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Avoid plustalk service like the plague!

dogscoff
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 24-09-2007

Avoid plustalk service like the plague!

Just a note to share my bad experiences with plusnet's VOIP service.

I bought the Zyxel Prestige 2000W from Plusnet for use with their service, only to find that plusnet provide no information about how to configure the handset. The generic connection information isn't particularly useful, since the handset and plusnet seem to use different terminology for the various fields that need to be filled in.

Scouring the forums I eventually found a post telling me how to configure it, and finally i got it almost working - I could make and receive calls to mobiles and my own landline, but calls to other landlines didn't work: I would hear nothing at all. The person at the other end would hear their phone ring, pick it up and hear nothing at all - and Plusnet had the cheek to take money from my prepaid account for these 'calls'!

After about half an hour of this, the service simply stopped working. The handset just won't connect to plusnet's servers any more (it connects to my router just fine, and I'm connected to the internet). I hadn't changed any settings on the handset. I've tried repeatedly since to connect, but it won't.

Naturally I tried to phone Plusnet for help, but after a lengthy time on hold was informed that VOIP products are only supported via the website. So I put in a question to the website. A week ago. I was told on Friday that the turnaround is about 3 days, and I could expect to be dealt with on Saturday. As you can probably guess from my tone, I had no response on Saturday, and have had nothing further since.

So, if you are happy with a voip service that only half-works for half an hour and then stops working altogether afterwards, and appears to offer absolutely NO support whatsoever, and takes money from your account for the privelege, then I would be able to recommend plustalk.

If, however, you are anything other than a complete idiot, I would recommend you go elsewhere. I'm currently looking into Voiptalk, who appear to offer a much cheaper service with all the same (alleged) features of plustalk and more besides. However after being burned by plusnet I am seeeking assurances about hardware compatibility and the level of support they offer first. If anyone here can recommend another supplier, I'd love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Matt
3 REPLIES
deadkenny
Grafter
Posts: 228
Thanks: 1
Registered: 13-09-2007

Avoid plustalk service like the plague!

I would say this is probably the experience of VoIP generally with the exception of Skype.

I've had similar experience with sipgate.

Problem is VoIP via SIP is very complicated and it's in no way suitable for the average user. VoIP providers don't have anywhere near the level of reliability and infrastructure as traditional PSTN that we're all used to.

VoIP just isn't ready for the average consumer in my opinion.

Skype however is a different matter because it's a proprietary system completely under their control. A consumer can just sign up with Skype and download the software without major configuration or buy a Skype phone and know it will work.

Unfortunately Skype is totally proprietary and doesn't work with any standard SIP system and requires a PC to work.

Skype have the marketing and consumer positioning, but they are harming VoIP because people think VoIP is Skype but they're just a kiddy version of VoIP.

Where VoIP will take off is if we have a universal means of communicating with any VoIP user in the world no matter what provider they're with and the average consumer can buy a phone or router, plug it in and it's ready to go. Well, at the most they should just have to go to a simple interface, pick from a list of providers and provide their account details and that's it.
jnwright
Grafter
Posts: 281
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Avoid plustalk service like the plague!

I've had an account with Voiptalk for 2 years now.

I originally went for a Draytel account when there was a free offer with a Draytek 2600VG router (with 2 analogue phone ports) that I bought some time before that. Draytel are connected with Voiptalk in some way and originally had problems partly because of the way they shared ip address with Voiptalk - they did eventually sort that out! But I went to Voiptalk because their system worked and still does!

I changed my router around July 2005 to a Zyxel P2602HWL-61 (with 2 analogue phone ports) and transferred all of the details over to this router and have had no problems.

I still have the Draytel account and it still works - it uses an 0870 number for dialling in from a landline so that's not so popular!

Mine both re-register once an hour and I don't remember a registration failure in the router logs, although there may have been during 2 years! I have a static ip address so probably I don't need to re-register as often as that! I haven't used Voiptalk nearly as much as my landline, but it has always worked. It is especially useful for calls abroad. I've also used VOIP for IP to IP - this works OK.

I've also used SIP Broker which provides a way to dial someone on a different voip provider using just the phone number pad, see http://www.sipbroker.com/sipbroker/action/providerWhitePages

As they say, SIP Broker makes it easy by mapping 'fwd.pulver.com' to '*393', so you just dial '*393613'.

It is a little more complicate than this! Voiptalk peer with SIP Broker and to use them you dial '**473'. So to dial 613@fwd.pulver.com you dial '**473*393613'.

*768 is assigned for dialling a Plustalk user, but that has never worked as far as I can tell!! Can't imagine why!

I never tried Plustalk - I had my doubts that Plusnet would be able to compete with a professional outfit when they came out with it.

I think that using a provider such as Voiptalk is sensible in that at least their system works and they have experience in keeping it working. It is their business and must work for them to survive!

The thing is if a voip provider doesn't work, you just stop registering to drop them!

I've not tried the Zyxel Prestige 2000W. The only thing that might be tricky is opening up the firewall in your router sufficiently to let the data pass through unhindered.

As long as Plusnet don't throttle voip or drop voip packets non-Plustalk voip will work!

Good Luck!
deadkenny
Grafter
Posts: 228
Thanks: 1
Registered: 13-09-2007

Avoid plustalk service like the plague!

Quote
I still have the Draytel account and it still works - it uses an 0870 number for dialling in from a landline so that's not so popular!

It looks like you can get a geographical (01 02 etc) number if you have £10 or more credit with them.

Sipgate do a free geographical number but their service seems a bit poor.

Just signed up with DrayTel. Got it with my Vigor 2700V router, but didn't really consider it as I'd never heard of it and assumed it would be little use unless others are using the same service. Though maybe it has good 'other network' partnering. Not sure. Problem with PlusTalk is they seem limited in the number of services you can call and can call you. All I really want is a service that I can call anyone and anyone can call me, ideally free or very cheap when it comes to VoIP else it's really no point considering BT prices are so cheap (especially for UK off-peak calls).