Author Topic: New VOIP based home phone options  (Read 582 times)

Sibley

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New VOIP based home phone options
« on: April 16, 2021, 06:05:13 PM »
I've been using VOIPO for my home phone for the past years, and I'm very tired of it not working at random intervals. I still want a home phone. Recommend options? Slight preference to port the number, but also ok with getting a new one. I am not interested in a lot of detailed technical setup.

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2021, 06:23:33 PM »
@Daley  you know of any?

Daley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2021, 06:56:15 PM »
VOIPo's still my go-to for non-technical, non-proprietary home phone, and it's still one of the highest reviewed pre-rolled services at a reasonable price over at DSLReports from what I can tell.

Future Nine's a zombie provider at this point - I ported our number out last year and I'm still getting insufficient fund messages, and Nitzan who was quite active over at DSLR just vanished a couple years ago. PhonePower no longer sells pre-configured ATAs. Of the original list, that really only leaves NetTalk for pre-configured devices, which was only an alternative recommended if you were entertaining going MagicJack or Ooma's "free" tier. I've not kept quite that close up with VoIP since retiring the guide, but I know the pending charlie foxtrot of STIR/SHAKEN is likely going to make or break a lot of VoIP providers the next few months, and everyone but Bandwidth.com is playing their cards tight on whether they're actually prepared or not.

I can very highly recommend VOIP.ms still, but it requires a bit of system end configuration and then provisioning your own hardware, which the GrandStream HT802 is a decent ATA for the money these days. These are the instructions for configuration. In theory, you should only have to do it once, and their Wiki is quite thorough in their documentation... but it's not for people who panic and have their eyes glaze over at the mention of technical stuff or multiple steps of instructions.

So, all that said... when you say it's going out, is it a problem with the hardware, or a server outage, possible routing issues with the internet service, or what? What's support have to say about it?

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2021, 07:21:34 PM »
I've never really gotten useful information from them as to what the problem is, just that they'll take care of it. Right now I think the primary issue is that the contract ended. They're terrible about junk emails, so I pretty much ignore all the "renew now!" emails, because I've never not gotten them. Also, they're unreliable enough that I haven't been able to just use them for work when I'm home, and have had to use my cell phone. That's always been the case.

Edit:
Periodically, and without warning, it just doesn't work. Can't receive calls, can't make calls. If I unplug the box for a bit, that generally fixes it, but there have been multiple times when I've had to contact them for support. It is not a service that I can pick up the phone and trust it to just work, every time. If I'm going to pay for phone service, it needs to work. Every time. I will have to consider relying on my cell phone, which I don't really want to do.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2021, 07:33:15 PM by Sibley »

Daley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2021, 07:40:59 PM »
*sigh* Sorry to hear that.

The only alternative I can think of for "simple" to set up, cheaper home phone service is to use a cellular wireless ATA (cellphone to home phone bridge). Unfortunately, I don't know of any models off the top of my head that are carrier unlocked or VoLTE capable with AT&T, Verizon, or especially T-Mobile... if I knew you had good T-Mo reception, and knew of an unlocked T-Mo VoLTE capable ATA, you could always stick in a US Mobile SIM and just get a voice only plan for under $10/month. Otherwise, if you're stuck with an AT&T device and MVNO, you're looking at $20/month. At that point, you might as well just throw money at Vonage or Ooma's full price service, where you may or may not still potentially have problems given some of the issues you're describing.

I'll be honest with you, telecomms in this country are a hot mess these days, and I suspect there's gonna be some unexpected changes within the next 12-18 months. Between the pending Verizon Wireless/America Movil merger, major legacy wireless network shutdowns from the big three, union rattlings for changing internet into a utility and the potential return of net neutrality, STIR/SHAKEN implementation with voice services, and Facebook's win in the Supreme Court basically making modern robocalling legal again due to poorly written 1980's legislation...

Yeah. I hope the changes are for the better, but the cracks and divides just keep widening.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2021, 07:43:37 PM by Daley »

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2021, 08:04:55 PM »
Well, that's a bummer. Part of why I don't want to completely drop a home phone (aside from I don't actually like talking on the cell) is my parents are going to be living with me for a while, and they are not ok with just cell phones.

Google searches have turned up 1-VOIP or VOIPLY as possibilities, so looking at them as well.

NorCal

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 09:19:34 PM »
I used Ooma for a while. Canít beat the price.

We did eventually have some call quality issues, but I suspect this was due to the not-great internet service we had at the time.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2021, 12:51:18 AM »
Does your internet provider offer a phone service? Might be more expensive though.

RunningMan3

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2021, 08:16:21 AM »
For an out of the box solution without too much technical setup you should look at Ooma. You just plug their unit into your network and plug in a plain old phone or the older cordless phone handsets into the Ooma box. You also get Ooma support to call if you need help with setup.

Dave1442397

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2021, 10:38:17 AM »
I used 1-Voip for a year, but then I switched my cellphone from Verizon to Mint and found that International calling was cheaper with Mint than with 1-Voip, so I got rid of the landline.

1-Voip were great to deal with. They sent the equipment, took two minutes to set it up, and when I had an issue getting it to work they had great (US-based) customer service. Their tech was able to push an update and get me running in a few minutes. He said they had just switched to a new equipment supplier, and not all the new units had been properly updated.

Service was good, and I paid for the year upfront. I think it was around $120 for the year.

https://www.1-voip.com/
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 02:16:30 PM by Dave1442397 »

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2021, 06:54:44 PM »
Does your internet provider offer a phone service? Might be more expensive though.

Comcast. (insert swear words) Nuff said.

FINate

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2021, 09:57:54 PM »
We use Ooma, very happy with it. My only gripe is that it can take a few minutes to initialize after a power cycle, but putting it on the UPS makes this more or less moot.

Also, a recommendation for those using VOIP: Make sure your router has a QoS (Quality of Service) setting (extra good if specifically for VOIP) and make sure it's enabled. This ensures that no single stream can hog the connection. VOIP requires very little bandwidth (0.5Mbps-ish), but if your computer is saturating the connection downloading a large system update or your kids are watching HD vids, Ring cam uploading video... or whatever, you can quickly experience call quality issues.

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2021, 07:24:31 PM »
I'm going to give 1-VOIP a try. Getting a new phone number, this is my home number and I think about 5 people have it, so its no hassle to change.

geekette

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2021, 07:35:38 PM »
Periodically, and without warning, it just doesn't work. Can't receive calls, can't make calls. If I unplug the box for a bit, that generally fixes it, but there have been multiple times when I've had to contact them for support. It is not a service that I can pick up the phone and trust it to just work, every time. If I'm going to pay for phone service, it needs to work. Every time. I will have to consider relying on my cell phone, which I don't really want to do.
We've had VoIPo for several years, and also have to reboot the box every...couple months?  VoIPo rolls to my cell phone when it's down, so when I get a call from my Mom on my cell, I know it's time.

Our ATT landline style phones will "Connect to Cell" via bluetooth.  We don't use it at the moment, but you can actually use what looks and feels like a landline with cell service.

Daley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2021, 12:52:25 PM »
I'm going to give 1-VOIP a try. Getting a new phone number, this is my home number and I think about 5 people have it, so its no hassle to change.

Bast of luck to you, let me know how it shakes out. I can't find a huge pile of real independent reviews from end users to save my life, as there's not much out there but the "professional" reviews with referrals. If you still have problems beyond just an ATA reset every couple months, though, it might be something on Comcast's end.



Our ATT landline style phones will "Connect to Cell" via bluetooth.  We don't use it at the moment, but you can actually use what looks and feels like a landline with cell service.

The Panasonic handsets down at Costco have the same feature for cheaper than AT&T's, we have some in our house, but also found the Bluetooth connection to just be touchy enough to be problematic, especially if you don't keep the handsets right next to the base station. But then, I've never found Bluetooth to be bulletproof. But this said, it's why I was trying to find a T-Mobile VoLTE capable cellular ATA. It's basically a box that takes the SIM card and lets you plug a land line into it.



Also, a recommendation for those using VOIP: Make sure your router has a QoS (Quality of Service) setting (extra good if specifically for VOIP) and make sure it's enabled. This ensures that no single stream can hog the connection.

Not a bad idea, though some routers do better QoS than others (especially on the consumer end), and some have actually made VoIP calls worse when enabled.

I know there's a bit of love for Ooma in this thread, and you'll have to forgive me for it, but I don't share it, and I've made my reasons known for it in the past.

Sibley

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Re: New VOIP based home phone options
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2021, 01:29:32 PM »
Voipo makes it fun to cancel. /s I didn't see anything on their website so submitted a support ticket. Now it's "submit cancellation form". I hit reply with "what form?", and I got a link to it.

Daley, I will try to remember to update you on how it goes.