Reliability 1, Technology 0.

We’ve been messing around with VoIP for the past couple of months, the latest contender being AT&T CallVantage. VoIP is pretty cool technology, in that it takes phone service, which has been around for over a century, and sends it out over your internet connection. You can take the phone adapter that provides this service, plug it into any broadband connection, and your phone number is active there. Anywhere in the world.

Too bad it didn’t work as planned.

There’s a couple of caveats with VoIP. Unlike POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), it doesn’t work during a power outage. No internet connection means no phone connection. And since it’s portable, you need to make sure your 911 information is up to date in case of an emergency.

We’ve had CallVantage service from AT&T for about two months. Our home telephone number was transferred to the service. Outgoing calls have worked beautifully with the exception of not needing to dial “1” to dial a different area code and having to dial all 10-digits for all calls.

Inbound calls have been a different matter.

At first, our phone would ring four times and then instead of transferring to voice mail, it would just drop. Callers would get what we call “dead air” and then back to dial tone.

When I had AT&T look into the trouble, they did something so that our phones never rang and all calls went to voicemail.

Not a convenient scenario.

I’ve been on the phone with AT&T Technical Support for a total of 10+ hours over the past week, and when it wasn’t fixed today as I was promised by a Tier III support person, I decided enough is enough. I placed the order to switch back to Verizon.

VoIP is a promising technology and will eventually be the way everyone is connected by telephone. But it’s not 100% there yet. And with family literally scattered all over the globe, it’s important that our phone service is reliable.

Call me old fashioned.