If you are tired of high, fee-laden "traditional" wire-line phone bills, you might want to consider a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Dozens of such services are available, most of them at significant savings from what you are paying now. Vonage, which charges a flat rate of $24.99 per month for unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 700,000 subscribers and is one of the largest of these services.
In this article, we'll walk you through the necessary steps to establish and then hook up your Vonage service to your PC in order to make phone calls over the internet.
Before you set up your PC for Vonage service, you will need to sign up for, and activate, your Vonage service.
The way you do this depends on whether or not you order your Vonage service and equipment from the Vonage website, or if you buy your Vonage equipment at a retailer.
To set up your account, go to the Vonage site and review the list of calling plans and prices. Signing up is straightforward, with just one thing to consider. You'll be asked whether to keep your existing phone number, or get a new phone number assigned by Vonage, with your choice of area codes. Because porting your existing number can take weeks, you may want to have Vonage assign you a new number. Then again, if you've had your existing number for years, and most people know to contact you there, you may want to consider keeping that number.
After you make that choice, you'll send Vonage your contact and financial information, and then purchase and arrange for shipping of the Vonage equipment you need.
If you have already purchased your Vonage equipment from your retailer, and have brought it home to use, you will need to activate your device with the Vonage service. This procedure involves completing a few short steps before that equipment is enabled.
To activate the Vonage equipment you've bought from your retailer, point your browser to https://subscribe.vonage.com/retail-subscribe/retailActivate.htm, and go through the guided steps. These will vary depending on the retailer you purchased your Vonage equipment from, and the exact equipment that you've bought.
Once you've completed the activation process, give your new Vonage service about an hour or so to be configured.
Well, you've gotten that out of the way. Now, you're ready to get started setting your PC up for Vonage service.
After you open the boxes, take note of what's inside. Make sure that you find:
Your first step should be to determine if you have a built-in router that came with your cable or DSL modem, or if you have a DSL or cable modem without a router.
The odds are highly favorable that you already have a built-in router. To determine if this is the case, look on the back of your modem. If your device has multiple ports, it contains a built-in router.
In this case, the set-up process will involve hooking up your Vonage router to the router included with your broadband modem, and your phone to the Vonage router.
Here are the steps you should follow:
Some older cable and DSL modems do not come with broadband routers. In this case, your Vonage set-up procedure will be a bit more complicated. You have the option of contacting your broadband provider and asking for a newer modem with router included, or instead following these steps:
Russell Shaw is an Internet and telecommunications author, journalist and consultant.
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