Time Warner Cable has finally launched its Digital Phone service. $40 a month, unlimited calling. Go nuts. Actually, Vonage is cheaper. And doesn’t charge, $3.95 a month for Voice Mail. If you are a Road Runner customer you save $10 a month. Still not worth it – every indy VoIP provider is cheaper.
11 thoughts on “Time Warner Phone is Ringing”
Time Warner’s solution is is however not the same service in any way to the private voip providers. TW’s solution is a top tier provider in that you can dial 911 which you cant do with vonage, it is also has battery backup. Not only this but during installation your entire house’s internal phone line system is ‘lit’ so that you can use all phone jacks in the same fashion as you always have. Also when you use vonage over RR your traffic is not prioritized, whereas voice traffic thru TW’s solution is, so downloading a large file is not going to make your phone call get choppy or drop as it does with other solutions. Call me crazy but having the higher level of service makes it well worth the difference in cost.
You can indeed dial 911 on vonage and have been able to for a while. I’m not sure how ‘it’ has battery backup because really ‘it’ is just a router. You can plug your linksys voip router into a battery backed up UPS and get the exact same thing. ATT Callvantage’s installation manual tells you how to activate all of the phone lines in your home for VOIP as well. ATT also prioritizes voice traffic – but this can all be handled at the router actually. Personally I don’t want their routers at the front end into my home so they won’t be able to prioritize traffic anyways.
As for the battery, the modem itself has a battery, thus removing the need for purchasing another battery backup. And to speak on QOS situation, in 99% of isp’s if you have vonage that traffic is not recognized and given higher priority than any other traffic on your network, a majority of users are not savvy enough to set this up on their own.
As for having instruction on how to perform installation yourself. That was my point, it is installed for you, again a value for those of us that value our time, or those that prefer not to mess with the wiring of their homes.
Sure sounds like Kaleb works for TW. Just my lowly opinion.
I have had Vonage for about a year now, and I can say they do have 911 service, they also have email as part of my regular bill (no extra charges), as well as the ability to route voicemail to my email as a wav file. My unlimited Vonage service is $29.95 (http://vonage.com), and I do download a number of large files often and never once has it been “choppy”. The only benefit I see is the special battery backed up router that they obviously are having someone OEM for them. I just hope it is not made by Scientific Atlanta, as I have had four DVR’s made by them carried by Time Warner that have died.
I meant “vmail” instead of “email”, as part of their regular bill.
Regarding TW’s E911 service: If they are sticking to their stated plans, they do not allow nomadic service, meaning you can not take the ATA with you and connect to Internet at another point. So their E911 service is different than the “911 service” offered by Vonage.
Last year, an executive from TW stated in an FCC forum that their phone service is a direct competition/replacement to the offering from the incumbents. He stated that it will be on par to PSTN and so they are willing to assume equal regulatory constraints. It will be interesting to know whether they maintain that position.
Also it will be interesting to find out whether the recent FCC ruling that “nomadic” VoIP service is interstate in nature is applicable to TW. (Most of the discussions didn’t pay attention to the “nomadic” requirement).
With the constant poor connections I get with Time Warner and their inability to fix the problem for any period of time, I really wouldn’t want to trust my phone service to them. Also, since my building splits off of one line(6 apts) after a several hundred foot run from the pole, what are the possibilities that somone on my line could tap into my Phone service?
This is all good, except, when in Florida, and we have severe thunderstorms. That is when the cable from RR goes dark. So, if your primary cable is dark, what makes you think the inhouse line is going to work.
I don’t work for TW but I do work for another company that makes me biased. I will try to present some clarifying facts without bias. Having said that,
1.) The TW service (and others like it from Cox, Comcast, Cablevision, Charter, etc.) does not involve a router or an ATA. The phone ports are on the Cable Modem itself, an E-MTA (embedded multimedia terminal adapter) in Packetcable speak. If you want to put a router behind the Ethernet port in your modem that’s fine, but it won’t affect the voice traffic.
2.) The battery backup on the modem/MTA is designed to last 8 hours. Last time I checked my APC UPS was supposed to last around 8 minutes. I’m guessing if you just put your modem/MTA as the only thing on a dedicated UPS then it would probably last a similar amount of time but I’ve never tried it.
3.) The battery backup/UPS and “ATA” are free (and you aren’t required to have home router) with the TW service, with Vonage you have to buy the UPS, the ATA, and a home router assuming you want to use your data service at the same time you have your ATA plugged in.
4.) The TW voice bandwidth is allocated separately from your data bandwidth i.e., the VoIP traffic doesn’t cut into your 3 Mb down 384 kb up allocation. In fact you can buy the phone service without even buying a data service.
5.) The TW voice uses a better codec, G.711 instead of G.729 (I think) on the Vonage service. G.711 (aka PCMU) is what is used on digital (not VoIP) links in the PSTN today. This just means Vonage compresses your voice more using a ‘lossy’ codec and TW uses a ‘lossless’ codec.
6.) *Most importantly*, the bandwidth for your calls in TW’s network is guaranteed. If there isn’t enough bandwidth then your call won’t go through. However, they’ve designed their network so that 99.9% of the time there will be enough bandwidth for your calls. Doing “priority” routing of your Vonage traffic on your home router is pretty meaningless. That’s just prioritizing your voice traffic over your data traffic. The real key is prioritizing your voice traffic ovgr the 100 other peoples’ data traffic that all share the same cable upstream as you. You probably have 100 Mbps interfaces in your house, but depending on a variety of factors, you’re probably sharing 27-40 Mbps of upstream bandwidth with your neighbors. Primarily the bandwidth issues are in the upstream direction not the downstream, thus you may thing the call sounds fine but the person on the other end is hearing dropouts and is having a much harder time hearing you.
7) This also goes along with prioritizing 911 calls over other calls. On Vonage if you decide to call 911 on the same day that Halo-3 comes out or at the same time the American Idol call-in starts you could be stuck with an unintelligible call. With TW, you will be prioritized over everything else. TW also has your number and address registered with the 911 database so they will get a screen pop on you once you call in. They also support advanced 911 features like callback. So if you’re having a heart attack and accidentally hang up the phone, the hangup fails until the 911 operator hangs up on you.
On the subject of FCC regulation, the FCC ruling on the Minnesota Vonage case (after some lobbying) *includes* the Cable MSO’s in the same category as Vonage so they don’t have to do all the special 911 guarantees, and various local taxes, USF fee, etc. (Of course if somehow your 911 call gets messed up you can still try and sue anyone you want and see what a judge/jury says.)
In conclusion, I’m just saying that Vonage is closer to being like Skype while TW is closer to being like a legacy phone (in my area they just call it digital phone, not even mentioning that it’s using VoIP technology underneath it).
There are differences between the two services and I think TW has the better service. Whether it’s actually worth the extra money is a subjective individual decision (but in my biased opinion, I think it is).
After reading this string of postings regarding 911 service I just want all to be informed of what is really being offered.
The discussions surrounding VoIP 911 services are typically specific to static users and not necessarily nomadic as previously stated. How would a 911 center be expected to identify a caller of data service end point to a traditional telephone service call center? The difference is very basic, VoIP is a data service provision. E911 is voice service provision. This is and continues to be a challenge in the 911 industry.
However, please note what Vonage has posted on their website. It is informative and important to be educated about the service you are actually receiving.
When dialing 911 from your PSTN landline, with all the subscriber fees, your call is prioritized by the 911 network (voice). With a VoIP service provider, you are treated like any other NON emergent call. As stated, “General Access Line at the PSAP” (public safety answering point) for your community. Not exactly 911 service as expected. However, it does attempt to bring the gap between data services and E911 (voice) services.
This posting is not intended to be biased. I don’t work for any of the VoIP service providers. However, I am educated in E911.
Biased opinion raises an interesting point about TW’s E911 service provisioning. Does TWC really populate the 911 ALI (location) datbase with your information? If so, GREAT! You, the subscriber, must provide that information and accept the 911 service package at every login for static service. I did a little research and noted that TWC in the Rochester, NY region is a LEC (local exchange carrier) and provisions for TDM-based voice services in this area on a Lucent Tech #5ESS Central Office Switch. As the LEC, they most likely maintain the E911 network and either contract or maintain the subscriber database or a.k.a. ALI (automatic location information) database. Perhaps in the areas where they have a TDM-based voice presence E911 service is available. I would consult TWC to be sure either way.
I currently use another VoIP service provider for a second line and am aware of what I am and more importantly am NOT getting with respect to E911. I am in a position of making referrals for VoIP services to family and friends. I like to be as educated as possible. With the dynamics of the industry reseach is very important and ongoing.
I hope my comments are helpful to those who are interested in the E911 aspect of VoIP. As VoIP matures and proliferates, there will be even more spirited discussions.