Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

Summary:  Over the last couple of years, when I've wanted to take the temperature of the Vonage user community, I've often stopped at the Vonage Forum. This is a privately run enterprise, totally independent of Vonage.

TOPICS: Unified Comms


Over the last couple of years, when I've wanted to take the temperature of the Vonage user community, I've often stopped at the Vonage Forum. This is a privately run enterprise, totally independent of Vonage. More than 23,000 people have joined the Forum since it was officially launched three years ago this month.

Anyhow, I have been noticing a growing number of posts in which many Vonage users and Vonage Forum Members have been complaining about the quality of Vonage calls over Comcast broadband connections.

It's interesting that there are relatively few similar complaints about the quality of these Vonage calls over other broadband provider networks. Occasionally you'll read about Verizon or AT&T complaints, but rarely.

But something has happened. Two weeks ago, a Vonage Forum Member named rdstoll began a Vonage Forum thread called Comcast vs. Vonage. The last time I checked, this thread had 116 posts and nearly 7,000 page views. That's an exceptionally high number.

Although you will see all manner of opinions on this thread, there seems to be a sentiment that - politely put - Comcast could really be doing a better job of carrying Vonage bits.

There's not much of a leap from that belief to one, expressed by some Vonage Forum Members, that the connection quality problems they are having over their Comcast lines just might not be coincidental. What's also important to recognize is that many of these complaints are from Vonage users and Forum Members who have been around for awhile, and are more used to giving problem-solving advice in the Forum then venting about it.

"I am no believer in conspiracies, but having seen two episodes of Vonage issues tied directly to 'work' being done at Comcast, I cannot help but wonder what Comcast is up to," rdstoll wrote in his thread-launching post. "Have absolutely no faith in baby bells or cable companies, and would not be surprised if they weren't tinkering with some things to piss off Vonage users."

"Well, Comcast is doing their own VoIP service in some areas now.... considering they have a competing product at a higher price.... well, you can be the judge on it," a Forum Member named VonageTPA adds.

"I certainly hope that your conspiracy theory belongs on a bad episode of the 'X-Files', but sadly it's not outside the realm of possibility," writes NateHoy, who has been chosen "Vonage Forum Member of the Week at least twice by Forum founder and admin Dan Connor.

"VoIP from 'independents' like Vonage is a threat to the ISP industry because they are 'yet another bandwidth hog' making flat rate Internet access harder to provide due to increasing bandwidth demands," NateHoy adds. "They are also a threat to the local telcos as they are direct competitors.

"Unfortunately, VoIP depends on ISP's for bandwidth so our lines work, and on local telcos for access to their local bridges to hop onto the POTS network so we can talk to mere (mortals)," he writes.

It's in the last graf of his post that NateHoy implies that all may not be on the up and up:

"And a little intentional 'oopsie' goes a long way toward discrediting VoIP..."

Are these complaints scapegoating by Vonage users, or is there something here? TalkBack and let us know!

Topic: Unified Comms

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  • Qos issue?

    Maybe 'traffic shaping' is effect the Qos and hence bad VOIP ensues--yes?:
    D T Schmitz
    • Uncovered Potential latency issue

      I am one of the people that has onging intermittent issues with dropped packets, dropped calls, and poor QOs in general. Here is somthing I uncovered and I am not sure if it is relevant. When I ping a domain name from a command prompt I get a average latency of about 88 ms consistantly. When I test the connection with a variety of online bandwidth testeres I get an upload seed that averages about 350 Kbs and a download of avout 6 Mbs. When I use the speed test on the vonage site I show a latency of over 4500 ms. I do the same test at wotk and I get a latency of about 140 ms over a metrocast cable connection. I spoke to a techie at vonage who suggested it may be due to the splitter I use which has an upper frequency limit of about 1Ghz, so I have ordered a 2Ghz splitter from Monster Cable. I have yet to try this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will not do any good as long as Comcast is my provider. I would not doubt in the least that Comcast is using Trafic Shaping to discredit vonage. So they can pull in more phone business. Nearly twice the price. Comcast, having the market share that it does needs to have its practices audited. We are paying a premium price for a certain about of band width, that bandwidth should be our to do with as we please. WE as consumers need to have this industry regulated to protect us against, such unfair and practices, hinting of antitrust perhaps????
  • Getting That Funny Feeling Again

    It just seems strange that I have Vonage on Bellsouth DSL and have just the rare fleeting problem with Vonage. All my other friends have Comcast and are constantly on the verge of throwing Vonage out the window (literally with the Comcast cable modem right behind it!). They seem to think that I have some secret that keeps mine working so well.
  • Skype, VoipStunt.. etc also useless on Comcast

    It's definitely not just Vonage. Skype has become impossible to use on Comcast 3-4 month ago (N. California). Same goes for VoipStunt, which I am only using (trying to) for a few weeks. My friend in the area with a much slower DSL connection has perfect VOIP quaility.
    Zoli Erdos
  • Comcast vs Vonage

    I have spent months fighting with Comcast (3 new modems, new shorter direct wiring installed, and line testers sent out) in the past 6 months. I can use the phone most of time now, but rarely can I receive faxes because of poor line quality. I would very much like to know if there is a way to verify if there is Comcast culpability on this issue.
    • Another Comcast Nightmare

      I too am experiencing severe performance trouble with our VoIP using Comcast. It worked great up until 3-4 months ago when we first noticed calls breaking up. I tried three different companies including QuickConnectUSA (local to Michigan), Vonage, and Nuvio. All of which will not work.

      SunRocket actually seemed to work the best, but I only tried it for a short time and do remember it breaking up, although it was the closest coming to an actual land-line call I've heard in awhile.

      If Comcast is the culprit, what's the solution? I am ready to switch broadband providers, next step.
  • Cancelled Vonage

    I have had Vonage for a while, and have had a couple issues; but in the last month, I have had numerous issues which I believe are ComCast related. I can't say if it is equipment upgrades at ComCast or downright diry pool, but I am swiching back to the telephone company. Both Vonage and ComCast loose.
    • Cancelled Vonage

      IMHO, never cancel Vonage without first cancelling Comcast and trying ANYTHING else. The evidence against Comcast (playing dirty) seems to be accumulating. Anyone know of a litigation team of law students that would be interested in tackling a class-action? It may potentially be worth hundreds of millions.
      • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

        has been with Vonage since April 10, 2010. I came to this company thinking it had no contract issued and would be less expence for me as a single mother working alone to support my kids. My plan was $14.99 a month and pay $22 for the first six months, but the second month they changed it to $25.99 thats putting me in more exspence that i was not awear of. since i've been with vonage my phone sevices has been horrible. Example my phone is very bad in connection wise; when i make outgoing calls the other person can hardly hear me, and my incoming calls everyone says my phone cuts up to much. No matter if I call and complain to costomer services they would try to help by reshooting the box it would work for 2 hours the most and then go back to the bad connection. So i called to cancle my services October 19,2010 and they told me i had a 1 year commitment contract and to cancle i had to pay $135 and i never gave my concent about any contract. The person i spoke to said they would reshoot my box and if it didn't work they would cancle the fee of $135 they were going to charge me. If it was that why am i getting charged the $135? iI DId not know i had a 1 year commitment contract and why i have to pay this $135 fee to cancle my services with vonage
    • Cancelled Vonage - reply

      Vonage itself is a very good service but is totally dependant on both the quality of your local ISP and the big I itself. Of course, DSL performance often stinks also so at the end of the day if the quality adversly affects your phone calls then who can blame you for dumping.
  • Comcast and Vonage

    As a long-time user of Comcast broadband I have to say throughput in general seems to have gone downhill over the past six months. The impact I've seen on my Vonage service seems directly related to oversubscription and lack of QoS rahter than a specific target on VoIP bits - IMHO
  • Vonage and Comcast

    I have over 25 years in Telecom and can tell you unequivically that large cable and telephone companies employee do screw around with other companies services when they can, particularly when they see a threat to there own job security. I have seen it happen with the break-up of AT&T. I am sure that right now comcast is playing around with my vonage service because recently I have had all sorts of connectivity issues and they claim as usual not our problem
  • Vonage Problems

    We have been using Vonage with very few problems until about 3 months ago when Cogeco our ISP seriously entered the VOIP market.We are going to be forced to change our system as it is almost inpossible to place a call in the middle of the day.

    Colin G.
  • Possible cause

    I've also experienced Vonage problems recently, after years of it working great. In checking the line I found that it provided the advertised speed of about 350Kb+ upload. However, the QOS at this speed was 25% to 35%. I found this amazing, because in order to average 350Kb when the drops are at 25% of that speed, there must be equivelant spikes above taht speed. If the limit were truly 350 (or 384) this seems unlikely or impossible.

    What I believe they're doing is providing 768K and then degrading the QOS so that the average is 384K. There's nothing "wrong" with providing the lower-tier product in this way, except for the "collateral damage" to competing VOIP products.

    As a test, I signed up for the 768K service. Sure enough, the QOS is above 95%. Surely if they can provide high quality 768K, then 384K should be the same quality or higher. My guess is that 384K is just a crippled 768K. And though I don't have any way to verify this, my guess is that upon signing up for Comcast's phone service they silently fix the 384K's QOS or simply open the pipe to 768K.
  • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

    If COMCAST does not work with VONAGE, what does? I am about to subscribe to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for their high-speed Internet access. Are they any better than COMCAST? Are there any happy Vonage users ot there and if so, what are their ISP's?
  • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

    If Comcast does not work with Vonage, what does? Are there any happy Vonage customers out there and if so, what ISP's are they using? I'm about to subscribe to Charter Communications. Will Vonage work well with their internet access?
  • There needs to be a civil law suit

    I tried to cancel Vonage 2 times now , and they were still charging me . When I called the third time I was on hold for some 25 minutes . So I called back and choose different option and was on hold for only 3 minutes. That???s how the get you if you want to cancel you are on hold for ever and you just have a question you do not wait so long . I told the guy that in do not want to be on hold for another 30 minutes and I just need to cancel so he transfer me , hold time 5minutes. Finally I got to talk to someone that barley spoke any English, and tried to tell me why I need to keep Vonage. After 20 minutes of trying to figure out what she was saying I got really frustrated and told them to just cancel my service . Not only they have been charging me my monthly fee but also cancellation fee . Great!!! Their call center is in Philippines so good luck understanding what they are saying when you call . There needs to be some class law suit against them. I know that I???m not the only person that got ripped off by them .
  • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

    You think you got the shaft... check this out!!!

    I started with Vonage, just like anyone, with the excitement of a new age phone company that treats their customers very well, and doesn't rip them off.

    skip forward in time to present day...

    I just got told by Vonage customer service that I couldn't get 13 months of back billing from them that they charged me for a phone I hadn't been using since may of 2007.

    I lived in Seattle at the time with my wife who was in the military, she was moved to Louisiana due to a change of station, so I cancelled my account prior to leaving... being that we knew we were going to move around a lot we didn't start online service so seeing any charges to our account was difficult, being that we moved we didn't receive our account info until November of 2007 (in Bulk I might add) and still really didn't notice due to so much happening in our lives at the time, then in February/March of 08 I see charges from Vonage on our account, I call them and they told me that it's no problem sir you can get all of that money back being that we can see you didn't use your phone, BUT you will have to talk to our cancellation dept to cancel your account... needless to say, I had a horrible time working around their hours, being mine are so long, that it took me till June to call to cancel, but I wasn't worried "I could get all of my money back, being that they could see that I didn't use their phone for over a year"...

    Nope... instead I got an offer to receive 10 dollars off service for a year, ooooooo I get 120 dollars of my hard earned money back. Vonage blows and is a major rip off, and I will see to it that everyone knows about it.

    William A Carpenter
  • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

    I know a lot of Tech Support Representatives from Vonage and they receive calls from customer having prob with their Vonage service where Comcast is their ISP. Basically, VOIP works perfectly if and only if the internet connection is good. Technically, network tests that TSRs do include badwidth test, latency level and packet loss level tests. Most of those test Comcast failed pass. Their customers are paying the exact amount for the internet but are not getting the exact service that they should be getting. I'm not quite sure but there's really something in there connection that causes problem for VOIP connection.
  • RE: Some Vonage users are frustrated about Comcast connection quality

    I just moved from a Cablevision-only area to a Comcast area and now almost all my vonage calls are dropped in mid-call.
    They are definitely doing something here!!