Summer review and My VoIP experience

The summer holiday finally provides an opportunity to write, various family matters having consumed my available time and energy since January. Meanwhile, our Box Broadband pure fibre 200 Mbps connection has efficiently worked exactly as hoped; fast and reliable.

We have had quite a few power cuts over these seven months, and had I time to purchase and install a UPS, it would have avoided any interruption to the service. As it is, sometimes the connection has recovered by itself after a cut, but other times we had to reset the router, perhaps because the power “spikes” as it comes back on. Once reset, connection speed has never decreased, unlike previous services from BT Openreach.

My VoIP experience

One change I did find time for was the switch to VoIP, so that we could terminate the “copper” phone line rental, and thus bring total monthly costs back to their previous level. We wanted to keep our landline number, and worked out that usage based call charges will be cheaper for us than the call inclusive package offered by Vonage. I also felt confident enough to configure VoIP myself, so did not really need the higher level of customer support available when taking Vonage via the Box web link. I looked at Voipfone and Sipgate offerings, and chose Voipfone because they are UK based and responded to all my questions very quickly and helpfully. But Sipgate does work out cheaper for almost identical service otherwise, and at least two locals are happily using it.

December 2019 update: Box now offer their own VOIP telephone service which removes all the hassle of sourcing your own and dealing with yet another supplier.

I also had to decide whether to buy a device to interface our existing DECT phones to the Box router, or to buy new phones designed for VoIP. Since our existing phones are a few years old and have some less than ideal features, we decided to buy two new Gigaset C430HX handsets and N300IP VoIP base station from VoIPon. The result is a far more capable phone system. For example, we can take two calls at the same time, voice messages are automatically forwarded by email, and I can take or make “landline” calls on my mobile phone when away from home, thus giving the impression of working from home as usual (since the VoIP caller ID is set to our landline number).

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2 Responses to Summer review and My VoIP experience

  1. David Nye says:

    This question was asked and answered in March 2017; I am reposting it here to provide further background to my VOIP experience:
    Q: “I will need to ditch my landline to make the Box service affordable, but can I then keep my phone number?”
    A: You will need to subscribe to a VOIP service if you want to use the phone network. If you use Skype you may have seen their inexpensive offering, and Box recommends Vonage as a better BT replacement. If you want to keep your landline number then you’ll need to “port” that to Vonage, for example (Skype do not seem to support “porting” at present). You can use your existing landline phone by using an adaptor, or an app on your smartphone, or buy a new VOIP phone. Most large organisations now use VOIP, to save money, so many landline calls already use this technology. The VOIP provider connects you to the phone network. The central phone network is now fibre anyway, but with VOIP the conversion to digital happens in your home instead of at the exchange, and you’re not using the old Openreach copper cables. Of course FTTP/FTTH will allow many people to finally dispense with their landline number altogether.

  2. David Nye says:

    We switched to Voipfone early in April 2018, so have been using it for nearly 12 months. We are very pleased with our choices and have not missed the copper based landline at all. Callers did not seem to notice the switch. Costs have not increased and are very economical. We can save another £2 + VAT per month if we ditch our old number and just use the free number provided. I asked Voipfone to pay annually, which they were happy to set up; this is no cheaper, but does save processing 11 electronic invoices and payments each year.

    When doing the research, it appeared that there would be no obvious indication of missed calls when using our setup. Both the phone supplier and Voipfone told me that unfortunately this would be impossible with my proposed low cost solution. Voipfone said I would need to pay extra for “extensions”. We were used to having a missed call message on the phone display, so this was very nearly a show stopper for us. It was even unclear how we would be able to look up missed callers. Eventually I decided to chance it, and went ahead anyway, and it turns out that a red light flashes a button on both handsets, and pressing the button gives details of missed calls and any messages… Perfect!

    Now it is such a relief not having to worry about heavy rain getting into the copper cables, or Openreach engineers disturbing flaky corroded connections when fiddling in the cabinet or on poles.

    N.B. Sipgate is German, so their services may be affected by Brexit.

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