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Closing Thoughts

I found the NETGEAR box to be a nice access point and router with a fair level of functionality. It did what it was designed to do and the basic functions worked well. I also enjoyed using AOL's TotalTalk service; under normal usage, I had high-quality voice service with a large number of features such as caller ID, voice messaging and call forwarding.

Where TotalTalk gave me trouble was with its shared usage of my Internet connection. For this reason, I'd be hesitant to rely on it as my only phone. Also, standard phone service will work when the house power is off, but since VoIP service relies on a powered router, you wouldn't be able to use it during a power outage.

I also didn't enjoy almost thinking my computer had been infected by a virus after I dutifully loaded the AOL Triton client. Since this step proved to be unnecessary, I hope AOL revises the installation instructions so that users won't have to install yet another application on their systems whose main purpose is to deliver advertising. After all, TotalTalk is a pay-for service!

The cost of the service compares well to standard service if you need all of the extra features, but not as well if all you need is a dial tone. Thus, I'll be sticking with my standard phone service, but I'll keep my eye on the developing VoIP market. It doesn't meet my needs yet, but I believe its time will come.

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