I have now the Vonage Voice over IP service since 1 month and I am actually very impressed by it. Kinda weird to be impressed by a service that does not offer more than any land line phone, but that is actually the beauty of it.
My reason for getting a VOIP service was to get a US phone number and be able to be reached anywhere in the world and of course the whole service should be inexpensive.
I researched quite a bit, but besides inexpensive, the service should work reliable. The message boards like on DSLreports are full with reviews of Voip services. VOIP is obviously taking off right now. Vonage gets mostly great reviews. Packet8 and BroadVoice and many others are not necessary technically challenged, but are lacking the support infrastructure and money Vonage has. Vonage raised in February 40 Mio USD and has 175,000 active Lines.
I signed up for the Basic 500 plan (includes 500 anytime min. in the US) for
starters that costs $14.99. To activate the account and to receive the digital
phone adapter hardware including the first month results in $57.78. Calls
outside the free min. are 3.9c inside the US are and for instance calls to
Germany are only 3c. Vonage has now a
$29.99 per month plan
that offers unlimited US calls.|
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I bought a low-cost ($59.99 for 2 handsets)
2.4Ghz phone from VTech (VTech
ev2625) to use it with the service. I have the Vonage digital phone adapter
behind the DSL Router connected as a normal network device. Vonage recommends to
put it before the router to enable flow-control, but that's more hassle because
you have to configure the PPPoE setup. When traveling it is not possible to
connect the device before the router in most cases anyway.