FaceBook Gremlins and VOIP Revisited

It’s time to revisit my VOIP setup.  One guy that is going away – big time – is Vonage.  Don’t listen to the commercials – it’s more hype than substance.  Just do a search for Vonage or VOIP, and read my previous blog entries.

The FaceBook gremlins are at it again

What are FaceBook gremlins?  Do a search for FaceBook and read my past blog entries.  Someone stole my FaceBook password a few months back.  They then made up a story and said they were stranded – somewhere in England.  They were mugged at gunpoint and needed money, for a return U.S. trip.

A friend shared the transcript.  He was smart.  He asked them for the name of our mutual COD instructor.  Of course, the scam artist couldn’t provide it.

Now for their current scam.  They send me emails to the effect that my FaceBook account has expired, etc.  But there are a couple problems:

  • They send the notices to an email not associated with FaceBook login.
  • My software warns me about a possible bad site

Here’s the real clue.  When I move my mouse over the FaceBook URL in the notice – guess what? – it contains addresses other than FaceBook URL addresses.  Be careful of these rascals and tricks, so they don’t attempt to scam you.

Back to VOIP

I have the following components for my VOIP setup:

  • A Grand Stream Budge Tone 201, running Gizmo5 and Google Voice.   In case you don’t remember, Google Voice acquired Gizmo5.  Now the integration is complete.
  • An Ipevo Solo Skype phone
  • An AT&T “measured rate” phone line.
  • A Vonage number and adapter.

Let me recap the Vonage issue.  I had the Vonage adapter as a computer front end, for the first 2 months.  I had frequent problems with “lost packets”, and constantly bounced between Vonage and Comcast tech support.

Then I made an accidental discovery.  Whenever I rebooted the Vonage device, the “lost packet” problem subsided – for a couple of days.  Yet no one at Vonage “admitted” any problem, regarding their device.  I finally put a Linksys router in front, and attached the Vonage device to the router.   In a separate move, the computer was also attached to the Linksys router.

So now I have the following setup:

  • AT&T is my official residential phone for receiving incoming calls.  It also serves as a backup system, in case the Comcast cable system or electricity is out.
  • Skype is my official residential phone for residential out calls.
  • Google Voice becomes my official business phone.  It also links all my phones together with one number.
  • Gizmo5 is my official outgoing business call system.

In my experience of several months of testing, Google Voice and Skype – both with the phone hardware I described – has sound quality and reliability, which equals or exceeds Vonage. September 11 is when my Vonage year-long contract expires.

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