In these days where telecommunications is a leading industry, households are seeking information left and right, looking for the various alternatives. It seems that most people, at least those in the larger cities like New York, Boston and Chicago have opted to dump their landline and just stick with their wireless cell phones. That’s what I did for awhile. Why does one need a home phone, really, if you can pretty much setup your wireless service for the cheapest option according to your specific calling habits? After all, most companies now offer weekends and nights free so as long as you keep your daytime chatter to a minimum, your monthly bill could probably be fairly predictable, making a convenient service for you and your family. However, there are occasions where one might prefer to use a landline in addition to or instead of a cell phone. For instance, maybe you reside in a bad network area for service. There’s nothing worse than not being able to reach the outside world while at home, not to mention the fact that it’s unsafe. Or perhaps you have a business you operate from home where dozens of calls are made in and out each day. In these cases, then, it may be a good idea to use a landline as your main telecommunication device.
Either that, or you can just get Vonage. That is, you can jump on the VoIP bandwagon and set yourself up with a phone service through your computer. Vonage is one of the several companies to offer telephone service through the VoIP method. VoIP, or voice over internet protocol is a newly developed means of telecommunications that works by rerouting your telephone service through your high speed internet connection. There are many benefits to using VoIP as your telecommunications alternative but also many downfalls. A few of the pros and cons of switching over to Vonage are listed below.
Vonage: The Pros
Cost-The option to use Vonage VoIP is much cheaper than a wireless phone and/or traditional landline. For unlimited calling anytime, to anywhere in the United States, Vonage charges $24.99 a month. If you plan on using the phone even less than that, you can opt for the cheaper package which gives you 500 anytime anywhere minutes at even less, $14.99 a month. Traditional landline service through places like AT&T or Verizon not only require you to pay for basic local phone service to simply get an outside line, but on top of that it is several cents a minute to dial long distance.
Easy to Install- Many times with traditional landline service a technician must set up a convenient time with you to come to your house to install and wireless cell phones, in order to activate service more often than not require a visit to the actual wireless provider’s store. But with Vonage and many of the other VoIP services, all you need to do is plug in a router type of box, feed the wires through your computer, plug it into any regular or cordless phone and simply run the installation from the disk they sent you. It’s very simple and you can do it all on your own without having to leave the comfort of your computer desk.
Free Bonus Features- Added bonuses like call forwarding, call waiting, three way calling, and voice mail are fortunately included in most VoIP plans, whereas traditional landline service companies often charge a few dollars at the very least for each one you want to add. And sometimes on top of that, you have to pay for each time you use the benefit, on top of the basic monthly charge.
You can Take It anywhere- Vonage VoiP is great because no matter where you are, as long as you are hooked up to a broadband connection, you can automatically get the telephone service once you hook up the box. This is great for people who rent their apartments, especially in a big city and who might relocate their residence fairly frequently. There’s now one less account you have to set up at the new house. Once you have broadband internet, just plug the same box in as you began with and you should be ready to go.
Full online access- One great thing about Vonage VoIP is that you can access all of your phone call data and voicemails online. Vonage will even email you when you get a message. Additionally, the company will provide you with a detail of all of your incoming and out coming calls, their length and their time.
Referral Credit: Get up to a month free of Vonage VoIP service by referring a friend.
Clarity: Most people report excellent sound, both incoming and outgoing with Vonage VoIP telephone service. And for people that for some reason find the connection to not be as clear, Vonage allows you to adjust your bandwidth as desired. How it works is that the higher you make it, the clearer the calls but the internet connection gets slower. If lower the bandwidth, the internet speeds up but the call may not be as clear. This allows you to make the adjustment according to your on the spot needs. Not to mention the fact that few people report problems with the default bandwidth setting that Vonage uses anyway.
Vonage: The Cons
Waiting Time- Once you order your Vonage VoIp service, the negative is that you have to wait for the kit to arrive in the mail. Sure, it doesn’t take very many days, but that’s as long as the postman actually leaves it at your doorstep. It can be a potential extra hassle if the mail man or woman supplies you with a slip and then you have to arrange a special day to get out of work early just to make it to the post office in time to get your equipment. This could cause huge delays depending on your schedule.
Cancellation Fee- One thing Vonage loves to leave to the fine print readers only is the fact that once you sign up with them, you are agreeing into a contract. In other words, you get charged if you cancel before the contract is up. And I believe it is a standard for any given new Vonage customer to be automatically enrolled in the one year agreement. Therefore, if you cancel before you’ve had Vonage an entire year after your thirty day initial trial is up, you owe them a fee of about $35.
Dialing 911- As of yet, most VoIP companies are not set up to transmit your number to the emergency service 911 offices when you call them. This can pose a major problem, such as in cases of emergency where you are unable to speak or for one reason or another are only able to quickly pick the phone up, dial the number and disconnect. Supposedly, plans are in the works to fix this issue but right now it is still a major problem.
Vonage, VoIP, like any other communications device and medium has its good points and bad. While my list above clearly indicates far more positives than negative aspects of Vonage service, some of the weaknesses may be too detrimental to risk, such as the 911 availability. It really all depends on the individual and your own priorities and needs. Just keep this list in mind when making your decision and at least you will know what to expect.