After my wife and I moved into our new house, I opted to set us up with internet phone service instead of going through the regular phone company. I went with Vonage. Setup with a single line would have been a breeze, but I wanted to setup multiple lines and get it to work with our existing wireless router too, and with some effort I got everything working.
The internet phone service is packed full of features and is a lot cheaper than regular telephone service. Unlimited long distance within the USA and Canada is only $25/month ($15 if you only need 500 minutes). But the drawback is that if your internet connection goes down, so does your phone. This wasn’t a big deal for me, since all accounts come with free voicemail, so if your connection goes down, calls will forward to voicemail automatically. Plus I still have a cell phone to use in emergencies.
One enhancement I made this weekend was to disconnect our house phone lines from the phone company by unplugging all the connections in the phone box outside. So now the whole house is a closed-loop system. Then I plugged one of the Vonage lines into a wall jack, which feeds the connection to every jack in the house that shares the same line. So now any phone can be plugged into a regular wall jack to make calls just as through the regular phone company. Vonage has instructions on how to do this in their support center — it only took a few minutes.
I’ve only had the service for a week, and so far so good. I like that it sends me an email when I have a new voicemail. If you already have a cable modem or DSL connection, I encourage you to look into internet phone service, mainly just because it will save you some money, and it isn’t hard to setup. If this works out, it will save me at least a few hundred dollars this year.