Friday, June 30, 2006

How To: put the whole house on-line with Vonage (VOIP)

The biggest challenge in adopting VOIP is usually the lack of wiring throughout the house. The Vonage telephone adapter (TAD) plugs into your modem or router.
From that point on, most people plug in only a single telephone into the TAD, denying them convenient access. All of their old wall plugs are still land lines tied into their local telephone company. If they use them, they don't get internet calling rates.

There are two solutions:
  1. Buy a multi-handset cordless solution. Uniden and VTech sell them at most electronics shops. The only critical issue is to ensure that your TAD is centrally located within your house. Costco sells a 5.8Ghz 3 phone set from AT&T for $80. I personally own the Uniden. The base unit and two telephones (5.8Ghz) from Uniden is $90. You can add additional handsets for $30. What a deal! When I bought them in 2004 the base cost $150 and the additional handsets were $45 or $50.
  2. This one is tricky. It requires either you, an electrician or a telephone repairman to disconnect your house's network access point (NAP), which is usually a gray box outside your house and is the last point between your home and the telephone pole. If you disconnect the NAP from the telephone company, you'll still have your household wiring, but there will not be a connection to the phone company, nor will there be current on the line (which would blow your TAD). You can then connect your TAD to any of the wall jacks in your house -- it must also be connected to either your cable modem or router. Once the TAD is plugged into a wall jack you've bridged the telephone circuit. Any phone in your house can be plugged into a wall jack and have access to internet telephone through the TAD. Estimated cost $50 - $150.
  3. This requires more electrician or telephone technician time. Have the technician segregate the wires for a single line in your house. Have those connected to the land line company. Have the rest of your wall jacks on a separate circuit. This solution gives you an emergency land line while the rest of your telephones can use the internet. It's best for people who do not have cell phones, good cell reception from their home or a burglar alarm system. Estimated cost $200 - $350.

I hope these thoughts were helpful. Obviously the best time to do #3 is when you are building or rennovating a house or just before you move in.

The expense is usually worthwhile, as you can leverage all of your existing corded telephones. For some reason, everyone I know who has a multi-handset cordless system, spends alot of time searching their house. Most often they end up one specific person's room.

Have a wonderful day,


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