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Cable VoIP Sounds Better Than Some Landlines

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the kkhhh-can-you-hear-me-now dept.

153

A. G. Bell writes "A recent study that looked at the quality of phone calls came up with some surprising results. Ars Technica reports that while 'traditional' VoIP call quality lagged behind landlines, service from cable ISPs was much better because of their use of PacketCable: 'VoIP from the cable companies actually surpassed the traditional phone network in reliability, meaning that the service was more often available and connected calls without dropping them. Cable providers also led the way in audio quality; the top firm in Keynote's study actually turned in an MOS of 4.24, above most real phone networks.'"

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Second (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162093)

Oh I went and screwed it up for everybody...

Second reply to the first post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162198)

Ouch.
 
Anyway, this article is pointless. Gay and moot. Has nothing to do with cable networks. It's just dealing with the modulation/bitrate that the cable companies went with. If I wanted to run another VoIP over the cable line, I could make it better or worse.

Surprising? No. (1, Interesting)

6031769 (829845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162094)

Given the bandwidth of a cable (or any other broadband) connection I don't see why this should be surprising. Since a standard phone line needs to be upgraded for ADSL anyway, clearly the throughput with VoIP should be better than POTS.

Re:Surprising? No. (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162188)

Since a standard phone line needs to be upgraded for ADSL anyway, clearly the throughput with VoIP should be better than POTS.

It's not all about throughput. Go ask any alarm system manufacturer. Most alarm companies won't touch VoIP with a ten foot pole, and with good reason.

I just went through this myself; I have Optimum Voice (which drops calls about every five minutes, btw; I'm this close to calling Cablevision about this) and I just last week finally managed to figure out how to get an alarm system that'll work over VoIP. You basically either need to find a broadband panel (and they are not common) or you need to get an ABN adapter and use NextAlarm. But no alarm will work as it's designed to over a standard VoIP connection, for a variety of reasons.

Re:Surprising? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162626)

Fax machines can also be quite finicky.

Re:Surprising? No. (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162686)

Another major problem that in my opinion should discourage alarm monitoring over broadband is the unscheduled downtime experienced. When was the last time you picked up the phone and found out there was no dialtone there?

Re:Surprising? No. (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162945)

Another major problem that in my opinion should discourage alarm monitoring over broadband is the unscheduled downtime experienced. When was the last time you picked up the phone and found out there was no dialtone there?

Doesn't half the article discuss the fact that VoIP has surprizingly high reliability? Why are you injecting this like it's an "also"?

Obviously it depends on cable provider, and a lot of the slander of cable is the result of a couple of nefarious companies (and the respect for phone companies is misplaced -- your phone is reliable because they're mandated by legislation to achieve a very low downtime rate).

I'm under the umbrella of Cogeco in Ontario, and in five years my cable television has been out for minutes, and my high-speed internet over cable has been out for one day (years back). That was, of course, before they beefed up their system to handle VoIP, and they promise much better reliability now (and my experience since getting their service has been 100%). VoIP goes through different routing from their internet access (it gets QoS guarantees), and comes via a redundant, battery-backed, high reliability VoIP geared cable modem. There's no reason to believe that it will be less reliable than a shoddy set of twisted pairs running willy-nilly through a neighbourhood.

Re:Surprising? No. (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163042)

About 6 weeks ago. And it was out for more than 4 days. Before that my phone was out in May 2005 for a couple of days. Both times I continued to have IP access via GPRS and WiFi, and could have (if I had VoIP->POTS service) kept using a VoIP line with the same phone number despite the failure of my POTS line.

May experiences may not be common, but at least in my life, IP has been both more reliable, and just as importantly, more flexible.

Re:Surprising? No. (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163121)

You basically either need to find a broadband panel (and they are not common) or you need to get an ABN adapter and use NextAlarm. But no alarm will work as it's designed to over a standard VoIP connection, for a variety of reasons.

Sure they will. I just plugged the phone cord out of my ADT system into the phone port of my Vonage box and it worked. No additional hardware, no changes, no calls to ADT to change anything. I'm using Vonage over cable and as far as I'm concerned it works better than my land line ever did.

Re:Surprising? No. (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162320)

Given the bandwidth of a cable (or any other broadband) connection I don't see why this should be surprising. Since a standard phone line needs to be upgraded for ADSL anyway, clearly the throughput with VoIP should be better than POTS.

The analog bandwidth of a landline is sufficient for decent quality anyway. The most limiting factor is the poor microphone and speaker used in most of these. I've had some great phone calls over VoIP where I couldn't understand what the blazes the other party was saying and it was mostly chalked up to them using some awful little wireless job which picks up interference from everywhere and vox clipping.

VoIP on Cable I fully expect to come in 5.1 audio at some point, why the heck not? You've got the bandwidth and then some. The question: does anyone ever really need this will be buried in the relentless pursuit of More Toys.

"Hello, this is sylvia"
"mrs. blechman, this is the gas board. you are 3 months behind in your gas payments when can we expect a payment?"
(ulp) "HELLO? HELLO? Is there anyone there? HELLO?"

Re:Surprising? No. Well, Yes (2, Informative)

mantar (941076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162819)

The problem isn't with bandwidth. Anytime you place a call on a land line (non-local), your signal on the analog POTS line is digited (8KHz, ADPCM, uLaw encoded) at the FXO (foreign exchange office) and transfered over a channel on a T1. 8KHz is plenty of bandwidth to transfer the human voice (Bell labs figured this out in the 50's)... With VOIP, extra bandwidth on one end doesn't give you a thing if you're calling a non-VOIP phone on the other end... eventually the signal gets transfered over a T1, at 8KHz (the lowest common denominator). The real problem is that VOIP is packet switched, without a guarantee of delivery... and as you know with IP, you can also run into issues of packets being received out of order. The real value in VOIP isn't QoS (it won't be for years to come)... the real value is in being able to deploy voice services over an existing IP infrastructure... no more clunky and expensive PBX's!

Now, if you're placing a VOIP to VOIP call (I assume this is what the test was... didn't read TFA), there is no 8KHz constraint and throughtput can theoretically be higher.

Verizon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162100)

Can eer m now?

Re:Verizon (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162172)

I forgot where I saw it (it might've been here), but not too long ago I read a minirant where the person was comparing the phone service of yesterday to the service expectations of today. Admittedly it's two different types of service (landline vs. cell), but we've gone from advertising phone service so clear where you can supposedly hear a pin drop to making a big deal out of being able to hear the person at all. Just a little food for thought...

Surprising? (3, Informative)

RumGunner (457733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162101)

In my little hometown they still use the original ancient phone lines that leak signal like crazy. In fact, you could easily hear other conversations if you paused while talking on the phone. I'd guess that a majority of towns are using lines that are at least 30-50 years old still.

Re:Surprising? (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162266)

In fact, you could easily hear other conversations. . .

Yeah, in my little home town of 30 years ago we had that problem too, we called it a "Party Line."

KFG

The real surprise (was:Surprising?) (0)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162504)

After countless fees charged over the years (not directly related to the service rendered,) not a penny of that has been used to improve those ancient phone lines but instead used to line the pockets of telecomm executives. It could be argued that they're used to improve lines, just so happen to be the bottomline of executives and not phone lines...

Encouraging... (1)

PacketShaper (917017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162118)

...but how long until the major phone companies (Bell-South, AT&T, etc) start to QoS the packets from competing cable ISPs to lower the quality compared to traditional land lines?

Re:Encouraging... (2, Insightful)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162145)

The idea behind PacketCable is that the call stays on the cable providers backbone for as long as possible, and only then does it go to the normal phone system. If any phone company tried to block or deblieratly degrade the service of phone service, I fully expect them to be on the recieving end of a lawsuit quickly.

Re:Encouraging... (1)

PacketShaper (917017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162181)

Yes, but until any one cable company has coverage to every home in America, a call from NY to CA will most likly traverse another provider's network.
As for the lawsuit, isn't that the whole debate about the net neutrality issue? What is different from SBC trying to extort more money from Google for data passing over its lines than AT&T trying to extort more money from Comcast or RoadRunner for the same reason?

Re:Encouraging... (4, Informative)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162256)

I should probably give the obligatory "I work for Comcast, but just as a dispatcher" warning, so I know a bit more about this than most people. :-)

Yes, but until any one cable company has coverage to every home in America, a call from NY to CA will most likly traverse another provider's network

Right, unless both sides have (for example) Comcast's VOIP, there will be a hand off between providers. But all phone companies pay when a call transfers to another provider's systems. The amount per call is next to nothing, but considering the number of phone calls made at any one time, it adds up to enough that I know Comcast has laid cable through areas they don't service just to carry their own VOIP calls. Same for cell phones(ever wonder why your phone always homes in on your provider's towers even if another one is closer?). So if Comcast hands off the last bit of a call to say AT&T's network, Comcast would pay AT&T as they would if the call went to Comcast's network.

As for the lawsuit, isn't that the whole debate about the net neutrality issue? What is different from SBC trying to extort more money from Google for data passing over its lines than AT&T trying to extort more money from Comcast or RoadRunner for the same reason?

Different issue. Over Comcast's packetcable thing, the data of the call only goes over Comcast's backbone(and no other part of the net), then it is handed off as a normal phone call.

Re:Encouraging... (1)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162368)

What's so special about this, though? Don't ISPs try to keep traffic on their own networks for as long as possible anyway? Is it because Comcast is applying this technique to two different kinds of networks (IP vs. phone system)?

Re:Encouraging... (1)

Joe5678 (135227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163078)

I know nothing about cable networks, but I do know that ISP's don't try to keep traffic on their own networks for as long as possible. I didn't realize it had a specific name, but it's apparently called Hot-potato Routing [wikipedia.org]

Think of it this way, if you have traffic that is destined for another network, would you dump it onto that network as soon as possible, or would you use up your own bandwidth and resources to get it as close as possible to the destination before dumping it to the other network?

Re:Encouraging... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162745)

As for the lawsuit, isn't that the whole debate about the net neutrality issue? What is different from SBC trying to extort more money from Google for data passing over its lines than AT&T trying to extort more money from Comcast or RoadRunner for the same reason?

Different issue. Over Comcast's packetcable thing, the data of the call only goes over Comcast's backbone(and no other part of the net), then it is handed off as a normal phone call.


This comment just struck me as very, very dangerous. I'd hope that the /. crowd would recongize the difference between net neutrality and what Comcast is doing with it's VOIP service. Basically, Comcast is keeping its internal data packets on their own network as long as possible so that they don't have to interface with other ISPs and have negative effects like loss of service or just having to pay for network connection charges.

Net Neutrality is all those third party networks where charging Comcast to maintain the high priority of the data packets or otherwise down grading the data packets priority, which would reduce Comcast's VOIP service.

I understand the difference. I'll hope most of /. understands the difference. Would my mom or more importantly my congress person know and understand the difference?

Cable internet monopoly put to use... (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162131)

"Bhardwaj attributes the success of cable operators to their use of PacketCable, an IP multimedia transmission system optimized for cable plant. Providers who simply run standard VoIP connections over a cable modem do not see the same results."

This seems to me like the ISP gets an advantage because of this PacketCable thing -- something I'm sure they will not be licensing to their VoIP competitors like Vonage. Not surprisingly, these 'other' VoIP providers fared worse then the ISP-provided VoIP service. I'm sure the ISP will tout how its own Voice service is better than the competitors, and I would also wonder if they take additional steps to degrade the quality of their competitors. Oh yeah, I just tried to get cable internet alone (without TV or voice), and they acted very rapidly to filter the analog TV out, cut my speed from 6 to 4, and jacked up the price to $60/month. Assholes.

Re:Cable internet monopoly put to use... (3, Informative)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162186)

This seems to me like the ISP gets an advantage because of this PacketCable thing -- something I'm sure they will not be licensing to their VoIP competitors like Vonage. Not surprisingly, these 'other' VoIP providers fared worse then the ISP-provided VoIP service.

That's the point. When a VOIP call is made from a cable ISP, the call stays on the cable ISP's backbone(but not the regular net. A wicked huge Intranet would be a better analogy) for as long as it can. Some cable providers created additional plant lines just for this. With Vonage and friends, they hop on the normal internet and do the 20 + jumps of fun. Think of PacketCable as an express lane for the Cable ISP's calls.

Re:Cable internet monopoly put to use... (3, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163102)

That's the point. When a VOIP call is made from a cable ISP, the call stays on the cable ISP's backbone

Before I comment, I'd better post my credentials to say what I'm about to say: I am a co-author on many of the PacketCable specs, wrote the standard text on the subject, and also run a little company that sells PacketCable security software.

So, having said that, I would like to point out that your comment is accurate but may be a little misleading. It may indeed be true that today, and for most cable ISPs, the call stays on their network. But PacketCable was not specifically designed to be that narrow. Its architecture allows lots of things that cable companies have so far mostly not chosen to do. But, for example, there is no reason at all why the service has to be provide by a cable company. Sure, the cable company controls the pipe into the house (and the quality of service on that pipe), but there is nothing at all to prevent an ISP that decides that it doesn't want to get into the telephony business (and telephony could not remotely be described as easy) from contracting with a "real" telephony company so that that company provides service, with all the usual quality of service controls, over the ISP's network.

To give a completely and obviously hypothetical example. Instead of deploying telephony itself, Comcast could have chosen to have Qwest run a Comcast-branded VoIP service over Comcast's network, including the last-mile access network. That service could be given exactly the same quality-of-service guarantees that Comcast has chose to give to itself, and presumably both Qwest and Comcast would receive a cut of each phone call.

The corollary is that third-party providers (the Vonages of this world) do not have agreements and service-level contracts with Comcast. This means that their calls travel over the Comcast network using "best-effort" instead of some kind of guaranteed quality-of-service labelling. In particular, between the subscriber and the cable comapny, Vonage-like services travel over the ordinary standard primary DOCSIS flow from the cable modem, sharing it with all other traffic from that modem; PacketCable calls use special flows that have guaranteed latency-and-jitter limits specially designed for voice. Only the cable company can create and use those flows. (For the gory technical details, look at the DQoS [Dynamic Quality of Service] spec available at www.packetcable.com.)

Re:Cable internet monopoly put to use... (1)

prmths (325452) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162668)

Oh yeah, I just tried to get cable internet alone (without TV or voice), and they acted very rapidly to filter the analog TV out, cut my speed from 6 to 4, and jacked up the price to $60/month. Assholes.

Ditto. Bastards. Thry eve force me to use THEIR POS modem....even though i have my own... i wish there was something better at a more reasonable price... ... i do not want DSL because i dont want to have to pay for a copper phone line. i use *only* the data connection from the cable co... no phone or TV...and they charge me 60 as well// get my voice service through vonage... seems quite adequate to me... not like i'm doing a live radio show or anything like that... :P

depends a lot on the phone (3, Interesting)

mytrip (940886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162146)

I have a Cisco 7960 at home and a polycom 601 at work and they both toast landlines. We sell voip systems based on asterisk and a lot of it depends on whether the phone is full duplex, half duplex, if you use a switch or a hub, your isp. My isp is time warner and is very good. My same phone on my moms comcast would suck at 6pm when it is congested. VOIP on a pri definitely rules though if you have a full duplex phone. even on speakerphone.

some pure... (3, Interesting)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162159)

...anecdotal evidence for you:

I'm using a Cogeco* VoIP phone, and it's awesome. It's clear as a bell, whereas the Bell POTS connection that I had previously had enough static on the line that it made it tremendously hard to hear the conversation. For the longest time I thought it was the handset...You can imagine my surprise when I switched over, used the same handset, and found that all that static had disappeared.

* - I don't work for Cogeco and frankly couldn't care less if they survived or went belly-up tomorrow... but they're a cable company and it fits with TFA...

Get with the times, AT&T (2, Funny)

wbren (682133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162161)

A. G. Bell writes

"A recent study that looked at the quality of phone calls came up with some surprising results. Ars Technica reports that while 'traditional' VoIP call quality lagged behind landlines, service from cable ISPs was much better because of their use of PacketCable: 'VoIP from the cable companies actually surpassed the traditional phone network in reliability, meaning that the service was more often available and connected calls without dropping them. Cable providers also led the way in audio quality; the top firm in Keynote's study actually turned in an MOS of 4.24, above most real phone networks.'"
Even Alexander Graham Bell--back from the grave--is embracing VOIP. Come on AT&T, get with the times! Landlines are dead.

This shouldn't be that much of a surprise (1)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162170)

Typically, a well designed Digital Phone network will provide end to end QoS to protect calls from pops, clicks and whatever other impairments are associated with IP Data communications. Owning the network from the Customer to the PSTN Gateway (or even a completely protected IP Trunk) ensures full control over the call quality. Since the technology itself has a certain level of error survivability due to FEC in codecs, the call will not suffer from electrical interference typical with the worlds aging twisted pair networks. This provides a nice clear call, which isn't surprising. Providers such as Vonage have to play with many providers between their customers and PSTN gateways, most of which, they have no control over.

Except when the power goes out. (1)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162191)

:)

I'm still going to keep my POTS line. It's my security blanket.

You don't have a cellphone? (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162234)

Except at work, I haven't really used a landline in years. Let alone depended on it. My mobile phone works fine for when I've really needed it.

Re:You don't have a cellphone? (1)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162292)

Cell phones are OK but don't forget that on 9/11 the cell phones in NYC went down since their antennas we on the top of the WTC.

Re:You don't have a cellphone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162403)

And ofcourse the chance of airplanes crashing into the only building in the entire fucking city with cell antennas (which I highly doubt) is too big of a risk. I understand completely.

Re:You don't have a cellphone? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162413)

Yes, but the POTS switches were so jammed up by all the "OMG do u have ur TV on???" calls that a landline call might not have gone through either. The slight increased reliability phones doesn't justify an extra $600 a year to me.

Re:You don't have a cellphone? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162755)

Actually, the Land lines went down to and so did the interet for most of NYC because many telco's and major ISPs had their equipment in a central office in one of basements of the WTCs.

Re:You don't have a cellphone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162422)

Of course, if power goes out for days, realize that your mobile phone is not necessarily going to be of much use.

Re:Except when the power goes out. (1)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162372)

The EMTAs(Cable modem+VOIP in one device) that Comcast use in New England have roughly 8 hours of built in battery life. ;)

Re:Except when the power goes out. (1)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162396)

Like the poster above: use a UPS for your network gear.

I have Vonage at home, and all my networking gear, from the modem to the router to the adapter, is plugged in to a fairly hefty UPS.

It's great to still have net access when the power goes out :)
C

Re:Except when the power goes out. (1)

laxpeter (996124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162681)

Unless your ISP doesn't take the same approach towards power outages. I bought a UPS for my networking hardware just for this reason. Unfortunately, I found out that every time I lose power, whatever my cable modem is talking to does too.

Re:Except when the power goes out. (2, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162426)

I'm still going to keep my POTS line. It's my security blanket.

Well, when my power goes out, I'm still on the Internet for hours. Perhaps if you were worried about calls when the power is out, you could spend $100 for a UPS. My cordless phones work great in a power outage. I bought one with a battery in the base. My Internet works great in a power outage. I have a UPS. The runtime is good too, as I have just the minimum data equipment plugged into the UPS and I have a laptop to work off of. I have hours and hours of talk time and Internet usage in a power outage. Oh, and if all those fail, I pull out a cell phone. The only reason a power outage will hurt is if you don't expect it (and you obviously expect it and know the consequences) or you don't think that your uptime is worth the $100. Or, if you are just using it as an excuse to complain about technology you don't like.

Re:Except when the power goes out. (1)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162601)

Typical pseudo-techie response. "Just throw money at it". Most people don't want to spend more money on a service that they have already paid for, the burden of uptime should be on the provider and not on the user. Oh and let's say that you have a UPS. Is it the only device on the UPS? Probably not. Bye-bye phone when the battery dies. "Hello...EMS? Yeah, I've got chest pains and....hello....HELLO??" OMG!! I haven't serviced my UPS battery in two years and the battery life is one minute!" Read my post about cell phones, lots of people in NYC had dead cells when the WTC went down.

Re:Except when the power goes out. (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162661)

The money I saved by going to VoIP, paid for a decent UPS that keeps all the critical elements running for over an hour, in about 3 months. Pretty decent payoff as far as I'm concerned. That, and there's always our cell phone as back up.

true, in my experience (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162201)

This matches my experience. We have Vonage via cable modem. Our neighbors who have POTS have had a number of lengthy service outages within the last yeur or two, whereas we've never had any. As far as audio quality, it just sounds normal to me.

The only problems we've had have been with integration among the various parts of the system, and I guess that's not surprising, since it is multiple systems working together, rather than a monolithic system like Ma Bell used to be. The big problem we had was that every time someone would leave a voice mail on Vonage's system, our internet connection would die, and we'd have to power cycle to get it back up. The solution was simply to stop using Vonage's voice mail (which was klutzy anyway), and switch to using the answering machine that was already built into our phone anyway.

A lot of people express concern about the 911 issue. Vonage now has automatic address recognition (if you set it up with them, which they try very aggressively to make sure you do), and from what I understand, there's no real data on reliability of Vonage's 911 versus reliability of POTS's 911. It's apparently quite common for POTS's automatic address recognition to fail, and for that reason, the first thing they always do when you call 911 is ask for your address anyway. The thing that does bother me a little about the 911 issue, regardless of the service provider, is that you can't test it without making a false 911 call. I don't like the idea of an important safety system that you can't test.

Re:true, in my experience (3, Informative)

SoLoatWork (187259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162540)

You can absolutely test 911 from any phone line. Simply call 911 and immediately mention to the operator you are making a test call to verify address information. Tell her what you think your address should be in their system and he/she can confirm this for you. As long as you make clear right off the bat you are on a test call, there is not a problem.

Re:true, in my experience (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162714)

That's a much better idea than what I do, which is to create the need for a real 911 call.

"911 dispatcher? Hello? Yes, my address is 555 NotMyAddress, New York, MT. Is that what you have? It is? Great! That's what I wanted to know. Oh, the emergency? Of course there's an emergency, I wouldn't place a fake 911 call, ha ha! Yeah, I just stabbed a guy in the neck with a letter opener. on my front porch. That's right, some random guy, with a letter opener. Maybe he's a solicitor or something, is that important? He's bleeding pretty good, that ambulence should hurry. What was that -- why? Because I needed to make a 911 call and verify the address lookup of course!"

Re:true, in my experience (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162750)

The solution was simply to stop using Vonage's voice mail (which was klutzy anyway), and switch to using the answering machine that was already built into our phone anyway.

Really? I still haven't been able to use a regular answer machine with Vonage yet. Any special tricks?

Re:true, in my experience (1)

Kancept (737976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162863)

Where I live, we don't have 911 address recognition (911+ is what they call it). Even then, they seem to not be able to get anywhere very fast at all. I'm still on a POTS system, and haven't really bothered considering VoIP service as broadband up here is finiky enough.

Re:true, in my experience (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163069)

This matches my experience. We have Vonage via cable modem. Our neighbors who have POTS have had a number of lengthy service outages within the last yeur or two, whereas we've never had any. As far as audio quality, it just sounds normal to me.

On the other hand, it doesn't match my experience. In the past fifteen years (The period of time I've had my own home and phone), the total downtime of my POTS can be measured in minutes (two digits at worst). In the last year alone my cable downtime can be measured in hours.

Apparently Nate is not a Comcast Customer (1)

mmeister (862972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162205)

I have been using Comcast's Phone service for the past several months. Apart from the fact I incurred a phone number attached to someone with credit problems, the actual service of the phone is horrible. It sounds like I'm on a cell phone with a bad connection. Lots of static. On a few occasions, people have been unable to reach me (my phone never rang).

Overall, I rate my Comcast experience as a 2 out of 10.

Re:Apparently Nate is not a Comcast Customer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162560)

If you rate them at 2 out of 10, you are giving them credit. I have helped moved several ppl off of comcast voip. Comcast is one of the few companies that make Qwest look good (well, at times).

Re:Apparently Nate is not a Comcast Customer (1)

mmeister (862972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162839)

Yeah, probably too much credit.. although I consider anything below a 4 to be a failing grade in my book. If they were interested in customer service (which they're not), they'd try to figure out why their always rated so poorly. Of course, they make it noticeably more expensive to use their hi-speed internet if you drop their crappy phone service. It's basically a lose-lose scenario.

Interestingly, Comcast's actual service makes TimeWarner look good (something that is incredibly hard to do), but ultimately, TimeWarner wins out for the crappiest customer service (when I lived in Austin, minimum wait times of 30+ minutes for ANYTHING). Comcast doesn't make you wait that long before you find out there is really nothing they can do for you.

I'm curious as to what you moved ppl to. Vonage is OK, but it has had its share of problems as well.

Re:Apparently Nate is not a Comcast Customer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162919)

Took them back to the regular phone (qwest), but left them on comcast internet (speed is ok). It is not what I prefer, but the problem is that comcast's network is now so crappy that you can not trust it. I have actually set up 6 ppl on asterisk. Interestingly, We found that Qwest's DSL connections do better than comcast. But I suspect that Qwest has the same ppl doing the customer service. When there is an outage, it sux. Funny thing is, that comcast used to be TCI/ATT and their network really had 24x7 uptime (at least in Colorado) and their service did not sux.

Hmmm Cable VoIP or Voice over Cable? (1)

meanween (709863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162214)

I wonder if they were truely comparing "Cable VoIP" or the concept of providing dial-tone/phone service over cable. Things may have changed since I was working for a cable provider, but back in the day... Service would be provided by attaching a box to the side of the house. The service had an allocated set of "Channels". Just like channels are allocated in the normal cable spectrum that to deliver things like HBO and ESPN. The range used for TV never overlapped with Voice or Data. The range for Data never overlapped TV or Voice, etc.. (You get the picture). Because of this there's no competing for bandwidth with all three products and the part allocated for voice calls was of sufficient bandwidth. Unlike the vonage box I have now, if I start downloading torrents or pushing the upload/down rates on my connection some other way I have the potential of breaking up my VoIP call. With voice over cable provided services (not necessarily Cable Voip) this wont happen. Unless of course there's noise on the lines affecting the freq. range used by the boxes.

Re:Hmmm Cable VoIP or Voice over Cable? (1)

meanween (709863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162254)

And from the article... "digital cable VoIP providers" refer only to the services offered by the cable companies, not to services like Vonage that simply plug into their networks" Which.. are not the same. Good job on comparing Apples to Oranges :)

Re:Hmmm Cable VoIP or Voice over Cable? (1)

toomz (175524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162848)

I wonder if they were truely comparing "Cable VoIP" or the concept of providing dial-tone/phone service over cable.

It wouldn't just be as simple as dedicating a channel to voice. It would be simplest implemented over DOCSIS, so yes, still VoIP. The advantage the cable providers have is being able to then place a higher priority on the VoIP packets, and shoot them across their own network (where the priority is guaranteed to be honored reliably, as opposed to on the public internet)

Not Surprising (0, Redundant)

Dan Guisinger (15506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162217)

Comcast drops their fiber so deep into neighborhoods around here its almost fiber to the home. On top of that, the cable around here is all burried so it avoids storm related outages, and lets not forget the biggest factor: voice is digital all the way to the home, the voice quality of course is going to be clear. There isn't a single run of analog signalling between the user and the cable company, thats why its so clear and such a predictable result.

Nothing to see here :) Move along

They missed me (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162220)

They must not have checked my area. On average my cable line is down 2 days a month. Last month it was down for a week. The local cable company just responded "Sorry, we are working on it." (Time-Warner Cable) No ETA, No reason as to why it was down, No other information.

Heck the last time my ISDN line went down was 3 years ago. VOIP is nice but with the issues that my local cable has keeping the system up and running, Ill wait.

shaw is good stuff (1)

adachan (543372) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162228)

I am using shaw for phone in canada over Cable, and I have to say it is way more convienent that the same offering from Telus. The value that shaw offers is unsurpassed in that it includes unlimited long distance in North America within the monthly fee. My monthly bill for this service is around $50 CAD each month. I am from the US so, my long distance bills with Telus used to be quite high, even using call arounds and different calling plans. I am officially a believer. Sound quality is great. Never a dropped call, ever, not even using 3 way.

WOW 4.24!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162236)

You are kidding? A whole 4.24?! That's amazing!!!

WTF is a MOS? Somebody slap Zonk.

The djini is out of the bottle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162241)

I recently switched one of my pots lines over to cable,
and was pleasantly suprised when Charter added an additional
telephony modem to the mix, and didn't parasite on my
other bandwidth. It's been 2 months without a glitch, and
I will be switching all but one (ya never know) of my other
lines RSN.

Its true (1)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162275)

Here in India I use Vonage's VoIP @ the lowest bit rate setting of 32 kbps (on a 256kbps internet)& still the voice quality is better than ordinary landline.(& its up 24x7)

Add to that there is no 1 sec timelag-delay in conversations through VoIP on calls to US .

Vonage over Comcast HSI (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162288)

This is a real bitter subject for me. I (try to) use Vonage over Comcast's internet service, but I get daily service outages, dropped calls and overall poor sound quality. I do not blame Vonage for any of these problem. Whenever I call Comcrap to complain about their internet service they always ask what I use the internet for: surfing, e-mail, etc. When I reply with Vonage, they always try to sell me their VoIP and I always say, "it doesn't matter what VoIP provider I use, it's still your internet connection that's the problem." I'm starting to realize now that maybe it DOES matter what VoIP provider I use. Comcast Digital Voice = packets get through, Vonage = packets get dropped?

Re:Vonage over Comcast HSI (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162554)

The "cable phone service" in question is NOT VoIP. It is a TDM service over the DOCSIS digital cable standard.

This gives you an uncompressed DS0 digital phone connection, with no dropped packets, and with signal quality equivalent to having a few feet, rather than miles, of wire between the POTS instrument and the "phone company"'s D-A converter.

VoIP uses lossy compression, introduces much more latency, has dropped packets due to internet congestion, and has rotten timing for the A-D/D-A conversions.

You won't get "pin drop" signal quality with VoIP unless/until the network is reworked for QoS guarantees, the carriers are allowed to treat packets for phone streams better than they do those for services like FTP, and a billing model and contracts between carriers is in place for it to make sense for the carriers to extend these QoS guarantees to their competitor/partner's packets.

THIS is why any "Network Neutrality" proposals that treat all PACKETS equally - rather than packets of equivalent services from all PROVIDERS - breaks streaming services (among other things).

Re:Vonage over Comcast HSI (2, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162707)

VoIP uses lossy compression, introduces much more latency, has dropped packets due to internet congestion, and has rotten timing for the A-D/D-A conversions.


VoIP uses whatever codec it's configured to use, which could be great-sounding G.711 alaw/ulaw (as used on the real phone system) or GSM (not so good).

How reliable is cable VoiP going to be when... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162298)

The power goes out? No power to the modem, no VoIP. Or how about when the tech puts a trap on your phone because he thinks you're pirating cable? (Happened about 5 times to a friend of mine with business class cable internet). Or how well does it work when the cable company screws up, and burns out a bunch of modems with a too strong signal (happened to many people around here). Or what happens when the weather gets exceptionally hot, or exceptionally cold and wreaks havoc with the S/N ratio of the lines?

The phone lines were engineered to be very reliable. In my experience cable has been something that's been less than reliable (because no one dies if the cable goes out).

Re:How reliable is cable VoiP going to be when... (1)

EvilMoose (176457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162317)

VoIP sounds better than my landline because my local loop is so long that the engineer determining if I can get DSL or not was astonished I was even capable of getting voice.

Re:How reliable is cable VoiP going to be when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162483)

I dont know about other carriers, but my modem (from Rogers Cable in ontario) has a battery backup in case of a power outage. It's supposed to last 6-8 hours. I haven't had an outtage in the year or so I've had it, so I don't know how long the battery really lasts.

Of course, if the power is out for more than 8 hours I'd be fucked and unable to call anyone. But barring the apocolypse, the power only goes out for that long about once every couple decades. I'm not worried.

Re:How reliable is cable VoiP going to be when... (1)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162565)

We are going to be installing eMTAs that have a 16 Hour battery backup for power outtages. Cable companies also backup their plant equipment with stand-by power supplies. The other point is that the trend in recent years is for people to make use of cordless phones more often than not. When the power is out, a cordless phone doesn't work regardless of who is carrying the call, unless of course you have alternate power for your phone, then see my first two points.

All this said, I don't know what your cable company does with regards to uptime, but there are options available to address all of the caveats. If they don't, they probably won't be very competative.

Audio Quality... (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162340)

Cable providers also led the way in audio quality

What we all REALLY want to know is how well does it handle our Dial-Up connections?

Agreed - very good service (2, Interesting)

us7892 (655683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162363)

I just got VoIP two months ago through my "local" cable company, and the voice quality has been excellent. And, the bill was even better! So far, so good.

An interesting side not if you're a Verizon phone and DSL customer. Simply mention the fact that you're dropping DSL for cable and they first try and scare you by saying you are on a shared network and will certainly be targeted by intruders. If you can put up with their speach, then they'll offer at least one free month, and in my case, $10 less per month to stay with their DSL.

Then, finally, the second call to cancel phone service they give a speech about unreliable 911 service and dropped calls with VoIP. If you can patiently wait for that speech to conclude, they'll offer another discount to keep you as a land-line customer. In my case, it was $10 again! No rebates on long-distance though...

Bottom line, call up your phone company now, and say you want to cancel DSL and/or land-line service. You will certainly get a free month and a monthly discount.

I guess it depends where you do the study (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162365)

I lived in 3 different towns in NJ and one in CA and I think the landline has gone down like once in 25+ years. I've never had a landline to landline call dropped, ever. I didn't even think that was possible.

I have had the cable drop off dozens of times though as have most people I know. I'd rely on Verizon for VOIP in a second but I would trust Cablevision to deliver my email. If what they are saying is actually true on a national scale then I'm shocked.

Re:I guess it depends where you do the study (3, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162568)

I lived in 3 different towns in NJ and one in CA and I think the landline has gone down like once in 25+ years. I've never had a landline to landline call dropped, ever. I didn't even think that was possible.

I have had the cable drop off dozens of times though as have most people I know. I'd rely on Verizon for VOIP in a second but I would trust Cablevision to deliver my email. If what they are saying is actually true on a national scale then I'm shocked.


Landlines in most areas are regulated. If their dropped calls/ 1000 rise above a certain level they get fines. Most areas are about 9-15 / 1000 before fines come into play. POTS are rarely fined.

If I remember DOCSYS correctly ... (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162406)

Cable providers also led the way in audio quality; the top firm in Keynote's study actually turned in an MOS of 4.24, above most real phone networks.

If I recall the DOCSYS standard correctly (that's the one for cable settop boxes), the framing provides the phone company TDM-style 8 kHz synchronized clock, and the phone signals are carried as full-rate uncompressed bytes.

In other words, POTS-over-cable is a 64 kbps synchronized digital signal, identical to what's carried on the phone companies' own ISDN, T, and SONET carriers, and is switched onmodified on and off the rest of the digital network unmodified. The A-D conversion happens in the settop box. It's like having your POTS phone at the switching center within wire-feet of the multiplexer. (The clocking is also good enough to encode analog signals from FAX and 56K computer modems. It has to be, as a side-effect of the need to time the upstream packets properly.)

POTS, on the other hand, is A-D converted at a central office or a "remote terminal" (in a box at the curb) and carried the rest of the way - blocks to miles - in one of a bundle of wires. This is subject to crosstalk, distortion (selective delay and attenuation of higher frequencies), and a number of other pathologies that lower the signal quality.

So it is not at ALL surprising that cable POTS signal quality beats telco POTS. Cable's signal is about as pristine as you can get.

(And VoIP isn't in the same ballpark, due to both compression and timing uncertainties.)

Typo: Make that DOCSIS (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162415)

(Which goes to show how long ago I was looking into it. B-) )

Re:If I remember DOCSYS correctly ... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162553)

Just one question: does this mean I could finally get a full 56K modem connection to my ISP, using this setup?

Re:If I remember DOCSYS correctly ... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162594)

Yes.

(IF that's what your cable provider is selling - not some VoIP service.)

Re:If I remember DOCSYS correctly ... (4, Informative)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162633)

Just a matter of clarification on some of your points:
DOCSIS is an ackronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, this has nothing specifically to do with voice or set-top boxes. There are two standards that deal with those
PacketCable is the cablelabs standard for voice.
OpenCable is the cablelabs standard for settop boxes.

There is no synchronized clock with regards to DOCSIS. PacketCable uses VoIP technology and, as the name implies, uses ip data packets for call transmission.

Vonage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162410)

My wife's sister has Vonage. Every time she calls I can't hardly hear a word she's saying.

I love Vonage.

Re:Vonage (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162500)

Can you hear me now?

I Smell a Rat (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162484)

Something to consider:

1. How does keynote benefit?
Keynote's VoIP Competitive Monitoring Solution addresses the need of marketing and operations executives to understand their performance relative to competitors, and to gauge the impact on the end-user experience of both their infrastructure investments in new markets and their enhancements to services in existing markets.

They have a pretty big incentive to excite some potential customers.

2. What was the methodology?
Keynote placed local and long distance VoIP calls to destination phone numbers on a standard (PSTN) phone service. Calls were placed from San Francisco and New York once every 30 minutes on every VoIP provider and network carrier combination. A total of 125,000 calls were placed over a month-long period. Calls placed using competing VoIP services were compared to traditional phone "toll quality" standards to determine what residential customers can expect when switching from traditional phone lines to VoIP.

Who is -every- VOIP provider?

My personal experience with VOIP over cable was definitely worse service than POTS for the same price as POTS. Where's the value the cableco was supposed to be providing?

PSTN (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162494)

...meaning that the service was more often available and connected calls without dropping them.

But... How often do you drop calls on a PSTN? Hello?? Hello??? Can you hear me now????

Cheaper than VOIP (2, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162521)

Teamspeak, Ventrillo
Granted, this isn't really a phone replacement, but if all the people I want to talk to are on their computers anyways, then it works great.

This is not surprising (1)

maxrate (886773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162584)

Cable can move data nearly error free. The distance (in the analog domain) between your telephone and you telephone company is the amount of lineage between your phone and your coax to telephone modem/router box. There are a few different schemes a company can use to transport audio information down a digital line. Lossless audio/lossy audio - full frame synced data transfer and asynchronous data / transmit contention / token / multiplex / etc. Codecs/PCM/etc... The cable infrastructure in Canada sounds better than traditional phone - as long as you call cable phone to another cable phone. If you call a land line from a cable phone it's only as good as the landline(*) - however that being said, the audio quality still has a better chance than analog to analog phone. There are a lot of variables -- it really depends on the implementation. (Slightly off topic but relevant): For instance, I know a lot of people that complain that their cable internet is slow or intermittent (we all know there could be several reasons for this) but that being said, the most common one I've found is cheap cable splitters or garbage old tv cable in the house degrading the cable modem signals.

Back to the phones: I have asked telephone techs and cable techs. The telephone system can run off their battery banks for a week or so, the cable guys say 2 days tops. The cable company here offers two telephony services: CableTelephone, or VoIP telephone over their high-speed cable service. The VoIP option is half the price.

Re:This is not surprising (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163027)

Hmm, bear in mind that Telus uses a VOIP backbone (an by logical extension I would assume most other Telcos). So all long distance landline calls are VOIP most of the way anyway.

VoIP phone really make conference calls tough (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162592)

If there is one thiing I dislike about VoIP calls it is the lag time. It seems that when I am on a conference call, it is hard to jump into a conversation because when you wait for the right time to jump in and start talking, someone else also decided to talk at the exact same time, but you only learn about it a bit later and talk over whoever else jumped ahead of you. It really makes you look like an asshole.

VoIP service: Cox Cable

Re:VoIP phone really make conference calls tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16163082)

Apparently you don't live in arizona. Talking over everyone else, intentionally, while in the same room, is buisness as usuall here.

what kind of crap phone lines do people have?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162609)

i have -never- had an analog phone line not connect me or drop calls. how can something be better than 100%?

VoIP client matters alot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162630)

Our experience is that it matters very much what VoIP client you use. We've compared just about any VoIP client and, with all other parameters being the same, keep getting the best results by far with Ekiga, even without optimizing the voice codec.

Asta lalalavista landline - hello VoIP by SR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162676)

I am a happy customer with Sunrocket, Internet VoIP Service (sunrocket.com) for almost 2 years now. I am in Oregon, USA so I am on comcast network and never being happier with my phone service. Big fat telco QWest bills were like $55 per month with Sunrocket only $199 per year ($17 per month) and all phone features you can imagine with all-you-can-eat US/Can/Mex plan. No contract. No installtion. No cancellation. No sh*t. Screw the big fat QWest with their customer "milking" fees and shmees. Sunrocket is like a "google" of the VoIP services.

Shore, shore... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162677)

... it'll be more available than a land-line. Since my cable modem seems to have a 10% chance of dropping for an hour or two exactly at midnight on any given weeknight, and a 20% chance on any given weekend night, that sounds like it would be *very* reliable. ComCrap seems to have picked midnight as the time to perform any maintenance they want, without informing their customers.

steve

Hello? Hello? (1)

mildness (579534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162694)

I love vonage save for one glitch. I must say "Hello" twice as the first one is never heard by the calling party.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Cheers,

Bill

FiOS Wins (1)

apcmiller (1004532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162700)

Verizon is replacing all of their copper landlines with FiberOptic cable. Signal loss is almost nill delay to the CO is almost nill. I'd like to see cable signals beat the speed of light! Cable is a shared connection, yes sometimes your speed is great, but sometimes its junk. I had adelphia cable internet, VOIP, and TV for a year, I dropped it in favor of nothing the quality was so bad.

More reliable? (1)

zbend (827907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162864)

I'm not sure how they come up with the reliablility comparisons. Wouldn't all phone systems depend on each other? If I called your VoIP # from my land line and it wouldn't go through, how would I know who is to blame? Seems to me like I would have to ask one of the companys. Of course I'm sure they would tell me the truth. Also if one company services 10,000 calls a day and the other 10 billion is there success rate comparable? (not saying those are the #'s I have no idea but I'm sure there are far fewer VoIP calls) I wouldn't think so. Anyone whos used VoIP of any kind will tell you it has many advantages but reliablity is not one of them, the second you plug your modem or VoIP phone into the power outlet you should realizes that.

Im Agree and Disagree (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162913)

I use Asterisk with pots, and voip at work on a dsl connection and at home on cable, and it works nicely. Thats the good part.

At home, I watch the commercials for Charter voip, and just roll over laughing. While my sytems at home and work are all on UPS systems, and will hold for at least 6 hours, Charter doesnt. If the power is out, so is the cable.

Every time it rains a quarter of in inch, the cable goes down, this is even after they have came out and fixed lines, replace amps etc.

Until the cable company can show me they can keep their system up during storms etc. We will keep our land line.

VOIP IS WAY BETTER! (1)

kubalek (1004538) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162921)

WAHHHOOO! Finally, a way to screw the greedy phone companies. I have Vonage over cable here in Mexico and I couldn't be happier with the service and quality. This is the way to go. Death to the phone companies. Now, if someone can just figure out a way around stupid "standard banking practices" my life will be complete! :)

What is this cable VoIP thing that you speak of? (1)

beeblebrox (16781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162951)

My VoIP bill so far has been about $5 for 16 months of service - after I dropped the scumbags at Vonage with their $10 disconnection fee.

So in May 2005, I pre-paid $10 for a teliax [teliax.com] account that I use for the type of calls that would eat into my included cell airtime - calls to 800 customer service numbers which involve long wait times. I still have about $5 left, even though I've made quite a few calls.

I also make many long international calls using voiptalk [voiptalk.org] . Excellent sound quality, barely appreciable lag, $nothing/minute, $nothing/month, $nothing/ever.

I've lowered my conventional-telco costs down to $6/month - the fee Qwest extorts for my Speakeasy naked DSL circuit. I look forward to dropping that to zero when fixed wireless becomes feasible.

Cellphone service is next.

DUH! (0, Flamebait)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163149)

"while 'traditional' VoIP call quality lagged behind landlines, service from cable ISPs was much better because of their use of PacketCable: 'VoIP from the cable companies actually surpassed the traditional phone network in reliability, meaning that the service was more often available and connected calls without dropping them."

Isn't that common sense, and the reason why we need net neutrality?! If companies like Comcast would stop crippling their competitor's VoIP service (read: Vonage), then perhaps this little study would have found different results, namely that VoIP in general can sound better than landlines regardless of the operator. Case in point, Vonage to Vonage calls with max voice quality settings (in the router) are great, or I should say they WERE great until Comcast started messing with people's packets about a year and a half ago.
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