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I can't tell you too much about voip providers per se; I used to work for one, it's been a while, but I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't use their service even now.
I can tell you that your service is going to be at least as dependent on your internet service provider as on the VoIP provider: you have to start worrying about packet loss, latentcy and jitter (irregular timing of packets). If the jitter is bad, but you have decent upload and download speed, you won't be able to talk, but your ISP isn't likely to fix the problem... and it isn't something that you would know just from using your internet connection for web surfing.
We used a product called 'myvoipspeed' (check myvoipspeed.net) which would measure bandwidth, latency, packet loss and jitter. If you're shopping around for a VoIP provider, they should have some sort of test tool such as this available, if they don't, you won't ever be able to get to their tech support department, because they will be swamped by calls from customers with bad internet connections that they can never troubleshoot.
I can tell you flat out that when I left (about 3 years ago) Comcast was doing traffic shaping that's bad for VoIP users, if you want good VoIP quality through them, you'll need to look at using their phone service.
Doesn't make sense. Lots of people use pc-to-pc and pc-to-landline voip (like skype) so there should some adequate service providers. I'm not looking for CD quality sound, just a reasonable connection to support a conversation. Both Ekiga and Twinkle mention `Diamondcard Worldwide Communication Service'. Any experiences with them or other providers?.
I can't find a myvoipspeed.net, but I can find myvoipspeed.com;is that what you meant?
p.s. One of the biggest pieces of hurt when it comes to VoIP is good NAT traversal, necessary to initiate an inbound call. If you can find a service provider that can tell you how they do that (and 99% of their service personnel won't understand how that's done, so don't go that direction; I think that you're better off sending an email that can get sent to the right department...).
Also, find out if the service provider will tell you what the actual SIP address is. If you have this, you can use whatever device you want with their service. A lot of places have this info password protected behind the service interface to a SIP device that they send to you. They will send you a soft phone or ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter).