Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Vonage Broadband VoIP service provider

Covad to offer Vonage Broadband

May 8, 2008

Vonage and Covad Communications today announced a strategic relationship which will enable Vonage to provide its customers with a broadband solution using Covad’s nationwide DSL network. The new service, called Vonage Broadband, is expected to be offered to new and existing customers by the end of the year.

This is interesting, since Covad's strength has always been in offering business VoIP services not residential. Though, I should point out that in 2004, Covad said they were jumping in to the residential VoIP business. Pal Jon Arnold was even quoted as saying in a CNET article that it was no surprise and "Everybody's trying to jump on the bandwagon," Arnold said.

Shoretel Rumors

May 1, 2008


Could it be - with ShoreTel continuing to provide PBX solutions - that the rumors I reported about them nearly a year ago were false? Is it now clear that Rich's sources that sparked this article were wrong?

Shoretel seems to be going strong. In fact, while this article was written a long time ago, but thanks to its high ranking on search engines, it still sparks the occasional new comment from avid Shoretel fans.

You can read the comments below for other people's thoughts. There are many avid fans of the Shoretel platform that have come to Shoretel's defense.

VoIP Call Screening

April 30, 2008

Robert Traphan, a college friend of mine stayed at my house last night and we were talking about the various VoIP products and services. Robert is a former SunRocket customer until the SunRocket implosion. Robert was a huge fan of SunRocket over both Packet8 and Vonage. One of his favorite features was SunRocket Signature Message Screener, a piece of software that runs on your PC and allows you to see who is calling (Caller ID with Name) via a TOAST icon in the System Tray. Even cooler, SunRocket Signature Message Screen lets you screen the voicemail message on your PC speakers as it is being left in real-time and it allows you to redirect the call to a predefined number (such as your cell phone).

SunRocket Signature Message Screener image courtesy of

Because it automatically plays out your PC speakers, the software gives your hosted VoIP voicemail service the feeling of a true home answering machine.

Ring Voltage, REN, VoIP and a Bolt of Blue

April 24, 2008

In 1999, I wrote a humorous article for CTI Magazine, the precursor to Internet Telephony Magazine, about my adventures with a power outage at TMC that took out our Dialogic MSI analog cards in our PC-PBX. The MSI cards are responsible for providing ring voltage to the phones, but the quick power outage blew the ring voltage generators on the cards resulting in phones that wouldn't ring on an incoming call.

Rather than working on the Dialogic boards during work hours, I decided to come in on a Sunday, when incoming phone traffic would be minimal. Then, I would be free to pull out both Dialogic boards and replace them with the new boards Artisoft had sent me.

Court declares VoIP is exempt from service fees

March 27, 2008

ars technica has a great article on how Vonage won its fight with the state of Nebraska over service fees. Nebraska wanted Vonage to "chip in" by paying into the state's Universal Service Fund (USF), a fund designed to offset the costs of providing phone service to remote areas. A court ruled in favor of Vonage by declaring federal law excludes VoIP providers from paying service fees. This is great news for VoIP service providers, especially ones that don't own the last mile, since they can continue to offer service at prices that drive the cost of traditional PSTN phone service down.

Vonage doesn't "ride" on phone wires anyway - they ride on the Internet - so why should they pay into the USF?

Number Portability Redux

January 21, 2008

Back in 2006, I griped about my number portability problems. In that post, I wrote:
I never thought that in 2006 I would have number portability problems. Hasn't number portability regulations evolved to the point where it is no longer an issue? Alas, I found out the hard way that number portability is still very much a political game by the phone carriers and even the VoIP service providers to hold their customers hostage.

This was all related to my plans to dump Vonage and move back to a traditional carrier.

Vonage Blocking Ex-customer's Phone Number

January 14, 2008

Add this to the list of number portability problems. I received a tip that Vonage is blocking access to a phone number formerly maintained by Vonage. A disgruntled ex-Vonage customer emailed me to explain his dilemma. The ex-Vonage customer's number was ported to another carrier and now his phone number cannot be reached by any current Vonage customers.

For instance, suppose I am a Vonage customer with phone number 212-555-1234, then decide to leave Vonage and port the number to AT&T.

Cool Phones for FiOS, Uverse and other VoIP providers

January 9, 2008

Home phone systems haven't kept up with the latest innovations in mobile handsets, such as Internet access, streaming video, camera, etc. Considering many people are now choosing VoIP providers such as Vonage, Packet8, Skype, etc. which already sit on the Internet, wouldn't it make sense to have more advanced home phone systems? Where is Phone 2.0 for the home?

In fact, most VoIP providers simply use an analog telephony adapter (ATA) that lets you use your home analog cordless phone system.

Vonage Outage

December 15, 2007

Propel PBM improves QoS for VoIP, Skype, Online Gaming and more

October 24, 2007

Propel Software Corporation today debuted Propel PBM, a "personal QoS software" at DEMOfall 07. The Propel PBM (Personal Bandwidth Manager) application provides personal bandwidth management on your PC by automatically optimizing and prioritizing network access for time-sensitive applications. By prioritizing the packets on your PC you can easily improved the performance of VoIP (including Skype), video calls, online games, and streaming media.

image courtesy of OReilly.

Who hasn't tried to use BitTorrent or some other bandwidth hungry application while on a Vonage or Skype call? When I used to have Vonage, I'd have to quickly shutdown my BitTorrent or eMule client whenever I heard my wife say "Are you hogging the Internet again?

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