[rescue] VOIP

Geoffrey S. Mendelson gsm at mendelson.com
Sun Oct 12 18:24:37 CDT 2003

Phil Stracchino wrote:

> When we finally get out of this rathole and have real connectivity
> again, and can afford to reactivate our cell phones, I'm thinkign very
> seriously about going with Vonage or Packet8 for our primary phone
> service and not having regular telco landline service at all.

I've done a lot of research about them in the last few days and have
some things to say :-)

Sambo has a packet 8 phone at home. I call it from here using a regular
phone, usually it's ok, sometimes it stinks.  Read the fine print, 
if you cancel, you have to return the unit or pay $100.

Not a big deal from the U.S. from here it's pay $25 for air mail or
if 1-2 weeks is not fast enough, $100 for FedEx. :-(

Vonageis better on the cancelation I think. They let you keep the unit,
a Cisco ata-186, but they don't give you the password. Early units were
hackable, I don't know if they fixed the bugs, but probably did.

I'm looking at a local service that provides the same thing (for all I
know they remarket vonage) but they accept payment in local currency.
I'll have to buy Cisco ATA-186 ($125) and it will be locked (which is
why I think it's vonage), but I'l try the "show me the password hack" if
I get it.

How well it works has a lot to do with your connection. Latency time
means a lot here. One person who timed it gets a 250 ms lag time using
Packet8 from here. Not very comfortable, but he replaced an over $1000 a
month long international long distance bill with less than $100 a month
commercial packet8 bill.

If you are using a Cisco ATA and it is connected to a Cisco router and
the other end has Cisco routers (likely if they use Cisco ATA's), then
the VoIP packets get special compression and top priority.

If you have a xDSL or cable modem and don't have a Cisco router or use
the Packet8 box, you will be unpleasently surprised if someone starts an
upload unless you have QOS (Quality of Service) routing. (packet

I'm the only one here who does uploads, my oldest son is forbidden from
using Kaazza or simlar software, and I do it rarely. I've read the
technical discussions about using a Linux box as a router and setting up
QOS (quality of service routing) to help keep VoIP running smoothly, but
the result is claimed to be better much than not using it and far less
than the Cisco to Cisco option.

If you are inthe U.S. you might want to look at some of the cell phone
plans too. Several of my friends have cell phones because they get
"free" (as in included in the price) calls nights and weekends all over
the U.S.

If I do get one, I'll have to keep it "quiet". If I don't, suddenly
friends and neighbors who know I have a free phone to the U.S. will stop
by to visit and "you don't mind if I make a call, do you". The cost of
the coca-cola, cookies, etc will kill me. :-)


Geoffrey S. Mendelson gsm at mendelson.com 972-54-608-069
Icq/AIM Uin: 2661079 MSN IM: geoffrey_mendelson at hotmail.com (Not for email)
Carp are bottom feeders, koi are too, and not surprisingly are ferrets.

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