Ain’t no lie baby, bye, bye, bye

You’re probably thinking, whoa, I didn’t realize that Dan listens to NSync. Actually I don’t, I just remember the phrase from having sung the song a capella a few years ago with a group of friends from The University. Yes, I sing, something you probably didn’t know about me (tenor 1).
So this past week, I cancelled my account with Vonage.
When you initially sign up for the service they mail you a Linksys router that has two phone lines built into it, for free essentially. What they failt to mention, or maybe they do and it’s obscure to the average user like myself, you have to mail it back or get hit for a $42 fee. Can we say ouch? Good thing that there’s a UPS store just around the corner from where I live, so it got mailed back pretty quickly. Honestly, I thought that it was going to be a kickin’ service to have. VoIP, or voice over internet protocol to be precise. I figured that since we have a cable modem that has a fairly big but non-consistent pipe for information to flow in and out of that we would be good to go and have some kickin’ telephony. We pay $55 a month total between myself and one of my roommates. We signed up for the “premier” plan which gives a best effort to give 6 mega bits down and 786 kilobits up. The best we’ve ever seen down was actually about 5.5 megabits and the best up was 620 kilobits. Not too shabby, and you’d thiking that this would be more than sufficient, however apparently not. Even doing router QoS (quality of service) tuning, that I might be able to have a phone that didn’t sound like there was static interference going on in the background. Maybe it’s just the ghost in the machine, but something tells me that until we have consistent broadband speeds, VoIP isn’t going to hit it off that well in the consumer market very well. Now in the business market where you have things such as business DSL and business cable which has actual service level agreements, you might actually benefit from VoIP and save a buck or two. For the consumer with a cable modem, we sadly live in a world that does not have sustained bandwidth since it’s shared in a hub configuration. There have been times using different speed tests where we see our download speed drop to 50 kilobits per second or our upload speeds drop to 20 kilobits per second — it’s at times like this where I start to think about using dialup again.
As a sidenote, when I lived by myself this would have been a much better option to have had rather than a convential POTS phoneline. I only say this because a bare minimum telephone line was approximately $42. You can’t beat $27 a month from Vonage. If you’ve got a stable internet connection that has high bandwidth with good pressure (my way of saying that it’s consistent rather than what we have where it drops here and there as though you’re white water rafting through the Grand Canyon), then give it a try.

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