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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

I have been a bell home phone customer forever - time to change.

Q1 - What are the considerations I should have with respect to choosing traditional land line over VoIP?

Q2 - Which VoIPs are better known for overall value of money + decent service as well as reasonable customer service. Vonage and Primus seem to be on my mind due to recommendations from friends. Of course, I want to save money but reception, quality of service is also very important to me.
 

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1) There are some limitations on VoIP; those that are concerned often raise the question of access when your internet service is down e.g. during a power outage. Funny thing is, many who raise that concern are also using cordless phones, which will be dead when the power goes out ;)

This can be mitigated via placing your access device/router/ATA on a good UPS, and by having at least one wired phone that supports the POTS standards (i.e. line powered).

You need to have a reliable, high-speed internet service to sustain VoIP. Even then, depending on your usage, you may have a need for QoS in your router to ensure good voice quality.

Finally, you have to get used to the idea of getting a whole lot more features (many that you can't get on landline/cable service) AND paying a whole lot less money :)

2) I've read many bad things about Primus, so I personally wouldn't go there. If you're not technically savvy, I think Vonage would be a good choice, plus, they've just dropped the price of their unlimited service to $30 a month, which is great for domestic calls and if your calling patterns fit within their ~60 country range on that plan.

If you are technically savvy, there's not much better than VoIP.ms, which depending on your calling patters could cost you a mere fraction of what Vonage would charge. Downside is that you have to buy your own ATA and follow the provided instructions to set it up.

The other concept on this option is that you have to get used to PAYGO, which IMHO, is a HUGE advantage, even if you use the phone a lot. For example, the basic line charge on VoIP.ms is a whopping $0.99 (yes, 99 cents) a month (including ALL the features) vs: $30-40 on standard landline/cable plans. Next up, call time can be as low as 0.5 cents/min outgoing (Canada wide, 1cent for US/Europe) and 1 cent/min incoming. Even heavy phone users would be hard-pressed to spend much more than $10 a month e.g. 1,000 Canada-wide minutes (50% In/Out) = $7.50

My Inlaws were Bell customers for ~40yrs and switched to VoIP.ms last year without a single regret. My FIL still marvels at his $3 a month phone bill and the fact that he can call us for free :)


One thing's for certain, once you've had VoIP, there's no going back to Plain Old Telephone Service!
 

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POTS service is the gold standard for call quality and reliability.

For VoIP providers, search the forum as there are lots of threads discussing various providers.
 

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VoIP quality depends on a variety of considerations. I have a VoIP phone from Rogers. They provide a separate terminal, with internal battery, that's completely independent of my internet service, so calls don't count against caps and I don't have to keep my modem powered (although I do) with a UPS, in case of power failure. Also, network QoS is not an issue. I find the call quality to be superior to the Bell wired phone I had previously and the rates are slightly in Rogers' favour. There are other, lower cost, VoIP providers that share your internet connection and generally work well, but may be subject to QoS issues. You will have to use a UPS to keep your modem, switch etc. powered during a power failure. You will also need some sort of ATA, unless you want to be tied to your computer.
 

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POTS service is the gold standard for call quality and reliability.
I find my Rogers home phone provides better call quality. Any digital phone can provide better call quality by eliminating the bandwidth and noise issues with analog over copper pairs. A dedicated VoIP network, as Rogers has, can provide call quality equal to that of TDM (ISDN or T1) digital phone systems. VoIP, over the public internet, can have QoS issues, depending on competing traffic etc. Using compression to save bandwidth will also affect call quality.
 

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A land line is definitely the best for reliability. Sound quality with VOIP can vary with provider. VOIP can also end up costing extra if a third party VOIP provider is used and the ISP has a low internet usage cap. There are better land line alternatives to Bell but they are resellers for Bell's land lines. For a basic phone and long distance plan, Teksavvy is probably the cheapest and best. Other resellers can be cheaper if lots of extra calling features are required.
 

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^^^^
While VoIP quality can vary by provider, it's not always inferior to "land line" phones. Digital phone systems provide "toll quality" calls, using G.711 codecs, running at 64 Kb/s, to provide better call quality than you're likely to get over analog lines. It doesn't make any difference as to whether the call is carried over TDM, IP or even serial port connection, so long as it's reliable. Some VoIP providers use a dedicated network that provide reliable service. Others use the public internet, which may have quality of service issues. So, VoIP can vary all the way from better than "land line" to crappy, depending on the provider and how they connect to you and the rest of the world.

BTW, the trend is to VoIP. The next generation (LTE & 4G) cell phones will be using it and I wouldn't be surprised to see analog phone lines eventually go the way of analog TV. VoIP provides so many benefits, beyond low cost. For example, with a 4G phone, using VoIP over IPv6, you could place a call via your home WiFi network, then switch to the 4G network as you leave home and then back to WiFi again, when you reach work and have it all work seamlessly. Your 4G phone will also be your cordless phone at home
 

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I find my Rogers home phone provides better call quality.
So what?

Before you critique what people say, read what they say and don't quote out of context. I never said that in every instance POTS was superior. I said POTS was the Gold Standard for quality AND reliability.
 

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I have Rogers Home Phone and am quite pleased with the package I have (Value Classic - $34.31, all in, before Taxes). Voice quality is excellent. However, I would not consider that a VOIP phone. I believe that has been discussed previously when these "Home Phone" options first came out.
 

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^^^^
You may not consider it such, but it is in fact VoIP. However, compared to other providers, it is a closed system. I have set up VoIP for several customers that's contained entirely within the corporate network, so that QoS can be maintained and there's no external access to the VoIP system. Those are the same as what Rogers provides.
 

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I have Rogers Internet, phone and cable. I'm pretty sure that their phone line is VOIP as I can see it comes into my house as a coax cable, connect to a "black box" before connecting to my house phone wiring. As a matter of fact, one time the trunk line got cut, the total service is down ... internet, cable and phone.

I'm planning to move my phone line first .. then bye, bye cable, hello OTA :)
 

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My main concern with VOIP is no service due to local power or equipment failure. IMHO, cable is just not reliable enough. I've seen it go out many times due to local conditions like line improvements, lightning, wind, physical damage to lines and power failures in the service area. I can't recall the last time this happened with my POTS line, though I know it can happen. Then there is the issue of the in house equipment. IMHO, this should have battery backup for at least 24 hours and a handset that still works when the power goes out, just like a POTP (plain old simple phone) on a POTS line. I realize that (barring the apocalypse) every thing will eventually become IP based but there needs to be some improvement in VOIP reliability before I switch.

Value Classic - $34.31, all in, before Taxes
I pay $21.48, before taxes, no extra fees, for a POTS line. Call display is $3/mo extra. LD is $.03/min (no plan fee) and only occasionally exceeds $1/mo.
 

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I guess I should have mentioned the Value Classic features, which include 2 features (I have Call Display and Home & Away Voicemail), as well as 500 NA minutes. Yes, there are less expensive alternatives, depending on your penchant for less quality, reliability, etc.

BTW, Rogers Cable has been very reliable for years - more reliable than hydro, but perhaps not quite as reliable as POTS. Most people use a Cell Phone for backup these days.

The best solution for you will depend on many factors.

- Do you have a backup? (Cell Phone for example)
- Do you accept poorer voice quality
- Do you care about every nickel & dime
- Do you like to "tinker"? Many Voip setups are not exactly user friendly, especially when something goes wrong as we've found with many threads here.
- Typically, the less expensive the service, the more involved you need to be.
 

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Yes, there are less expensive alternatives, depending on your penchant for less quality, reliability, etc.
POTS phone from Teksavvy is at least as reliable and the same quality as the same service from Bell. It's probably more so since they have a direct line to the Bell service department and have better customer service and more knowledgeable CSRs than Bell.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
great feedback. Just had a long chat with VoIP.ms, must say felt like talking to a robot csr who cut/paste answers

Given the Vonage offer of 29.99 which includes all kinds of local and long distance that I am going to need, should I still consider voip.ms? If yes, following are the questions

1. Figure out number of minutes I spend for local calling
2. Figure out number of minutes for Canada LD and USA LD
3. See if minutes x rate is cheap?

Biggest thing is the setup? Is it easy to setup? What do I need?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Assuming following minutes (rounded numbers)

flat rate incoming (3500 mins) = $4.95
canada outgoing (2000 mins @ .005 cent per min) = $10
overseas outgoing (500 mins @ 2 cents per min) = $10

At above mentioned usage/rates - I pay voip.ms approx. $25 per month and ADD cost to buy PAP2T adapter at $50 something.

Vonage at $29.99 unlimited local/long distance (incl 60 countries) looks not that bad for $5 more?
 

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tdotinToronto,

I had Vonage for five years and have had Voip.ms for a month or two. Honestly I had fewer problems with Vonage in five years than Voip.ms in a month. Vonage was virtually problem free for me.

Having said that, I am sticking with Voip.ms because I am spending $5 a month with Voip.ms vs. $20 with Vonage so savings are significant. My Voip number is also an add-on to my POTS service so if I have a few issues then its not a huge deal because I can always make a call on my POTS line.

If you want a "set it and forget it" experience, I recommend going with Vonage.
 

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^^^

voip.ms is great for the VOIP power-user, but not for the casual user or beginner to be sure. They're actually a wholesaler more used to dealing with corporate IT desks, truth be told.

If you are anything short of a full-on VOIP enthusiast, pay the extra dollars for a provider with a more consumer level support capability.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks - as much as I value savings, I will go with Vonage. Guess what, to put things in perspective - that in itself represents savings of close to 50% on my overall current billings. :)
 
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