TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Packet8


Bob Kester (
Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:47:47 -0500

I was a Packet8 user for about a year (until about a year ago). Here
are some comments on my experiences.

First, I used the terminal adapter they provided on a fixed IP address
on my LAN. While, as shipped, it is configured to pull an IP address
via DHCP -- it can be configured to use a fixed IP. They have a FAQ
describing just how to set that up (and, I just checked, it is still

We never had a problem with delays or echoes that some have mentioned
here. Originally, the volume we were getting was a little higher than
what you would expect on a POTS line (which was certainly beneficial
to anyone that has some hearing loss). But, a firmware upgrade seemed
to adjust that downward somewhat.

When we signed up for service, their available numbers in our state
were nonexistent. (Since that time they have certainly corrected that
-- seems like they have numbers available in just about every town
around here). But, because of that, we did not see many incoming
calls, except for a few tests that we ran.

The rate center we picked for our number was a local call to a
military post that our daughter was able to call into from overseas.
We envisioned she would be able to use that number to complete
telephone calls to us -- but that particular military post she had to
go thru the base operator, and they would not complete calls to that
particular exchange. Since she could use a calling card to complete
the call to us, that was not a big deal. And, I could have had that
number moved to some other location where she could dial directly.

The problems we had were primarily two:

(1) Many times, when we placed a call, we would get a busy. Initially
the TA only provided a reorder busy and it was hard to tell just where
the problem was. (A later firmware updated provided a real busy,

(2) On some occasions, we would have a one-way dropout of audio. Very
disconcerting! You could be talking to someone, suddenly you realized
they weren't answering -- they were maybe still hearing you, maybe

On both these problems the troubleshooting method was to run pings
against their server. There were some times when that produced dismal
responses, and according to them it was my ISP's problem. But, after
running a traceroute to their server, and running ping on the next hop
out from the destination, things always were solid. Certainly not my
ISP's problem, and most likely theirs.

The need to dial all numbers as 10-digit numbers were a problem for
some people here :-) and as a result it didn't get the use it might
have otherwise.

I never had any problem with their support people. Generally, my
questions were such I could email them, and always got good responses.
I can't think of any situation where I needed an immediate urgent
reply, and generally I made it clear in my email they could take their
time in answering. But, I was always satisfied with them.

Why did we drop the service? We were paying just a few pennies over
$20 a month for unlimited calling in the US and Canada. Our telephone
company came up with a $15 unlimited calling (US only). Since we
never call Canada, that wasn't a serious consideration. In exchange
for that $5 difference, we gave up the second line for outgoing calls.
The needed number of redials (because of the incompleted calls) were
frustrating. Again, most of our phones have a REDIAL button, but that
doesn't always get used :-(

The only other observation. Their records of call usage (inbound and
outbound) were online, and great. You could go in and view them in
real time, any time. But, when I called and canceled the service --
that apparently immediately eliminated my access to them. My account
name and password were off their books!

As I mentioned, my experiences are now a year old. It's a fast
changing field, and I'm sure they have made many changes in the
service they provide.


The FROM: email address has been set up for receiving SPAM.
Don't bother using it -- email to it won't be read.
Right now, you can use: TCdig01 [SHIFT/2] kesters [DOT] org
(Until the scumbags figure that one out.)

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