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A long journey to VOIP

 
 
Lena
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      06-03-2006
And I'll try to make it brief.

I just had Verizon FIOS installed a few months ago and considered
dropping my land line in favor of VOIP. I was excited about all the
'features' offered by the VOIP providers as well as the lower price and
did some Internet research for offerings and customer reviews. Looked
hardest at Vonage, VoiceWing (Verizon) and CallVantage (AT&T). (When I
started comparing prices, the unlimited packages from Vonage, VoiceWing
and CallVantage were $25, $35, and $30; since then VoiceWing has
dropped their price to match Vonage). Since I didn't use enough Long
Distance to pay a flat fee every month, I looked at the packages with
unlimited local calling and per minute long distance. Wasn't
interested in a plan with limited minutes of local calling.
CallVantage seemed to fit my needs best at $20 per month plus $2 for
call filtering, total monthly bill with taxes about $27. The customer
reviews for voice quality with CallVantage were very good (and that
proved to be true for me).

When I tried to 'port' my number from a local CLEC online, the
application was denied, and a CS rep explained that AT&T does not have
a porting agreement with that phone company. He suggested I port my
number to Verizon, then to AT&T. I wanted to try out the service
before committing my home number of 40 years to AT&T. So I signed up
with another local number. Worked great from the get-go. As soon as
the Telephone Adapter (TA) arrived, I plugged it in to the FIOS
wireless router and after a brief automated setup, I could use the
phone. (Some configurations suggest putting the TA between the router
and modem so that the TA can channel enough of the bandwidth to provide
high voice quality. But with that configuration, I could not access
the Internet with my computer. At 5M/2M with FIOS, there was plenty of
bandwidth when the TA was plugged in to the router.)

I called Verizon and signed up for a landline package. At the end of
the conversation, I mentioned that I had DSL on the line with the CLEC.
Can't port a number with DSL on the line. Didn't make sense to me,
porting means canceling the service, doesn't it? So I called the CLEC
and asked to cancel my DSL. (One doesn't dare cancel the phone service
or the number evaporates and it can't be retrieved.) Twenty five
business days to cancel DSL!!! My porting to Verizon was put on hold
for six weeks. Finally, one day without phone service for about 4
hours, I figured the CLEC must be doing something with my line, and I
called Verizon for the go-ahead with porting my number. Eight business
days. The transfer went through without a hitch, and I wasn't without
phone service for more than a few minutes. I felt bad about 'using'
Verizon this way, just to port my number to AT&T. But then I got my
first bill, and the $27 for the package exploded into over $38 per
month with all the taxes and fees. I distinctly remember being told by
the Verizon customer rep that long distance was 6 cpm. (It was a new
package, not shown online). The paperwork showed the cost was 8 cpm.
Doesn't look like a big difference, but it's a 33% increase over what I
was told.

I figured I'd give Verizon a month and then ask AT&T to port my number
to my VOIP service. No, I didn't want it as a second line, I want to
cancel the number I got from AT&T and use my home number when t is
ported over. It would take about two weeks. Later in the first week,
I get an message from AT&T that they can't detect my TA on my line, so
the transfer will be delayed another week to give me time to set up my
TA. A call to CS and the problem was resolved. I was 'told' that the
installation would happen on the coming Friday, but the emails kept
telling me it would happen a week later. I canceled the number AT&T
gave me initially, and tried to reprogram the TA. Didn't work.
Another call to Tech Support and the helpful person registered my "MAC
address" {What does that mean? I'm using a PC :>)} I have a dial
tone and can make outgoing calls, but incoming calls still go to my
landline. Except my son, who has AT&T VOIP, calls my home number, and
it comes through on the VOIP phone.

The day arrives for porting. Both phones have dial tones. I call my
home number with my cell phone and the VOIP phone rings! Wahoo, I've
been switched at last! A friend who has the same exchange as we do
calls, and my land line rings. I've been partially switched? Call
Tech Support. He says Verizon will probably pull the plug around
midnight. Next day, my landline is dead and all calls are coming into
the VOIP phone.

Now to rewire the house, so I can use the house wiring for multiple
phones. Before my service was shut off, I measured the voltage and
polarity of the incoming landline and wrote it on the wall. As the
instructions indicated, I disconnected the incoming wires (I have an
old house, old installation, and the wires are easily accessible). I
unplugged every phone and answering machine in the house. Plugged a
telephone wire into the back of the TA and into the nearby telephone
jack. Measured the voltage where all the lines come together and found
that the POLARITY WAS REVERSED!!! The instructions say nothing about
checking the polarity, or reversing leads on the jack that the TA plugs
in to. I tediously reversed the red and green wires on the back of the
jack that i was using for the TA, and rechecked the voltage and
polarity at the junction of all the phone wires. Polarity correct.
Plugged one phone in at a time, tested for a dial tone, and every one
worked.

It now appears that my Voip phone is set up exactly as the landline was
with a few differences. No need to dial 1. An occasional requirement
to verify that I haven't moved the TA when the power goes out. A lot
lower bill than even the most basic landline provides. And a ton of
useful features that would cost an arm and a leg if purchased through
Verizon's smorgasbord. So far, one happy VOIP user.

Lena

 
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Rick Merrill
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      06-03-2006
Lena wrote:
> And I'll try to make it brief.
>
> I just had Verizon FIOS installed a few months ago and considered
> dropping my land line in favor of VOIP. I was excited about all the
> 'features' offered by the VOIP providers as well as the lower price and
> did some Internet research for offerings and customer reviews. Looked
> hardest at Vonage, VoiceWing (Verizon) and CallVantage (AT&T).


Good choice.

> ...
>
> When I tried to 'port' my number from a local CLEC online, the
> application was denied, and a CS rep explained that AT&T does not have
> a porting agreement with that phone company. He suggested I port my
> number to Verizon, then to AT&T.


That's a very interesting trick!

> I wanted to try out the service
> before committing my home number of 40 years to AT&T. So I signed up
> with another local number. Worked great from the get-go. As soon as
> the Telephone Adapter (TA) arrived, I plugged it in to the FIOS
> wireless router and after a brief automated setup, I could use the
> phone. (Some configurations suggest putting the TA between the router
> and modem so that the TA can channel enough of the bandwidth to provide
> high voice quality.


That's the correct way to go.

> But with that configuration, I could not access
> the Internet with my computer.


You have to configure the ATA to use the modem, and the Router to use
the ATA as the gateway and DHCP server, then it should work fine.

> At 5M/2M with FIOS, there was plenty of
> bandwidth when the TA was plugged in to the router.)
>
> I called Verizon and signed up for a landline package. At the end of
> the conversation, I mentioned that I had DSL on the line with the CLEC.
> Can't port a number with DSL on the line. Didn't make sense to me,
> porting means canceling the service, doesn't it? So I called the CLEC
> and asked to cancel my DSL. (One doesn't dare cancel the phone service
> or the number evaporates and it can't be retrieved.)


THAT happened to me! It took 4 weeks to fix!

> Twenty five
> business days to cancel DSL!!! My porting to Verizon was put on hold
> for six weeks. Finally, one day without phone service for about 4
> hours, I figured the CLEC must be doing something with my line, and I
> called Verizon for the go-ahead with porting my number. Eight business
> days. The transfer went through without a hitch, and I wasn't without
> phone service for more than a few minutes. I felt bad about 'using'
> Verizon this way, just to port my number to AT&T. But then I got my
> first bill, and the $27 for the package exploded into over $38 per
> month with all the taxes and fees. I distinctly remember being told by
> the Verizon customer rep that long distance was 6 cpm. (It was a new
> package, not shown online). The paperwork showed the cost was 8 cpm.
> Doesn't look like a big difference, but it's a 33% increase over what I
> was told.
>
> I figured I'd give Verizon a month and then ask AT&T to port my number
> to my VOIP service. No, I didn't want it as a second line, I want to
> cancel the number I got from AT&T and use my home number when t is
> ported over. It would take about two weeks. Later in the first week,
> I get an message from AT&T that they can't detect my TA on my line, so
> the transfer will be delayed another week to give me time to set up my
> TA. A call to CS and the problem was resolved. I was 'told' that the
> installation would happen on the coming Friday, but the emails kept
> telling me it would happen a week later. I canceled the number AT&T
> gave me initially, and tried to reprogram the TA. Didn't work.
> Another call to Tech Support and the helpful person registered my "MAC
> address" {What does that mean? I'm using a PC :>)} I have a dial
> tone and can make outgoing calls, but incoming calls still go to my
> landline. Except my son, who has AT&T VOIP, calls my home number, and
> it comes through on the VOIP phone.
>
> The day arrives for porting. Both phones have dial tones. I call my
> home number with my cell phone and the VOIP phone rings! Wahoo, I've
> been switched at last! A friend who has the same exchange as we do
> calls, and my land line rings. I've been partially switched? Call
> Tech Support. He says Verizon will probably pull the plug around
> midnight. Next day, my landline is dead and all calls are coming into
> the VOIP phone.
>
> Now to rewire the house, so I can use the house wiring for multiple
> phones. Before my service was shut off, I measured the voltage and
> polarity of the incoming landline and wrote it on the wall. As the
> instructions indicated, I disconnected the incoming wires (I have an
> old house, old installation, and the wires are easily accessible). I
> unplugged every phone and answering machine in the house. Plugged a
> telephone wire into the back of the TA and into the nearby telephone
> jack. Measured the voltage where all the lines come together and found
> that the POLARITY WAS REVERSED!!! The instructions say nothing about
> checking the polarity, or reversing leads on the jack that the TA plugs
> in to. I tediously reversed the red and green wires on the back of the
> jack that i was using for the TA, and rechecked the voltage and
> polarity at the junction of all the phone wires. Polarity correct.
> Plugged one phone in at a time, tested for a dial tone, and every one
> worked.
>
> It now appears that my Voip phone is set up exactly as the landline was
> with a few differences. No need to dial 1. An occasional requirement
> to verify that I haven't moved the TA when the power goes out. A lot
> lower bill than even the most basic landline provides. And a ton of
> useful features that would cost an arm and a leg if purchased through
> Verizon's smorgasbord. So far, one happy VOIP user.
>
> Lena
>


It took 30 days before my phone number was cancelled leaving me with
only outgoing calls and no incoming calls! Post again in 30 days.

Great and complete story! Good work.

 
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Lena
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      06-03-2006

Rick Merrill wrote:
> > (Some configurations suggest putting the TA between the router
> > and modem so that the TA can channel enough of the bandwidth to provide
> > high voice quality.

>
> That's the correct way to go.
>
> > But with that configuration, I could not access
> > the Internet with my computer.

>
> You have to configure the ATA to use the modem, and the Router to use
> the ATA as the gateway and DHCP server, then it should work fine.


The previous line is all Greek to me.

My current configuration is shown in the instruction book as an
"alternate method" with the warning the data access may affect the
quality of the voice. So far that hasn't happened. It would also
allow me to disconnect the TA without reconfiguring anything in case I
wanted to take the phone with me on vacation (assuming broadband
availability). I was afraid to make any modifications to the FIOS
setup; just not computer literate enough to get involved with that.

What I forgot to mention was that I went through this whole exercise,
with added expense, mainly to keep my home number. We felt we didn't
want to burden our aging friends with the task of writing down our new
number (God forbid they had to 'remember' it). Had we been willing to
accept a new, local number, we could have signed up with AT&T and had
everything working as soon as the TA arrived FedEx. Then we could have
called the CLEC and canceled our service immediately, DSL and all,
avoided the delays, added costs of an extra six weeks with the CLEC, a
month with Verizon and fees to AT&T for switching numbers..

I called one of our friends and asked her to call me back on my home
number to test it out to be sure it was working. She asked what it
was; she didn't know it; she just pushes speed dial 2. So much for
helping our friends remember our number.

> Great and complete story! Good work.


Thanks!

Lena

 
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