My VOIP ( Voice over Internet Protocol ) provider Broadvox Direct has sold all of their residential accounts to Phone Power. This was done with no advance notice to these customers. Supposedly Phone Power sent out an email after the deal was done and the transfer process began. I never received this email. Although I did in fact get a phone call. However anyone who was alert and security minded would have assumed the phone call was an unwanted solicitation bordering on a scam. In the past there have been many cases where phone companies have used some very underhanded tactics to get their competitions customers to switch providers. Before making any contact with Phone Power I did some research to make sure a legitimate sale had taken place. I of course found that Broadvox Direct residential customers had been sold to Phone Power.
Broadvox Direct first came onto the scene about five years ago. In a very popular online forum related to VOIP a person claiming to be the CEO of the company started drumming up business. Most people were skeptical. It’s not uncommon for new VOIP providers to pop up on a daily basis only to disappear just as quickly. At the time I was on the fence about making the jump to using the Internet for phone service. I decided to take a risk and give the service a try. The company had made the initial upfront cost just right for me to make the move. It should be mentioned that the person who claimed to be the CEO in the forum postings later denied he ever stated this was his position. Even though many archived postings showed otherwise.
In the beginning many promises where made about how Broadvox Direct was going to offer many services others didn’t. All that of course turned out to be exactly what it was. To good to be true. But what you did get was a solid dial tone at a cheap price if you got in on the ground floor. I was one of their earliest residential customers. I remained so for five years with no major complaints. In the early days there were some bumps but those smoothed out. My Broadvox Direct account went live 2/24/04.
Supposedly Broadvox Direct was a well known backbone provider for other VOIP companies when they decided to enter the residential market. It wasn’t really all that long before they seemed to regret this decision. There came a point where the company no longer took on new customers. However it was stated that existing customers would be able to continue using the service. Up until a few weeks ago Broadvox Direct held to that commitment.
This is where all the drama starts. Honestly I’m sure I’d get some jerk to comment I created my own problem yesterday. However I would argue that I have troubleshot various network problems over the years. Meaning I have solved technical issues for myself and many others. My worry when I heard that my account was being sold to another company was that aggravation was going to be a major part of this. For 5 years I had only an occasional issue with my network setup. Having to introduce a new VOIP adapter into the mix didn’t sound fun to me. As it turns out I was right. Yesterday I wasted 1/2 a day troubleshooting why the Phone Power adapter wasn’t working on my network. I went off on a large tangent in the well known forum I mentioned above. One thing that aggravates me to no end is when a product or service doesn’t offer ease of use and functionality.
For some reason I had it stuck in my head that with the Broadvox Direct adapter behind my Linksys router I had the network cable plugged into the LAN port. So this is how I was trying to setup the Phone Power hardware. When that didn’t seem to work I tried the WAN port on the Phone Power adapter but that didn’t resolve my usage problem. The next logical step would be to review any router settings that might be causing the new hardware to not function properly. You can imagine that this process can become very frustrating when you have tried various solutions with no results. Since Phone Power uses Grandstream hardware in frustration I headed out to their website for support. Why didn’t I go to the Phone Power website? Because their support page doesn’t display properly when using the Seamonkey browser.
After searching around the Grandstream website I found my hardware model and related PDF file. For some reason after reading this it sunk in that I should be using the WAN port. Keep in mind the instructions that came with the device from Phone Power were detailed and good. But I had it in my head I needed to use the LAN port. So many will blame my bad day yesterday on user error. What I would point out is that Broadvox Direct used Mediatrix for their hardware. That company has a much larger adapter & power plug. But they do one thing really smart. On the back as you will see in the pictures I included below. They have the ports labeled as computer and network. Which is much more user friendly for the average customer. It’s just more logical and easier to figure out. The smaller Grandstream unit is much smaller which would make it harder to use those helpful labels.
Either way I was finally able to get the hardware to work when I used the WAN port. At this time I can make calls but anyone calling our number are still being routed to Broadvox Direct. From what I’m reading this may be by design until everything fully transfers over. As I said in the forum post if I continue to have hardware problems our household will just become cell phone only. I just don’t need added stress in my life. Believe it or not there have been some positives come about from this transition. Since I like to provide the good and the bad here I’ll now cover the other side of the coin.