VoIP FUD From Kim Komando, of All People
by Ted Wallingford
Related link: http://www.komando.com/kolumns_show.asp?showID=8068
Call me the VoIP Commando. Or just call me Ted. Maybe I don't have a cool name like Kim Komando or a syndicated radio talk show about an exciting topic like computers, but at least I can help her iron out her "warnings" about VoIP.
FUD Number 1: It's hard to wire up all the phones in your house to use the VoIP service provider.
FACT Number 1: Once your old Bell service is turned off, just plug the ATA into any wall-jack in your home, and suddenly every other wall jack in your home is alive with VoIP dial-tone!
FUD Number 2: Lack of 911 dialing service through VoIP providers is a huge risk.
FACT Numer 2: 911 isn't the only way to reach the fire department. Put a sticker with the emergency dispatcher's seven digit local number on each phone in your house, or, if your ATA is so equipped, create a local dial-out aliased to the dispatcher so you can dial 911 in the event of emergency.
FUD Number 3: If the power goes out, so does your phone service.
FACT Number 3: Drive down to your local independent electronics dealer and buy a UPS. If you're anything like me, you get more aggravated when your Internet access is down than when your phone isn't working.
FUD Number 4: VoIP is really no cheaper than traditional phone service because you have to pay for a broadband connection.
FACT Number 4: Only if you buy it from the phone company. Buy it from Packet8, Broadvox Direct, or Vonage and you'll save $20 a month per line. Plus, you already have broadband. If you didn't want to pay for it, you wouldn't be thinking about VoIP, and you wouldn't be able to reap the savings it offers.
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, go visit Ms. Komando's web page, and when you call in to her show, you'll out-wit the expert!
Have you ever listened to Kim Komando? Does it ever make you cringe like the Screen Savers?
VoIP doesn't necessarily mean not having 911. It depends on what class of carrier your VoIP providor wants to be.
Thanks, all the more reason to call Kim and let her know where VoIP stands. Some VoIP carriers offer local E911 service. I don't evangelize it as a commonplace feature because the overwhelming majority of VoIP carriers don't offer it.
Ted is telepathic?
I clicked on the ink to Kim's article, and it was dated Nov. 22, 2004, while Ted's blog entry was dated Nov 20, 2004. Obviously his comments had an effect if Kim modified her article (unless I'm missing something). As a technologist who tried and quit VOiP within the last six months, I see truth in both viewpoints. Kim obviously took out comments about additional cost for the broadband connection, and perhaps others. But both "commandos" are correct about the on-premise situation --- one is talking about using analog (POTS) phones through a VOiP modem, and one is using digital (IP) phones (like commercial VOiP systems). A security system or analog modem won't work on a digital network (that's why you typically can't just plug into a PBX port at most large corporations). I expect that I'll go back to VOiP at some point in the future, and in the meantime will take advantage of free IP-based services like Skype or MSN messenger which offer better fidelity than standard telephones.