Author Topic: VOIP Phone???  (Read 6250 times)

BeanCounter

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VOIP Phone???
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:00:44 AM »
Has anyone purchased a VOIP phone for their home? Which one's are best? We need some kind of home phone because we get no cell phone reception IN the house (deck fine, yard fine but not inside).  I've been looking at Ooma Telo, but am concerned that it won't work well and I will have invested $200 or so in hardware.

yddeyma

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 11:19:40 AM »
I've used Skype just fine.  I also have a Magic Jack.  It works just okay.  I intend to drop it, though, when it expires.  I have a blue-tooth enabled cordless phone.  Its the kind you plug in the main base to one phone outlet and the remaining phones in the house don't have to be plugged into the phone jack at all.  Since its also bluetooth enabled, when i walk in the door I take my cell out of my pocket and lay it right next to the main phone base.  That way, my cellphone will ring via the bluetooth through the whole house.  If you have ANYWHERE in your house you get cell reception, I would recommend going this route. 

If not, the magic jack works fine but relies on a steady internet connection.  I have some issues with my wireless router and magic jack.  The wireless router loses connection occasionally and when it gets back online the magic jack has to be reset to work.  I have yet to figure out a fix for it despite upgrading firmware on both and setting the magic jack to a static IP.  It may just be my router, though.  I know folks who have a magic jack and wi-fi and have no problems at all.  I am also electronically challenged, and things that work for 99% of the planet will not work for me.

GizmoTX

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 11:23:11 AM »
We're using conventional phones with AT&T U-verse VOIP. AT&T also has a cellphone booster device.

http://t1rex.blogspot.com/2009/11/do-you-need-special-phone-for-voip.html

geekette

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 11:29:42 AM »
We use our conventional house phones with VoIPo (voipo.com) for something like $8/month (when you prepay for 2 years).  They send you the adapter for free. I like that I can log in and block spam calls (one at a time, sadly, but it does reduce the repeat calls).

You need high speed internet, and when cable goes out, so goes the phone.

jnc

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 11:36:45 AM »
You can get an unlimited Skype subscription, that means you can call both landlines and mobiles in the US unlimited. You can also get a phone number, so that people can call you even if they don't have Skype. I think each cost $30 per year so $60 bucks total.

There are plenty of VOIP phones which work with Skype if you like having a handset and not using a computer. You can check Amazon for the best prices.
I've had this setup for my parents and it works pretty well even though they are not super tech saavy.

BeanCounter

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2014, 11:39:07 AM »
We use our conventional house phones with VoIPo (voipo.com) for something like $8/month (when you prepay for 2 years).  They send you the adapter for free. I like that I can log in and block spam calls (one at a time, sadly, but it does reduce the repeat calls).

You need high speed internet, and when cable goes out, so goes the phone.


Can you keep your number? And you think service is good? We're not big phone users, but need to be able to be reached by relatives and school.

Jack

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2014, 11:56:44 AM »
I like my ObiTalk. It works completely free for calls anywhere in the US (once you buy the device) with Google Voice. The device itself costs between $30 and $70, depending on which model you get and whether it's on sale.

The major caveat is that it doesn't support 911, so keep an old cellphone (with no service plan) around just in case. (You might also be able to use a normal 7-digit number to call emergency dispatch, but I know nothing about that.)

geekette

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 01:29:45 PM »
We use our conventional house phones with VoIPo (voipo.com) for something like $8/month (when you prepay for 2 years).  They send you the adapter for free. I like that I can log in and block spam calls (one at a time, sadly, but it does reduce the repeat calls).

You need high speed internet, and when cable goes out, so goes the phone.


Can you keep your number? And you think service is good? We're not big phone users, but need to be able to be reached by relatives and school.

We've ported our number to various VoIP services over the last 10 years without problem, and haven't had problems with the device since, well, since my husband read the directions and changed a setting or two on our router.  Occasionally we have to reboot the device.  It's set up to roll to my cell phone if there's a problem, which is my clue to reboot.  We're not big phone users either, but I prefer the regular phone to a cell for long calls, by far.

Sound quality is very similar to regular landline, although we sometimes get a "beep" like a touch tone when my mom laughs (something about the conversion to digital; it thinks certain voice tones are touch tones).  Not generally a problem, though.

eil

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2014, 01:53:57 PM »
I like my ObiTalk. It works completely free for calls anywhere in the US (once you buy the device) with Google Voice. The device itself costs between $30 and $70, depending on which model you get and whether it's on sale.

The major caveat is that it doesn't support 911, so keep an old cellphone (with no service plan) around just in case. (You might also be able to use a normal 7-digit number to call emergency dispatch, but I know nothing about that.)

With an Obi device, you can buy E-911 service for $15/year: http://blog.obihai.com/2011/11/calling-911-with-obi-devices.html

There was some concern a while back that Google would be shutting down Obi's free ride on Google Voice. But a recent blog post says that they've come to an agreement and that the service will continue for the foreseeable future.

I have always read, but cannot confirm, that cell phones with no service plan can still dial 911. (Might depend on which carrier's network the phone is designed to operate on.)

MandalayVA

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2014, 02:42:32 PM »
I have always read, but cannot confirm, that cell phones with no service plan can still dial 911. (Might depend on which carrier's network the phone is designed to operate on.)

Yes, they can.  If you have a phone that you can't sell, consider donating it to a local women's shelter.  The women are given the phones to call 911 in case their abuser shows up.  Your old phone could literally save someone's life.

eostache

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2014, 04:09:38 PM »
I like my ObiTalk. It works completely free for calls anywhere in the US (once you buy the device) with Google Voice. The device itself costs between $30 and $70, depending on which model you get and whether it's on sale.

The major caveat is that it doesn't support 911, so keep an old cellphone (with no service plan) around just in case. (You might also be able to use a normal 7-digit number to call emergency dispatch, but I know nothing about that.)

We've had Obitalk/Google Voice for a couple of years now. Sometime GV is a little glitchy but for FREE calls I've been happy with it.
We have Tracfone cell phones ($7/mo each for service) as a backup.

Daley

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2014, 07:32:34 AM »
All this stuff (and more) has a great deal of coverage in the guide.

GizmoTX

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2014, 09:21:35 AM »
Just learned about Ooma, a VOIP device that connects to conventional phones. It gets great reviews from Clark Howard & Consumer Reports. It costs $92-$130 depending on seller. There are no monthly fees other than your internet. Info at Ooma.com.

Daley

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2014, 11:03:56 AM »
Just learned about Ooma, a VOIP device that connects to conventional phones. It gets great reviews from Clark Howard & Consumer Reports. It costs $92-$130 depending on seller. There are no monthly fees other than your internet. Info at Ooma.com.

Ooma’s actually a bit of a racket as their “unlimited” free phone service still costs about $3-5 a month for the phone number, e911 support and regulatory fees, their “unlimited” comes with fine print as well, and their hardware is proprietary and starts at $200. Unfortunately, the Ooma hardware also has a bit of a track record of dying due to shoddy electronics components just outside the warranty period (around the 18 month mark, likely cheap capacitors – as is the bane of all electronics these days) and the issues with customer support themselves. You also have the same limitations on flexibility with the service as you do with MagicJack, and all of the useful VoIP features that get given away with other providers (Canada included in call area, Caller ID name, call forwarding during outages, anonymous call block, voicemail to email, call routing rules, etc.) winds up costing more per month to add to the Ooma account than competitors charge in total for an equal number of “unlimited” minutes with all the same features and without the overpriced proprietary hardware buy-in.

If you’re still interested in MagicJack and Ooma despite the caveats already cited, read these posts on the math. It’s not pretty. If you insist on going with an ultra-cheap, proprietary service, go with netTALK instead. It’s forum user approved within limitations.

ender

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2014, 12:30:27 PM »
Google Hangouts now offers this functionality too.

RNwastash

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2014, 12:53:20 PM »
I have an OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge purchased from Amazon for $40.  I ported my phone number from ATT to Callcentric.  I have not had any issues with my new VOIP service.  We've had it for approx 6 months now, and my average phone bill is $6.50 with 911.  I had to convert my DSL with ATT to Uverse first. 

TreeTired

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Re: VOIP Phone???
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2014, 08:04:45 PM »
I just downloaded a program called GVJackApp,   or Google Voice -> Magic Jack   App.    This program lets me use my Magic Jack with Google Voice!    I have quality problems with Magic Jack and I am hoping the Google Voice app will have better sound quality.   I can use it free for a week and I can buy the basic version for $12.   That's a one-time fee vs Magic Jack small but ongoing monthly or annual fee.  Also,  I think Google Voice works better, at least it seems to work better with Obi.