Even though I’d be perfectly happy just using our cell phones. Michelle is still not super comfortable with not having a landline (or at least something that approximates one). So, when AT&T was no longer able to support decent broadband to my house, I moved to Comcast’s broadband offering and then signed up with Vonage.
I’ve always liked Vonage (router fun notwithstanding), I only stopped using it before because I was obligated at the time to take AT&T’s POTS (Plain Ol’ Telephone System) line along with my DSL connection and it didn’t make sense to keep both landline options.
The current Vonage offering is much friendlier for non-tech users and, with greater broadband speeds available, QOS doesn’t seem to be an issue. Basically, you get a little appliance with a friendly orange screen that tells you the current date and alerts you to any issues and prompts you with instructions for those issues should they occur. i.e. your Internet connection is not available, check your modem, etc.
The recommended way (from Vonage) to set up your system is to put the Vonage router between your modem and your internal router (if you have one). I don’t like the idea of Vonage being a potential choke-point for my system (although it would probably be fine) so I ended up plugging it into my router and then assigning priority QOS to the Vonage router/appliance’s MAC address. Again, you probably don’t need to do this, but since I can, and it’s easy, why not?
You can also set things up so that your entire house is wired for Vonage. Just disconnect Ma Bell entirely. I have one of the more modern interface boxes outside so all I need to do is disconnect a the incoming telephone plug (RJ11 I believe is what it’s called) and I can completely isolate my home from the telco. Then, using a male-to-male connector such as you get with any modem, plug your Vonage router/appliance into one of your phone jacks and every wired phone in your house is hooked up to Vonage.
We don’t need anything fancy for our home setup so I just picked up an AT&T (I know, I know… the irony) cordless phone set to replace the aging ones we already had and just plugged those into the Vonage router/appliance.
Now we have caller id, local, free long distance throughout Canada and the U.S. and a raft of other features that we may or may not ever use. We could have ported our phone number as well, but with Google voice that’s not really necessary.
BTW, ping me if you want a Google Voice invite. I’ve still got two left as of this posting.