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[July 19, 2004]

My Progress in Switching to AT&T CallVantage

 

BY RICH TEHRANI


If you’ve read my article on the difficulty in porting my home telephone number via Vonage, you will know it took me five months to get frustrated enough that I decided it was easier to switch to another VoIP (define - news - alert) carrier than to wait for Vonage to port my number. I received many letters about my Vonage article, some with similar LNP (define - news - alert) experiences and others with less painful ones. Everyone, it seems, is contemplating switching to VoIP and there were many opinions expressed on my experience.

 

As I have mentioned in my previous writings, CallVantage (news - alert) does not offer nation wide coverage, so my CallVantage number was out of New Jersey. While waiting to port, the line was used exclusively for outbound calling until there were numbers in my area available, which I was told would be soon.

 

On Monday, July 12th, I received a release from AT&T (news - alert - quote) saying that CallVantage would be accessible in my home town! This was excellent news to me. I called immediately to get my number ported via local number portability (LNP). I was told that the transfer would take a few weeks. I didn’t believe this for a second based on my past experience but I played along. To my amazement, in the same week - Friday, July 17th to be exact -  I received a call from AT&T to tell me that my number had ported! Success! I was so happy.

 

My equipment at home now needed updating. I was sent some instructions to follow and was given a few numbers of people that could help me if there were any problems. I suspected that not everyone gets this VIP treatment (I am not complaining one bit, mind you) and was curious as to what problems might arise.

 

That night, I followed the instructions to port my number, which included clearing some information from the D-Link telephony adapter (TA) and downloading the latest upgrades. You are required to wait between 5-25 minutes for the updates to download into your TA and once completed, the status light on the TA turns green.

 

I decided to embark on this process somewhere after Conan O’Brian’s monologue, but before the musical guest. I waited 25 minutes, then 30 (until whatever comes on after Conan) and then I threw in the towel and went to bed. I had lots of work to do on Saturday, so I woke up just after 7:00 AM and decided to check on the TA. Still, no green light.

 

I called the number given to me in the e-mailed instructions (not the special VIP numbers, as it was so early) and explained to them that my green light didn’t come on. The support agent told me to repeat the steps of clearing the key, followed by performing a soft reset of the TA (while keeping my current settings) and then going back into the CallVantage site to download the software again. When we got to the point where I was supposed to wait 5-25 minutes, I asked her if she was going to wait with me until the light turns green and she said yes. Nice! Support people will usually try to get rid of you as soon as humanly possible. Well, not  one minute later the light turned green and my service was working. I had a dial tone. She placed a call to me just to make sure I was receiving inbound calls and it worked like a charm.

 

I finally have VoIP and LNP. This is a historic moment for me, after having written about Internet Telephony since the mid-nineties. I have finally converted my home number.

 

I do have a simple warning to others that want to go down the same path: no cell phones work in my house, a by product of living in Fairfield County, CT where neighborhood residents don’t allow many cell towers. If I didn’t have a PSTN (define - news - alert) line as a backup, I would never have been able to have the support person walk me through the process of fixing my service. And another thing, before switching 100% to VoIP in my house, I will invest in a UPS just to be sure I have telephony at all times. You may want to consider doing the same.

 

I am signing off now to make some VoIP calls. In the mean time, may your QoS be excellent, your calls crystal clear and your LNP issues non-existent!

 

 

Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments. Participate in our forums.

 

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