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VoIP Stories: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I asked Small Business Pipeline readers to share their Voice-over-IP (VoIP) stories. I got a great response, and I'd like to share some of the stories I heard.

Dick Archer is delighted with his Vonage Small Business Unlimited service, which provides his four-person document imaging startup with two lines (voice and fax), unlimited usage, and unlimited long-distance calls to the U.S. and Canada for $49.99 per month -- less than the price of single business line without free long distance. He writes:

During our first few months we are trying to operate very lean, and this package has a lot of great features that help us accomplish this. Most notable are email notification when a voice mail message has been received (great when working from home or Starbucks) and complete control of your account through a Web-based control panel. This includes being able to turn call-forwarding on and off remotely.

Rick Corder is also pleased with his service. He writes:

The return on investment is far better than any wired solution. We are currently in the process of installing a T1 from NuVox, which will be broken down into 24 channels, with half being used for Internet access and the rest for VoIP. We are a reseller for NuVox and are now able to justify the cost. VoIP is probably the future for voice communication, with the SBCs and their competitors providing the copper, and vendors like NuVox leasing it for their services.

Rick did encounter one snag:

The only problem we have experienced was a hardware failure which required that we give Vonage our credit card before they would cross-ship the replacement. Once they received the failed device we received a credit on our card. Because we use the Vonage service for business, we would like to have seen a quicker replacement to our device.

Another reader said that after researching several options, he had just placed his VoIP service order with Packet8. But he had a question about bandwidth limitations:

One surprising omission was that none of the providers made mention of a minimum bandwidth necessary. All that was specified was a broadband connection. Wonder how well it would work with a 128/256K DSL (or some percentage thereof) service?

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