topher

Last thursday (a week ago today), my Vonage hardware came. I didn’t actually set it up until Saturday night, because we were going up north, but it came in a perfectly respectable time from UPS.

In the box was some paperwork, a large envelope, and another box with the hardware in it. I opened the envelope and noticed that it contained the exact same stuff as the paperwork outside the envelope. I think there was a mistake there, but it wasn’t a big deal.

The paperwork was a fold-out quick-start thingummy, with a 100 page book on real installation instructions, and a 80 page or so book on Vonage and services etc. I used the quickstart fold-out, and plugged the Motorola unit (hereafter known as PB for Phone Box) into my cable modem, and my router into the PB. There are careful instructions on which order to do that all in, and I followed it carefully.

Unfortunately, the blinking light on the PB never progressed past “Obtaining IP address”. I read the thicker installation booklet, and it didn’t give any instructions. The quick-start dealie said they have support vie phone and email 24/7, so I called them.

I was on hold for about 20 minutes, which bothered me a bit, I would have thought they’d have more people for support. When I finally connected, I asked if it was just because it was saturday night, and she said no, they’d had a lot of requests that week. I recalled that I’d had some fairly widespread net issues that week also, so maybe that was it.

Anyway, she told me to do a bunch of stuff, but what it broke down to was powering off my cable modem in the mix of things, so that it would re-query for an IP (I think). Anyway, it worked.

I immediately dialed my home phone number, thinking to call my wife. But it went right to my vonage voice mail. That puzzled me. Then I realized that while my old phone number hadn’t switched for real yet, in their system it was my vonage number, so it took me right to my voice mail. When I called my cell phone it worked fine.

Something I don’t quite understand yet is whether I always have to use 11 digit dialing. I was under the impression that I did not, yet the paperwork that came with the hardware said I did. Yet when I tried it with just 7, it worked. I’ll have to work that out.

So the next step is to get my phone number transferred. Until then, calls still come to my old line, so I can’t cancel it, and I don’t want to tell people my temp vonage number, since it’ll just confuse them. So for the time being, I have a crappy old phone plugged into the PB in the basement, and we don’t use it.

The process of changing the phone number is both convenient and frustrating at the same time. On the one hand, all I have to do is fax a signed doc and a copy of my phone bill to Vonage, and they take care of transferring local and long distance from both my providers, so I don’t have to mess with a bunch of red tape I don’t understand. On the other hand, it takes a minimum of 20 days, and a guy from the GRLUG list hadn’t had his switched yet at the 25 day mark. That’s a month of service essentially lost, for reasons mentioned above. I got one free month because aforementioned GRLUGer referred me, but that free month is going to be pretty much gone by the time I can use it. On yet another hand, I really doubt that’s Vonage’s fault. It’s in their interest to transfer people as quickly as possible, and NOT in the interest of the people they’re dealing with.

So my current status is that it’s in, it’s working, it was pretty easy, and if you want to test it you can email me and I’ll give you my temp number and we can chat for a bit.

2 thoughts on “Vonage Hardware Setup

  1. Well, I’m the ‘guy from the GRLUG list’ and I finally got my number transferred yesterday after about a month and a half. The transfer worked great – I got several calls last night on my Vonage line no problem. It seems like 7 digit dialing is working just fine lately too – looks like Vonage is updating their systems in response to customer feedback.

  2. Yet another hobby in common Topher! I consdiered Vonage, but because they “lock the box” I went with a a different provider– iConnectHere.com and BroadVoice.com. I have root access to the little box that connects to ethernet and the phone system. Very cool. And I have a soft phone that works will both systems. We gotta’ talk, Topher. This is very good stuff.
    Check out the asterisk project as soon as you can.

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