I've used Packet8 internet phone service as my "one and only" residential phone for over a year and a half, and can honestly say it's the best (and coolest) telephone service I've ever had.
The reason I switched to internet phone service was to save money, and Packet8 does indeed save me about $ 600 a year. At $ 19.99 per month for unlimited local and long distance calling within the US and Canada, I average a little over 2000 minutes of long distance calling each month for no additional fee. Packet8 comes with a host of free calling features that I find very useful. Some examples of the more popular features are voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, call blocking, and call forwarding. A really neat free feature that I find extremely useful (and it amazes my friends) is voicemail to e-mail. I have my Packet8 account programmed to deliver an audio recording of any voicemail messages directly to my work email address. I never miss a message now.
Many people are interested in switching to Packet8 internet phone service but are still a little unsure about how it works, and a little nervous about replacing their "tried and true" landline phone service. As a Packet8 user, I often find myself answering a lot of questions about Packet8's reliability, setup, phone number porting, etc … Most of the questions I get are pretty much the same, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to address them here.
Packet8 Internet Phone Service – Common Questions
Q – Is Packet8 easy to set up? Can I do it myself?
A – Yes, Packet8 is extremely easy to set up and literally "anyone can do it" . You will receive either a VoIP adapter or a Uniden internet phone, depending on which device you chose at the time of purchase (I recommend the Uniden phone, which is designed to work seamlessly with all the Packet8 features) . The instructions are very well written, and include great pictures (for us "visual" people) . Installation is a simple matter of connecting a couple of cables, then dialing a special phone number and entering your activation code. Total setup should take less than 30 minutes, and requires no tools or specialized networking knowledge. If you do have trouble, Packet8's technical support is available via phone and email. I e-mailed a question when I installed my Packet8 phone, and received an answer within 5 minutes!
Q – Can I keep my existing phone number?
A – Yes you can , just indicate that this is what you want to do when you sign up for Packet8 service and they will make it happen. All of my friends who have switched to Packet8 have opted to get a new number though (so did I), mainly to get rid of solicitor calls.
Q – I know I need broadband internet in order to use internet phone service, but is it better to use DSL or Cable internet?
A – Either type of broadband will work fine, as long as you have no problems with your broadband connection . If you find your current broadband service is slow, or suffers from frequent outlets, switch to a different service. If your DSL service is provided by your phone company, check with them to see if you can cancel telephone service but keep the DSL. If they will not let you do this, switch to cable internet or find a company that offers DSL without requiring telephone service. In order to save the most money with internet phone service, most people replace their land line with Packet8.
Once you begin using Packet8 internet phone service (or any internet phone service, for that matter) , wait a week or so before canceling your land line phone service. Although it's rare that you would experience any problems with your internet phone, previously unknown issues with broadband service can sometimes show up as quality problems with an internet phone. Give yourself a week or so to use Packet8 a lot, and make sure all is well before disconnecting your land line.