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I know we have some networking gurus here so I wanted to ask what VOIP service I should get.

My wife and I use our cell phones the majority of the time. We have Sprint service but there is no Sprint coverage at our home. When we moved in we installed an Airave, it is kinda like a personal cell tower. It works ok but our phones don't always ring if someone tries to call. This is not a big issue most of the time but several weeks out of the year my wife is on call and the hospital needs to be able to get ahold of her.

I know there are several options out there to us.

1. Comcast Phone - I hate to give Comcast anymore money than I have to. There phone service is $14.99 a month and we don't need all of the long-distance or international calling.

2. Local Phone co. - I have not looked at prices yet but I'm going to guess that prices are going to be around the same as Comcast.

3. VOIP - This is what I'm really looking for information on. I know there are plans that are closer to $5.00 a month and that sounds way better.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Most of the people that I know of that are using VOIP at home are using MagicJack.

I know some others were using something that was tied to Google voice but my understanding is that Google killed that option.
 

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Having no cell service anywhere near where I live, I've used a VoIP service for years now. The service I use has been rock solid - cost comes to $7.71 per month ($149 for 2 years plus tax comes to $185) including all taxes and e-911 fees when I pay for 2 years at a time. Plenty of features and the box is included for free. The reason I went with them is this is a spin off of HostGator which is a big web hosting service that I have also used for years. The couple times I've had to contact tech support (for either hostgator or voipo) I've received a response within 20 minutes.

VoIP Services by VOIPO
 

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What type of internet service do you have and what are the speeds?

I would go with Google Voice (free) and run it off the PC / tablet

If you want / need / desire the feel of an actual phone, buy an Obihai OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP Telephone Adapter ($60 - one time) and use it with Google Voice. A phone will plug right into it and operate as a regular phone.

With Google Voice you can set the number up to not only ring your PC / tablet / Obihai adapter but also your cell phones simultaneously. This way, if the hospital has your wife's GV number and she decides to go to town they still only need to dial the one number.

I've been using GV for years and it has been pretty rock solid. I have one number that I give out that will ring my cell, my desk, my on star. If I change any of my phone numbers it does not affect anyone as they have my GV number which stays the same. WHen I visit my parents, my tablet is with me and I can answer calls from it or I can direct the line to ring their number.
 

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OOMA
Free Home Phone Service | Ooma

It goes in at the front of your internet connection and makes sure it has enough bandwidth to give very good quality.
 

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I went to MagicJack about two years ago. Sixty bucks to start and thirty bucks per year. It didn't take long to realize a savings from the thirty five dollars per month I was paying Time-Warner.... Two months! I have it plugged in my UPS and it has worked flawlessly with three cordless and one corded phone on the circuit. You do have to dial the area code with all calls, including local, but that isn't so hard. And you do lose service when the Cable or power is out. That's when the cell phone is handy.

Three co-workers have switched to MagicJack based on my bragging of how much money I am NOT giving to Time-Warner each month, and all have reported excellent results.
 

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Another vote for ooma. It's actually around $3/mo but it's just for taxes.

Jim
 

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I know we have some networking gurus here so I wanted to ask what VOIP service I should get.

My wife and I use our cell phones the majority of the time. We have Sprint service but there is no Sprint coverage at our home. When we moved in we installed an Airave, it is kinda like a personal cell tower. It works ok but our phones don't always ring if someone tries to call. This is not a big issue most of the time but several weeks out of the year my wife is on call and the hospital needs to be able to get ahold of her.

I know there are several options out there to us.

1. Comcast Phone - I hate to give Comcast anymore money than I have to. There phone service is $14.99 a month and we don't need all of the long-distance or international calling.

2. Local Phone co. - I have not looked at prices yet but I'm going to guess that prices are going to be around the same as Comcast.

3. VOIP - This is what I'm really looking for information on. I know there are plans that are closer to $5.00 a month and that sounds way better.

Thanks,
Mike

Mike , Don't know when your Sprint contract runs out , but my guess is US Cell would provide better coverage than Sprint where you live. Plus it runs off Verizon network when they have no coverage in that area.
VOIP was just coming in 7-8 yrs ago , I installed a few phones in some of the company buildings , seemed OK . I know why would a phone company want VOIP when the building I was installing it was our Central office where your Dial Tone comes from.. Just a back up plan in case the building was down, and cell service was done. We could go to plan C.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mike , Don't know when your Sprint contract runs out , but my guess is US Cell would provide better coverage than Sprint where you live.
It is only at my house that I don't get good sprint coverage and I happy with what I get with sprint and what I have to pay to get it. I'm just really looking for a plan C of my own.


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It is only at my house that I don't get good sprint coverage and I happy with what I get with sprint and what I have to pay to get it. I'm just really looking for a plan C of my own.
Doh! Just realized that you already have the Airave... Nevah mind!
 

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I have the HTC One (new M8 model) from Sprint and it has a feature called "wifi calling" that I use at my place in the country. It allows me to utilize my home wifi to make or receive my calls. However, it is not automatic. You must log in to the wifi at home or any place else you might be where you have poor cell coverage. Then it will require you to "locate" yourself for 911 reasons by putting in your address.

My coverage is OK outside the house, but since I put on a metal roof, it is not as good as it was, so I switched to the wifi calling. The restaurant in town has free wifi, so I configure it to log in there also.

Dave
 

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What type of internet service do you have and what are the speeds?

I would go with Google Voice (free) and run it off the PC / tablet
In looking into this a bit he doesn't even need to run Google Voice on a PC. Apparently Sprint already has a setup with Google Voice that allows you to use your existing Sprint number on any Sprint Smartphone. In essence, it gives you VOIP at no cost using everything he already has. All he needs to do is setup the Google Voice service through his phone.

https://support.google.com/voice/answer/1207070?hl=en&ref_topic=1708417
 

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We've had ooma for a couple years now, and they had a problem where you had to dial *96 before your outgoing number, but they have it fixed now.

I think it was $200 for the hardware and $3/mo for the government taxes. I paid an additional $60 to have my home number ported over.

No one would know the difference.

I have a cat5 up to the kitchen with a cat3 UTP down to my phone distro Block, so we can use any cordless phone we choose, in any phone jack in the house.

We can use the app on our phones, or log in to the ooma site to receive voicemails and view the call log.

The fact it's a stand alone system, unlike some, is why I gave it a try.

Voice quality is excellent, even through our lowest tier speed dry DSL line. Our ISP put up quite the fight to get the phone service unwrapped from the Dsl, like they'd never heard of such a thing.

So, to date I'm happy with it.

I would buy another ooma system if I had a hardware issue or failure...
 

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Thanks, Winterkire. I was wondering if one could keep their old land line number. I have it for receiving the occasional fax, but can't remember the last time I made a call on it. But some old friends call it, on occasion.

I need to find something cheaper, for no more than it is used. Just need basic service, answering machine, (or voice mail), and caller ID. I have anonymous call rejection currently too, to try to cut down on telemarketing calls that occur, even on the "no call list".

No DSL here (nor will it become available, I am told), but I too am watching this thread with interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well thank you to all of you that have posted recommendations. I have decided to go with an actual VoIP service. Though I will look further into the Google voice thing. I like the thought of just having a good old phone to grab when it rings.


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For grits and shins, I am installing our own VoIP system in the house. I already have the computer hardware running other things so no extra load there.

I want to setup the system so that when someone calls, they hear an announcement to dial a number to be connected. If you don't dial, you are not connected. I'm tired of every survey company and "alternative" electric companies calling.

I may actually see if I can whitelist some numbers so they are automatically connected while any other number is prompted. My JD dealer would be whitelisted, of course.
 

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I know we have some networking gurus here so I wanted to ask what VOIP service I should get.

My wife and I use our cell phones the majority of the time. We have Sprint service but there is no Sprint coverage at our home. When we moved in we installed an Airave, it is kinda like a personal cell tower. It works ok but our phones don't always ring if someone tries to call. This is not a big issue most of the time but several weeks out of the year my wife is on call and the hospital needs to be able to get ahold of her.

I know there are several options out there to us.

1. Comcast Phone - I hate to give Comcast anymore money than I have to. There phone service is $14.99 a month and we don't need all of the long-distance or international calling.

2. Local Phone co. - I have not looked at prices yet but I'm going to guess that prices are going to be around the same as Comcast.

3. VOIP - This is what I'm really looking for information on. I know there are plans that are closer to $5.00 a month and that sounds way better.

Thanks,
Mike
Mike - my wife and I have used both Vonage and Magicjack. Both work with the same principal, you purchase a modem for about 70 bucks, plug it into an Ethernet cable from your modem and connect to cordless phones. You pay a monthly or annual fee for the service and about three bucks/month for 911 service, taxes, surcharges, Obamaphone subsidy, etc.

We used Vonage our last couple of years overseas, but never got the modem to work well when we returned to the U.S. So we switched to Magicjack, which we use now. I think both providers allow you to call forward to your cell phone, Vonage did a visual voicemail that put a transcript of the message on an email. We paid a fee to transfer our Vonage number to magic jack.

The higher and cleaner your modem speed and signal, the clearer your call quality is. We have a lot of friends in the UK, so Vonage allowed us to phone forty countries for "free", which MJ does not.

This has been our experience, if you have anymore questions, please ask

Brian
 

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Mike - my wife and I have used both Vonage and Magicjack.

Brian
We use Vonage, when I read Majic Jack's User agreement, they were granted authority to resell all of the contact information and our actual call histories to telemarketers and they had some goofy provisions where they were granted hosting and operational authority with technology which was connected through their service.

I actually read the entire agreement, which, of course, takes some effort to obtain, and there was no way I was going to agree to the terms of their agreement. Many people are attracted by the low price and "free calls", but I didn't agree with the authority they expected me to grant them as part of their Operational and User Agreement.

Granted this was a couple of years ago, so perhaps things have changed, but I doubt it. From the basic premise of "What's in it for them", I am suspect of services which are "Low cost" or "Free" as I have lived long enough to know that most of the "Free" things offered require you pay a price for it in other ways...........

Overall, Vonage has worked great. It took some finagling to get my Security system to adapt to the VoIP Technology for the monitoring company, but once that was worked out, it has been great. Also, Vonage would not allow us to use our long established Fax number and we had to get a fax number through them, which is a different area code for some reason. Other than that, seamless.
 

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I got my system set up last night. I have two extensions: one for the cordless phone and one for my desk phone. Now whenever anyone calls our number it simply says press nine. If they don't press nine they are hung up on and the phone never rings. Now I am whitelisting numbers so that friends and family can call and not get prompted to press nine.

In addition, I have a paging system configured. Now I want to find the kids I simply dial in extension and all the phones come off the hook and I can speak everywhere.
 

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TickTock:

I would be interested in the specific details of the system you have set up and how much specific hardware is required (beyond a particular modem being needed in the computer, I'm guessing).



In response to some of the other posts in this thread, in an effort to clear up some incorrect information:

Google Voice is still alive and well.

Google Voice is NOT a pure VoIP service - at least not as we have come to think of them. With Google Voice, you can associate your number to Google Hangouts and use the number for texting and voice/video calling when on a computer. From a smartphone, you can also use the Google Voice app or the Hangouts app to do these same sorts of things. From ANY OTHER PHONE, it works as a sort of "relay" system for phone calls. When someone calls your GV number, it will forward to any one of the various ACTUAL phones you have tied to the account, be them landline, cell phone, or whatever. You can define all kinds of rules as to who gets through, who gets blocked, when the phones are allowed to ring, etc. It's a pretty nice service and I have been using it for about seven years to date.

Tying Google Voice to a cell phone that does not work in the home is pointless.

Google Voice offers the option to transcribe a voicemail and send it to you via email. I have ALL of my cell phone and land line services set to forward to my GV number so callers can leave me a message. I will get an email not only about the "missed calls" (those that don't leave a message), but I will get emails about voicemails with the message attached. I can access my voicemails by phone or computer, and also via the smartphone app. And, I get notification of the message within a very short window of time after it is left (depends on how long it takes to transcribe). This is an EXCELLENT way to have people be able to reach you without ever actually talking to them, especially if you're traveling and passing through lots of areas with poor or no cell service.

If you have a job that requires you to be on call and your "personal" cell phone doesn't work at your own, try putting the onus back onto the employer to provide a means to get in touch with you. And, using ANY kind of service that could be down during bad weather, disasters, and other similar situations where the likelihood of getting called goes UP could likely put you in a situation where you're end up missing the call.

I've been a Vonage user for over ten years. I've had a couple of glitches with the service in that time, but overall it has worked very well. I got to a point where I felt like I didn't use the service very much at all and called them to cancel. They gave me the $10/month rate for life because I had been with them so long.
 
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