ooma VOIP free phone service

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lazyday
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ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by lazyday » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:00 pm

Anyone try this?

Any guesses if the company will last long enough to pay off buying the box?

It costs about $225 from http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B001C1MGKI plugs into your ethernet router, and allows lifetime free use (calls to U.S.) of ordinary existing cordless or corded phones with caller id and call waiting, 911 service including street address, an ordinary phone number, very high audio quality, and fax machine "generally works" when directly connected. It also includes free basic voicemail if you prefer. They hope to make money from the $225-$250 initial purchase, and from "premiere" $100 a year extras.

http://www.ooma.com/

Looks like high quality, low price to me, including the premiere for those who don't mind spending more. Amazon customers are thrilled.

An alternative or supplement is skype and a phone like this: http://www.amazon.com/GE-SKYPE-Dect-Cor ... B000QXAU8I
or when sold by amazon for under $150, this: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-VOIP841-P ... B000ND75FW
but (I'm new to this) I think that does not include 911 :( , regular answering machine compatibility, use of regular fax machine, use of old phones, or high quality voice. Also costs about $6 or so per month? to get unlimited incoming and outgoing calls in U.S. A bonus is you can use your PC or a videophone to make calls with video, and calls to other skype users worldwide are free. But, you can choose ooma and also use skype just for free video worldwide calls to and from skype users with your PC, and not get a skype phone number.

I wouldn't choose skype over Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) because of 911 and the other issues above.

Really, one might keep POTS just for 911. POTS has a dedicated line with its own power as I understand, and when the internet, power, and/or cell network isn't doing well, or your cell phone isn't around or isn't working, POTS can do the job.

But ooma and a UPS (lasts a few minutes) and a cell phone is probably close enough for me, where I live. Good cell reception.

By the way, neither ooma or skype are truly "unlimited" in free service. If you have a business, or family with kids on the phone all day, you might go over a limit.

I haven't researched fully... it's $225, how many more hours should I put into this? :)

More info: The $225 ooma package in the first link in this post comes with supposed lifetime free service, a phone number, a "hub" and a "scout". The hub connects to house power, your ethernet broadband internet connection, and to a telephone. You can also connect it to your home phone wiring, perhaps to line 2, if you are using line 1 for POTS and/or internet.

The scout you can then connect to line 2 somewhere else in the house, and to another phone. You can then make two calls at once, from one phone number, for free, I think. Here's some comments on the scout; remember one is included in the $225 package: http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B0010W84A0

EDIT:

To make two calls at once if you shut off your landline, you need ooma premier, which is about $100 a year, after a free trial when you begin. But you then get lots of other bonuses. Without premier, you still get very good basic features. Details at the links above.
Last edited by lazyday on Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aerofreaky11
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sounds very much

Post by aerofreaky11 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:16 pm

like the 'Free DSL' company a few years back which required the use of their router...and had some sort of ad on a portion of the screen. It was soon history.

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:51 pm

What kind of distribution did that other company have?

ooma has Amazon.com, Frys, and Best Buy selling the product, so I hope they have some chance.

Maybe I just talked myself into it. The payoff is well under a year, compared to POTS, and if I wait too long, there's a chance they might start a small monthly fee for new customers but not old.

CaptMidnight
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Re: ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by CaptMidnight » Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:34 am

lazyday wrote:Anyone try this?

http://www.ooma.com/

Looks like high quality, low price to me, including the premiere for those who don't mind spending more. Amazon customers are thrilled.
There's a similar product called Magic Jack that costs $40 plus $20 / year after the first year for the phone number. Plugs into usb port of a computer, not the router. I haven't used it. Seems to work although folks complain about customer service.

http://www.magicjack.com

CaptMidnight
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Re: ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by CaptMidnight » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:59 am

After investigating ooma, I bought a unit. I had been considering Skype and Magic Jack, but picked ooma for these reasons:

1. Magic Jack support has a terrible reputation. I don't want to deal with crappy companies. Also, MJ requires using a computer. while ooma doesn't.

2. Skype doesn't use regular phones.

3. The ooma unit is an answering machine as well as a hub.

4. Ooma sound quality is at least as good as landline, maybe better. I tested it with my 1.5 Mb/384 Kb line.

Ooma setup is pretty easy. The recommended configuration is to connect it between the modem and router so that it can reserve 84 KB of bandwidth in both directions for quality of service, which it does even when a call is not in progress.

I did notice a slight degradation in web browsing response as a result of the 84 Kb bandwidth reserve. But then I upgraded my service to 10Mb/764 Kb using the savings from discontinuing the landline. No problem now. The alternative would have been to reconnect the ooma to the router rather than the modem.

I requested port of my landline number which takes three to four weeks. Ooma phone support was prompt and seemed well-informed.

Unfortunately, I bought my unit from Amazon at $225 only to find that ooma lowered their price to $199 a few days later. Oh well.

Now the question is whether they will stay in business. They were able to raise an additional $16 million in Sept. We'll see.
The history of thought and culture is ... a changing pattern of great liberating ideas that inevitably turn in suffocating straightjackets... | --Isaiah Berlin

GeekedOut
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Post by GeekedOut » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:20 am

Heh, I was just thinking about getting the Bogleheads opinion on this sucker the other day. I presume you got this from My Money Blog?

Ooma appears to be based in Palo Alto, which gives me some hope that they'll be around for awhile. My logic is not very logical, but it basically comes down to:

If Tesla and Facebook can survive this long in Palo Alto without viable business plans but simply off of angel money for idealistic plans; then there is no reason for Ooma to fear going under. Particularly because it provides a great way for the poor, huddled masses to communicate cheaply.

As an aside (but still about phones), I hate my cell phone. I've found Turbo Charge. The idea being that I can keep a phone a family member has discarded in my glove compartment with a pack of AA batteries that have a long shelf life, and rely on a prepaid plan that I pay into every year. We'll see if it really works in an emergency :)

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:42 pm

Haven't heard of that blog, I found ooma by looking for a better option than skype, which doesn't do 911 or work well with existing phones.

For today, the price is $25 lower at amazon.com, just under $200. Should go back up to $225 tomorrow, still a good deal I think. Unfortunately for CaptMidnight and I, they no longer refund if they drop prices in 30 days.

I'm really happy with the system.

Instead of plugging one phone into the back of it, I plugged a few into it with a splitter, and after shutting off regular phone service, I might even try to use the house phone wiring this way to use all phones with ooma.

Another option is to use a splitter-like device that plugs you in to line 2. Then you can use another one elsewhere in the house, or just rewire the outlets at the jack where you want line 2.

If you have no landline, you might be able to do both of the above, with line 1 for ooma phones through the house, and line 2 for the scout device ("wall"). I haven't tried that yet; I have the scout directly wired into the hub.

If you don't sign up for premier service, I'm not sure the scout is really needed. Maybe it would help with mediocre house wiring? I haven't read the amazon reviews thoroughly, they might answer that.

My only complaint is I've had a call disconnect after I was on the phone for a half hour. Might be my internet service.

Otherwise, an excellent experience. The technology works great all around.

CaptMidnight
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Post by CaptMidnight » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:09 am

lazyday wrote: Instead of plugging one phone into the back of it, I plugged a few into it with a splitter, and after shutting off regular phone service, I might even try to use the house phone wiring this way to use all phones with ooma.

Another option is to use a splitter-like device that plugs you in to line 2. Then you can use another one elsewhere in the house, or just rewire the outlets at the jack where you want line 2.

If you have no landline, you might be able to do both of the above, with line 1 for ooma phones through the house, and line 2 for the scout device ("wall"). I haven't tried that yet; I have the scout directly wired into the hub.

If you don't sign up for premier service, I'm not sure the scout is really needed. Maybe it would help with mediocre house wiring? I haven't read the amazon reviews thoroughly, they might answer that.

My only complaint is I've had a call disconnect after I was on the phone for a half hour. Might be my internet service.

Otherwise, an excellent experience. The technology works great all around.
Customer service told me that if you drop the landline, which is what I am doing, you don't need the scout. You can just plug the "wall" outlet on the ooma hub into your house wiring. The hub can supply power to several phones.

I don't know why anyone would keep the landline. On the other hand, if most ooma users drop the landline will the whole system still work without being able to comandeer landlines for local calls?
The history of thought and culture is ... a changing pattern of great liberating ideas that inevitably turn in suffocating straightjackets... | --Isaiah Berlin

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flossy21
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Be careful

Post by flossy21 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:49 am

"Customer service told me that if you drop the landline, which is what I am doing, you don't need the scout. You can just plug the "wall" outlet on the ooma hub into your house wiring. The hub can supply power to several phones. "

This is all true but...if you don't disconnect the POTS line outside of your house then the old conventional phone company can still send voltage into your home's wiring; not to mention lightening strikes. If they do that and your little Ooma box is connected as well then they could fry your magic box. You'll be out $200 at that point. I would suggest you physically disconnect the incoming line from the POTS before hooking Oooma up to your house wiring.

I have had Vonage wired directly into my house since 2005 and have a friend in the communications biz and he told me about this problem early on.

startinglate
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Post by startinglate » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:22 am

I have had ooma service for about 6 months now. Really happy with the call quality. never a single dropped call. Only once I had to call ooma for support (when I was setting up the system my mistake though plugging in the cable in the wrong place), but I got to talk with rep without a wait and he guided me through..

Cheers..

lazyday
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Re: Be careful

Post by lazyday » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:19 pm

flossy21 wrote:not to mention lightening strikes. If they do that and your little Ooma box is connected as well then they could fry your magic box.
Most newer UPS surge protectors have connectors for phone lines, should solve that problem.

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:24 pm

CaptMidnight wrote:Customer service told me that if you drop the landline, which is what I am doing, you don't need the scout. You can just plug the "wall" outlet on the ooma hub into your house wiring. The hub can supply power to several phones.
Did they mean the "phone" outlet?

I tried plugging a phone into the "wall" outlet, and got nothing. I think it's a digital signal, that can go "under" a landline, and talk with the scout.

But I do have the "phone" outlet hooked up to three phones right now, and it works just fine.

(The "phone" is mostly or entirely analog I guess, and fully compatible with POTS, far as I can tell.)

CaptMidnight
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Post by CaptMidnight » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:58 pm

lazyday wrote:
CaptMidnight wrote:Customer service told me that if you drop the landline, which is what I am doing, you don't need the scout. You can just plug the "wall" outlet on the ooma hub into your house wiring. The hub can supply power to several phones.
Did they mean the "phone" outlet?

I tried plugging a phone into the "wall" outlet, and got nothing. I think it's a digital signal, that can go "under" a landline, and talk with the scout.

But I do have the "phone" outlet hooked up to three phones right now, and it works just fine.

(The "phone" is mostly or entirely analog I guess, and fully compatible with POTS, far as I can tell.)
I found the same thing. Wonder home many phones it can drive. Have you ported your landline number? Does it really take 3 weeks?
The history of thought and culture is ... a changing pattern of great liberating ideas that inevitably turn in suffocating straightjackets... | --Isaiah Berlin

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:33 pm

CaptMidnight wrote:Have you ported your landline number? Does it really take 3 weeks?
No, not yet. Haven't even canceled landline yet.

There are two other resources to check though if you want: forums at ooma.com and reviews and forums at amazon.com.

As to how many phones it can drive, I suppose if you tried using lots of old fashioned analog phones throughout the house, with the ringers set to maximum, you might strain it. But wouldn't modern phones have a low power drain? Especially the kind you plug into a wall. Maybe an EE or telecom person would know, and I bet someone at amazon or ooma has tried pushing the limit. :)

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:37 pm

I just got it today at Costco for $179.99.

I'll try it and see. It's been a while since the OP post, so I am thinking the company is stable enough now.

It only took 10 minutes to get it connected and running. I'll keep my current nuimber for a while and run them in parallel bofore I drop it.

Oooma estimates my taxes and mandatory fees at $3.57 per month.

So far it works fine. I do notice a slight delay when we call our old number or cell phone..is that normal? I'll test further, but so far I am impressed. I have it connected to a system of 4 wireless phones.

mud
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Post by mud » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:00 pm

Just to chime in--I've had an ooma for the past 1.5 years. Mine was $225 at amazon, and I got in on the old deal with no fees/taxes. When compared to a old-school landline, we've more than paid for the device even if Ooma goes out of business tomorrow. And compared to other VOIP services, we've come out ahead as well. It's by far the most trouble-free VOIP service we've used (have used sunrocket before they went under, vonage, voipo, and now ooma).

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:44 pm

Thanks. Soon, I'll disconnect the old phone line and go just Ooma.

My cable company (which has my phone as well) got me mad at them, and I am trying to reduce my relationship with them as much as possible.

ThinkingRunner
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Post by ThinkingRunner » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:49 pm

Boglenaut wrote:Thanks. Soon, I'll disconnect the old phone line and go just Ooma.

My cable company (which has my phone as well) got me mad at them, and I am trying to reduce my relationship with them as much as possible.
Have had ooma since October 2009, paid 169.99 for a refurbished unit. Got in on the old deal with no monthly fee/tax. Quality has been good, no perceivable downtime (fingers crossed). With prepaid cellphones, we've been saving a ton on our communication costs.

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Hexdump
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Post by Hexdump » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:50 pm

We've had it for about 6 months now, after having Magicjack for 1.5 years.
Ooma is far superior as to quality of calls, connectivity, troubles, and ease of use.

Our costs are about $3.50/month.

centrifuge41
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Post by centrifuge41 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:27 pm

I can also vouch for Ooma. We got a new unit when it was on sale for $170 or so (keep your eyes peeled on slickdeals), and before they started imposing the ~$3.5 monthly tax. Nowadays, since both the old white model and the new Ooma Telo model impose the monthly tax, you may consider getting the Telo.

Quality is great, downtime is pretty minimal, and it's very natural to use compared to POTS or to any other VoIP service. They've been around long enough that I'm reasonably confident of their ability to continue providing service (crosses fingers! We first started using VoIP with Sunrocket...)

jigsaw
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Post by jigsaw » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:35 pm

remeber this is for only 1 line and i dont think you can keep you regular line

Sam I Am
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Post by Sam I Am » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:45 pm

Message deleted.
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madbrain
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Post by madbrain » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:17 pm

I can vouch for them also. Been using Ooma for about 18 months. I paid $180 at Costco for the Ooma hub. I did the number porting from day 1.

The cheapest POTS I could get from AT&T was $15 with all fees and taxes, for measured rate ! So the payoff was about 1 year.

It was nice when I moved to my new home last year - just had to get my cable internet connection, and plug in the Ooma hub, and kept the same number.

What's not so nice :

- fax has been working randomly, especially lately. Even with the *99 prefix that they recommend using. My FSA only accept claims by mail or fax. So I'm using fax. Some claims have taken hours to fax due to constant dropouts and retries. This is with a Brother all-in-one MFC-9840CDW machine.

- There is now $11/year of federal taxes on Ooma, even though Ooma itself does not charge.

- I have gotten cut off a few times during some long international calls. Hard to say which end it is . The other end is on a VOIP service as well ...

- in the past, I have run out of credit for international calls, and tried to add credit through the web site. It didn't post until the next day. So I could not make the call. Now I just make a short call and ask the other end to call back, since my parties' VOIP service have free international calls.

mikep
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Post by mikep » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:12 pm

I would switch in a hearbeat but alarm requires landline which we are locked in contract.

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Tyrobi
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Post by Tyrobi » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:02 pm

Instead of ooma, I have been using OBi110 available on Amazon for $49.99.

I just plug my phone into it (no PC required) and get free calls to the USA and Canada. Absolutely no monthly free. By the way, it got excellent reviews on Amazon.
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dandan14
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Post by dandan14 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:51 am

Another vote for Obi. I have the Obi100. $44 on Amazon. Connects with Google Voice, so as long as Google Voice stays free, there are no monthly charges. Bypasses the computer all together. Using it with my old cordless landline phone.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:53 pm

I am going to have to return the Oooma. The quality is just too low. There is a log, so we are constantly interupting the people we talk to. I disconnected once and got garbled voice another.

I had high hopes, so am disappointed.

centrifuge41
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Post by centrifuge41 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:56 pm

Boglenaut wrote:I am going to have to return the Oooma. The quality is just too low. There is a log, so we are constantly interupting the people we talk to. I disconnected once and got garbled voice another.

I had high hopes, so am disappointed.
How fast is your broadband? I have 15mb/s down and 3mb/s up.

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ipod_keith
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Post by ipod_keith » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:01 pm

Something isn't right then - have you contacted their support staff? My friends and I use ooma's daily without issue and fine the quality to be superb

speedtest.net shows my download at 4.32 Mbps and upload at 2.02 Mbps. Can you see what you are getting?

Wannaretireearly
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Re: ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by Wannaretireearly » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:37 pm

lazyday wrote:Anyone try this?

Any guesses if the company will last long enough to pay off buying the box?

It costs about $225 from http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B001C1MGKI plugs into your ethernet router, and allows lifetime free use (calls to U.S.) of ordinary existing cordless or corded phones with caller id and call waiting, 911 service including street address, an ordinary phone number, very high audio quality, and fax machine "generally works" when directly connected. It also includes free basic voicemail if you prefer. They hope to make money from the $225-$250 initial purchase, and from "premiere" $100 a year extras.

http://www.ooma.com/

Looks like high quality, low price to me, including the premiere for those who don't mind spending more. Amazon customers are thrilled.

An alternative or supplement is skype and a phone like this: http://www.amazon.com/GE-SKYPE-Dect-Cor ... B000QXAU8I
or when sold by amazon for under $150, this: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-VOIP841-P ... B000ND75FW
but (I'm new to this) I think that does not include 911 :( , regular answering machine compatibility, use of regular fax machine, use of old phones, or high quality voice. Also costs about $6 or so per month? to get unlimited incoming and outgoing calls in U.S. A bonus is you can use your PC or a videophone to make calls with video, and calls to other skype users worldwide are free. But, you can choose ooma and also use skype just for free video worldwide calls to and from skype users with your PC, and not get a skype phone number.

I wouldn't choose skype over Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) because of 911 and the other issues above.

Really, one might keep POTS just for 911. POTS has a dedicated line with its own power as I understand, and when the internet, power, and/or cell network isn't doing well, or your cell phone isn't around or isn't working, POTS can do the job.

But ooma and a UPS (lasts a few minutes) and a cell phone is probably close enough for me, where I live. Good cell reception.

By the way, neither ooma or skype are truly "unlimited" in free service. If you have a business, or family with kids on the phone all day, you might go over a limit.

I haven't researched fully... it's $225, how many more hours should I put into this? :)

More info: The $225 ooma package in the first link in this post comes with supposed lifetime free service, a phone number, a "hub" and a "scout". The hub connects to house power, your ethernet broadband internet connection, and to a telephone. You can also connect it to your home phone wiring, perhaps to line 2, if you are using line 1 for POTS and/or internet.

The scout you can then connect to line 2 somewhere else in the house, and to another phone. You can then make two calls at once, from one phone number, for free, I think. Here's some comments on the scout; remember one is included in the $225 package: http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B0010W84A0

EDIT:

To make two calls at once if you shut off your landline, you need ooma premier, which is about $100 a year, after a free trial when you begin. But you then get lots of other bonuses. Without premier, you still get very good basic features. Details at the links above.
Had ooma for over six months. Great service. Already paid for itself....

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:18 pm

I get 2 MPS up and 1 MPS down, consistently, ever since I started the cable service. That is the bandwidth I pay for and should be plenty. I think a more important measure would be the ping, which is 15 ms.

I have VoiP through my cable provider. That could be interfering with Ooma. But if that is the case, I have no way to test it. I cannot end the cable phone service until I know Ooma will pass the test.

I sent Ooma tech support an e-mail.

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Post by ThinkingRunner » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:27 pm

Boglenaut wrote:I get 2 MPS up and 1 MPS down, consistently, ever since I started the cable service. That is the bandwidth I pay for and should be plenty. I think a more important measure would be the ping, which is 15 ms.

I have VoiP through my cable provider. That could be interfering with Ooma. But if that is the case, I have no way to test it. I cannot end the cable phone service until I know Ooma will pass the test.

I sent Ooma tech support an e-mail.
The recommended configuration is: cable modem to ooma to wireless router. The ooma device prioritizes voice traffic appropriately. I had great voice quality even when I had DSL (3Mbps down, 768k up).

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:36 pm

Boglenaut wrote:Oooma estimates my taxes and mandatory fees at $3.57 per month.

So far it works fine. I do notice a slight delay when we call our old number or cell phone..is that normal?
I haven't noticed delays, do you mean at the start of the call?

I'm still happy with my ooma from 2008 (I'm OP). Quality has been consistently very high, no problems at all, except fax isn't quite perfect.

They've kept promise of no fees for those of us who risked our $ when they started out.

If I never bought, I'd be willing to pay a few $ a month to get the service today, unless google phone seems better.

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:41 pm

jigsaw wrote:remeber this is for only 1 line and i dont think you can keep you regular line
You can absolutely keep your regular line, if you want to keep paying the phone co for it.

Ooma can run a silent digital signal under the analog signal.

Also it can handle two lines I believe, with the $100/year premium service, which comes with lots of goodies including several phone numbers and advanced telephony features.

lazyday
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Post by lazyday » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:52 pm

I have DSL.

I plug the ooma into the DSL modem/router, and plug nothing else into the router except for a switch.

Computers, devices, more switches, etc are plugged into the switch, not the router.

Not sure if above makes much difference, but I can't tell any lag in discussing on phone, and have had since 2008, so would have noticed.


For good fax results: I unplug the phone(s) from the main unit, and plug in a high quality cable, which goes directly to the fax machine in the same room. The hub, not the scout.

Very long faxes seem more likely to fail, if possible, I break them up if I have trouble with a long one.

95% of the time a long fax works, and a short one has never failed for me, since I started doing the above, and of course *99

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amdmaxx
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Post by amdmaxx » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:19 pm

OOMA is good. Early adopters are riding heaven.. They paid around $200 for unlimited lifetime service..
New prices are slightly higher but still very very good.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:04 pm

I still get the delay from when the other person speaks to when I hear it.

Ooma support takes a day to respond via e-mail. Their on-line form didn't ask for my phone number, so I lost a day there. I lost another day because I responded from a different e-mail account and they did not like that.

So, after 3 days I got a list of very technical things to try. I am pretty good at tech stuff, so I did it. Still has the delay.

I have a hunch that the problem is because I currently have VOIP from my cable company and I think it takes time to sort the packets out as a result. My cable modem is a telephony modem that supports the cable company's VoiP. The phone on that line plugs into the modem directly.

I could buy a regular DOCSIS 1.1 cable modem (after making sure I can return it if need be) and see if the Ooma is better. The problem is I'd need to call the cable company every time I swapped modems during testing, and I'd lose my primary line during that time. I plan to drop it if the Ooma can pass the tests.

I may need to just return the ooma because this ios becoming way too involved.

My bandwidth is plenty, good ping but some jitter.

neo09
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+1

Post by neo09 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:42 am

+1 for ooma... no issues in almost 6 months, only $3.47 a month in taxes and it's a great setup

gtaylor
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Post by gtaylor » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:24 pm

lazyday wrote: As to how many phones it can drive, I suppose if you tried using lots of old fashioned analog phones throughout the house, with the ringers set to maximum, you might strain it. But wouldn't modern phones have a low power drain? Especially the kind you plug into a wall. Maybe an EE or telecom person would know, and I bet someone at amazon or ooma has tried pushing the limit. :)
The ooma box ought to have a well-specified ringer capacity, look in the manual. The phones will all have a Ringer Equivalence Number (REN) printed on them, if the sum of the RENs is higher than what the ooma box can drive, it will not work. If I had to guess, the ooma has to support over 1.0 (1.0 being the load of approximately one classic electromechanical telephone with actual bells in it), and the average electronic phone requires maybe 0.1 or so, so it ought to scale well enough in most cases. A real phone line would tend to support a total REN of 5.

Ooma, magic jack, vonage were all a bit inflexible for me, they all want to sell a single residential line service. I've had great luck with business style voip; I pay for three phone numbers and all calls a la carte from callcentric. Costs us about $15-20/mo. Clearly this should be sustainable for the provider, but even if it isn't my equipment is provider-agnostic so I can just get another phone company.

A SIP ATA (the generic voip equivalent of the ooma box) costs $30 or so; fancy multiline ethernet phones are under $100. My equipment costs suggest that well over $100 of the ooma cost goes into the service. Even so they may have a bit of the Ponzi going on in there in Palo Alto ;)

mr.ajandkj
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Post by mr.ajandkj » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:37 pm

7 yr user of Vonage, just ordered the Obi 110 from Amazon for $49.99. Will be using it with my Google Voice account and cancelling Vonage once I get things setup. So, $49.99 one-time cost and will be free as long as Google Voice remains to be free.

I had planned to switch to Ooma, but have read enough positive reviews of Obi to try that instead...can always goto Ooma later.

Use the forum link to order from Amazon...

http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=a ... Bogleheads

Sam I Am
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Post by Sam I Am » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:22 pm

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FrugalInvestor
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Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:33 pm

Sam I Am wrote: I didn't intentionally set out to have so many phones. It is handy, though.
Sam I Am
Until you need to start replacing batteries. :lol:
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Sam I Am
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Post by Sam I Am » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:05 pm

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:23 pm

Just an update...

I will return my Ooma tonight. I tried all the tech stuff their support recommended. I even went out and bought a new cable modem on the theory that my VoiP telephony modem was interfering. All the bandwidth, ping, and jitter stats looked good, but ultimately the Ooma call quality was just too poor: latency and increasingly garbled voices.

I called their number to disconnect the unit. The lady in probably India really gave me a hard sell to try it all again, but I had already done everything they recommended and then some.

Finally, she tried to stop me by saying it would be $79.99 if I try to re-activate. I told her then they'll lose the chance that I'll ever re-activate.

It's a shame because I really wanted this to work, and I probably tried more than most people would have.

Winthorpe
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Post by Winthorpe » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:28 pm

Ooma was the best thing that ever happened to my home phone! Free local and long distance, crystal-clear service, and has always been reliable. Can't beat that.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:41 pm

Winthorpe wrote:Ooma was the best thing that ever happened to my home phone! Free local and long distance, crystal-clear service, and has always been reliable. Can't beat that.
Now you are just making me feel bad! :(

I really wanted it to work, and I liked the new number a lot better as well.

bdpb
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Post by bdpb » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:26 am

Boglenaut wrote:
Winthorpe wrote:Ooma was the best thing that ever happened to my home phone! Free local and long distance, crystal-clear service, and has always been reliable. Can't beat that.
Now you are just making me feel bad! :(

I really wanted it to work, and I liked the new number a lot better as well.
Before you return your Ooma, you might try another VOIP service.
I don't know if it's still available, but I used Vonage for one month when I
was having VOIP issues and the cost was around $10. Vonage VOIP turned
out to be no better. Ultimately determined it was my internet service,
although I had to repeatedly ping the ISP gateways to prove packet
loss was occurring. The ISP's solution was to replace my DOCSIS 2.0
modem with a DOCSIS 1.1 modem. Both Ooma and Vonage VOIP
worked perfectly after that. Needless to say, but with the run around
I got from the ISP and having to prove the problem myself, when the
other ISP offered a great deal it was bye-bye to the old ISP.
Cancelled Vonage and Ooma has been working perfect ever since.

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magellan
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Post by magellan » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:15 am

mr.ajandkj wrote:7 yr user of Vonage, just ordered the Obi 110 from Amazon for $49.99. Will be using it with my Google Voice account and cancelling Vonage once I get things setup.
I've had the Obi for about a month and so far it's been great. I also use Google Voice directly from my laptop and the quality (even using the laptop mic/speaker) is great. I configured my google voice account to forward calls to my regular phone number in case anyone calls me on my google voice number (this actually happens a lot when people just dial the number you called them on).

The main snag with google voice is their number porting support for incoming calls. I couldn't even get a local exchange for my google voice number and from what I've heard, phone number porting to google voice is limited to cell phone numbers only and has been problematic for some folks. I've read about people buying a burn cell phone, porting their home number to it, then porting from there to google voice, but that sounds way too complicated for me. Finally, when a google voice user calls someone, the inbound caller ID only shows a number, not a name.

Jim

bvp
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Re: ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by bvp » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:20 am

I have ooma. Love it.

Sam I Am
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Re: ooma VOIP free phone service

Post by Sam I Am » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:23 am

bvp wrote:I have ooma. Love it.
Me, too! I had Vonage for a few years, good quality of service, but the rates had creeped up to where it was $25/month. So, I bought a ooma hub unit for $199 at newegg.com, free shipping and no taxes, and ported my number to ooma about a year ago. Starting in second year there is a charge of $11.75/yr, same for third year, then about $3.50/month for the taxes and E911 charges. Still an incredible deal.

My quality of service is excellent, probably because I have a very robust Internet connection via FiOS.

I also have a Magicjack device I use for my fax machine.

Magicjack has a new, improved device out ($69.99) that does not require a PC to use. As well, current phone numbers can now be ported to Magicjack. Those two issues were probably the issues that kept many from trying/using the service.

http://www.magicjack.com/plus-v05/

Sam I Am

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