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Vonage... Sweet Sassy Molassy

My buddy Andrew Rowat is in Shanghai for an indefinite period of time, and so he ordered up a Vonage router and is having me ship it to him in China.

For those that don't know, Vonage is a service that uses evil-sounding VOIP (Voice over IP) technology to make phone calls over the internet. There are several nice consumer benefits that come with using VOIP instead of a regular landline, but the main one for Andrew is that his phone number follows him around wherever he goes.

So he can bring his router and a phone to Sydney, or Irkutsk, or Miami, plug into an internet connection, and people will be able to reach him at the same phone number.

I considered Vonage in early 2004, but decided against it because of so-so reviews. Not wanting to ship Andrew a broken product, and curious about the service, I took the router for a spin this evening and called Andrew on his mobile phone.

And holy crap, were we impressed.

The call quality was super crisp and there was no echo or delay. I've made several more calls with the same results, even when downloading an 80 meg file at 400 k/s.

I've heard terrible things about Vonage's support, which definitely gives me pause, but the cost is attractive and after playing with it a bit tonight, so is the quality.

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Andrew said on Dec 22 2004:

You made SEVERAL MORE CALLS on my phone number?
You bastard!


2. Aaron said on Dec 22 2004:

I've had Vonage for over a year. It's $$$$. Voice quality superior to a land line. The only issues I've had have to do with upstream data not down. Depending on network activity, sometimes the person on the other end of the line can't hear you -- but that is rare. I've done any administration or support online and I've had no issues. I highly recommend it.

3. Seuss said on Dec 23 2004:

What aaron said. I use vonage for biz and personal lines and couldn't be happpier with service & support. It's great when a service comes along that lets you dump the usual telco (verizon here) and you end up far better off.

4. Josh said on Jan 15 2005:

Has anybody looked at Lingo? They offer the same thing for $19.99 a month, except that it INCLUDES Western Europe. Here in Canada, Vonage charges a $40 setup fee, $19 for adapter delivery, and then a disconnection fee of $50 until you return the modem. Not sure how this compares to Lingo, but the Canadian version of Lingo is Primus, and it offers the same unlimited long distance as Vonage for the same price, with no setup fees or delivery fees-- just fewer features. Also, if you buy the retail package at Future Shop or Best Buy, you get your first month free. Wonder how the quality measures up? Also, Shaw communications in Canada is getting into the business, but they are bragging about their basic package costing $60/month. Idiots.

5. kareem said on Jan 22 2005:

I used Primus for a bit when I lived in Montreal, and their customer service was pretty good. This was before their VOIP offering though... would love to know how good the service is, Josh.

6. Josh said on Jan 25 2005:

After a bunch more reading, I found that Vonage was rated the most reliable and popular service by both critics and consumers. Also, by buying the retail box version ($15 after rebate at Staples, it's the Linksys PAP2, but you need to already have your own router with a free port), and signing up online, I not only got instant access, but the $40 setup fee and $19 shipping fee (obviously) were waived.

So far the quality and reliability have been great, even during two all-day marathons where I called everybody I knew in North America. Two people mentioned echo or volume issues, but only after I asked them how I sounded, so I would conclude that the quality is no worse that what you would accept from a cell phone.

Money indeed.

7. Matt said on Apr 29 2005:

Hi guys,

I signed up with Vonage a long time ago and was with them for a couple years. I switched to Lingo about 6 months ago simply becuase of their better price.

I had all kinds of trouble with the Lingo service. Especially if you want to have two Lingo devices on your network. The voicemail is frequently "broken up" and sometimes I can barely hear the other person at the other end because of network "issues." So today I just ordered Vonage again and am porting my number back over to them.

I'd recommend Vonage personally as I've had better luck with them.


Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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