ViaTalk pretty cool so far

Got my Linksys PAP2T VOIP box from ViaTalk a couple days ago and AT&T *finally* turned on the call forwarding feature I ordered–2 DAYS?! C’MON! LAME! Anyways, I forwarded my landline number to the ViaTalk number and unplugged my landline…hopefully for good. All my home calls should now route through ViaTalk. If there are no showstoppers, I’ll transfer my landline number and close my AT&T account.

Although I’ve clued my wife into the fact that I’m trying something new with the phone, she rarely pays much attention to me, so I’ll only hear about it if there are problems. The only real difference she should notice is that voicemails won’t be on the physical answering machine–not that she checks them regularly anyways. I think that if a week goes by and she doesn’t even realize the difference, I’m good to “go”…and so is AT&T HAHA.

ViaTalk has some very cool features and it only cost me $199 for two years for an unlimited plan. After that, I’ll probably go for a fixed minute plan since we don’t really use the landline that much. The $199 deal just ended up being cheaper initially.

So what’s cool about ViaTalk? Well the voicemail is neat. I’ve got it set up so that all messages are emailed to me. They also include anonymous caller handling which I had to pay extra for with AT&T. It’s more powerful too. You can have them authenticate where the caller will be prompted to enter a series of numbers to confirm that it is a real caller and not an automated dialing system; send them directly to voicemail; give ’em a busy signal; or, just block their asses with a recording informing them they are blocked. HAHA. Love it. You can whitelist numbers too.

The Custom Call Routing feature allows you to route callers using patterns and not just a full phone number. So if you want to block all area code 877 callers you just enter 1877. Similar to anonymous calls you can set what happens. Send them to vmail; give them a busy signal; tell them they have been blocked or “BLACKLISTED” (not sure what the implications are); or, my fav, tell the caller to stop calling.

These are some of my fav features, but there are a ton more and you can check them all out here.

Why keep my landline? Well I thought about ditching it, but I find it’s often nice to give out a central number and it helps keep people from calling my cell phone unless I really want them to be able to reach me. For less then ten bucks I month, it’s not too much of a luxury. AT&T was costing me $70/mo! (My cable company also offers a VOIP service, but that was $22 extra a month.)

What do I miss? Well, we won’t be able to monitor messages on the phone’s built-in answering machine anymore. I guess I still could use the physical answering machine with ViaTalk, but then I’m gaining the ability to get messages via email. I also have my landline running through the Misterhouse home automation app on my server and the PC’s modem doesn’t recognize incoming calls now. However, ViaTalk can handle blocking and logging, so it’s not a big deal. I may try a different modem card, but I suppose it’s time to give up an arguably arcane set up.

So far, I’d highly recommend ViaTalk to replace your landline. Get in on their unlimited 2-year $199 special while it lasts.

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