Drifting toward an all-VOIP world

I’ve finally moved our old hard line over tot he VOIP server, so all of our calls go through it.  So far, so good.  I also switched from using the Siemens phones’ answering machine to Asterisk voicemail.

On the plus side, features like blacklisting now work as they should.  When a telemarketing call comes in, it takes less than half a minute to add that number to a blacklist so that number will never be able to call again.  Well, they can call, but they just gets a tone indicating that the number is out of service and are immediately disconnected.  We also have voicemail available via email, which is really nice.  On the down side, we lose call screening — the ability to listen to someone leaving a message, and answer the call if we want.  We almost never used tat feature anyway, so it’s not a big loss.

There are still a few tweaks I want to make to the system, but overall it seems to be working well.  We’re enjoying being able to use the cordless phones for simultaneous calls, for one thing — if Lisa’s on a call, I can just pick up a phone and dial.  I can also — finally — pick up calls for the house on my desk/work phone.  No more having to keep two phones on my desk, yay!

At some point I’ll port our phone number over to VOIP, and get rid of the wired line altogether.  Between the usage charges and all, it will end up saving us around $10-20 a month.  I’m occasionally shopping around for a better deal than Flowroute, but as yet I have not found one.  They’re not perfect for local service, because you pay metered rates for all calls whether they’re local or not.  I can get unlimited inbound calls for a pretty cheap rate, but calling locally still costs just under a penny a minute.  Still, you’d have to talk an awful lot to run up the bill to equal what we’re paying Cox.  And that less-than–a-penny per minute rate applies whether we’re calling across the street or anywhere in the country — so it’s still a pretty good deal.  Just not so good that I’m in a big hurry.