Home voip options

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paulsiu
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Home voip options

Post by paulsiu »

Years ago, I looked into VOIP, but the prices weren't low enough to make the switch. Now it appears that there are a ton of different products.

Magic Jack and Duotalk - these are two similar products in the same space that used to offer voip through a computer but now offer standalone connections. I notice that reviews on both device are quite poor.

Ooma - voip used by a lot of the Bogleheads. It has a high setup cost of around $150 for a telo set. Once setup, there is a monthly bill of around $4.50 / month for with a limit of 5,000 minutes. Voice quality appears to be a lot better than Magic Jack and has good reviews.

Obitalk - similar to Ooma, but where Ooma locks you to a single vendor, Obitalk allow you to setup different vendors SIP accounts. Currently, I could setup a google voice account. Because google voice is free for 2013, I can use call anyone in the US for free. Calls appear to be roughly limited to 2 hours at a time.

The problem is what happens when google voice is no longer free? if gv rate is not competitive, one can replace it with a SIP like Callcentric or Anveo. However, it all a bit complicated. SIP seems to treat their service like a la carte, so you have to get all of the right components, and out-going calls are by the minute. For example at Anveo, it appears you need to get a Personal unlimited number with free incoming calls for $2.00 a month and then outgoing calls are at 1 cent a minute for most state except Alaska and Hawaii. Suppose you call 1,000 minutes outgoing calls, you pay about $12 + tax.

I am curious to know what fellow bogleheads have setup?

Paul
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Frugal Al
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Frugal Al »

It sounds like you have a good handle on it, Paul. I use Ooma and I'm happy with it. My bill in Ohio for the basic Ooma service, not Premiere, is $3.76 per month. I considered the Obi but was concerned about a potentially more complicated setup for my wife in case I was away on a trip, or otherwise not around. She has no tolerance for tech gadgetry--one or two glitches and it's gone.
runnergirl
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Re: Home voip options

Post by runnergirl »

I got the Ooma on sale at Amazon for $130-ish. Chose to port phone number for another $40. Very simple to set-up. Excellent voice quality. Excellent customer service. Tax of about $3.50 per month, but when I had Verizon, I had to pay the tax anyway on top of $30/month.
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southerndoc
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Re: Home voip options

Post by southerndoc »

Does anyone know if you can use the Cisco IP phones with any VOIP options?
runnergirl
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Re: Home voip options

Post by runnergirl »

Ooma uses your existing phones whatever they may be.
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Optimistic
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Optimistic »

Ooma is frequently on sale for around $100 at places like Costco, Sears, OfficeMax, etc. It's $130 at Costco.com now. (Non Costco members can purchase from there for a 2% surcharge I believe.) You could wait for a better deal, but if you're paying $30+ a month for your phone service now, it doesn't pay to wait a month to try and save $30 on the purchase of Ooma.

I use Obi + Google Voice and it's great for me. Google Voice has been free for the year for multiple years and I expect that to continue, but if it doesn't I'll switch to Ooma. The $40 I spent to buy the Obi will be my phone service cost for 2013 (not to mention 2011 and 2012) and it will still be a good deal even if I have to switch in 2014. I set my parents up with Ooma and it's been great for them.
vasu100
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Re: Home voip options

Post by vasu100 »

If you have an alarm, you may not be able to switch to voip. My alarm company requires either a traditional phone line or a Comcast internet phone, and will not work with Vonage, Ooma, and smilar services. It is the only reason I have kept my dial-up line in addition to cell phones for all family members...
Sam I Am
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Sam I Am »

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Sidney
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Sidney »

Sam I Am wrote:I also have VoIP with Verizon that we have dedicated to MIL's Life Alert system.
How does this work when the power goes out?
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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tfb
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Re: Home voip options

Post by tfb »

paulsiu wrote:Ooma - voip used by a lot of the Bogleheads.

... ...

I am curious to know what fellow bogleheads have setup?
The answer is in your own post. If you get the previous generation Ooma unit (Hub?) there is no monthly fee. Buy on eBay if you can't find it in stores.
Harry Sit, taking a break from the forums.
Sam I Am
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Sam I Am »

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mggray17
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mggray17 »

southerndoc wrote:Does anyone know if you can use the Cisco IP phones with any VOIP options?
Yes. You can use your own VOIP phone with a BYOD (Bring your own device) provider.
I use Callcentric. Been with them for several years. Very happy. I use a Gigaset VOIP phone with them.
Previously used a CISCO ATA adapter that would allow standard phones on their service.
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mike143
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mike143 »

I am using Anveo with a Gigaset C610A. It is $1 per month for a phone number with 40 free incoming minutes per day and $0.01 per minute over the 40 minutes incoming or for outgoing. The reason I really like Anveo is their advance functionality especially their "IVR / Call Flow Builder". Right now I have it setup that when a call comes in to my VoIP line it rings the VoIP handset and also forwards the call to our cell phones. It also passes incoming caller ID to the cell phones which is a nice feature to know who is calling the VoIP line via the cell phone.

I am a former user of Callcentric and VoIP.ms (VoIP.ms: both personal and two of our project sites). Both good companies but wanted the advanced PBX-like features of Anveo.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.
mud
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mud »

I've got to agree with the other folks about Ooma. Works great for us, and has for the past 3+ years. Call quality is good, even on the relatively slow DSL connection we've got (3mb/784kb). We got in on the deal where there was absolutely no ongoing cost once the equipment was purchased (no taxes, fees, etc, etc). That has changed now, I think. At any rate, we're currently at the $7/month point, and that amount will only go down as long as our device keeps working :-) Hopefully another 5 years or so. I used a couple other VOIP companies before Ooma, and we've had the best experience with Ooma by far. Sunrocket (went out of business), Vonage (price creep), Voipo (cheap, good service, but ongoing bills), then Ooma.
lightheir
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Re: Home voip options

Post by lightheir »

Have been very happy with Ooma.

Wife looked at me very skeptically when I purchased it 2 years ago to replace a $35/month land line.

It's been flawless since setup. I was worried about internet dead times killing the phone, but turns out my internet is very consistent, and the downtimes are usually due to local airwave wifi interference, and doesn't take out the Ooma.

Aside from the price, there are some extra nice pluses with Ooma:
- You can have one line but in effect have TWO lines using their 'virtual' line - just buy one "ooma' brand handset, one other handset of whatever brand, and it's smart enough to start a 2nd separate telephone line if one person wants to call out while the other handset is in use. It really works - we get bad cell cervices in our zone, and I'm often on the ooma handset while wife is on the other handset. If you want to join conversations, there's an easy 'join' button on the display so everyone can be on one line.

- Good online tracking/billing. Very easy to log on and configure things.

- Receive voicemail in your email if desired. Plays back right in gmail. Nice when you're at work - lets you still be aware of any home calls.


I'd recommended it wholeheartedly even with the free Google phone option. Call quality is great, and there's no jerry-rigging to do a call - just normal phone handsets.
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NAVigator
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Re: Home voip options

Post by NAVigator »

Ooma sounds interesting. I have 8 phone jacks in my house with 6 portable phones (Dect 6.0). The jacks are all wired to a central location in the basement, since my current phone service is via cable. Can Ooma connect to that central location so I can use all of my existing phones?

Jerry
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William4u
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Re: Home voip options

Post by William4u »

NAVigator wrote:Ooma sounds interesting. I have 8 phone jacks in my house with 6 portable phones (Dect 6.0). The jacks are all wired to a central location in the basement, since my current phone service is via cable. Can Ooma connect to that central location so I can use all of my existing phones?

Jerry
Yes. Ooma and Obihai (usually paired with google voice) both can do that just fine.

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lightheir
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Re: Home voip options

Post by lightheir »

NAVigator wrote:Ooma sounds interesting. I have 8 phone jacks in my house with 6 portable phones (Dect 6.0). The jacks are all wired to a central location in the basement, since my current phone service is via cable. Can Ooma connect to that central location so I can use all of my existing phones?

Jerry
My internet comes in via cable feed in a closet in my basement. (Great placement, thanks- not.) Ooma plugs into power source + internet.

From there, you can plug in any handset wireless station, and then plant the wireless handsets all over your house.
kitkat
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Re: Home voip options

Post by kitkat »

OMG..I was just getting ready to post this same exact question. I have had Vonage for 10 years. We have 2 lines..and basic rate is $29 for the two lines...PLUS TAX bumps it up to $50. I have had it!
I am also interested in Ooma...I definitely need two lines in the home. Just so I understand how this all works: First purchase the 2 line Ooma systemn. Then call Vonage to port the phone lines . I connect our internet provider to Ooma..to phones..and that is it? What have I been waiting for!! Thanks guys.
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paulsiu
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Re: Home voip options

Post by paulsiu »

kitkat wrote:OMG..I was just getting ready to post this same exact question. I have had Vonage for 10 years. We have 2 lines..and basic rate is $29 for the two lines...PLUS TAX bumps it up to $50. I have had it!
I am also interested in Ooma...I definitely need two lines in the home. Just so I understand how this all works: First purchase the 2 line Ooma systemn. Then call Vonage to port the phone lines . I connect our internet provider to Ooma..to phones..and that is it? What have I been waiting for!! Thanks guys.
Check with Vonage about porting those numbers. I notice several post where they ask Vonage about porting numbers to OOMA and Vonage went and gave them $9.99 deal for life so they won't leave.

Paul
mud
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mud »

normally, when you port numbers, you shouldn't need to interact in any way with the 'losing' company. The 'receiving' company handles everything. But if what 'paulsiu' mentions is correct, and you're interested in sticking with Vonage, then my advice doesn't apply. But, if you want to get away from Vonage, all you need to do is deal directly with Ooma, and they'll handle the number transfer.
jatwell
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Re: Home voip options

Post by jatwell »

I've been very happy w/ VOIPO. They usually have a 2 year special and are backed by a very popular web hosting company HostGator.

It's $149 for 2 years + $36 for taxes = $185 for 2 years. There is no monthly tax charge as you pay it all up front.

Basically it's just like Vonage for MUCH cheaper. No issues w/ call quality, etc but they just don't advertise a lot. They provide a free adapter (no computer required) and can port your existing number for free.

http://www.voipo.com/
Rich Cape Cod
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Rich Cape Cod »

Perhaps my needs are not that sophisticated (or demanding) but I've been quite pleased with MagicJack. I too have read the negative reviews, especially the poor customer service issues. None the less, I have two units. One older model that connects to the computer and the newer version that can be connected to either a computer or to the modem (I think that's where it goes...).

Why have two? One is for my wife the other I use. We make all our long distance calls using MJ. I'd say that 90% of the time the voice quality is good to excellent. For the remaining 10% it can be fair to poor (but rarely so).

My wife is German. I put in ten dollars for international calls and even though she likes talking with her sisters and brother in Germany on a regular basis, that ten dollars lasts years.

One thing I found with MJ. Voice quality improved greatly when I opted to purchase a "normal" phone. In other words, don't go cheap on the phone or you'll wind up buying more than one. Ask me how I know...

One last thing. My set up at home is to have my MJ on the second floor attached to the "master" phone. I have several other phones around the house wirelessly connected to the master. Works great.
Rich Cape Cod/AZ
hoot929
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Re: Home voip options

Post by hoot929 »

Maybe I am missing something here but...why would any of you use Ooma or Vonage etc and pay a monthly fee when you can use Google Voice for "free"? We ditched our land line...got a Tracfone for a year with 3000 minutes for $99 (emergency and traveling) and use Google Voice for all our calls from home. :happy
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mike143
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mike143 »

hoot929 wrote:Maybe I am missing something here but...why would any of you use Ooma or Vonage etc and pay a monthly fee when you can use Google Voice for "free"? We ditched our land line...got a Tracfone for a year with 3000 minutes for $99 (emergency and traveling) and use Google Voice for all our calls from home. :happy
Page Plus Cellular (Verizon) is $10 (100 minutes) every 120 days. Just got done setting up for my wife's parents since they have more than half their minutes left after a year of TracFone.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.
German Expat
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Re: Home voip options

Post by German Expat »

Used to be on Vonage but looked for lower cost options. Using an obi100 and google voice and happy with service and call quality. Was a pain though to move my existing phone number over to google voice (via a tmobile prepaid phone).
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Frugal Al
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Frugal Al »

hoot929 wrote:Maybe I am missing something here but...why would any of you use Ooma or Vonage etc and pay a monthly fee when you can use Google Voice for "free"?
While I can't speak for others, I wanted to maintain my longstanding landline number and didn't want to make calls through the computer or smartphone all the time.
mikep
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Re: Home voip options

Post by mikep »

I have ooma and no complaints other than taxes seem to creep up after a while. It started at $3.47, then a little later is now $3.92/mo. If anyone is interested I can send a referral link through PM to get it from ooma for $40 off and free shipping.. for $139.99, expires Jan 31. I see it for $160.41 now on amazon. If you use obihai with google voice is cheaper but I am not sure how the 911 support is.
lightheir
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Re: Home voip options

Post by lightheir »

hoot929 wrote:Maybe I am missing something here but...why would any of you use Ooma or Vonage etc and pay a monthly fee when you can use Google Voice for "free"? We ditched our land line...got a Tracfone for a year with 3000 minutes for $99 (emergency and traveling) and use Google Voice for all our calls from home. :happy
The practice of only using my computer to make calls was suboptimal for me. It's far, far more convenient to not have to logon to Google to make a phone call, let alone sit at your computer. With Ooma, it's basically a normal phone (with enhanced features) - pick up from handset, and go. No computer needed, no logons required. Well worth the convenience for my family given that it's about $3.80 a month for taxes where I am.
Sam I Am
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Sam I Am »

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German Expat
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Re: Home voip options

Post by German Expat »

Frugal Al wrote:
hoot929 wrote:Maybe I am missing something here but...why would any of you use Ooma or Vonage etc and pay a monthly fee when you can use Google Voice for "free"?
While I can't speak for others, I wanted to maintain my longstanding landline number and didn't want to make calls through the computer or smartphone all the time.
Buy a Obi 100 device and plug your phone into the back (it works similar to a vonage adapter) and then do the setups for Google Voice. I use my 'regular' phone and my wife does not even notice google voice is behind it. You will need to do a little bit of setup on the obi device (and you have to make 1 call from your laptop (once) to make sure its setup) and this is it.
Porting a number is a different issue, there are posts that will talk you through step by step (google voice only ports from a mobile number, so you have to get your landline first to a mobile number, I used a t-mobile prepaid card that I bought for 1$).
Another thing I like is the google voice app for the iphone. I use it to call international for 2 cents per minute. My mother in Germany is much happier because I call her more often while being on the road.
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Polar_Ice
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Polar_Ice »

German Expat wrote:
Frugal Al wrote:
hoot929 wrote:(google voice only ports from a mobile number, so you have to get your landline first to a mobile number, I used a t-mobile prepaid card that I bought for 1$)
Do you just buy cards ever couple of months to maintain a balance so the number stays up?
Nicolas
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Re: Home voip options

Post by Nicolas »

Voip, good idea.
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hoot929
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Re: Home voip options

Post by hoot929 »

Polar_Ice wrote:
German Expat wrote:
Frugal Al wrote:
hoot929 wrote:(google voice only ports from a mobile number, so you have to get your landline first to a mobile number, I used a t-mobile prepaid card that I bought for 1$)
Do you just buy cards ever couple of months to maintain a balance so the number stays up?
Through Google Voice, you can either port your mobile number OR you can get an entirely NEW number from Google, even choosing your own number from several options that are available in your area code. This is what we did. If you have a Gmail account, you can already call out to anyone in the US for free. Check out the little phone icon on the left hand side of Gmail's screen. The only thing is...caller ID will tell your recipient that you are calling from Escondido, CA :happy
German Expat
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Re: Home voip options

Post by German Expat »

Polar_Ice wrote:
German Expat wrote:
Frugal Al wrote:
hoot929 wrote:(google voice only ports from a mobile number, so you have to get your landline first to a mobile number, I used a t-mobile prepaid card that I bought for 1$)
Do you just buy cards ever couple of months to maintain a balance so the number stays up?
This is not needed, it is really only a trick and works the following way:

1. you port your old number to the T-Mobile prepaid number
2. you port your T-mobile (your old land line number) to google voice
3. you can throw your T-mobile prepaid card away

The whole process took about 2 weeks (unfortunately Vonage is kind of slow). Step 1 was the slow part, step 2 was 1 day. It is just something you need to do once to get around the limit of google voice only porting from mobile numbers (they don't care if its prepaid).

You can also just pick a new number (even outside your area) via google voice and let the old one go but we did not want to do this (too many things to update otherwise).

Another benefit with google voice is that even if we don't use them as a voip provider anymore we will keep our number there because it is very easy to forward to any number. You can also define things that it will ring multiple phones (e.g. your cell phone), use their voice mail (which we do) and a whole batch of other things.
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