Pros Consistently excellent call/voice quality, great features incl. at no extra cost such as, E-911, 3-way, call blocking, call forward, voicemail, call alert, easy to use dashboard and a whole lot more
Cons price is a couple bucks higher than most VoIP providers, no auto call forward for when power/cable goes out.
Summary I have been using AOL Total Talk (formerly AOL VoIP) since it was in beta. I tested it because it was free, but ended up dropping my more expensive regular phone service within 2 months. The call quality is excellent, there are great features that you don't pay extra for like 3-way, call blocking (comes in handy with bill collectors and telemarketers-even used it on my inlaws a few times), caller i.d., call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail (with up to 7 voice mailboxes) that can be checked from any phone via an 800# or even from your email, call alert with features that allow you to decide whether or not to take the call coming in and a whole lot more. I haven't had to use it yet, but they do include Enhanced 911 service, only con here is that it can take up to 17 days for it to show the dispatcher the address you are calling from.
You have 2 types of routers or "TA"'s that you can use, both are easy to setup and free. One is for a reg LAN connection the other for wireless routing. Either route, both are very easy to setup.
As far as having multiple phones on 1 or both lines, I found the easiest way to do this was with cordless expandable phone systems. I have phones in all the rooms I need them in and no lines running here, there and everywhere.
The AOL Total Talk "Dashboard" is easy to work with. This is where you configure your voicemail, call forwarding/blocking, look at your bill, and everything else. In here you can see up to the last 100 incoming calls AND the last 100 outgoing calls. They don't limit you to 10 each way or 10 total here at AOL. And I am the only one who as access to the Dashboard. Now my kids can't make/recieve phonecalls I don't approve of and not get caught. They can delete all the #'s they want off of the handsets, but AOL is gonna tell on them each and every time as long as I take the few minutes to review it.
Overall, this is one product AOL hasn't gone wrong with.
With the exception of the fact that the beta testing is over (which means I now have to pay for it-HAHA) I rate AOL's Total Talk a 9+.
Pros Price, Features, Call Quality
Cons Multiple phones requires some work to setup
Summary Great price and call features. My favorite is "Blocking Specific Phone Numbers". Im on the DO NOT CALL LIST but still get telemarketing calls. Now I just see their number and block it to ever reaching my phone.
Pros Available phone numbers, soft phone
Cons not portable
Summary AOL is so very close to having an outstanding product, but the bean counters are keeping them from becoming a major player. Free soft phone is a PLUS compared to the ridiculous monthly charge from Vonage, but as of yet, AOL will not allow you to take your router with you, and plug it in anywhere, to any ISP as most others will allow.
Pros It sounded good, a great deal but nothing is perfect.
Cons Phone volumes vary, poor customer service, static on line.
Summary This was too good to be true, $14.95 for 500 minutes. Hook up was fairly simple but the three phones I have on this system all have different volumes. If someone puts you on hold with music playing you have to hold the hand set 5" from your ear so you don't bust your ear drums. The 2nd problem is tryung to keep your old number. They told me it takes 24 to 48 hours to return a letter to my email for the number to be transfered. I have called 4 times in a 20 day period and still no letter. I will soon be paying my phone company another $45.00 because I'm waiting for Vonage to transfer my old number and cancell my old service.
If you don't mind not being serviced go with Vonage.