Residential VOIP newbie questions

Hi, I'm looking at getting a Vonage phone line for my 1.5/768 ADSL circuit. I'm completely new to VOIP though and have some questions:

1) How is the voice quality? Is it closer to cell-phone quality than POTS? 2) Are there delays or echos when making VOIP calls? 3) How much bandwidth does a VOIP circuit consume when idle and when in use? 4) Can I have more than one line on my ADSL circuit? 5) Can I use my fax machine over a VOIP circuit? Will speeds be reduced? 6) What protocols and ports does the analog phone adapter use? I want to know how to safely and properly allow this traffic through my firewall.

TIA for answering these. I'm really interested in pursuing VOIP service; you can't beat the price!

thanks, Jonathan

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It varies a lot depending on how congested your net connection is. When it's good it's very good, when it's bad, it's choppy and echoy.

The delay is unobjectionable, the echo is only bad when the voice connection is bad.

At idle it's negligible, in use it's 90Kb unless you tell it to use lower quality mode.

Keeping in mind the 90Kb per connection, yes.

Vonage says it'll work, but I haven't had much luck getting fax connections to work reliably. I use my landline for the rare outgoing fax, efax for incoming.

Having watched the traffic from the ATA 186, I see it uses DNS, NTP, and TFTP to get booted. After that it mostly seems to be UDP port

5061 for control and 10000 for data. If you ask Vonage, they'll tell you.
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John R. Levine

Thanks a bunch, this is the type of info. I really needed!

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Nobody knows they are talking to me on Vonage until I tell them and I use the 50kbs medium setting. My broadband connection generally give me 200kbs up and 3-4 times that down.

I have an occaisional glitchy call, too few problems to hurt my enthusiasm for Vonage.

Vonage allows the customer to set 90, 50, or 30 kbs for call bandwidth and if you put the vonage box between your router and cable modem the box will reserve bandwidth for itself during calls. I'd guess Vonage box uses negligable bandwidth or none when it's idling.

I am in a location right now where there are 2 vonage boxes, behind the router, and we have not been having problems because of that.

I use efax so no experience with that.

I've written in other news group posts that I waited until i had a cell phone before getting VOIP because the internet is not yet as reliable as the traditional phone system. Vonage lets the customer set up a phone number for forwarding calls during network outages and a feature for simultaneous ring. I use the cell phone number for both. For me Vonage is the right product at the right price.

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