Friday, August 14, 2009

Farewell Vonage... Hello RingCentral!

The company that I work for has been a Vonage customer for almost 2 years now (ALMOST!), and while we never had any complaints with the service, it really isn't designed very well for a growing small business like ours. I would still probably recommend it for personal VOIP or single phone line (their ATA adapter with built in Caller ID is top notch and the website is pretty easy to use), but if you want more business features I would recommend looking at www.RingCentral.com instead. They offer features such as an Auto-Attendant (i.e.... press 1 for Sales or 2 for Support...), an optional PC based call controller for answering/forwarding calls, hold music, extensions on toll free or local lines, custom ring schedules (business hours, after hours, Morning/Afternoon shifts), Company Directory, and a lot more advanced options regarding how, when, and where each phone line and extension rings.
So if you are looking to setup a new phone system for a small business, save yourself some time and money and go with RingCentral from the get go. We started with two Vonage lines, expanded to three, and then finally decided to switched over to RingCentral when we got our fourth line. It then took almost 3 weeks and 3 phone calls to port the numbers over from Vonage to Ring Central (Vonage had to manually remove the numbers from their database...) and it cost us $160 to cancel the Vonage account because we hadn't quite reached the end of our 2 year contract yet.
For more info on how RingCentral works check out this video:






Next up: Getting my RingCentral extension to work with Google Voice :-P

15 comments:

Art Dinkin said...

When did your ring central system go live? Any problems? I am opening a new enterprise on October 1 and need to make a phone decision. There will be 3 people and we need 4 voice lines + fax. Ring Central may just be a perfect fit. I would appreciate any additional feedback you could provide. Please contact me at adinkin@centralfinancial.com Thanks!

Greg Bray said...

Well we have been using their system now for almost 8 months with no major issues, so I would highly recommend it! We started with just our main numbers so we could setup the auto attendant and call tree, then moved all of our personal Vonage lines over to RingCentral digital lines and extensions. It would have been much easier to just do everything at the start and not have to deal with transferring numbers from one provider to another.

The biggest decision starting out would be whether to go with VOIP ATA adapters (allow you to make calls using existing "Plain Old Telephone Service" phones) or to go with a fully digital phone system using Linksys phones. We already had POTS phones that we wanted to use, so we bought the ATA adapters for about $35 a piece from Ring Central. If I was starting a new business I would probably look into the RingCentral Office plan, which includes 4 lines, an internet fax line, and digital Linksys IP phones for $100 per month and a one time $90 fee for each IP phone. The Phones and ATA boxes are unlocked, so you can use them with another VOIP provider if you want. Vonage on the other hand locks the ATA device so that you can only use it with their service and doesn't offer an IP phone option.

Another option would be someone like http://www.toktumi.com/, but RingCentral seems a bit more professional and business orientated to me.

RC Social Media said...

Hello Greg, I'm a representative for RingCentral,and just wanted to let you now we will be removing videos from our our www.youtube.com/ringcentralonline account to a new one at www.youtube.com/ringcentral. The video you have embedded on this page will not be viewable next week, so we wanted to give you a heads up. Thanks for the link!

Greg Bray said...

Thanks for the heads up. I updated the video. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Your reviews and comments have been very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

We are looking at Ring Central small business package with 4 lines etc.

My question:

How big of an Internet connection will we require assuming that 3 lines will be in use at all times?

Will it require a T1 line? (what are you currently using in your business?)

Thank you in advance for your help.

Greg Bray said...

Good question! Ringcentral recommends having at least 90kbps available for upload for their high quality setting or 36kbps for the low quality setting. Other network parameters such as latency and dropped packets can have a big impact as well. See here for instructions on how to test your internet connection for VOIP compatibility.

We have 2 lines at the office and use a standard business class Internet connection provided by Comcast cable. I think it is something like 8mbit down and 1mbit up. The limiting factor is usually the upload speed, and I would recommend finding something with at least 1-2mbit upload capacity. It also is a good idea to use a router that can assign a higher priority to VOIP traffic, or even setup the VOIP system on it's own separate public network. We purchased a second router that connects to the cable modem and assigns public IP addresses to all of our VOIP adapters.

Good luck!

Heron said...

We had a very poor experience with Ring Central—dropped calls, unauthorized charges to our credit card, efforts to transfer our toll free number from the current provider were slow and the responses to our inquiries on status inaccurate.

When we canceled the service, Ring Central advised that we either needed to fill out five forms to return the phones and get our money back, or pay an extra $200 if we wanted to keep the phones and use them. (The phones we purchased from them were locked so that they were only usable through Ring Central). I think they were trying to punish us for not liking their poor service.

Anonymous said...

I have a small accounting firm. My office has 2 fulltime and one partime employee. I currently have 2 vonange lines and want to move to ring central. Can I get by with 2 lines? Do I need phones, or can I just use the softphone with headsets? Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review...I am 99.9% ready to make the move to Ring Central, can you tell me if you are still happy with the service after this long? Any major issues or dropped calls?

Thanks again for your help!

Greg Bray said...

The choice of softphone vs IP-phone vs ATA Adapter and standard phone is up to you. If you have existing equipment then the ATA adapter is usually the most cost effective. If you are starting fresh you may want to get the IP phone. Soft phone costs extra per month I believe, but works well for people that just use a laptop+headset.

We still have no complaints with the RingCentral service. No issues with dropped calls other than a problem we had with one of our routers. After replacing it we have had not had any issues with call quality or dropped calls. The features and price offered by RingCentral are excellent!

Greg said...

For a small cost, you can purchase a digital VOIP HD phone from Ring Central. These phones plug directly into the internet router in your home or office and they work fantastic. There are some additional features and the sound quality is unrivaled.ring central

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Anthony Centore Ph.D. said...

Greg,
You completely answered my question in the comments!! We have been using Vonage (and Verizon) at my company ( http://thriveworks.com ), and we're making the move to Ring Central. We have these Vonage converters/adaptors, and I was wondering if they would work with another service. Anyway, you said "Vonage on the other hand locks the ATA device so that you can only use it with their service..." BRILLIANT!! There are adaptors on Amazon for around $15, so I'll order some today. Anyway, thanks for saving me the time and hassle of trying to use the Vonage adaptors.

--Anthony

telcan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.