Lacking Speed?

Over the last few weeks I have added several new devices to my home network (iPad, guest computers, two new TiVOs, new router, etc) and have noticed my VOIP phone quality go way down. After doing some initial troubleshooting, taking devices offline one at a time, etc – I decided it was time to call my VOIP phone company to see what they had to say. After the initial dummy tasks (unplug, reboot, restart) – we finally got down to it – my connection speed.

I have Comcast, and have been happy with their service for years. Ten years ago – I bought a cable modem to use with my service and have been using it ever since without any issue. After talking to someone from the phone company – they noticed that my cable modem was old and was using DOCSIS 1.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) which I had never heard about before. The customer support person recommended getting a new cable modem which they promised would help my bandwidth issue and thus take care of my poor voice quality issue as well.

I purchased a new cable modem earlier this week (DOCSIS 3.0) and what a difference. The speeds I am seeing down/up are 2-3x the speed I was getting last week – and no more phone quality issues at all.

Overall message/lesson: even though somethings are “working” – if they are older, they are most likely outdated and should be updated sooner than once every ten years. So – if you are like me and are seeing slower than expected speeds, and/or your VOIP quality sucks – make sure to check to see what kind of network equipment you have and if there are newer/better models available.

Vonage Customer Support: 45 Wasted Minutes I will Never Get Back

Time is very precious to me. I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it. Today I had the displeasure (second time now) of dealing with Vonage’s support via phone.

My issue: My outgoing caller id was incorrect. I thought this would be simple. My thought process on how this would go >>
Vonage customer support: Ok Jennifer, the incorrect name you see was the previous phone number’s contact name, let me update that for you and at worse, have you power cycle your Vonage adapter.
Me: Thanks!
Call time: 5 minutes. The end.

The reality.
I make the call, get connected to customer service, give my account info and verify my address and email address (yeah it is a southern male with a thick southern accent instead of someone from India like last time that did not know what I meant by “answering machine” even after repeating it 5 times (causing Amy to think I was talking to a computer). Please hold.

The southerner cannot help me so I get transferred. I get transferred overseas. I am already pissed. I once again give my account info and verify my address and email address…and explain the problem again. The person I am talking to is hard to understand so I have to ask him to repeat himself several times. Please hold.

He cannot figure out what I am talking about so I get transferred back to the US where I again I once again give my account info and verify my address and email address…and explain the problem again. This guy actually speaks English and looks into the problem. Please hold. Hold. Please hold. Finally I ask him how long this will take. I have now been on the phone for 41 minutes. At minute 42, my phone gets tired, beeps and disconnects me. Apparently the problem will take 24-48 hours to resolve. Meanwhile, I have now wasted almost 45 minutes explaining something simple. My outgoing caller ID is incorrect. Wow. Thank goodness a Coca Cola Classic is never far away.

Moral of this story. Vonage – the service is great. The customer support…sucks. Sucks is a compliment too. This is not the first bad experience I had and I expect it will not be the last.

[tags]Vonage[/tags]

One of Those Days

Time for a beer! Nothing like waking up at 5am and putting in multiple hours of “work” before you actually start your day job. To begin the day…I could not sleep (because of the humidity) so I decide to get up early and check my consulting company’s email figuring I can do a few simple tasks before I start my day job. No new messages. I think to myself that I should have something…I should at least have my daily tasks email from Tasks Pro that is sent every morning at 430am. I then look into the problem and notice I cannot send mail either….everyone’s favorite 550 smtp error. I call my hosting company and have them look into it. I start to sweat because this is affecting my entire VPS…all my domain names, and all my clients. After getting disconnected four times from my hosting company but finally get a call back from the last person I talk to and he assures me he is looking into it. An hour goes by and no fix. I call back and talk to someone else who is now also looking into it. Meanwhile, a client calls me and tells me she is going to demo the XOOPS CMS I built and she cannot log in with the administrative account. I confirm the problem, and luckily I recognize this issue…and a simple database rebuild takes care of the problem. As I get off the phone with my client, I get an IM from another person I am doing work for and they are having some CSS issues. ID issues, the ever-so-lovely unclosed div tag issue – luckily this was not too bad of an issue and I like CSS so this was not too bad. Next thing I know I get a call back from my hosting company and my issue has finally been resolved. It is now time to stop my consulting work so I can start my day job…unfortunately I am already stressed out and it is not even 9am!

My work day officially begins…and finally ends. I take a conference call during my lunch break and get piles of more work to do this evening. I start to think my day looks up when my Vonage (sorry Jerry, I misplace your refer a friend email and was so lame I did not email you back about getting another copy – lunch is on me when you are in the city next time) equipment arrives (I am using it for my business) but to continue on with my wonderful day…I cannot get a dial tone. Whoops, I do not have a Vonage compatible router. Off to Best Buy to buy a new router. I then had to come home and reconfigure the router (I have quite a few custom port forwarding settings for PS2 and for my home servers). Finally, I am able to sit down, take a breath, and start some work for my consulting business….knowing I really should be out mowing the lawn. Serenity Now!
[tags]serenity now, tasks pro, VPS, CSS, XOOPS, Vonage, PS2[/tags]

time to move to vonage/satellite?

I have been debating for the last several weeks about moving from my traditional phone service to Vonage. For someone like me who does not use the phone a lot, does it make sense for me to pay $50 a month for local phone service, another $50 for my cell phone, and A pays another $40 for her cell phone. While our cell phones have become a necessity, I cannot justify paying $50 a month for our land line. Vonage offers plans starting at $14.99, so even if there is $15.00 in taxes, I am still paying $20.00 a month less. Any Vonage users out there that have any comments?
I am also looking to move from Comcast cable…hopefully once and for all. I got sucked in for another six months when they offered me a good deal on digital cable and HBO, but when I got the $83.00 bill in the mail – just for TV…well, I knew I would be spending some time on the phone and researching satellite options. I know Ken is a fan of Direct TV. Anyone else have any opinions?
[tags]Vonage, Comcast[/tags]