that helps!

Re:Lots of VoIP info... (2, Informative)

kriston (7886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192971)

Vonage now exclusively uses the Motorola vt1000 device which is very nice for three important reasons:

1) Has built-in firewall and NAT so you can get QoS on the cable-modem side.

2) Directly supports two telephone lines.

3) Reboots and gets on the network quickly.

The only two real drawbacks of the Motorola is that you can't run all your house phones off it without encountering ring-volume problems, and if the box is offline it only gives you silence (an error tone would have been a nice plus).

Kris

Re:Lots of VoIP info... (1)

8282now (583198) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202005)

he only two real drawbacks of the Motorola is that you can't run all your house phones off it without encountering ring-volume problems, and if the box is offline it only gives you silence (an error tone would have been a nice plus).

The silence is the typical behaviour of a phone that is not connected to the "co" or gatekeeper/sip redirect server. It behavaes as if it's "unplugged" from the wall socket.

j2c.

Long distance (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186091)

Blah blah blah obligatory product plug, even though I'm just a consumer and get nothing out of it... sooooo,

I purchased a 900 mhz logitech headset for use with teamspeak [slashdot.org] cause I'm geeky like that. Later I purchased a monthly plan with Dialpad [dialpad.com] (yeah yeah, they need a linux client...) The custom viop app you install is tiny, and doesn't require a reboot so I've been able to use it pretty much everywhere with a cheapy mic/headphone combo. It won't work when I'm booted to linux on the lappy but oh well.

However, the voice quality of the actual calls on a decent qos was pretty good and as long as nobody was edonkeying for porn on my non QOS connection it was about as clear as a cell phone call. The delay (1/2 a second at times) can get to you tho.

Just did this (1)

warm sushi (168223) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186268)

Although I also have a mobile, which removes the problem for accessing emergency numbers (sure, I need to keep it charged, but I don't need to crawl to the land line everytime I cut off one of my legs).

The main reason why? Well, my land line calls were so few and far between (about 2-3 bucks a month) my line rental ($AUS 20/month) far outweighed it.

The funny thing is, I hardly use VOIP at all. Email and chat usage went up (but that costs me nothing) while mobile remained steady.

why bother (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186557)

Why bother with the trouble of VoIP?

Verizon offers DSL + Unlimited Local/Long distance for $85/month.

While it't not cheap, it's also not that much more than a cable connection, and you get to keep your normal phone!

I'm in no way affiliated with verizon. I just find it amazing that people pay such high bills for no clear reason.

Re:why bother (2, Interesting)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188971)

You can get basic cable, cable internet (2x speed of DSL), and the unlimited Vonage plan for the same amount.

Although, I guess the real issue is if Vonage works as advertised.

Vonage (2, Informative)

mpechner (637217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186584)

four of my friends have it and it works great. they now have 911 service in most areas. This is important to check on. Some services do not let you connect to 911 or 411.

If you get a business accounts, you even get a fax line as part of the service.

You can transfer your current pstn phone number.

Voice quality is at least a good as PSTN. See QOS notes below.

They used to send cisco-186 adapters for analog phone. I believe they not send you a motorola box that acts as a DSL/cable router and have a port specifically for your phone. this allows voip traffic to take priority over other data traffic.

The one real gotcha is that if your internet connection get flakey, the sound quality can suffer. If the connection goes away, so does your phone service.

If you do not go with vonage, get the linksys router that has QOS. This way you can point at a specific port for the phone so VOIP traffic get priority. this QOS is one of the bigger issues.

Other wise being on the phone while a big upload or download is happening and you'll think your on a bad cell connection.

But can we programmers use it? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186592)

One of the interesting things about VoIP from the start was the idea that, as a programmer, I could write a program that would connect to a telephone and "talk" to whoever or whatever was there. And now that the lower levels of the phone system is widely converted to VoIP (RTP actually), it seems like this should be possible.

I've been working on a medical project that would really like to use this capability. Things like alerting medical personnel via their cellphones, and sending them voice and/or SMS messages. We've been doing lots of Net research to discover what the code looks like.

So far, we haven't found it. Lots of enticing clues that, yes, it might be possible. But tracking down leads invariable leads to circles without actually discovering any code that does it.

Of course, the spam uses are also obvious, and as part of the project, we'd like to learn how to protect the medical people from that.

Anyone have any good clues?

Or is it all proprietary and not available to us?

Re:But can we programmers use it? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186657)

I've been working on a medical project that would really like to use this capability. Things like alerting medical personnel via their cellphones, and sending them voice and/or SMS messages. We've been doing lots of Net research to discover what the code looks like.

There was an article referenced on /. a year or so ago about how grossly unreliable [cnn.com] SMS is. I would suggest you stick with radio paging; the paging companies seem to know how to deliver the messages, and reading a page is faster and more convenient than listening to some annoying computer-generated voice.

Re:But can we programmers use it? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190821)

Yeah; I've seen 5-hour delays in delivering SMS messages (and then all my accumulated test messages get delivered together ;-). We're using paging systems, too, and I'd agree that they're more reliable.

But we basically have to use what's available for each individual. The medical system is full of Luddites, and when dealing with MDs and RNs, you don't give them orders. You figure out what they are willing and able to deal with, and use that. Most of them can't be persuaded to learn how to use a PDA. Cell phones they can deal with. Most cell phones now come with SMS. Somewhat fewer have paging. All have voice capability.

With the medical personnel themselves, the hospital can give them a phone, and in the cases at hand, it's a PDA phone. But we can only use the capabilities that we can get a person to learn to use. In the case of patients, it's even worse: We have little say in what sort of electronics (if any) they carry. And often they can't be taught to use anything but a phone, because they've been using phones for decades and understand that.

We can and do demo paging and SMS. All cell-phone providers seem to have an email-to-SMS gateway now. But such messages are often not seen by the person carrying the phone, and most of them can't reply (because they don't know how).

The big question now is whether we can demo voice messaging. A voice message ("Are you OK? Press 1 if you're OK; press 2 if you need help, or start talking and your message will be passed to a person.") and a way to record the replies would really help a lot.

We've tried a couple of commercial services that do things like this. They aren't very satisfactory, because they separate us from the phone by several layers of software, producing long delays before we get anything back. And the HIPAA regulations will almost certainly make it illegal for us to go through such a commercial service anyway. The only right way is to connect directly to the phone and not have any intermediaries or non-real-time relays

And, of course, if my software can connect to the phone itself, there's a good chance that I can have it drop in a pager number and/or an SMS message, for those that are known to be able to handle such things. But if the DB says they're voice-only, the software needs to talk to them and record their reply, even if that's not the technically best way to do it.

Re:But can we programmers use it? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192322)

But we basically have to use what's available for each individual. The medical system is full of Luddites, and when dealing with MDs and RNs, you don't give them orders. You figure out what they are willing and able to deal with, and use that. Most of them can't be persuaded to learn how to use a PDA. Cell phones they can deal with. Most cell phones now come with SMS. Somewhat fewer have paging. All have voice capability.

That's interesting; in my experience (limited to just 1 big university hospital) all the medical personnel have pagers and use them, only some have cell phones and are very restrictive about giving out those numbers. Different user population, different requirements... Of course you may not be able to give them orders, but if you have any reasonable channel of communications you might make it know that using SMS is flaky because the telephone companies don't bother to make it reliable (IOW it's out of your control and they needn't bother complaining to you about it because you can't fix it).

Anyway, hate to say it, but: I don't think you have much chance of cracking the VOIP problem. I think you're going to have to install a PBX with a computer-accessible interface and drive it from your program.

Re:But can we programmers use it? (1)

smatthew (41563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195255)

said the Crystal Reports flunkie to the chief of medicine "Oh sir - here's that report of everyone that the computer called last month who said they were in need of medical assistance. It's a close match to last month's obits in the newspaper...."

Same Problem, Solution = Vonage (2, Informative)

jatsrt (691289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186759)

I had the same problem, I live in one state, my family and my wifes family all lived in another state. So my Veri$on bill was outrageous. Solutions, almost 2 years ago now, I switched to Vonage, using my local cable provider for broadband access. The end result is rock solid service that has only gone down in price and up in features, service and quality, not to say it was bad to begin with. I have no land line service and I enabled the 911 service that is part ov vonage, that is that it calls geographically closet location and you need to tell them your address. As for soft phones , vonage offers a soft phone with a seperate number and seperate services with 500 minutes for an additional 9.99 a month. My recomendation is this solution, good luck.

Re:Same Problem, Solution = Vonage (2, Informative)

smishra (540867) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189628)

The problem with VOIP and phone service is usage in real emergency situations.
In my area power goes out for a few days at least once a year. Once this happens
  • the VOIP service no longer works
  • cell phone battery dies after some time

    The only thing that really works is land line phones. These are backed by batteries and gensets at the CO.

    So I would still go with at least one land line.

    The other option would be to use my car to keep the cell phone charged. However I do not trust the cell phone company to keep the towers working in an extended power outage. So I keep at least one land line working

    _____________________________________
    Find a job [findaresume.com] | Look up definitions [yourdictionary.net]

Re:Same Problem, Solution = Vonage (1)

Myrcurial (26138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8191070)

You are applying unrealistic expectations to the capability of a land line to stay operational during a wide scale blackout. Ask anyone in the NE USA or SE Canada about their experiences with phone service during the august blackout -- I'll give you a hint -- the wire aggregators such as DMS-Urban devices did not have sufficient power. My cell phone worked throughout the blackout, my landline did not.

Internet provided by phoneline provders (0, Offtopic)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187770)

I can see a problem here that flicking over the posts I can't see raised and that this:

Most internet services are provided by companies who are in some way linked to telcom companies or provide thier own telcom themselves.

Examples:

- adsl/dsl's?
- cable; Telewest broadband offer phonelines pretty much same rate as BT

Does anyone know of a way to get internet access on its own without buying from a cable company who would prefer to sell you a phoneline too? - in the UK...

UK? (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187800)

Anyone had any success googling for UK VoIP gateways and providers?

It doesn't seem to be too well known here and I'm not sure why since we pay the most. It could be a legal thing not yet delt with by Ofcom.

Re:UK? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8189988)

I use Telappliant (www.telappliant.com) in conjunction with SNOM sip phones (www.snom.de) and digium FXS cards (www.digium.com) behind a NAT enabled asterisk server (www.asteriskpbx.org). I bought the snoms from the UK distributor, provu (www.provu.co.uk). Telappliant offer inbound PSTN to SIP bridging based on 0870 (nat rates) or 0845 (local rate) number, and outbound calls at calling card rates. Apparently 0207 numbers are coming soon. Excellent service so far, once asterisk config was sorted (which was a complete bitch). Usual disclaimers apply.

ProfP

Current Vonage Customer (2, Informative)

DukeyToo (681226) | more than 10 years ago | (#8191517)

I am a current Vonage customer. Here are the pros and cons as they apply to me:

Pros:
* Cheap - especially international calls, I cannot get a better rate except with a phone card.
* Features - lots of features that I normally would not take (because they usually cost extra) are free, such as call forwarding, caller id.
* Easy, detailed online account access.
* Its cool
* Voice quality actually improved over my previous service

Cons:
* 56K dialup does not work. This can be a gotcha in unexpected ways, for example my DirectTV Tivo cannot dialup to DirectTv, which means that I could not have multiple recievers, or use their sport channels.
* Reliability of Internet connection is not as good as phone lines.
* If the power goes down, then so does my phone (have not tried using UPS yet)
* 911 service is available according to Vonage, but how will I really know until I try?
* The hardware is a bit iffy. I have the motorola unit, which I originally setup as they suggested, directly to my cable modem, with the rest of my network behind it. This was extremely unreliable, and I get much better results by putting it behind a NAT router (I had to forward some ports).
* Broadband options are cut down - I cannot use DSL because I no longer have a land line, but I do not want to use cable (because I have satellite). So, I end up paying the cable company a "tax" of sorts because I am not interested in the cable, only the internet.

Re:Current Vonage Customer (3, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194986)

I'm also a current Vonage customer (just started a week ago), and have a few things to add:

Pros:
* It allowed me to convince my wife we should finally get broadband, because by also switching to Vonage, it ended up almost completely paying for itself. (It would have more than paid for itself, but we don't want cable TV.)
* The OP asked whether it creates problems with bandwidth competition between phone and modem. The answer is that the Vonage box prioritizes packets, so you don't suffer any loss of audio quality if you're using the internet while on the phone. (But of course it will slow down the internet access.)

Cons:
* You have to dial 1+area code before every number, even local ones, which is annoying.
* If you want 911 service when the power is out, you have to keep a regular phone connected (911 still works even if you don't pay for telco service), and you have to train kids, babysitters, etc. to use it. It's probably not true that they're less able to find your address if the person who dials 911 can't tell them. This feature is said to be unreliable for regular 911 access anyway, and I believe (not clear after reading the Vonage docs) Vonage has the same feature. You do have to go through an extra step to activate 911 with Vonage -- so don't forget to do that!!!

Cable Modem (1)

Game Genie (656324) | more than 10 years ago | (#8198612)

I use Earthlink cable internet and don't have to pay the cable tv tax. It is only availible in certain places though (areas serviced by TimeWarner, plus some test markets)

Fax: it don't work (well) on VOIP (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8191666)

Sorry, but I've found faxing to be difficult to impossible on both Vonage and Voicepulse.

This is a major issue to me, and likely, to many.

Jonathan

what's "fax"? must be something pre-historic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8204445)

I don't know anyone who still uses fax. There is something called email and you can even send text documents and pictures with it - you might want to check it out...

VoIP in the real family world (2, Interesting)

kriston (7886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192865)

I can offer some insight on VoIP. I use Vonage with two lines and one line for Verizon. I also have a home network using a cable modem.

To effectively use Vonage at all, you'll have to make a big investment in multiple-handset cordless phones or a small telephone system. I chose the telephone system from Lee Phones [leephones.com] which re-sells the BBS Telecom IPS system.

The Vonage device will not properly work if you just run your entire house's loop to it. It may work for two extensions, but three is risking burning out the machine. The trendy thing today is multiple-handset cordless phones, so you plug the base-station into the device and you're all set. Since Vonage can have two lines on one device, try to get a multi-line multiple-handset system (they are EXPENSIVE) or a home telephone system.

Always keep the land line from Verizon or whomever it is for emergencies. I have seen Vonage go out-of-service even when my cable modem network is still running. A multiple-line multiple-handset cordless system or phone system makes this really easy.

There is nothing quite as annoyingas hearing the Vonage line ringing downstairs and not upstairs. This is where phone systems are key.

Kris

VoIP in the real family world-access controls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197302)

A couple things. One with the home telephone system, can you have access controls on a per phone basis? for example if you didn't want the teenage daughter to use her phone between the hours of 8:00 p.m to 7:00 a.m. Or you didn't want her to call or recieve certain numbers? Also I assume these systems are cheap enough, and easy enough for the prosumer market (as easy as regular phone equipment to install). otherwise I smell a business opportunity.

It works fine (1)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8193371)

My wife is on the phone right now, VoIP. I'm browsing, as is she.

We're using Vonage, with a cablemodem (TWC RoadRunner).

Our cost: RR:$45/month, Vonage:$27/month.

FWIW, Vonage gives us free voicemail, 500 minutes LD anywhere in the Continental US, caller ID/CallWaiting/Call forwarding/3 way calling, and $.05 per minute to the UK. In comparison, our local Telco gives us local only with NONE of the features listed above, for $32/month.

Check out Vonage here. [vonage.com]

FYI: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197369)

Just an FYI guys, if your phone is disconected you DO NOT have 911 service. I work for one of the big ones, and while people are pushing for this to happen, none of the major compaines do it.

Just google it:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF -8&oe =UTF-8&q=911+%22disconnected+phone%22

VoIP using your wireless iBook / PowerBook? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197789)

Okay, if you have the equipment from Vonage or Primus.ca or whomever, what about this situation:
Bring your wireless notebook along to a coffee shop which has wireless Internet, connect the VoIP equipment and your phone. Will it work? Will you be able to dial home without paying long-distance charges?

If this works, I'll get the VoIP equipment and a phone everywhere I go when I travel!

911 service... (1)

aquarian (134728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8201578)

911 works by resolving your home address through the POTS network, so when you go off POTS you lose 911 service. This is definately something to think about. You can always program emergency numbers into your phone, but it won't help you if you're incapacitated and can't give directions. Even a 3 year old can dial 911, and help will arrive automatically.

Piece of Cake (1)

harryk (17509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205795)

You can view my other notes on the topic through my posted messages. The biggest 'drawback' is the amount of time that it takes to switch. But otherwise I really have to recommend Vonage as being an excellent service provider. I didn't really shop around, but when my wife and I first got our phone service, we immediately switched to the Vonage service. At $37 (After taxes) for the phone, and asking Time Warner to keep my rate low, I save $20 a month in communications costs. I would be saving more if I called home to mom as much as she'd like.

I've compared my Vonage costs to going back to a land line, and I can't beat it. I'm just waiting for the next round of cuts to come throuh as the competition heats up.

Switch today, don't delay!
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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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