Posted by darren on Wednesday, December 09, 2009

In our last episode, our hero was bravely ending his relationship with Vonage after a long courtship...

As I discovered, while Vonage was a good dancer while we were together, she started acting like a bitter, spurned lover once I wanted to cancel service.

The cancellation process with Vonage apparently has been the source of many complaints and has been improved. I'm glad to say that they do let you cancel, but they do not make it pleasant, they seem to act like they are doing you a favor in granting you permission to cancel your service.

So, after charging me a cancellation fee of $40(!), and nearly charging me $80 for a $40 router, they realized, in the end, that the router had been with me for a number of years and they would let me keep it.

Truthfully, they were letting me keep it because the model, a Linksys RT31P2, is discontinued, out of date, and they have no use for it. Sending a box and postage to retrieve it wouldn't be worth it for them.

This analog telephony adapter (ATA) also functions as a router, which is why Vonage said it would be so valuable to me. Of course, I already have a router, so having another isn't all that useful.

Since Vonage provided this ATA/router with their service, the ATA is locked to Vonage - meaning it can only be used with them, not with any other VOIP provider. However, here comes the wondrous hacking tools available on the internet.

Luckily, this is one of a few Vonage routers which is hackable and can be unlocked and then used on any service.

With my brother's help, I unlocked the router and was able to access the Voice Administration tabs.

From there, I was able to set-up two VOIP lines. One with a Gizmo5/GoogleVoice combo, the other using SipgateOne.

Gizmo5 is the SIP provider that also offers software similar to Skype. They were purchased by Google a few months back. Used in conjunction with GoogleVoice, I can have a low cost, local phone number with no monthly cost. Incoming calls are free. Outgoing calls are currently being billed at one cent per minute (there have been frequent changes in the charges of outgoing calls, but this was the most recent rate).

After Gizmo was acquired by Google, however, new users could no longer sign up. Luckily, I had been using the service a few months prior.

Sipgate is a full service SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) provider which also offers free DID numbers - mostly in California.

I'm not as familiar with Sipgate. When you sign up, you get 60 minutes of talk time. Problem is, I don't have a phone to connect to that line. I've got to go to the Goodwill and buy a phone.

As the Count would say: Eight...eight phone numbers...HA! HA! HA!