Date: Tuesday, October 26th, 2004, 09:37
Vonage SoftPhone for Mac OS X provides clarity and ease for those who spend a lot of time working on their Macs. With the increasing popularity of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), Vonage has added support for Mac OS X (10.2+) users to their popular service. During my evaluation period I had a chance to use a software application called a SoftPhone (X Pro/Business Class SIP SoftPhone). Read more…
Vonage SoftPhone for Mac OS X provides clarity and ease for those who spend a lot of time working on their Macs. With the increasing popularity of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), Vonage has added support for Mac OS X (10.2+) users to their popular service. During my evaluation period I had a chance to use a software application called a SoftPhone (X Pro/Business Class SIP SoftPhone).
The SoftPhone is easy to get up and running right away. A very simple interface includes the ability to store numbers and protocols and make conference calls. Unfortunately, the audio quality without headphones or microphone was marginal, the use of headphones is necessary for optimal quality. To address this I attached a Plantronics USB 500 headset to my Mac when making SoftPhone calls. Using a USB headset made it a no-brainer and made my experience using the SoftPhone more enjoyable and improved call quality. You can find great headsets at Headsets.com.
From the beginning the SoftPhone for Mac OS X had compatibility problems with Apple’s AirPort card, occasionally losing connections. In some situations the audio signal came in and out. Vonage’s response was prompt and impressive, they acknowledged a compatibility problem with the AirPort card and stressed their continual efforts to make Mac users happy.
The quality of Vonage’s service and support is what sets them apart from everyone else. Tech Support repeated the recommendation of the use of headsets and a mic to increase the quality and performance of the audio. They seem to take great pride in their high-end CODECs to make users satisfied with the audio quality.
I was quite impressed at the quality of the audio even when using an AirPort card. Calls came through as expected when I took my PowerBook to get something to drink at the local coffee establishment. You cannot deny the convenience to be on your computer and talking to prospective clients. The opportunity to work at the same time is priceless. The audio quality I experienced on coast-to-coast calls was better then what I was used to using a traditional telephone line.
So how much does all this cost for Mac OS X users? Vonage offers the SoftPhone service for a US$9.99 per month additional charge over one of their VOIP plans which includes 500 local and long distance minutes. The Vonage premium unlimited (home) service includes unlimited local, regional, US nationwide long distance, and calls to Canada for US$24.99 per month.
Easily the best feature is Vonage’s voice message service which allows you to collect your voice mail messages in a browser (Safari worked fine) or even have them emailed to you as an attachment. Another thing that sets Vonage apart from the others is their low rate for international calls. During my test period I was not able to make international calls.
With some improvements the Vonage SoftPhone could be a great application for many Mac OS X users. X Ten, developers of the SoftPhone application, is making improvements to it as we speak. VOIP truly has potential and in the ever increasing world of WiFi it is apparent that VOIP is here to stay. With every major telephone company stepping into the ring Vonage has taken strides to become the best VOIP provider. And it?s nice to know that they are including Mac Users in their plans.
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