A Little Knowledge : A Big Problem

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My younger son is in the middle of studies to become a network administrator, so of course he couldn’t resist monkeying around with his own private home network. It is a small affair with just a handful of devices – a PC, tablet, cell phone or two and, of course, a Phone.com analog telephone adapter (ATA).

And with that he managed to prove that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. He just couldn’t resist accessing the ATA, but he hasn’t quite learned enough yet (he’s in the middle of the course) to solve every network-related problem, even those he’s created himself.

Put another way, his phone doesn’t work any more.

For the tekkies among us: He accessed the ATA over the network and started playing around with some of the settings, in part to see how they work. The most critical one turned out to be the ATA’s IP address on the local area network. For various reasons, he decided to give all the devices on his network static IP addresses. He found the place on the ATA to set a static IP, even changed the setting to static IP, but forgot to enter the address before he pushed ‘enter.’ Thus, the network can’t find the ATA so he can’t get back into the ATA to restore the settings and, of course, he has no home phone service.


To go into more detail, I have what qualifies as a small office phone system, but my “office” extends to family members, some of whom live overseas, and includes virtual numbers, plus cell phones and laptops set up as extensions. That includes my son, who gets his International phone service via his Phone.com extension.

To make a long story short … here comes Phone.com’s excellent customer service to the rescue.

In what was a matter of not very many minutes I had the answer to my son’s dilemma. Indeed, it turned out to be a very simple procedure to rescue his ATA. I won’t go into all the details, because I don’t want to tempt any of my readers into trying their own experiments and then begging for help, but in brief it involved connecting the ATA directly to a PC, rather than plugging it into a network router.

This story also illustrates that when choosing a VoIP carrier, the availability and quality of support is just as important as the monthly price. And from experience I know that Phone.com support is available 24×7 (and I know that’s real from having needed help at weird hours around midnight) by phone, live chat or by eMail.


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