Author Topic: Home phone service recommendation  (Read 6960 times)

Sibley

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Home phone service recommendation
« on: June 27, 2015, 12:51:53 PM »
After spending an hour reading IP Daley's communication guide, I'm giving up. Please spoon feed while I work on the headache.

I currently have Vonage for home phone at $36 per month for everything. Cell service isn't good enough to do without the home phone however. I'm willing to switch for cheaper, but also need decent call quality and e-911. Voicemail and caller id would be nice, but I can work around them if necessary. Keeping the current number is preferred but not required. We use 300+ minutes per month, having trouble finding numbers on the website.

I was thinking Nettalk because I did figure out that Ooma isn't the best, and it's be $75 for a year or something like that. Anything better than Nettalk?

forummm

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2015, 01:24:12 PM »
What about having wi-fi based calling at home? I know IP hates Republic. But I have a Republic Wireless phone, and  it works well for me, is pretty cheap, and works away from home too. I'm sure he will come by and give you a lot of better advice.

BlueHouse

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2015, 02:21:53 PM »
When I cancelled one of my vonage numbers, they reduced the other down to 9.99 per month without my even asking. When I finally let go of the second vonage line, I just didn't have the heart to listen to them beg to keep me as a customer, so I begged hem not to say a word about it and just let me cancel. They were so darn nice! 
My point is that I hunk you can save at least 25/month on that vonage line.

Sibley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2015, 05:00:21 PM »
Part of the reception issue is a human ear issue. I don't like cell phones in general - just can't understand the words as well. Then the fact that reception is spotty anyway (for more normal people), and anything cell based isn't a good option.

BlueHouse - any tips for getting a better deal? I don't usually have much luck.

Joggernot

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2015, 05:52:14 PM »
We have Vonage for around $19/mo.  We have to have Internet to Skype the kids, so Vonage was the logical choice.  $36 is a bit much for Vonage.

Ricky

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2015, 06:03:37 PM »
Skype is only $2.99 for unlimited in U.S. and Canada. Why not just do that? Plenty of traditional home phones that are Skype ready. Vonage is a ripoff.

Joggernot

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2015, 07:35:43 PM »
Skype is only $2.99 for unlimited in U.S. and Canada. Why not just do that? Plenty of traditional home phones that are Skype ready. Vonage is a ripoff.
No one I want to call has a Skype-ready phone.  The kids have iPads.  Vonage isn't a ripoff for most of us.

Ricky

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2015, 07:39:38 PM »
Skype is only $2.99 for unlimited in U.S. and Canada. Why not just do that? Plenty of traditional home phones that are Skype ready. Vonage is a ripoff.
No one I want to call has a Skype-ready phone.  The kids have iPads.  Vonage isn't a ripoff for most of us.

They don't have to? You can call anyone from your own Skype phone. And I mean you can still call your kids with Skype?

Another option is Google Talk + OBI200. One time ~$50 investment for free VOIP calls forever basically.

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2015, 08:30:01 PM »
The short and sweet answer for non gearheads in the guide is always VOIPo. $185 for two years ($7.71/month), they provide the ATA and support, not to mention more features than you can shake a stick at.

Ricky

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2015, 08:34:10 PM »
The short and sweet answer for non gearheads in the guide is always VOIPo. $185 for two years ($7.71/month), they provide the ATA and support, not to mention more features than you can shake a stick at.

That doesn't look bad if you need all those features. Also, currently a sale @ $149. Yeah, I'd say in comparison, Vonage is a ripoff.

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2015, 10:03:58 PM »
Yeah, I'd say in comparison, Vonage is a ripoff.

Vonage is always a ripoff in comparison to other providers. They're only "cheap" in comparison to Ma Bell.

wienerdog

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2015, 10:31:03 PM »
I have been using Google Voice and the original OBI110.  I really like it but it doesn't support 911.  I integrated GV back with Sprint and now just use GV for my main number when I kicked Spring to the curb.  Integration with other numbers and devices is handy.

Broadvoice gets good reviews and supports 911.

N

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2015, 10:46:06 PM »
Ive been using nettalk duo for a year plus.  The nettalk thing is supposed to be wireless, but it wouldnt work, so its now wired in.
The problem I have with it, is that it often goes offline for no reason (that I can discern). Even though it is wired in! So I miss calls, or cant dial out and have to reset it and futz with it. Its annoying. yeah, its cheap, but it seems really unreliable.

I was thinking of switching to voip.ms.

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2015, 09:11:52 AM »
The problem I have with it, is that it often goes offline for no reason (that I can discern). Even though it is wired in! So I miss calls, or cant dial out and have to reset it and futz with it. Its annoying. yeah, its cheap, but it seems really unreliable.

Don't forget that you can do call forwarding to a cellphone if the ATA goes offline, so you don't potentially miss calls.

Anyway, appreciate the feedback on this. I'm going to re-contact a couple other users of the service to see how they're getting on with it after a couple years as I hadn't heard from them in a while. Hate putting it so bluntly, but even with the problems you're reporting, it's still better than most feedback I've gotten from MagicJack users... doesn't necessarily make the Nettalk option any better than king of the cheap and proprietary crap pile, just better than most of the other solutions at that price point (which isn't saying much).

All the same, if you aren't the only one encountering these problems and it's not network misconfiguration (it can happen, NAT can be finicky with some VoIP services depending on the router), I may drop Nettalk as the easy stingy option and just start telling people again that if they want those price points and reliability, they need to be willing to configure an ATA or softphone.

Kaplin261

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2015, 12:41:36 PM »
Is there a VOIP provider that supports medical devices? DW has a pacemaker and has a reader(Merlin) that has to have a landline connection to modem dial her results to her doctor.

N

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2015, 12:42:15 PM »
I looked up my records. I got it 5/2013 so its been 2 years. I paid 56.29 and then 39.94 in July 2014. So, 100$ for 2 years of phone service, and it also allows me to get along with the 10$/mo airvoice plan.

I realize Im hijacking the OP thread. Sorry! For the little that I really use the nettalk home phone, its tolerable. I mainly use it to make service calls (like calling the health insurance company or something like that) where I dont want to waste minutes on my cell. If I used it more, Id be more unhappy with it.

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2015, 02:50:30 PM »
Is there a VOIP provider that supports medical devices? DW has a pacemaker and has a reader(Merlin) that has to have a landline connection to modem dial her results to her doctor.

It really depends on the type of modem used and the amount of data being transferred, and FAX and alarm/PERS systems are easier to make work. Traditional data modem communications really don't work well over VoIP due to jitter and compression much above 9600 baud (AT +MS=V32,0,9600 - honestly, the slower the better, potentially all the way down to 1200 baud) using G.711 pass through which itself requires a higher amount of bandwidth, which comes back to how good and steady your internet connection truly is. You'd also need to connect the modem directly to the ATA device.

Theoretically, an Obihai ATA (like the OBi-110) with VOIP.ms using premium call routing and G.711 pass through could work if your internet connection is stable enough and the pacemaker modem could be set slow enough.... otherwise, it's a crap shoot.

wienerdog

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2015, 02:53:04 PM »
Is there a VOIP provider that supports medical devices? DW has a pacemaker and has a reader(Merlin) that has to have a landline connection to modem dial her results to her doctor.

The provider wouldn't really support, it is a hardware item.  I bought the OBi110 originally because it has the FXO port that supports conversion over to analog telco lines.  I have never used it in this configuration as I bought the cheap wireless phones with one base that I plugs into the Obi then several wireless phones work off that base so I have phones in different areas of the house.

You would essentially make sure your landline is disconnected from the house and hook the Obihai to your internal phone wiring.  I think the Obi110 can support 5 old school bell ringers total.

Here is a list of devices that support FXO:

http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/VoIP+Gateways


Kaplin261

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2015, 02:56:47 PM »
Is there a VOIP provider that supports medical devices? DW has a pacemaker and has a reader(Merlin) that has to have a landline connection to modem dial her results to her doctor.

It really depends on the type of modem used and the amount of data being transferred, and FAX and alarm/PERS systems are easier to make work. Traditional data modem communications really don't work well over VoIP due to jitter and compression much above 9600 baud (AT +MS=V32,0,9600 - honestly, the slower the better, potentially all the way down to 1200 baud) using G.711 pass through which itself requires a higher amount of bandwidth, which comes back to how good and steady your internet connection truly is. You'd also need to connect the modem directly to the ATA device.

Theoretically, an Obihai ATA (like the OBi-110) with VOIP.ms using premium call routing and G.711 pass through could work if your internet connection is stable enough and the pacemaker modem could be set slow enough.... otherwise, it's a crap shoot.

I may have to give it another shot, I purchased a Obihai ATA not to long ago and never got it to work. With your recommendations I'll see what happens.

We use to have the Comcast triple play and the telephone modem they provided worked flawlessly for pacemaker.

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2015, 03:34:20 PM »
I may have to give it another shot, I purchased a Obihai ATA not to long ago and never got it to work. With your recommendations I'll see what happens.

I forgot to mention something. The G.711 codec comes in two flavors, A-Law and μ-Law. A-Law is what much of the world predominately uses for voice encoding to digital over voice services, whereas μ-Law is mostly used in North America. Transcoding between A-Law and μ-Law can degrade call quality, so use G.711μ specifically to preserve as much call quality in the modem transmission as possible.

BlueHouse

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2015, 03:58:00 PM »
Part of the reception issue is a human ear issue. I don't like cell phones in general - just can't understand the words as well. Then the fact that reception is spotty anyway (for more normal people), and anything cell based isn't a good option.

BlueHouse - any tips for getting a better deal? I don't usually have much luck.
Ip daily is clearly the expert on this topic, but for vonage, I would just call them and ask. They are acutely aware that they are in a dying industry and when you explain to them that you just don't want to pay that much money, they just start throwing the deals at you. I don't think I would sign a two year commitment though. Who knows if they'll even still exist? 
I was very fond of all the vonage features and knew they saved me so much money when I first changed over so I wanted to "be loyal".  But I just didn't use the service anymore and I think that's what the majority of their customers are finding too.
I hate holding an iPhone to my ear, so I have a Bluetooth enabled phone system in my house (5 handsets and a speakerphone) that works with my iPhone. There's still the cell phone delay/lack of feedback, but other than that it's almost landline quality.

Sibley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2015, 02:57:56 PM »
OP back! Yes, I've been watching, just not posting. I've confirmed with my roommate that she's ok if the phone number changes, just in case. I'm ordering Voipo. I really like the idea of paying for the phone with my cc (cash back rewards!) and also not having to worry about it for a while.

Thanks all for your input and suggestions, much appreciated.

Jac123

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2015, 08:09:21 AM »
If you have a good AT&T cell signal try At&t wireless home phone service.  Unlimited nationwide service $ 20.00 per month.  I have been using it for a few years.  With go phone version it is a flat $20 no extra taxes.  Some states add a 911 fee. Just purchase the receiver box ($79.99) and port your number and you good to go. 
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/wirelesshomephoneprepaid.html

Daley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2015, 10:46:46 PM »
If you have a good AT&T cell signal try At&t wireless home phone service.  Unlimited nationwide service $ 20.00 per month.  I have been using it for a few years.  With go phone version it is a flat $20 no extra taxes.  Some states add a 911 fee. Just purchase the receiver box ($79.99) and port your number and you good to go.

Although Sibley's already got a solution, since it's been brought up, I might as well respond.

This is only a marginally decent deal, and only for people who don't have sufficient or stable broadband access to do VoIP on. There's also cheaper ways, such as a used AT&T carrier locked ZTE WF720 units (seriously, like $10 or less dirt cheap) that can be paired with nearly any AT&T MVNO's SIM card for making and receiving calls. If you know how ridiculous "unlimited" phone plans are, you can easily get under $20/month on this end using any of the AT&T MVNOs from the guide. Even a "trivial" amount of time like 1000 minutes is 16 hours and 40 minutes of talk time a month, or an average of 30 minutes of talk time a day. 1000 minutes seems like far less time when it isn't measured in hours, doesn't it?

Even today, most users rarely exceed about 700 minutes of talk time a month on their cellphones with no home phone... and that's considered a heavy user by the industry. Most people just don't call much anymore... it's all text messages and IM clients.

If you want a GSM carrier unlocked device, the thing to search for on Amazon or Ebay is a "fixed wireless terminal", and GSM 850/1900 units (what you need in the US) can be had new for under $60, then you can use any T-Mobile MVNO you like for equal or cheaper than $20 a month as well. I'd say you could use these carrier unlocked terminals with AT&T MVNOs, but these aren't UMTS 3G devices and AT&T is pulling the plug on their 2G network, but T-Mobile is keeping their 2G support around.

If you only need/want one singular phone in the house going this route, there's also GSM desk phones that can also do texting if that sort of thing floats your boat. There's plenty of these things available for less than $60 as well.

There's also cheap, used fixed wireless terminals from Verizon available on Ebay that can be activated for $17 a month for 1000 minutes on Selectel.

Just pointing this out for those who can't do VoIP for some reason, but are considering home phone service of some stripe. As always, there's cheaper methods than AT&T when you know what's available.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:54:19 PM by I.P. Daley »

Clean Shaven

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2015, 09:03:39 AM »
To the OP - do you want a home phone because the cell coverage isn't reliable where you live? If so, is that just in some parts of the house? (can you reliably make calls if you stand in one specific spot?)

I don't have home landline or voip service. Instead, I have a Bluetooth handset phone that is a regular landline phone, but can also connect to a cell phone by Bluetooth, like a car hands free setup. When home, I just leave my cell phone plugged in and lying in one spot (a spot with good coverage), and any incoming calls ring on the handset. I can call out too, just like a regular phone. Mine is from Panasonic and came with 3 handsets, but there are ones with more, so you can scatter phones around the house.

Downside of this setup is no 911 function, no phone when the cell isn't home. I'm OK with that.

Sibley

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Re: Home phone service recommendation
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2015, 09:52:29 AM »
I want landline for several reasons:

1. The cell service itself isn't that great, no. It works, but gets distortion.
2. I can't hear the cell ring unless it's in the same room. I live in a tri level and am not willing to carry it around.
3. I don't remember to charge the damn thing half the time.
4. Even with good cell reception, I don't hear as well on cell phones as on a home phone. No idea why, but it's the same with every phone I've ever used.