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VoIP Questioned

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the of-course-it-has-problems dept.

The Internet 375

87C751 writes "C|Net is carrying a very FUDdy story on the downside of VoIP telephony. Alongside the reasonable point of 911 dialing being unavailable during service and power outages, the writeup mentions broadband over power lines as a possible solution to the power failure problem. (talk about your cognitive dissonance!) It also notes that VoIP customers may not be listed in the local phone book, causing problems with "major fast food companies" (do they mean pizza deliveries?), and that Tivo requires a POTS line for initial setup (which sounds like Tivo's problem, not VoIP's)."

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375 comments

Series2 Tivo (2, Informative)

StormRider01 (231428) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738220)

huh, my Series2 Tivo setup just fine over my broadband connection...

Re:Series2 Tivo (5, Informative)

ZeroGee (796304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738285)

It sets up fine if you use the special broadband code in the "dialing prefix" box -- something like ",#401" if I remember correctly, but initial Guided Setup "appears" to require a phone line for all but the most tech-savvy. After guided setup, it will allow you to use your network card as the preferred connection type.

Cognitive dissonance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738222)

the writeup mentions broadband over power lines as a possible solution to the power failure problem. (talk about your cognitive dissonance!)

That's not (in any aspect that I can see, anyway) cognitive dissonance....

Re:Cognitive dissonance (2, Insightful)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738267)

What, that if your computer is off it can't send information, but it'd still be able to send information over power lines?

How exactly do they intend to maintain a network over powerlines if the power lines are down, and if the powerlines supply the power to the datacom devices that are transmitting over them?

Re:Cognitive dissonance (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738383)

Thats just a monkey writer throwing buzzwords together because its boss said so.
Yes its wrong, but it is not cognitive dissonance.

Jeroen

Re:Cognitive dissonance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738384)

What, that if your computer is off it can't send information, but it'd still be able to send information over power lines?

That's arguably stupid (I don't know enough about line transmission to say for sure, but my reaction is the same as yours) but how is it cognitive dissonance?

Re:Cognitive dissonance (2, Interesting)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738478)

Because it's a conflict in what you know and new information.

In otherwords:

Point A: VoIP fails if the power is off.

and

Point B: Broadband over powerlines is better.

conflict because the base condition does not change: You can not communicate if your COMMUNICATION DEVICE itself does not have power. Cognitive dissonance is the need to rationalize or otherwise explain away information that contradicts information they already believe. In this case, it actually works both ways: VoIP must have flaws so I'll think of some whether or not they make sense. As well as: VoIP isn't as good as some other technology because it would fail in a certain condition THAT ALSO MAKES THE OTHER fail.

I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (5, Insightful)

mbottrell (702614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738223)

Seems VoIP is still in it's infancy...

I'll be waiting for it to move out of Gen-1 status to the Gen-2 or Gen-3 devices.

What amazes me is the lack of talk regarding the security of these devices...

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (5, Insightful)

tdemark (512406) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738367)

What amazes me is the lack of talk regarding the security of these devices

Yeah, because the security of cell phones and cordless phones is so rock solid.

Almost nobody cares that anyone can eavesdrop on their cell and cordless conversations. Why should they care any different about their VOIP ones?

- Tony

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (2, Interesting)

mbottrell (702614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738408)

No, I'm referring more to the fact your phone now sits on a network, and in theory is able to be hacked.

Who will pay for the 10,000 calls ya phone racks up from 2am-6am every morning when you sleep due to the trojan/worm it's infected with.

Sure it ain't gunna be ya VoIP provider!

Back This Up!!! (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738559)

What trojan horse? What virus?

All I know is my SBC land line has gone up 3 times in the past 2 years. Screw them.

Re: Cell phone / Remote phone privacy (3, Insightful)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738433)

Yesterday, my daughter told me that she was having trouble hearing me because her next door neighbor's phone conversation was too loud. She even recognized the voice! Don't think for a minute that no one can hear. Even if you are on a wire connection, the other end may not be.

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738460)

Almost nobody cares that anyone can eavesdrop on their cell and cordless conversations. Why should they care any different about their VOIP ones?

Cordless phones and analog cell phones sure -- care to tell me how to eavesdrop on a digital (CDMA/TDMA/iDEN/GSM/etc) conversation using John Q. Public equipment?

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (4, Insightful)

YetAnotherDave (159442) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738583)

>> care to tell me how to eavesdrop on a digital

sure. right after you let me know how you're planning on intercepting my SRTP-protected VoIP calls...

True, VoIP security is just beginning to see the light of day, but since we're building on a good base of existing network-security tools it will ramp up fast.

SRTP rfc: http://zvon.org/tmRFC/RFC3711/Output/index.html

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (1)

Kakemann (57359) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738502)

Not "anyone" can eavesdrop a GSM phone or a DECT cordsless phone. Or VOIP over IPSec, for that matter.

Re:I'm not convinced of VoIP yet... (1)

sellers (89043) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738575)

Switched to VoIP via Vonage and it works. Requires good broadband connection.

The power over ethernet 911 issue resolution is funny. UPS's are probably more effective ;)

It's not mainstream, but perfect for say a teenager who likes to talk a lot - as it all gets logged realtime so you can monitor a bit more if needbe.

Please - don't take this article as a measure of VoIP. This person does not really understand technology.

Other DVRs work (5, Informative)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738234)

Tivo may not work, but Dish Network's DVR does. I moved this weekend, and had Dish Network set up. I already had an internet connection, so when the dish installers asked for a phone line, I quickly unpacked my Vonage box, plugged it in and let it initialize, then plugged the DVR into it. It's working without any troubles now.

With that said, I love using Vonage, and hope I never have to deal with Verizon or SBC again.

Re:Other DVRs work (3, Informative)

Bistronaut (267467) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738423)

The TiVo thing is patently false. TiVos do work without a phone line for initial setup - I know, that's how I set mine up.

Re:Other DVRs work (1)

beej_55 (789241) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738578)

Think about it, what kind of phone line have we had for years? Analog! VoIP was just getting popular when TiVo came out, and analog still holds the market when it comes to phone. Eventually, TiVo may put instructions for VoIP in the manual, but do most home users have a VoIP line? And out of the numbers of TiVo users, how many are tech-savvy enough to set up TiVo on analog alone? Makes you think.

Re:Other DVRs work (1)

eV_x (180493) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738491)

I have a Tivo and set up just fine over VOIP. The story seems to be a bunch of fear, but no real substance.

Oh, and I ordered a pizza yesterday just fine from it.

Re:Other DVRs work (0, Troll)

pegr (46683) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738557)

I have a Tivo and set up just fine over VOIP. The story seems to be a bunch of fear, but no real substance.

Oh, and I ordered a pizza yesterday just fine from it.


Your TiVo? That's awesome! ;)

Re:Other DVRs work. And dTivo's (1)

lcreech (1491) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738511)

The reference was probaly refering to Series 1 Stand Alone (SA) Tivo's. The Series 2 Tivo's can get the guide over bradband. My DirecTv Tivo's (both series 1 and 2), like your Dish Net DVR, has never seen a telephone line nor a broadband connection, they get thier data via the satellite.

What a crock of... (3, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738244)

This is a joke, right?

All the problems he mentions would certainly be valid points, but only if you're dumb enough to completely replace your phone system with VoIP!

I have VoIP, but I kept one of my POTS lines when I switched. Without long distance service, it costs me a miniscule amount per month, and I can still use it for my TiVo, alarm system, 911, and so on. Everything he brings up is such a non-issue, it's almost funny.

The only valid point he has is that it's difficult to get yourself listed in the phone book, but that's not a technical issue and should be resolved shortly.

Re:What a crock of... (5, Insightful)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738321)

The only valid point he has is that it's difficult to get yourself listed in the phone book, but that's not a technical issue and should be resolved shortly.

I don't even see that as a problem. I don't want my phone to be listed. My Vonage phone never rings unless it's someone I have given my number to!

Re:What a crock of... (5, Insightful)

ZeroGee (796304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738331)

All the problems he mentions would certainly be valid points, but only if you're dumb enough to completely replace your phone system with VoIP!

But that's exactly what VoIP SHOULD be -- a replacement for standard land-line telephony. Why should we settle (and adopt!) a system that requires you to keep, even at small cost, another phone system that goes through the traditional switching network in order to be able to use alarms, 911, etc.? Instead, VoIP should be improved where it can do everything the telephone system can do, and then we can do away with that antiquated network and use broadband everywhere.

Re:What a crock of... (1)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738388)

So we need to update the infrastructure so that it totally supports VoIP. Is there a really good reason why VoIP numbers have trouble getting into phone books? Is it an inate problem with the technology, or is it simply the phone book technologies getting stuck in a rut?

Re:What a crock of... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738424)

The nature of the problem seems to be that VoIP could be so flexible - it could issue phone numbers the same way DHCP issues IP addresses.

Fuck phonebooks for VoIP, you'd have to publish 4 a day to keep up! In my vision of the future, every phone has a small touch display, and you look up your numbers there against an authoratative source, ie; DNS for phone numbers.

Re:What a crock of... (1)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738547)

DNS for phone numbers, now that would be cool. data entry would be a problem though, take longer to type them in. maybe a voice recognition system?

Re:What a crock of... (2, Insightful)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738438)

Of course, as soon as VoIP replaces POTS, you can guarantee that the price advantage will also be eliminated.

Re:What a crock of... (1)

Garabito (720521) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738449)

That depends. If you have a cell phone + broadband, and you don't have issues with TiVo or alarm, POTS is not really needed.

Re:What a crock of... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738489)

I would actually LIKE to not be listed. Currently the teco charges a few bucks each month to retain unlisted service. This doesn't seem to screw up any of the local pizza delivery services, either.

Re:What a crock of... (3, Insightful)

jallison (693397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738513)

The article is truly awful. Lots of generalities, no specifics. You get things like "a VoIP phone number won't likely be included in most phone directories" and "Protecting your home could get tougher, as well. Some home alarm systems have trouble ..." (emphasis mine). Then there's the Tivo misinformation that others have already commented on.

This is just poor journalism. Of the complaints raised the 911 issue is the most legitimate due to the lack of location specifics when you dial 911 from a cell phone. The others are either bogus or are actually features to many folks.

The problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738247)

Was that they did their interviews using a VoIP handset, and couldn't make out some of the answers.

Tivo does not require a phone line (4, Informative)

BMonger (68213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738251)

The Tivo series 2 units *do not* require a phone line for initial setup. It said (or possibly still says this) on the Tivo web site but you can easily find information to set it up via broadband. I know it doesn't because I set mine up without a phone line as all I have is my cell phone.

Re:Tivo does not require a phone line (1)

slartibart (669913) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738351)

It's not just series 2. All Tivos can use serial cable to connect over PPP.

Re: VoIP Questioned (5, Funny)

Scoria (264473) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738252)

It also notes that VoIP customers may not be listed in the local phone book, causing problems with "major fast food companies"

That's horrible! Are you implying that some telemarketers won't be capable of easily obtaining my telephone number, and the local telephone company won't be capable of charging me to opt-out of the directory?

What a shame! ;-)

Re: VoIP Questioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738356)

Actually it you (and the submitter it seems) read the article it has to do with a delivery company verifying your phone number in the phone book. This seems silly to me either way, though, since some people have been unlisted for as long as I can remember.

Re: VoIP Questioned (2, Insightful)

wfeick (591200) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738518)

I've always gotten around the charge for an unlisted number by simply giving them a bogus name to publish in the book.

Broadband over power lines? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738255)

Well, I guess that solves the problem of your internet connection being up while your power is down. I don't think it's going to help you much, though. I have an alternate solution, and it's called a UPS. Of course, if your ISP doesn't have their equipment on a battery backup, then you're screwed. Mediacom in Lake County, CA seems to have a very short-life battery backup on some of their hardware, because their network would actually go down before my UPS ran out (only a 650VA, and I had a 19" monitor at the time, plus an Athlon Tbird 1.4GHz) when the power failed, which is a common occurrence there.

Re:Broadband over power lines? (1)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738328)


How?

Depending on the cause of the outage (like a line cut) you'd lose power *and* ISP anyway.

Re:Broadband over power lines? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738514)

It "solves" the problem by removing it - if the power is out, BOTH services will be out. Perhaps I didn't phrase very well, I should have said that it "eliminates the condition" in which your power is out but you still have an internet connection.

Any New Technology... (5, Insightful)

webword (82711) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738256)

Any new technology will face the exact same *kind* of issues. Users won't like it because of x, y, or z. The real issue isn't the technology itself but how well the businesses manage it, promote it, and so forth. Similarly, if usability doesn't improve, the issues in the article will become quite real and slow (or stop) any real progress in the market, and that would be the real crime.

Social Change (4, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738329)

I would say it's less of a biz issue and more of a social issue. Most of society didn't grow up with the kinds of technology advancement we have today.

There is also what I have been told many times. "We've always done it that way, why change." Most people don't like change and that is a big change.

Ben Charny is my b1tch (3, Interesting)

netwiz (33291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738258)

Wow. that article is a total clusterfsck...

Broadband over power is dead due to FCC restriction...

TiVos can use an ethernet link and DHCP to get their updates... And besides, they make VoIP phone adapters...

And who wants their home number in a book anyway? I've forgone the "unlisted number" charge, and as a result received more phone spam than god ever knew...

Kinda makes me wonder who's pushing them to get this published on the website. Apparently noone interested in facts, or logic...

Re:Ben Charny is my b1tch (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738453)

SBC? This is a FUD article totally in the mode of MS. Same problem (losing marketshare), similar FUD.

911 (4, Interesting)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738260)

If I needed to dial 911, I'd use my mobile phone rather than the POTS/VoIP one, because it's in my pocket all the time, I'd be able to get the call made faster. I don't see this being an issue for most people. Anyway, my POTS telephone system (BT XD500 DECT) requires mains power to operate. If my VoIP doesn't work, chances are my POTS phones isn't working either.

Re:911 (3, Insightful)

mqx (792882) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738362)

"If my VoIP doesn't work, chances are my POTS phones isn't working either."

Very wrong. Your VOIP can easily fail because of so many domestic conditions, while the telco easily continues to send you 48v + current in the local loop.

"If I needed to dial 911, I'd use my mobile phone rather than the POTS/VoIP one, because it's in my pocket all the time, I'd be able to get the call made faster. I don't see this being an issue for most people."

Wrong again: the penetration of mobile phones is woefully low, and actually of reasonable cost, and not entirely of wide enough coverage. On the other hand, POTS two wire is just about everywhere and entirely dead cheap and simple for everyone to use.

POTS is not going anywhere for a long time, even if its market share will decline.

Re:911 (1)

Micro$will (592938) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738539)

Most people believe POTS goes down due to power failures from experience, mostly because of cordless phones, fax machines, and combo phone/answering machines that require a seperate power source to operate. I have an old Western Electric rotary plugged in for those occasions.

Re:911 (1)

gilroy (155262) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738374)

Blockquoth the poster:

if I needed to dial 911, I'd use my mobile phone rather than the POTS/VoIP one, because it's in my pocket all the time, I'd be able to get the call made faster.

Unless you need to dial 911 due to a general local emergency (earthquake, flooding, etc), becuase the cells rapidly get overwhelmed by the number of calls. The attacks on NYC and the Pentagon brought that out in sharp relief: The cell phone system in Manhattan basically shut down from the flood of calls and so on.

It's not clear what sort of emergency would knock out cell phone 911 yet leave the authorities unaware, however.

Re:911 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738501)

The cell phone system in Manhattan basically shut down from the flood of calls and so on.

Actually that was because Verizon lost tens of thousands of lines and their center in the collapse of the WTC. It took a couple of weeks for them to get service back. The blackout was actually more devastating for cell service. I seem to remember that only my verizon phone was working.

Re:911 (4, Funny)

Jardine (398197) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738516)

It's not clear what sort of emergency would knock out cell phone 911 yet leave the authorities unaware, however.

Fire in the cell tower?

Tivo can use a network connection (4, Interesting)

Otto (17870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738261)

If you get one of the newer boxes, plug a USB network dongle into the back of the thing, hook it up to your LAN, and use the proper codes and config and such, it can do the initial setup via the network. It's not obvious via the menus and such, I grant you, but it can be done.

Which is anyway beside the point, as a lot of the VoIP services have boxes available that you can plug a POTS phone into, some of which can handle modem traffic just fine.

Tivo still requires a phone? (1)

sporkboy (22212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738268)

I'm hoping Tivo does away with the phone requirement when they come out with their HD units. It's asinine to rely on landlines when so many people are moving to exclusively mobile phone + broadband internet. Seems like they're spiting the demographic most likely to buy their new products.

I considered voip earlier this year, for an outbound connection for an alarm system dialer. There don't seem to be any "per-minute" type voip plans though where you only pay for use. Nor do there seem to be "outbound only". I can do without the telemarketers (do-not-call isn't enough) that come along with a land line.

Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (5, Interesting)

slash-tard (689130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738269)

or they wouldnt deliver to me. They wouldnt deliver to me even if I offered to prepay with a credit card.

Other pizza places dont have a problem with placing an order through a cell phone.

Of course this ignorant policy cost them a customer.

I imagine a VOIP line would cause even more problems.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (4, Insightful)

sporkboy (22212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738296)

Strange, I have a cellphone and they deliver to me all the time. In fact, I ordered from a friend's house in a different area code using my cellphone and they had my name on record (printed on the label) and no problems. Sounds like you got a bad-egg Dominos.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738363)

I agree to this --- I have ordered an outrageously large number of pizzas to a house other than mine from a cell phone, with tons of yelling in the background, with no problems whatsoever.

Kick that bad-egg Dominos in the ass

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738534)

Policies like that are up to the individual managers. If you were losing money because people were constantly being assholes and phoning in fake orders, etc, you might do the same thing.

Even places with such policies wont care if you've dealt with them before. The lil pizza shop down the road from me has such a policy, but I order from my cell all the time, and they pull my name on the computer, see I've bought hundreds of pizzas and never dicked them around, and have no problem with it.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1)

awhelan (781773) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738393)

As a college student I order Dominos from my cell phone all the time and it's never been a problem. Friends from out of state do the same thing. If the Boston area Dominos locations had a policy like that they would seriously lose about 80% of their business.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1)

BMonger (68213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738406)

Who orders pizza via phone anymore? I always order Papa Johns online... :) Get with the times!

Love to... (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738544)

I would love to order Papa Johns online... however I don't think they are going to drive the 60 miles from their nearest store to my house.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1)

selfabuse (681350) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738467)

I had the very same problem, but with Pizza Hut instead of Dominos. The Pizza Hut wouldn't deliver to me without a landline, but the Dominos had no problem at all. Coincidentally, this particular Pizza Hut is now out of business, and has been turned in to a gas station.

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738496)

It's up to them. Maybe they adopted that "ignorant policy" after the 100th time some asshole 13 year old kid sent a pizza to "I.C. Weiner" up at the cryogenics lab.

Most of the smaller mom&pop shops usually act this way, ya know the ones that actually make good pizza. They dont have the deep pockets to absorb these costs, Pizza Hut and the rest who slop ketchup and cheeze whiz on a piece of flatbread and dare to call it a pizza don't care. They let you order online. No big deal, since their pizza is worth a nickel to them and the delivery boys time is worth zilch (ie; he works for tips).

Re:Dominos pizza insisted I have a land line (1, Interesting)

BrainStop (671027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738505)

It could possibly be that you live in an area with lots of credit fraud. The fact that your credit card goes through for them doesn't mean it's not a stolen credit card that hasn't been reported yet .... But then, it's still crap that you need a landline. Just my 3 cents.

Attention Unisys Blue Bell PA employees (0, Offtopic)

CreamOfWheat (593775) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738274)

Please note that the 3rd Floor mens room 2nd stall from the left contains a massive 18 inch turd. I have left this gastrointestinal jewel sans toilet paper and without flushing for your viewing/picture taking enjoyment. Enjoy!

VoIP (3, Informative)

jamis (16403) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738286)

The only issue I had with my VoIP (Vonage) service was yesterday with a disconnected call to my cable company about intermittent dropped cable modems connections.

I realized what happened and whipped out the cell phone.

As for the other points -

1. I'd rather not be listed.

2. I've had no problems with fast food delivery.

3. ReplayTV uses a broadband connection.

4. I have a UPS for the VoIP box, cable modem, router, cordless phone base-station. As long as the power outtage doesn't effect the cable company, I'm all set.

5. 911 - Between what Vonage DOES offer for 911 service, 2 cell phones (mine and my wife's), and close proximity to neighbors (townhouse)... I feel safe enough.

Never been a fan of the VoIP (2, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738291)

I've never been a big fan of the VoIP. Seems like a solution in search of a problem to me. I understand with large companies out there that run thousands of lines out a building, but for residential use, it just doesn't make sense. Am I missing something? My boss asked me if we should implement a VoIP solution for our (15-person) company, and my reaction has always been why? We already get dirt cheap (practically free) unlimited long distance, local calls, plus we have an analog phone switch that works fine. I have been seeking enlightenment in this issue since the idea first came out. My theory is that it involves people with too much time on their hands...

Re:Never been a fan of the VoIP (1)

Barondude (245739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738536)

Here is a problem VoIP solved for me. I recently moved 5 miles. SBC wouldn't let me keep the same number but I was able to transfer it to ATT's callvantage VoIP service. When moving day came, I picked up my VoIP router and took it to my new house. Problem solved.

Tivo (2, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738298)

Funny I just setup my brand new DirecTV HD Tivo via a vonage line. No special codes, no special hardware (just what Vonage sent me a Cisco ATA) no fax line option. Realy what it is is persistances I probably redialed 20 times before it worked. My Googling for help led me down all sorts of roads with prefixes even plugging it into my fax line via vonage.

What it seems to come down to is packet loss I've been told that Packet loss is what kills modem connections over VoIP and that Vonage can alter your packet size to help compensate. I was trying late afternoon and had issues my Tivo has since automaticaly dialed up and is fine on Vonage probably due to the low packet loss in the early morning. I didnt even have to call vonage. It dosent work well but it does work.

Why wouldn't TIVO work? (1)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738305)

If my Nortel phone can't tell that it is plugged into a Motorola VOIP modem rather than a plug in the wall, how does a TIVO know?

Is this really a problem or simply conjecture?

The Tivo info is wrong. (2, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738307)

I've owned four Tivos over the years and only once did I have to use a phone line for the initial setup, my very first Tivo back when there was no network support on them.

emergencies (5, Insightful)

mqx (792882) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738314)


Your 48v (?) POTS line continues to provide current during emergency because the telco has backup power supply: there's virtually no complexity on the user side (the phone is powered from the line, and analogue phones are dead simple and largely robust electromechanical device).

On the other hand, even if your telco can keep PPP up during an emergency, and even if the telco pulled out 911 VOIP at the exchange and routed it on high availability circuits to operators to minimise internetworking failures, you still have the horrendous problem at the user side: i.e. complex customer home equipment that runs off domestic power that has large number of failure modes.

Even mobiles are better in an emergency (i.e. handsets have portable power, and the basestation and infrastructure has emergency power + failover features).

So even if you get QoS and all other other things in place to make VOIP really work: how the hell are you going to ensure high availability?

Otherwise, VOIP is going to great for multimedia conferencing and everything else.

Also (2, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738317)

And what about voice spam?

Your VoIP phone is sitting right there for any spammer to call. Now, there is no cost "barrier" for them to call you from outside the country. Now, most slashdotters will respond that they are l33t enough to create a whitelist-only calling system but the average Joe generally isn't offered this luxury and wouldn't be technical enough to understand how to implement it.

VoIP will become a new conduit for spam.

Re:Also (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738364)

VoIP will become a new conduit for spam.

It'll be a conduit for telemarketing as traditional telphony is at the moment - but I think it's unlikely to be used for spam.

Don't forget that email is generally sent free of charge by an ISP - with VoIP, there will need to be service providers who will, no doubt, levy a (small) charge for each call made. That alone should deter spammers.

Several things not mentioned in the article: (2, Informative)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738322)

1. With the introduction of SIP technology, the ability to create "phonebooks" is just a natural extension - after all, if a central server knows where you are registered to and what IP telephony capabilities you have, integrating that into a centrallised on-line database should not be too difficult.

2. If the VoIP world goes the way of SIP then for it to truly work will require SIP service providers so that you can connect transparently to VoIP networks from any point in the world. Presumably there will be a charge for this service from those providers who will, in turn record customer account detailes and "numbers" no differently to the way traditional PSTN service providers do.

3. Even though there is no centralised email database, this does not stop someone who I want to email me (as well as others who I don't want to email me!) from getting in contact simply by handing out my email address to the appropriate people.

Stupid is as stupid says (1)

bored_lurker (788136) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738323)

The author says:
For instance, a VoIP phone number won't likely be included in most phone directories, according to executives from various VoIP service providers, including VoicePulse, Voiceglo and Vonage. That could lead to trouble dealing with businesses such as banks and major fast food companies that often check local phone listings to verify addresses.

Am I to believe that if I am not listed in the phone book I can't get a checking account? So EVERYONE who has an unlisted number is in the same boat? Stupid is as stupid says.

And why is C/NET of all people running this? I have been in the telecom business for over 20 years. This sounds like something I would expect from Verizon, not C/NET.

TiVo requiring POTS line (-1, Redundant)

augustz (18082) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738324)

Where in the world is this coming from. TiVo says on their site that they need to be able to connect to via phone OR broadband to do their initial setup. NOWHERE does it say that somehow VoIP doesn't work. Frankly, it would seem that if you can connect via broadband, and VoIP uses broadband, you would be fine.

Good to know we have a hotshot paid tech journalist on the case rather then a bunch of unpaid message board posters :)

Tivo calls not working (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9738353)

Current Setup: Directv Tivo and Vonage with Comcast cable modem.

I had a regular phone line during the initial setup of my directv/tivo service. A few months later, I got rid of SBC and subscribed to Vonage. Fantastic service and quality of calls, I'll never go back. But, the daily/weekly Tivo calls always fail. I've read reports on the vonage forum that some people get the daily call to work (via a DSL filter), but not such luck for me. I'm going on 70+ days without a call into tivo, and other then the occasional warning from tivo that the daily calls were not made, I still have full service. Hopefully it will continue to work. I did converse with Vonage customer service (who tried to be very helpful), and they said that due to the UDP / Vonage connection, it would be virtually impossible to guarantee a Tivo modem call. Has anyone else experienced this issue, or found a resolution?

Cell Phones (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738360)

A lot of these problems are also applicable or alleviated with a cell phone. I don't have a land line, (well, one for DSL, but no phone #), and the papa johns can still find me.

Politically Charged (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738373)


Given the local telephone monopolies.

As regulated monopolies, they're quick to point out any of the restrictions under which they must operate and want to insure that any newcomers to the market be equally or more burdened.

Roads are publicly owned and maintained; why not public information corridors, too?

Not having my number listed? (1)

twocoasttb (601290) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738378)

Sounds like a benefit to me! During a recent Vonage outage caused by a broken T3 connection, I was told by customer service that they had redundant connections. Either the guy didn't know what redundant meant, or he was lying. The virtual phone number feature is great; I have an east coast number and a west coast number. The only downside is the doubling of "I'm sorry, you have a wrong number" calls; some of these coming at ungodly hours.

Not that FUD-dy. (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738380)

All of the concerns listed are legitimate, and have kept me from considering replacing my land line.

Here in Maryland, hurricane Isabel knocked out our power for a week last summer. Land line phones still worked, so we could call around to our friends and family, find someone who still has juice, head over and ride out the storm. With VOIP, our options would be drive around the state aimlessly, or hunt down a payphone, etc.. Forget that. And if the storm had of hit us hard, knocked a tree into our kitchen or something, I'm sorry, but 911 service is not a small, inconsequential feature that VOIP-zealots make it out to be.

The fast food delivery problem is less severe, but still there. Many pizza joints wouldnt even send a car out if they couldnt verify the address. They've been jerked around by cranks too many times. I've had friends with unlisted numbers or who were blocking caller-id have pizza joints hang up on 'em.

It's a nice idea, but one whos time hasn't come yet. At least not as the primary phone for my residence. Not until my connection to the 'net has the same level of reliability as my land-line.

I'm not in school anymore... (2, Insightful)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738402)

... now children, give me a 2000 word essay on VoIP.

I'd imagine that the bulk of kids these days would probably research the subject matter slightly better.

This writer clearly has NO IDEA on what he is talking about. Lets see if we can refute everything he says:

"TiVo, the digital video recording service, for example, requires a standard home phone line to complete the initial setup. Otherwise, you "can't get TiVo,"

I'm sure TiVo would be absolutely thrilled to use broadband for completing the setup. Just think of all the money they spend on 1800 calls for people to finish the setup. I'm sure they'd also be pretty happy to get viewer stats more or less in real time.

"That could lead to trouble dealing with businesses such as banks and major fast food companies that often check local phone listings to verify addresses."

How is this different from not being listed ? Why not raise the point that AT&T / Vonage need to provide a reliable database rather than spreading this line of "Fear".

"Some home alarm systems have trouble with broadband connections, or their manufacturers don't yet trust the reliability of the Internet."

The "some" being the companies that are too lazy to use more modern methods for monitoring.

"During a power outage, a VoIP phone is only as good as any battery backups on hand, because delivering power through the broadband connection isn't possible on a wide commercial basis. An emerging alternative broadband-delivery technique, broadband over power line, will solve this problem, but wide deployment is years away."

Where do I begin. Complete rubbish. Author probably read an article about it last month, so feels like he has to include it this month, just to get one back on New Scientist.

From here on in the article, we get a "dump" of interesting facts and other pieces of information that seem to completely go against what the author has just said.

Complete FUD. I wonder who's paying for the article.

Eh? (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738407)

That could lead to trouble dealing with businesses such as banks and major fast food companies that often check local phone listings to verify addresses.

Really? I haven't had a landline in almost 2 years (wifey and I use cellphones) and I've never had a problem getting any food delivered or banking.

My cellphone number isn't listed. I don't see why this is any different than the situation with VoIP service. The other "drawbacks" seem FUDdy too: my town 911 service uses my cellphones GPS to find me if I need it. Doesn't VoIP have a way to se location for this purpose (I think so)? Power failure isn't a problem for cellphone, of course. I guess this might be an issue for VoIP, but how often does the power fail (where I live, never had it happen in 8 years.)

Despite its drawbacks, VoIP is attracting a growing number of consumers, although significantly more people are dropping their traditional phone lines and relying solely on a cell phone, which faces many of the same drawbacks.

Again, what drawbacks? I live near Boston -- are things really that different in the rest of the country?

We are using VoIP at the company I work for.. (2, Interesting)

isolation (15058) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738435)

...and its great. I talk with our developers that are all over the world for nothing. Its also nice because I am a 20 hour drive from the office so I dont have to go in to answer my phone calls. The Asterisk voicemail system even emails me a wav file with Voice Mail in case I am not looking at the phone.

These articals are just FUD.

I wonder if C|net has ever tried VoIP service (1)

darthcamaro (735685) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738436)

There's a downside and an upside to everything...for me its a real simple cost issue. It would cost me at least 3x more per month on my phone bill (if not more) with a regular PTSN line than my VoIP connection...AND of course I can take my number with me wherever I go...try that with a regular phone line C|Net FUD mongers!!

Grasping for straws (1)

atrizzah (532135) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738444)

It's kind of funny how the article seems to be just trying to find something to complain about, no matter how trivial the complaints are. It reads kind of like a news story from the Daily Show

Let's see (1)

stuph (664902) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738450)

911 - Cell phone still works, can keep around an old, non-subscribed phone just for that, just have to keep it plugged in

Phone book - I'd rather not be in there anyway, anyone who wants to call me knows how to get in touch with me, anyone who doesn't know how shouldn't need to get in touch.

Pizza - I worked at a pizza place, just give us your phone number and we'll plug it in for you, no muss, no fuss

Tivo - broadband versions or roll-your own..

The benefits of a phone line and unlimited LD for 20$ a month outweigh these "problems" by a mile..

If you can get a DT you call 911 (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738465)

Out here in SBC territory where I live (former Pacific Bell), many of the switches have provisions where if the line is disconnected, there is still a dial tone. This allows the user of this line to dial toll free numbers and 911.

Now, we won't go into how you can use a prepaid card to call your friends on this, because this sentence explains it. (BTW, it has a phone number that can be called and rung - or at least mine did in 1998-1999.) But, note I mentioned you can call 911 if you have a dialtone on a disconnected line. So the point of 911 not being available is, as a general rule, moot.

Get a $10 corded phone at radio shack if you don't already have one (one that DOES NOT rely on wall power, but phone power) and hook it to your wall outlet. If you get a tone, keep it - it's $10 of emergency preparedness equipment. (Yes, Virginia, that cellphone might fail you at the last second.) If not, well, your call if you wanna keep it.

Phone number = demographic (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738468)

causing problems with "major fast food companies" (do they mean pizza deliveries?)

There are times when I refuse to be a demographic. Pizza Hut has not had problems when I call in an order and tell them no, they cannot have my phone number. Dominoes, however, refused to take my order even though I was going to pick it up because they don't deliver to my neighborhood. The drone on the phone not only didn't understand why I wasn't going to give him my unlisted phone number, he was surprisingly rude about it as well. Consequently I've not bought from them since.

FUD? (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738476)

Since when is it FUD to look at the potential downsides of a given issue or technology?

If one only looks at the benefits with out being aware of potential costs or flaws, one sets themselves up for ultimate failure due to ignorance and blindness.

The Death of the Telegraph (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738521)

I'm sure similar articles were written when the telephone supplanted the telegraph. "How will people communicate reliably! Voice can be misunderstood! Think of the morse code transcribers!" The technology will adapt, and those who adapt with it will stand to reap the rewards. Those who don't can graciously bow out of the next act of the play.

I've seen better forward-looking statements from a Magic 8-ball than from this article. Of course there will be growing pains, but it's not the fault of the technology for introducing them!

Protokol: (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738546)


Interogater: Where were you during the night of the 35th to 36th last month?

VoiP: Uuuuuhmmm....

SCNR

The real problems wont be predictible (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738561)

And the inability to predict them are why they will be problems. Foreseeable problems, with VoiP as with any other endeavour, are just that. You know the problem exists, and solutions and / or workarounds will be discovered in turn. But until you end up trying to implement this on a wide scale, you simply will not know what the problems will ultimately be.

END COMMUNICATION

Negative ghostrider (1)

chamcham (647769) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738565)

broadband over power lines as a possible solution to the power failure problem

As an amateur radio operator I enjoy having the HF bands in a semi-useable state. BPL is a bad idea [arrl.org] in my humble opinion.

-73s

Been dealing with this for 4 years (2, Interesting)

jgman (136006) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738570)

I have been using my GSM standard digital phone exclusively for 4 years. I have dealt with most everything listed in this article. None of those things are of concern to me. While I can't help but wonder why TIVO needs a standard phone line to set up, thats TIVO's fault. If I really want, I'll just slap a TV Card into my computer, problem solved, one less sale for a company with an idiotic policy. And for that matter, like most Americans, I could probably do with watching less TV.

I used to have problems with some companies not accepting that I did not have a land line (Video Rentals, etc...), but have found in the last couple years as it has become increasingly common for people to drop their land lines, that companies have adjusted. For that matter, I always figure if they can't accept I don't have a land line, they can do without my business, that is capitalism after all. Those compnaies that adjust to the new world of cell phones and VOIP will survive, those that do not, won't. I for one have never had a problem going elsewhere if a video store or pizza parlor is so backwards as to not want my business over a telephone number. I'm usually all too ready to drop a polite note to that companies management explaining why they lost a customer. But again, It has been at least 3 years since I ran into any problem like that. As for not being in the phone book, I find that to be a definite plus. As I am on a "cell" phone, I almost never get telephone solicitations. Those rare times I do, all I have to ask is if they are aware they are calling a cell phone. At that point the solicitor profusely apologizes and asks if there is a better number to reach me at, to which I gladly respond, no.

Ben Charney (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738574)

30 seconds with google reveals that he's very much against VOIP, and very much a supporter of the phone industry.
God I love the internet - every opinion you've ever had displayed for the world to take out of context forever...

GPRS? (1)

TheGax (572856) | more than 9 years ago | (#9738586)

Why not add a little GPRS receiver into the box. Much like many cell phones, this would basically give the same E911 functionality. Or even a regular GPS receiver that could consult a list of known 911 centers based on location.
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