happy to help. I post alot here and if you have a question you want to ask non-publicly you are welcome to PM me.
It’s not so much that I recommend voicepulse against vonage as that I recommend almost anything against vonage.
My main reason for recommending against Vonage is that you have to use an analog channel to do it. Vonage service is locked to the ATA (Analog Telephony Adapter, the gadget they send you). Even though their service is SIP based, the password to use it is locked inside that gadget with no way to get it out. Thus, the only way to use Vonage with * is to get an FXO port for * and plug Asterisk into the Vonage box.
This is clumsy and has a few disadvantages- first there is only one channel. That means only one call at a time can go through, because there is only one wire. (If you get a second line and use the 2nd port on the ATA, then you have two channels, but you pay more). Also, call waiting does not work great with * and FXO ports.
The ‘right’ way to do it is to get an ITSP (internet telephony service provider, aka VoIP service) that allows BYOD, Bring Your Own Device.
This means that when you sign up there is an option that instead of sending you an ATA or gadget of some kind, they just provide you with the SIP login to their server. You plug this login into * via sip.conf and Asterisk communicates directly with their system via SIP, no ATA needed.
This gives you a few advantages because * can be direct with the server instead of having to deal with the limitations of a POTS line…
first off call waiting works much more usefully, and at the same time you get two channels. These are part of the same thing… it means that if you are on the phone and a 2nd call comes in, all the other phones in your office will ring (or whatever you have * set to do for incoming calls will happen to the 2nd call) and a 2nd person can answer the 2nd call, or you can put the 1st call on hold and take it. Most ITSPs limit you to two channels (you need 2 channels to do a 3way call, which is why they allow it).
OTOH, with Vonage there is only one channel per line, a limitation of the fact that it’s an analog wire. The 2nd call that comes in will give you a call waiting beep and you can switch to it. However unless you do the caller just hears ringing then voicemail. There is also no way to get someone else to answer the 2nd call whiel you are on the first, unless you buy another line and set up a hunt group.
It will also save you money because
- you dont have to buy the ATA
- you dont have to buy the FXO port to connect to the ATA
- if you want 2 channels, you dont have to buy the 2nd line and 2nd FXO port for it.
BTW- FXO ports are analog ports taht connect to a phone line and let * use that phone line. FXS ports are a line, they provide dialtone, voltage, ringing, etc and you plug a phone into it. ATAs provide 1-2 FXS ports. A good way to remember- FXS Serves.
Also when buying VoIP service, there is generally two configurations you will come across. The simplest is the basic stuff, VoIP lines. You get a DID (phone number) and usually unlimited outgoing minutes. Your caller ID is locked to that number, you can block it ala *67 but not change it. You are also generally limited to 2-3 channels. Examples- Vonage/broadvoice/viatalk/etc.
The other type is Wholesale- in wholesale you pay a small amount (VP charges $11/mo) for the DID (phone number) and then minutes are pay as you go, usually at around 1-2c/min. There is usually a much higher channel limit, or often there isn’t one. VPConnect is 4 incoming + 4 outgoing, and you can buy more if you need it. You can also set your own outbound caller-id. VoicePulse Connect is like this.
You should consider carefully which type of service will make more sense to you. Many people dislike the concept of PAYG, but consider that it is actually cheaper if you are using less than 4000-5000 outgoing mins/month.
Hoep that helps!