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PC Magazine's In-Depth VoIP Review

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the do-you-voip-what-i-voip dept.

Technology 153

Voipster writes "PC Magazine has completed their in-depth review of six VoIP providers. The Editor's Choice award goes to AT&T's CallVantage service. Unlike other reviews that consist of making a few phone calls, PC Magazine uses Minacom's PowerProbe 6000 VoIP testing equipment which provides hard numerical scores for a DTMF detection test, a fax transmission test, and two voice quality tests, PESQ (Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality) and VQES (Voice Quality Evaluation System). However, after a very detailed analysis of each provider, the calculated scores don't carry much weight as they award AT&T's CallVantage the Editor's Choice and four other services strangely tie for second place."

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Interesting Idea (5, Interesting)

Bumjubeo (849737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379095)

What will happen to the phone companies that offer dsl and phone service when the cable etc.. companies start offering VOIP. I myself know that when my cable ISP starts offering voip im dropping my phone service from the local provider. Anyone Else?

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379134)

I myself know that when my cable ISP starts offering voip im dropping my phone service from the local provider.

Does your cable company offer broadband?

Why wait for your cable company to offer VOIP. Signup for Vonage [vonage.com] , Broadvox [broadvox.net] , etc now.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

Bumjubeo (849737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379155)

I was thinking of signing up for Vonage, they do offer service in Canada...but I just wanted my TV, Internet and Phone services on one bill hehe, but looking more at Vonage, it looks quite good as well.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379167)


I myself know that when my cable ISP starts offering voip im dropping my phone service from the local provider.

Does your cable company offer broadband?

Why wait for your cable company to offer VOIP. Signup for Vonage, Broadvox, etc now.


Presumably because if the cable operator was offering VoIP, they'd use some sort of Quality-of-Service scheme to make sure that your packets arrive in-order and with low latency at their end - which is conveniently located on the other end of the 'last mile', so your packets aren't routed halfway around the country before they reach some sort of dedicated, qos/labelled, VoIP network.

I'd be interested to know which cable ISP doesn't offer broadband..

Re:Interesting Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379272)

I'd be interested to know which cable ISP doesn't offer broadband.

Probably none. But many cable companies still don't in many areas.

Presumably because if the cable operator was offering VoIP, they'd use some sort of Quality-of-Service scheme to make sure that your packets arrive in-order and with low latency at their end - which is conveniently located on the other end of the 'last mile', so your packets aren't routed halfway around the country before they reach some sort of dedicated, qos/labelled, VoIP network.

The biggest quality problems I've noticed with Vonage has nothing to do with the cable company's end of the last mile, but my end. Big downloads sometimes cause a problem, but with a router (WRT54G) that supports QoS on the local end, this is no longer a problem. Your concern makes sense, but I don't think it's viable... VOIP quality from Vonage at least is really really good.

Re:Interesting Idea (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379151)

The only worrying part about moving to VOIP is losing the emergency services.
Our broadband is quite stable, but quite often I have to reboot the STB, taking time away from my connection, I have had the box replaced numerous times, and am working from cleaned up installations (both win and linux).
Also, what happens in a power outage/problem, usually the last remaining "life-line" is the phone, and was invaluable when the main fuse box lit up in my old house.
So, all in all, no I won't be changing.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

Bumjubeo (849737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379207)

That is quite worrying actually. You would hope that somehow this would be either fixed or worked around, because yeah that would really suck if you needed to phone 911 and couldnt because you needed to reboot your STB

Re:Interesting Idea (2, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379268)

Don't most cellphones allow 911 calls, even without service? Depending on your location, you could just find an old cell somewhere and stash it on the charger for emergencies.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379323)

Your kind of right, but it wouldn't always be me that needs to call. Unless I start leaving up big "Emergency phone" notices, when needed, a person will pick up the dead phone and waste time trying to get through.

Until I can use my VOIP land line when theres a power cut, I will stay away tyvm.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379278)

911 service on the traditional telephone network is still supposed to be functional even if you stop paying for phone service, so you can just leave a phone plugged in for this purpose even though you're no longer paying for service. Also, you do get 911 service with VOIP, but the address they'll autodetect is the billing address, so you have to make sure you're not using VOIP from some other address to call 911. Anyway, it's apparently kind of a myth that they can always autodetect your address when you dial 911 over a traditional phone line; actually it often doesn't work, so the very first thing the 911 person does is ask you for your address.

Re:Interesting Idea (2, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379304)

I would rather tell somebody my address than sit there screaming into some piece of dead electronics while I burn to death.

Re:Interesting Idea (2, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379312)

A friend who has Vonage told me that he registered with a 911 database, so he can make 911 calls on his VOIP phone. He lives in New Hampshire.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379346)

Your friend may well be able to connect to 911 services when his house has electricity.
I can connect to 911 with the power on, but as soon as the lights go out, so does my internet connection.

Same problem with cordless phones.

Re:Interesting Idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379537)

Simple. UPS. It will last for HOURS if it's just the broadband adapter (dsl, cable, wireless bridget, whatever), and VOIP adapter plugged into it. It works fine. How do I know? Our neighborhood went dead when an errant truck plowed into a transformer building. Still could make phone calls fine.
In addition, the cable company's version of VOIP installs even heavier duty UPS boxes when you order through them. 911 also works as expected - I know this because my young daughter sometimes dials "911" instead of the "991" prefix, which is common in this area.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379324)

I have to reboot my CM pretty regularly too. It's on a UPS and the only machine connected directly to it is a linux system so I'm pretty sure it is either the fauly of the CM or the cable company, in my case comcast. The modem really ought to be intelligent enough to detect when the carrier is there but the signal is not, so that's the modem's fault, but it always seems to happen most when there are power outages (the modem is on an APC UPS with a fairly new battery) so I blame the lost connection on the cable company.

When I originally had ADSL from pacbell they were selling/leasing the alcatel modems and not doing PPPoE. My experience was excellent, with reliable "peak" bandwidth of ~1.5Mbps down all the time, and equally reliable 128kbps up. Later I got SBC DSL with PPPoE (at another address) and it was garbage. Clearly it is possible to provide reliable broadband service but the companies are not really that interested in doing so. It would probably be more constructive to build fault-tolerant networks, which would do the right thing during a failure... Unlike my cable modem.

Re:Interesting Idea (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379782)

have to reboot my CM pretty regularly too. It's on a UPS and the only machine connected directly to it is a linux system so I'm pretty sure it is either the fauly of the CM or the cable company, in my case comcast.

Next time your cable modem is down call Comcast. Get them to send a truck out. Explain that the cable modem keeps failing.

I did this and I have not had a single droppped connection since the tech came and re-routed the wires. And, yes, it is Comcast! The problem was that the initial installer had put too tight a curve in one of the wires.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

fastduke (694682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379328)

If I was truly worried about emergency services I would purchase the cheapest line from the phone company and put a special 'RED' phone hooked up to the line. Then I would use the main phone(voip) for all regular phone calls.

Re:Interesting Idea (4, Interesting)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379581)

That's not necessary. If you pick up a phone on a disconnected line with no dial tone, and dial "911," you'll get an operator. That's a key part of the 911 system.

Do not try this to see if it works. In most places, there's a fairly steep fine for making a non-emergency call to 911.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379511)

Also, what happens in a power outage/problem, usually the last remaining "life-line" is the phone, and was invaluable when the main fuse box lit up in my old house.

What, no cellphone? No neighbors? Then perhaps you should have a power generator to power you HAM radio set.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

Scowler (667000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379524)

Do both. That's what we did. We canceled our SBC local service, but left one "911" phone (a non-electrical, non-cordless type) attached to the POTS network. 911 is still available even if you don't have service. All of our other phones use VOIP for a very low fee.

Re:Interesting Idea (2, Interesting)

zymurgyboy (532799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379173)

I already long ago dumped traditional phone service in place of cell-only telecomm at my crib.

However, I might consider getting a VoIP replacement at home through Comcast (are you listening Comcast guys??) when they offer it for two reasons, assuming they include call plans I want and it's cost effective.

1) Clarity on the cells in my brick/plaster walled townhome are often kinda crappy. The cheaper, multiuse, single number for everything, unfettered nature of cell phones has far outweighed my desire for a better quality phone experience, however. 2) Getting international calling plans for the cell phones would be more expensive than I'm willing to fork over. I've tried to use prepaid calling card services with the cell but found them too cumbersome. If I could get a plan that offered international service to Western Europe (I have several friends from the days I attended the University of Sussex I like to keep in touch with and it's just not the same when I can't hear their voice), for say, a flat rate of $10 a month or some reasonable per minute charge of, say 5 cents or less per minute) I'd consider getting one.

That would have to be weighed carefully with the risk of inviting telemarketers back into my life however. It's been so nice without them for the last 3 years. And no, I don't trust the National Do Not Call list to do what it advertizes.

Re:Interesting Idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379349)

Maybe you would be better off with a high gain antenna of some sort. They make extendable metal aerials for my motorola v300 flip phone (tri-band, but here I am using gsm1900 only) and of course there are car antennas and the like available. There are also amplifiers and even directional antennas available that will work with cellphone gear, although that kind of equipment can be quite expensive.

How to Circumvent Tyranny? VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379220)

VOIP is a boon to anyone wanting to circumvent a tyrannical government like that in China. You could encrypt your digitized voice before transmitting it over the Internet to a receiver in Australia. The receiver could then decrypt the voice. You could also use PGP to do the encryption. The Taiwanese spy working for Beijing could eavesdrop on the communication (as it flows over fiber optic lines running near Taiwan) but would never be able to decrypt it. It is a win-win situation for freedom.

Striking hard against barbaric Chinese society [phrusa.org] is the only way to advance democracy and human rights. Here, "Chinese" refers to anyone from mainland China, Taiwan province, or Hong Kong.

To understand how inhuman Chinese society is, consider the following list of donations to the tsunami relief effort.

1. USA, $350 million plus hundreds of millions of dollars in indirect aid (per the military rescue effort in South Asia)

2. Japan, $500 million
3. Australia, $810 million
4. Norway, $183 million
5. China (including Taiwan province and Hong Kong), $80 million

As you can see, Western society is, at least, 1 order of magnitude more compassionate and kind than Chinese society. We can literally measure the amount of compassion in dollars.

Note that Norway has only a population of 4.5 million, is much smaller economically than Taiwan, and does not enjoy the special business privileges that Taiwanese companies enjoy in China to reap billions of dollars of profit in the Chinese market. Taiwan gave a measily $7 million, and Norway gave $183 million.

What is "going down" here? Chinese society is barbaric.

Re:How to Circumvent Tyranny? VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379322)

your numbers are inaccurace (or badly out of date)

Re:How to Circumvent Tyranny? VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379453)

your numbers are [inaccurate]

Then, prove that they are inaccurate. Put up or SHUT UP.

Re:How to Circumvent Tyranny? VOIP (1)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379606)

Of course they're inaccurate and out of date. The number given totaled the US contribution at $350 million. Private contributions to the ARC alone have exceeded half a billion dollars.

Re:How to Circumvent Tyranny? VOIP (1)

Spyde (828180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379464)

You judge a society by its foreign relief donations? That is inaccurate on so many different levels. Not to mention you are comparing developed countries with a developing one, nobody says China is as well off economically as Japan or USA. Please be a little less ethnocentric with your arguments.

Put up or SHUT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379603)

Do you have evidence that Taiwan is not a developed country?

The Taiwanese enjoy special business privileges (in mainland China) that are denied to Americans. Taiwanese companies, as a consequence, have reaped billions of dollars of profit in mainland China.

Tiny Norway, which has both a smaller population and a smaller economy than Taiwan, donated $183 million to disaster relief. The Taiwanese coughed up a measily $7 million.

What is "going down" here? Chinese society in barbaric.

Re:Interesting Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379640)

This may have an unintended consequence. I like my small ISP, who provides excellent DSL service over my phone line. I get to talk to a real technician when I have a problem, instead of a script reading drone. They support Linux, and help me even though I have a router. They allow me to run servers. They provide static IP, and subnets, at a very reasonable rate. Our local cable provider doesn't offer any of this. Their target is the lowest common denominator, with the least service to everyone else. Will VoIP (which I find exciting)mean the end of small DSL providers? I hope not, but the future looks grim. Or is there an alternative solution?

F1rst p0st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379101)

F1rst p0st!

Doesn't MCI have some sort of VoIP service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379115)

When I worked at MCI in tech support I was aware of a VoIP service they offered and were planning to expand...

Re:Doesn't MCI have some sort of VoIP service? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379462)

Actually, this review missed a number of companies. MCI, Broadvoice, etc. are all missing. Interesting in that Broadvoice has routinely been rated higher than vonage, but vonage was there.

AT&T Bleh! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379117)

"However, after a very detailed analysis of each provider, the calculated scores don't carry much weight as they award AT&T's CallVantage the Editor's Choice and four other services strangely tie for second place.""

Could you elaborate further?

Re:AT&T Bleh! (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379265)

And just like Cable/DSL service, your exact milage of quality may be different depending where you are.

Re:AT&T Bleh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379612)

The write up seems to praise the testing methodoligy and then discount it because there was a tie.

Pass the crack pipe!

Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (4, Informative)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379122)

Hard-wiring additional phones will most likely require an electrician.

I don't know why they always say crap like this. All you have to do is go outside your house the to telephone box, disconnect your phone line from the local network (it's a good idea to leave a note saying that it should remain disconnected and tape the leads, just so it doesn't get reconnected...)

Once you've disonnected your house from the POTS, you can plug your analog telephone adapter into ANY telephone wall outlet in the house! This makes all of your phone jacks live with telephone service from your VOIP connection.

That is, unless of course you have DSL. In that case you should either use a 2-line adapter to run your VOIP phones on line 2, or change your DSL connection to line 2 and plug in your ATA normally.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (0)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379156)

I don't know why they always say crap like this.

I'll tell you exactly why...

"errr.. I got me this new intarweb thingy, but when I went to fix my outside box, I wuz standin' in dat dere puddle, and I gots me shocked!!! I'ma gunna sue dem bastards!!!"

need I say more?

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379196)

need I say more?

Yeah... how you were able to get a deadly currently through a phone line, for 1.

Oh, and why a puddle at your feet has any effect in a DC telephone system for another.

I wouldn't press the leads of a phone wire across my tongue like some kiddlings do to test 9-volt batteries, but touching both leads with your bare hands is not going to kill you, either.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379373)

Ringing is about 70 VAC but can be higher. Most likely won't kill you, but it would sting a bit. Always have a phone off-hook to drop the loop when you work on phone wiring to prevent getting zapped.

Lightning has been known to induce high-voltage spikes on phone lines. You don't want to be on the wrong side of the lightning arrester when that happens.

Electricians know this stuff.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379395)

Yeah... how you were able to get a deadly currently through a phone line, for 1. Oh, and why a puddle at your feet has any effect in a DC telephone system for another.

From: Telephone line audio interface circuits [www.hut.fi]

Safety issues of telephones

The telephones should be designed so that they do not cause danger to the user. The 48V DC voltage in telephone lines does not cause immediate danger to the user, but the AC ring signal (70-120V AC) can give a nasty shock. Telephone wires are also exposed to any different environmental effects (nearby lightning, ground potential differences in buildings, interference from power lines) which can cause that there are sometimes high voltage spikes on the telephone wires.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (2, Insightful)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379604)

I never said it would kill anyone... I was commenting on the fact that there are people stupid enough to sue them over something as inconsequential as a mild shock, and that statement absolves them of most of the liability.

lets not forget we're in the country of "wasn't my fault!!!!!" these days

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379291)

The phone wiring in our house had been botched when we bought it. When we got VOIP, we just bought a cordless phone base station, and plugged that into the Vonage box. No wiring, no hassles.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (2, Funny)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379691)


I don't know why they always say crap like this. All you have to do is go outside your house the to telephone box, disconnect your phone line from the local network (it's a good idea to leave a note saying that it should remain disconnected and tape the leads, just so it doesn't get reconnected...)

Hmm..., there must be a presumption in here someplace, cause I went outside and couldn't find said box.

Yours wonderingly,

bjd
The Netherlands

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (1)

RandomJoe (814420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379779)

Most houses in the US (can't say for anywhere else) have a box that is the demarc, everything up to one side is the phone company's responsibility, the other side on is the homeowner's. It will be located wherever the phone line enters the house, frequently outside on the back wall of the house, since the phone company wants to be able to charge you if any wire beyond their drop to the house goes bad. They'd probably put it on the pole, if they could get away with it.

I have phone via cable, and their demarc is a box that their cable line (complete with 90V power) connects to. The filters for the premium channels are located after it. They put that box right next to the phone company's box and moved the house's phone wires over to it.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (4, Informative)

jburroug (45317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379749)

That is, unless of course you have DSL. In that case you should either use a 2-line adapter to run your VOIP phones on line 2, or change your DSL connection to line 2 and plug in your ATA normally.

There are other ways to do this with DSL without doing the two line thing, which may not be an option for apartment dwellers (like me) who only have one pair available.

The first step is to identify which phone jack is the first one on the loop coming off of the phone box outside. Now take apart the jack and disconnect the pair coming in from the phone box, that is the pair that carries your DSL signal. Now wire this pair into a surface mount keystone jack or whatever and plug your DSL modem in. Put your original jack back together and back in the wall, you have now isolated your internal phone network from the phone box and wire up all of the extensions to your ATA. See pictures of the work in progrees here [acerbic.org] and the finished outlets here [acerbic.org] . For good measure I also diconnected the the last jack in the series so I'm not sending dial tone to the neighbors place :)

On a side note I've also managed to get my rotary phones working with Vonage by ordering a Pulse to DTMF adapter from Mike Sandman [sandman.com] who also has lots of other neat telco goodies at his site. The Linksys router sends enough voltage to ring my Western Electric 302G and my 554 wall phone clearly, though the 554 wimps out after a fe rings. I think this is because my 302 was originally setup for a long party line install and has a ring isolater tube installed to compensate for weak ringing voltage from too many phones on the same line. I'm looking to replace the 554 with a 364 wall phone from a party line install, with the hope that it'll play nicer with the Linksys.

In any case it's immensely satisfying to use a 60 year old phone on a VOIP service...

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379849)

I did something similar after I cancelled cable TV; I used the existing cable wiring to create my own closed-circuit TV system. I used a camcorder to monitor the baby while he was sleeping, and could turn on a TV in any room and check on him, as well as watch him in a window on my PC using my TV tuner card. And unlike any radio-based systems, neighbors with tuners couldn't also tune in.

Re:Lots of VOIP phones in 1 house (2, Interesting)

bwags (534113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379959)

Unfortunately this sometimes does not work. I have a packet8 setup and when the box is plugged into the existing house wiring, there is just not enought juice to supply the house phones. I ma thinking it is a voltage drop issue. Actuall you can make calls out, but incomming calls get dropped. I am going to buy a base unit with handsets to solve the problem. Unless anyone out there knows of a telephone signal booster.

Isn't it funny (1)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379123)

The Editor's Choice award goes to AT&T's CallVantage service.

How ironic that telcos bitch and moan [com.com] about VoIP, and offer that service at the same time...

Re:Isn't it funny (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379162)

a) That article is 8 years old.

b) AT&T was never one of the telcos in question, or if they were, they were one of the first ones to change their tune. AT&T has been behind VoIP for many years, they were wise enough to see that it was the wave of the future and that it was better to embrace the technology and make money off of it rather than to fight it.

Personally, I'm surprised AT&T won in the Installation and Configuration categories. From what I recall, AT&T uses MGCP (rather than SIP, which everyone else uses), and SIP is much more NAT-friendly than MGCP. The people doing the testing probably never tested in a NAT enviroment, which is probably far more prevalent than a non-NAT environment these days.

Re:Isn't it funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379298)

Not just funny - but biased too. Price does not all come from the monthly fee or the one time installation fee. International calling is where the non-telco VOIPs shine. For example: ATT charges 60% more to the UK vs. Lingo. ATT 5c/min. vs. Lingo's 3c/min, Vonage is also 3c/min to London.

What? You pay? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379608)


But BroadVoice gives you free calling with the $25 per month plan: My opinion: Be careful about PC Magazine [slashdot.org] .

Re:What? You pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379919)

wife insisted that we give Vonage until mid summer '05. I guess that they have to drop prices for western europe due to pressure. If not, BroadVoice here we come. Vonage deserves a bit of loyalty. After all, if nothing else, they let me tell the telcos to shove it. Priceless.

horrible webpage (4, Insightful)

bdigit (132070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379125)

Anyone else notice that only about 5% of the webpage is the actual article while the rest of it is cluttered in ads and other crap.

Also I love the fact that I read about 5 words and have to hit a next button for the next page. Imagine if magazines were like that? Read 3 paragraphs, turn page, read another 3, turn page...

Re:horrible webpage (2, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379129)

Anyone else notice that only about 5% of the webpage is the actual article while the rest of it is cluttered in ads and other crap. Imagine if magazines were like that? Read 3 paragraphs, turn page, read another 3, turn page...

You mean like in Byte or PC Magazine?

Re:horrible webpage (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379136)

"Anyone else notice that only about 5% of the webpage is the actual article while the rest of it is cluttered in ads and other crap.

Also I love the fact that I read about 5 words and have to hit a next button for the next page. Imagine if magazines were like that? Read 3 paragraphs, turn page, read another 3, turn page...
"

Well, it is an online version of the magazine ;o

Re:horrible webpage (3, Informative)

shakah (78118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379145)

Choose the "print" hyperlink on sites like this to avoid most of that "crap" -- on most sites it produces a single (long) page with less graphics. Toss in Mozilla/Firefox with the Adblock plugin and all the crap is gone.

Re:horrible webpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379236)

Um...if he is going to click the "Next" button you might as well see the ads and support the site. It's really horrible to see people act so selfish and can't support sites that are offering free content to them.

Re:horrible webpage (1)

shakah (78118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379329)

But I really don't "see" the ads when I view the pages with the ads in-place. So ethically I don't really know if "viewing" the ads is the right thing to do.

I view the website more as an ad for the print version of PC Magazine. Viewing quality content from their web site reminds me that it still puts out a print version, and there's more of a chance that I'll purchase a subscription, or at least the occasional copy that targets something I'm interested in (e.g. a digital camera review).

Re:horrible webpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379615)

What about the sites that doesn't have a print version?

Re:horrible webpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379212)

Anyone else notice that only about 5% of the webpage is the actual article while the rest of it is cluttered in ads and other crap.

Thats not true!! Aside from the ad at the far right, we can't hardly blame them for the placement of the table of contents!

Oh, or the shameless plug for the mag. After all, they ARE the ones putting this article into perspective for the rest of us. The ZD blocks are only there for continuity, the rag is owned by Ziff Davis, less you forget. I also can't remember the last time I was looking for content and thought to myself, "Sheesh... I sure wish there was some way for me to go to some online classifieds right now! I also wish that I could randomly compair some "Top Sellers" at this point in the meat of this article!"

Truly AWSOME!!!

I haven't come accrost a site that not only wants me away from the primary content but to such hotspots as OTHER ZD owned material and OTHER ads that ZD MUST think are primary over everything else!

I can't believe you would have me focused on pure content! How incredibly silly of you! I love ALL of my emails!

Yea... site stinks. Content is kinda stinky too. BEWARE!

Actually... (3, Informative)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379150)

eWeek has a MUCH better in-depth review of VoIP. I recieve eWeek in magazine print form, and it had a three-part series about VoIP. Also, they have an entire section [eweek.com] dedicated to VoIP.

One thing I just realized (3, Insightful)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379163)

Security systems, such as mine, are connected to the call center via a hard wire phone line. Unless you design your house where the VoIP router is near your Security Box you are SOL. Unless of course you pay an electrician to run a wire to the location. In my case it would be the entire length of the house, through three floors. Way too expensive and/or intrusive.

so I would have to keep a basic dialup. Anybody got a solution, ike a wireless repeater for a phone line?

Re:One thing I just realized (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379228)

All you have to do is disconnect your outside telephone line, then plug the viop router into your regular phone line. Then, all your phones in your house should work. If your security system uses a modem, only some of the VIOP providers support modem or fax over VIOP... I know that Vonage does.

Re:One thing I just realized (1)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379797)

no phone jack near my router either. Don't ask me why, but the builder (Washington Homes - would not buy a dog house from them after this experience) only has one phone jack on the top floor (where my router et al are). I could get someone to install one extra outlet, since I believe they can go through the attic relatively easily. But that is still a pain in the A$$

Early in the game (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379203)

After reading through far too many one paragraph webpages, clicking every five seconds, I have to say that my overwhelming impression is that this is still pretty rough and ready technology.

The lack of a consistent way to connect with real world telephone systems, the sketchy support of 911 services, and the inability of the competing VoIP services to interact make it look as if it will be at least another year before it's viable for most people.

In particular I can't see abandoning a hardwired phone line yet. Internet is still too prone to outages and other problems. What happens when you lose your telephone service because some idiot has launched a DOS attack on Vonage or the Verizon VoIP center?

Or when you lose your main business phone service because a mistaken RIAA takedown notice [slashdot.org] causes your ISP to shut down your Internet connection?

Until the VoIP services can match the traditional phone companies for reliability and services they won't get my money.

(I admit that Verizon [news2mail.com] pretty much sets the standard below which no phone service could ever drop, but you get my point...)

Re:Early in the game (1)

zymurgyboy (532799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379267)

What happens when you lose your telephone service because some idiot has launched a DOS attack on Vonage or the Verizon VoIP center?
If you really rely on it as your primary means of voice communication, that would be unacceptable.

For someone like me (see my earlier post in this discussion), the response would probably be a shrug and an 'oh well,' followed by moving on to another activity while it gets sorted out.

Depending on the age and condition of the copper in your phone lines, they may be more prone to outages and other problems than the Internet, as was my experience in one of the apartments I had about 7 years ago (and to some extent, in my home now).

Re:Early in the game (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379283)

SBC left me without POTS service for three days when the fault was absolutely in their wiring. I responded by dropping SBC and getting a cellphone. Since then, I have had zero outages, though reception and thus call quality is poor in my area. With a better antenna, I'd be better off. My comcast cable internet connection was down for two days once and has been down for a few hours at a time many times. Cellular is still the best non-POTS option IMO.

Re:Early in the game (1)

zymurgyboy (532799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379385)

Sounds like my Verizon POTS experience. Though that was actually worse than a total outage. At first it took them three month to connect my service because they mispaced my initial check to get it. Then, it was mysteriously disconnected because they ended up having two accounts for me. This was done to get around their brainless accounting and billing practices with the original SNAFU. It was easier and quicker to start from scratch with a new attempt at an account than fix the mix up. Only problem is, once they sorted it out, they disconnected service for the wrong account.

Then I started having problems with random dropped calls. They sent several techs out to examine the lines, the switches, everything they could. It was partially their problem, partially my landlord's. Turned out the switch in the closet serving my unit was old, partially damaged by water and not functioning optimally. The end game (for Verizon and my landlord) was to keep pointing fingers at each other as the source of the problem and neither of them fixing it.

I fixed it myself by giving them both the finger (dropping the phone service and moving).

After another billing fiasco which resulted in the Verizon DSL farkers turning me over to collections for a mistake they made (I always pay in full, on time), which was followed by a rather callous dismissal of my concerns after two or three months of effort to get it rectified, I just resolved to never give any division of Verizon another dime.

POTS is dying. It should be euthanized anyway. Cellular is the best option, IMHO, POTS or otherwise. Residential VoIP service might fill what gaps remain for me personally, if it's marketed and delivered to my needs and requirements.

Re:Early in the game (1)

earlytime (15364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379359)

Q. What happens when you lose your telephone service because some idiot has launched a DOS attack on Vonage or the Verizon VoIP center?
A. The same thing that happens to your landline, when some idiot hits a telephone pole, and knocks out service.

I am a vonage customer for a couple years now, and I have never had a service problem. My internet has been out, and my router has died, but vonage keeps going. I even traveled to europe last summer, and used my vonage phone to call family and friends from the iCafe's in germany and poland. That's something you probably can't get from your local viop provider. I'd imagine they don't provide access to their viop servers from the world at large. A big bonus is that as more and more folks get ip, we'll move from pots to voip. Once 80% of folks go voip, the telcos can finally rip out those old wires. Then we can use those conduits for 1Tb fiber instead of hundreds of unshielded copper pairs.

Re:Early in the game (1)

Insurgent2 (615836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379618)

If your internet was really out, your Vonage service wasn't working...period.

No Skype? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379206)

Why is there no Skype review? This is one the hottest new voip phone services around, I use it for all my long distance calls and all my friends with relatives in Asia and Europe use it. This article seems like it was paid for or something by the big companies. Is "adverprop" a word? If not, it should be.

Re:No Skype? Here's my review (1, Flamebait)

SlashCrunchPop (699733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379286)

Here's my review of Skype: no charge to use (for now) for Internet only communication, closed source, but it works very well on UNIX clones (at least on Linux and FreeBSD w/ Linux emulation) as well as Microsoft operating systems.

However, both I and my friends noticed that Skype makes a number of highly suspicious encrypted connections to sites in Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. If that is not enough to make you shudder you should know that Skype is made by the infamous Swedish-Danish duo Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, who are also the makers of Kazaa. That's right, they're the same guys who infested Kazaa with adware and spyware and the same guys who used the DMCA to sue the Kazaa Lite guys for releasing Kazaa Lite, the adwarefree and spywarefree Kazaa client.

People claim that Skype sports no adware, but the fact that those highly suspicious connections to those sites are not even mentioned anywhere on the Skype site makes me believe there is a strategy in place to deploy adware, spyware and to even (ab)use Skype clients to act as unwitting spam proxies when the right time comes. Imagine 20 million users each unknowingly sending out 12 spam emails an hour. Launching a spam campaign with impunity has never been easier. As if that was not enough, the infamous duo based their new venture in Estonia. Why? Because of lax IP and privacy regulations, excellent Internet infrastructure, cheap labor ($300 a month for an experienced programmer) and proximity to Sweden and Denmark. Do you still feel good about using Skype?

Re:No Skype? Here's my review (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379306)

No, and frankly never have due to its origin

Can you recommend any free service that has better software//available hardware?

Re:No Skype? Here's my review (3, Informative)

SlashCrunchPop (699733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379539)

Can you recommend any free service that has better software//available hardware?

Well, I'm still researching the options, but I can give you a few pointers. First of all I have to point out that interoperability is one of the major issues for me, I use mostly FreeBSD and Linux and I want to be able to use the software to talk to my Microsoft-infected friends as well. The options so far seem to be:

OhPhone: free to use, open source, based on OpenH323, which means it works with other H323 software (well, at least in theory). I've used it on FreeBSD to talk to a friend who used Microsoft NetMeeting and the sound quality was absolutely horrible regardless of the codecs used, I could not even understand what my friend was trying to say. I would highly advise you to stay away from this product.

KPhone: free to use, open source, based on SIP, which should make it possible to use with friends who use MSN messenger (I know!) through a SIP service like sipgate.de or similar. I have yet to test this...

On a sidenote, I find the review by PC Magazine to be really superficial, they did not even bother to do proper research, let alone test the available software thoroughly. Just take a look at this paragraph from the page on Skype:

Skype is the clear category winner for its wide array of communication options, lower per-minute pricing than Dialpad, and a clean, usable interface that worked consistently.

Clean interface? Anyone who's used it for more than 30 minutes knows that the GUI gets messed up to the point where you don't know if you're still on the line and sometimes you cannot even click any buttons, you have to just kill the client and restart it.

The service works with both Windows and Mac OS systems, and you can voice-conference with up to five people or conduct multiparty chat sessions.

Why is Linux not mentioned? And why do they not even mention the fact that Skype provides AES encrypted communication that employs 1024 bit RSA to negotiate symmetric AES keys? Even an average user would be able to write a more detailed review than this, this is pathetic.

Re:No Skype? Here's my review (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379809)

Thanks for the interesting reply

I'm in the situation that most of my friends have cable or DSL broadband and it makes a lot of time to start suggesting they use VoIP to save money by calling computer-to-computer. The clash between Skype (closed, but popular) and SIP (dozens of implementations that don't always talk to each other) and H323 (proprietary clients (Netmeeting, iChat) but poor reliability between versions...)

hmm

Re:No Skype? Here's my review (2, Interesting)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379601)


Skype uses other users as proxies to allow people to talk even when both parties are behind a NAT/firewall that doesn't allow incoming connections. The reason you are seeing those connections to strange places is probably that you are being used as a proxy for somebody located there. Conversations are end-to-end encrypted, so it should not be possible for the proxy to intercept the discussion (I say should because I have not reviewed there security, and I have questions about how well there distributed index system could stand up to MITM attacks).

I'm not saying that it wouldn't be better if it was a standardized open system, but in this case you are just being paranoid.

Re:No Skype? (1)

bljohnson0 (114084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379294)

There is... you just have to keep hitting the damned next button about 50+ times before you get to it. When they get done rating all the different VOIP providers (2 freakin next buttons for each review... morons) they move on to talking about "free" VOIP services. The first is dialpad, then skype.

Real world factors.. (4, Informative)

freelunch (258011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379244)

There is a great deal of variability in VOIP provider performance. Unfortunately, I don't think the carriers are cooperating (with tools) in making it clear where the problems are. Whether on their networks, PSTN gateways, etc, or broadband ISPs. They could do a lot to clear this up. Though the potential for the finger to point at them is a reason for them not to do this.

VOIP quality must be measured over time. How is the performance at 8PM EST on Saturday? How many drop outs on a 1 hour call?

This gets more complicated as ISPs compete for service. I know of someone at Cox who was intentionally messing with VOIP provider traffic (and laughing about it).

I switched to Packet8 in September after using Voice Pulse for 5 months. Voice Pulse call quality had become embarassing, even after trying their higher compression codecs. "Mom, can you hear me??"

Packet8 quality has been excellent (much cheaper too). All this on Comcast. I can even run P2P at 10KB/sec upstream with P8. VP was problematic with no P2P.

A friend who lives 50 miles away has tried Vonage, Voice Pulse and Packet8. They all pretty much suck for him. He is on Comcast but it is former TCI infrastructure.

He agrees that the best VOIP he has ever had were when we use Creative Labs VOIP Blaster between Seattle and Virgina for over a year.

Voice Pulse tech support was useless when it came to outages (yes, they had lengthy outages) or performance problems.

My rule of thumb for VOIP is to be prepared to drop them if performance is bad. Don't waste your time. Don't get caught in a contract or a situation that will be expensive to get out of.

And don't become attached to the phone number. VOIP is a commodity, treat it as a commodity.

Re:Real world factors.. (1)

milkisgood (782914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379450)

I have been using Vonage for about a year and a half now. The first year was in northern Colorado, and the rest has been in southern California. Short of a few minor voicemail hiccups (can't delete msgs via web interface), I have found the service to be outstanding.

I find VoIP to be the perfect supplement to my cell service. A basic VoIP plan is much cheaper than any basic traditional service and provides me with just enough minutes (500) to keep me from cell overages.

The one thing that I really like about VoIP is the increasing competition. Vonage prices have steadily dropped over the last year as a result of newcomers to the market. Since traditional line service is pretty much controlled by one company in every region their prices have never had to come down. With VoIP becoming a strong alternative traditional prices WILL decrease making a DSL/Telco solution just as feasible as a Cable/VoIP solution.

Re:Real world factors.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379484)

The one thing that I really like about VoIP is the increasing competition. Vonage prices have steadily dropped over the last year as a result of newcomers to the market.

I didn't want to turn my note into a Voice Pulse slam-fest, but that was another reason I left.

Voice Pulse didn't lower their prices with the market. My VP unlimited remained at $38/month when Vonage went to $30/mo. Then Vonage went to $25 and VP stayed the same.. They don't seem to understand the low barrier to switching carriers. I pay $20/month for unlimited packet8 and my international rates are cheaper too.

Idiotic Article (4, Insightful)

mrinella (548257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379253)

Have to love how they discuss free services like Skype:

As these services are running on the Internet, though, they are susceptible to latency, distortion, and other factors that can lower performance and sound quality.

Glad that the reviewed fee-based services aren't using the Internet as well.

Re:Idiotic Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379319)

Everyone knows VOIP uses that special VInternet!

Too many variables (1)

SuperJason (726019) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379280)

Right now there are just too many variables to rely on a review of these services. All they do is give you a starting point. You may be able to use them to decide if some of them are lacking features that you require.

I think you should pick a couple that the most people had luck with, and use their free trials. If they don't work well for you, send back the equipment.

For example, I tried out Packet8, and it didn't work well for me. It does however, work great for others. I sent it back, they gave me back the money.

I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it when trialability is high.

Vonage the new NYNEX? (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379289)

I've had unacceptably bad audio quality on my Vonage line the past week or so. Though it's hard to tell - over the past year of service, I've had enough problems that my frequently-calling friends probably don't mention it anymore, and the problems almost always affect their reception, suspiciously sparing my reception entirely. After a couple of days I emailed tech support, got an email offer to troubleshoot over a day later, and my immediate email response supplying their requested windows for troubleshooting sessions during the next couple of days went unanswered until past the windows. Then my followup was answered with an apology, but they dropped my response to that with new windows. I haven't heard from them in several days, though they must know there's an outstanding problem; since their Telephone Adapter dropped dialtone entirely yesterday, I haven't heard from *anyone*, and the lack of activity/carrier should trigger something.

Even their service that rings my PCS mobile while also ringing my Vonage "landline" has started flaking out. And the standard voicemail problems (mostly delayed/dropped/phantom message notifications) continue, though mostly in theory with no calls. Vonage was a great test of the VoIP concept. It's about time to switch to a system that offers something at least approaching the basic reliability of the old NYNEX residential circuit, even if I run the server myself over my redundant cable/DSL connections to my home. If there were a company reinvesting its revenue in IAX datacenters for uptime, I'd jump into my own Asterix server right now, and phase out Vonage. Maybe this review's results will withstand "corroboration testing" research on the Net, but I'd rather get a system that I can fix myself, or hire a contractor to work on. At least it beats slamming the phone down on the table.

Vonage vs. AT&T - from an end-user perspective (3, Informative)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379290)

I got Vonage a few weeks ago at a new house where I had no intention of paying for a landline (went from DSL to cable). My wife was pissed after we learned that our entire end of the cul-de-sac is in a cell hole from hell. We couldn't make/receive cell phone calls for longer than 2-3 minutes in our home. Oops!

So, we debated for 1-2 weeks after we moved and finally got Vonage. Forthwith -- the pros/cons from a new user:

VONAGE PROS:

- easy setup (took 10 minutes to install Motorola VT1005)
- call quality is good so far (using QoS on a Linksys WTR54G router w/ voice terminal BEHIND router)
- no trouble dialing most local and long distance #'s
- straightforward billing
- very clean web interface
- nice basic features

VONAGE CONS:

- voice mail is choppy/hard to hear over the phone
- hard to find the better-reviewed Motorola VT1005 (Radio Shack tried to make me ACTIVATE IN STORE???)
- instructions for using services are in FAQ format mixed with a lot of technical installation stuff
- basic features are limited compared to AT&T

Now, I got Vonage, and then the next day after telling my boss about it, he got AT&T Callvantage for his home business line. He let me call in and access his web-based interface.

AT&T PROS:

- SUPERB feature set -- many more features than Vonage
- web-based interface integrated with phone (click-to-dial -- no outside apps required)
- call quality is good from boss' overloaded DSL connection (some servers behind his router)
- faxing is officially supported, from what I could tell (have to jerry rig it sometimes with Vonage)
- voicemail interface is really powerful
- automatic phone book setup based on incoming calls that become part of account (click on # to add it after you ID the caller)
- WebEx-ish conference call scheduling/notification feature

AT&T CONS:

- web-based interface is buggy (Javascript errors w/ FireFox -- no problems with MSIE)
- cost is higher
- really cool features aren't included standard -- expect lots of side charges

So far, my boss likes AT&T for his business line. He's thinking about getting all of us AT&T voice terminals for our small business. The conference calling costs $.35/minute for 10 people, which isn't really bad, I guess, considering that you're doing it from your own network + an outside call-in line from AT&T.

Vonage seems, to me, to be good for the home. It's simple and works, but I've read many a report of bad customer service and other weird issues. If you don't have to have the features for a business, then it's probably a better deal, but AT&T CV is close with only a $5/month difference for a more fully featured unlimited calling plan.

I did my research on Vonage at http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/voip [broadbandreports.com] before buying in. The regulars in the forum are very helpful and have a lot of diverse consumer-grade VoIP experience. For example, I learned that, in my new house, I can unwire my outline phone connection at the box and then plug in the Motorola VT1005 into a jack inside the house to power my phones. Going to try that in the next 2-3 days, I think, barring weather issues.

IronChefMorimoto

Article leaves some important things out (2, Interesting)

johns582 (850378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379299)

We tried VoIP from Verizon in November 2004. One important thing that the article failed to mention is that you still have to maintain a regular analog line (and the associated cost of that line) if you have certain services (such as Direct TV) that use an analog line. We decided it was worth the price anyway, so we gave it a try. But we ultimately had to switch back. The VoIP translator provided by Verizon was supposed to grab a random IP when in use, but it always seemed to grab the IP of our webserver (hosted on the same network). We couldn't figure out why this was happening and no one at Verizon could help either. So we cancelled it and went back to the analog line. Interestingly, Verizon didn't want any of the equipment back: apparently once you configure it, it's worthless to them. (?)

broadband service is the real issue (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379308)

I don't really see the point of testing all these features for different VOIP providers. In reality, the hassles we've experienced have all been with our broadband provider. If broadband service goes out, you lose your phone service. The most frequent thing for us, with Adelphia cable modem service, is actually not that the whole neighborhood loses cable modem service for a while (doesn't seem to have happened at all in recent years), it's that our cable modem somehow loses its sync, and we have to power cycle it. This is a minor pain, because we have three boxes that have to be power cycled in a row: the router, the modem, and the Vonage box.

AT&T Call Vantage = Editor's Choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379365)

I think AT&T paid someone at PC Mag...
Poorly written, and comes across as an advertisement for AT&T and not an unbiased evaluation.

Re:AT&T Call Vantage = Editor's Choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379901)

PC Mag also gave editors choice to Norton Internet Security. Crappy software, crappy support!

Earthlink Vs. Vonage (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379406)

If you want Vonage, a great alternative is Earthlink's Unlimited Voice. They are reselling Vonage service. Same pricing yet no equipment charge and the first month is completely free (beer). No $$ changes hands till after 30 days, don't like it? Cancel and no charge as long as you return equipment. http://www.unlimitedvoice.com/ [unlimitedvoice.com]

My opinion: Be careful about PC Magazine (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379439)


From the story: "... the calculated scores don't carry much weight as they award AT&T's CallVantage the Editor's Choice and four other services strangely tie for second place."

My opinion: Be very careful about anything you see in PC Magazine. My experience is that generally the ratings are paid ads. Generally, I have found, they know the winner in advance, and pick contenders that they can rate lower.

Here's evidence: Can you find a better VOIP service than BroadVoice [broadvoice.com] ? (NOTE: Not BroadVox.) Why didn't PC Magazine rate that company?

It seemed to me that there was a time when PC Magazine began selling their ratings, and in the years after that the Magazine became much smaller very quickly.

Other fake comparisons on the Internet:

1) Telephone calling cards,

2) Price comparison web sites. The comparisons are just ways of convincing you to pay more. It always seems that the apparently completely honest Froogle [google.com] shows lower prices.

Afterthought: Tell them I sent you. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379486)


Afterthought: If you sign up for BroadVoice, it won't hurt to enter this number in the "Referred By" field: 5039145841

From the BroadVoice web site: Compare Broadvoice, Vonage, and AT&T [broadvoice.com] .

Re:Afterthought: Tell them I sent you. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379740)

Who's the shill now?

FREE CALLS to other countries (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379865)


Consider one thing: when you examine the information, you will see that BroadVoice is the best. It's easy. BroadVoice provides Free Calls, as in "you don't have to pay a per-minute charge to other countries".

Yes, it is shilling, but it is also an excellent service to consider. No, I don't work for them. What I don't like is a recommendation that is not the best.

AT&T's CallVantage not that great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379442)

I tend to believe they have made some mistakes in the setup of their tests since I know of several people who have AT&T's CallVantage and had to switch to other VoIP providers(Pulver FWD, Broadvoice, etc.) for better service.

mod dOw8 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379579)

FreeBSD at about 80 0pen platform,

Impact on speech enabled telephony equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379621)

I've been watching the evolution of VoIP for the last few years as it will impact my job (automated, phone related equipment) and I've noticed that there is an absence of discussion related to the impact of VoIP on speech recognition related telephony functions.

Audio drops seem to be a common problem poor home VoIP connections. Audio drops currently play havoc with speech recognition rates. While there have been a lot of advances in the technology for dealing with limited bandwidth and a variety of noise issues (issues related to cell phones or outdoor use), the improvements for VoIP have been slow to arrive.

Most of the existing focus was VoIP at the business side where quality could be controlled to some degree (or support for poor quality networks could be limited). But VoIP to the home creates a new set of problems. Worse, unlike the older cell phone cutouts that tended to be bidirectional, callers don't know when their speech is being dropped leading to frustrated users.

The technical articles are no better. All discussions of VoIP quality are left to how humans interpret speech, not machines.

Review dates? (1)

ManuelKelly (446655) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379773)

They apparently use time travel in their review process. From the Lingo review:

Lingo
REVIEW DATE: 02.08.05

I've had Vonage for a week or so (1)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379884)

and service has been fine. Getting the LinkSys PAP2 phone adapter and my LinkSys BEFSX41 firewall/router working with my static IP was a challenge. In fact the PAP2 didn't work till I changed to DHCP behind the firewall, then it went like a breeze. The first Vonage tech I spoke with for an hour and a half didn't seem to know this and thought the phone adapter was defective, which I took back to the store and got a replacement. The second guy was more helpful, obviously. I like the service so far, although I haven't used voice mail yet. The $4.99 a month toll free number option is a no brainer for business.
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