Wednesday, April 27, 2005

VoIP Update

It's been a month since we got VoIP service from SunRocket. The experience has been very good overall. Given the price, quality of calls, and features, I'd have to say that the service is a winner. That said, there are some caveats.

We ran into a snag recently when CallerID stopped working. When we first signed on, everything worked fine, but then CallerID stopped. I attempted to resolve this by entering in information to the Contacts page. This worked, but it also comes with a caveat (see below). I just called SunRocket (and spoke to a live person in under a minute!) and they assure me that there was a problem with the carrier supplying that information, but it will be resolved by May 15th.

This normally wouldn't be an issue except that I also have the "Block Anonymous Call" feature turned on for the main number. Unfortunately, with CallerID broken all calls except those for whom I had entered contacts were being blocked. We found this out when Shawn's parents called twice and did not get either voice mail or our answering machine. To resolve this I have temporarily turned off that feature and tested it. Rather than wait for us to call them, SunRocket should have sent an email to customers explaining the issue in general terms and alerted them to the blocking problem this would cause.

Shawn's parents also report some dropping out of our calls. Thus far they are the only ones reporting that problem. My parents claim that I sound better than before. Another friend reports a delay, but he is on a cell phone, so I believe the problem to be on his end. I've spent a few hours on the phone both locally and to other cities and Shawn's parents have the only complaint thus far.

Now, on to my issue with the Contacts feature. Like a Contacts feature in email or on cell phones, this is basically a phone book of numbers that you wish to keep. Users can set up speed dial with the numbers in the Contacts book, which is nice. They can also set up aliases for the numbers. As I was tracking down the CallerID issue on my own, I decided to enter numbers into the Contacts folder as a work around. I found 2 problems with this and have reported them to SunRocket. First, rather than import numbers from another source, one must enter them by hand. That's tedious. Secondly, entering them into your main number does not enter them in for your secondary number as well. In other words, one must enter them in for both numbers. I can understand the reasoning behind this, but it's a drag and a good contacts manager would give me the option for both or one.

These are minor complaints. We've been very happy with the service. The sound quality is consistently high and the price of $16.58/month for unlimited long distance in Canada and the U.S. cannot be beat. The couple of times that I've called SunRocket, the support has been useful, speedy, and courteous. At this point, I'd have to highly recommend the service.

Other features that come with the service for no extra fees:

You get 2 numbers when you sign up
voice mail for each number that is accessible via dial up or online
New Voice mail notification through email and/or Text Message, Pager, and Instant Messaging
calling logs for each number (though not always up to date - they are working on this)
Block International, Anonymous, and/or Directory Assistance (411, for example) calls
Block specific numbers
CallerID on or off
Call Forwarding to either one or several numbers (at once or in succession)
Distinctive Ringing patterns for each number

No comments: