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Shark Bait
03-18-2009, 11:24 PM
Bought me this Ooma (http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11337740&search=ooma&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=ooma&Ntt=ooma&No=0&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1) deal from costco.com. Once you buy it, the service is free. No extra charge for domestic long distance. You can port your phone number over. The premium service is $100 for the year, which gives you a free ssecond line, 3-way calling and some other extra features. I'm thinking about dropping my land line, which will save me around $500 per year. Does anyone see a down side to all this? They'll support E911. We used it this past week while I was in Chicago and the sound quality was perfect.

www.ooma.com

corsair23
03-19-2009, 02:17 AM
No comment :( - Unless your land line is with Comcast of course then go ahead :)

More and more people are dropping their land lines and going with just a cell phone or VoIP or a cell phone and VoIP. People are getting accustom use to lower quality calls...After 10 plus years of cell phone use I think people have become ok with dropped calls, bad connections, whatever. IMO that set the standard for people being more agreeable to going to VoIP. Like a cell phone sometimes it is great...Other times not...Hard to argue about the savings though and if you don't live in the boonies, then the value of a land line, that will work even when your power goes out, becomes less and less. Add in cheap or free long distance and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen.

What sucks is that the phone companies hands are tied in various ways trying to compete because they are regulated by the PUCs while many of the VoIP providers are not.

Personally I hate VoIP. I am on conference calls all the time with people on VoIP lines and the call quality typically sucks. These are people that work for telecommunications companies and the quality still sucks. But, I've never been a bleeding-edge adopter either :) - IMO VoIP has a long way to go before I would consider it...VoIP is cheap because for the most part it rides on some other company's pipe end to end. Unless you are buying VoIP from someone like Qwest or Comcast and riding their VPN, there is no encouragement for the bandwidth provider to improve quality if they are not getting any revenue and the VoIP provider sure isn't going to kick in any $$. Think of wireless access. You can sniff out a wifi hotspot and if it isn't secure, ride the super highway for free. People are getting use to expecting that things related to or with the internet to be free, or cost very little to use. IMO quality will suffer as the saying "You get what you pay for" applies.

My only suggestion is to make sure you read up fully about what you need to do regarding setting up E911 so that it definitely works. Good luck and let us know how it works out...Sooner or later, we are all going to end up on VoIP, it is just a matter of time. Hopefully by then I'll have won the lottery and be out of the telecommunications business :hill:

Red_Chili
03-19-2009, 06:31 AM
Our company uses VoIP extensively, for call centers, etc. When it works, it's great, and saves our bacon. When a router dies, it's all gone. +1 on providers skimping on bandwidth, and voice communications is not generally their highest priority. But it works well enough.

Worth considering for home application.

CardinalFJ60
03-19-2009, 06:38 AM
I'm also in the telecommuncations side of things..audio and web conferencing to be specific. We made the choice NOT to go voip with our product for exactly the reasons Corsair stated. The quality and reliability is just better on land lines (PSTN type stuff). For B to B comm. like we do, quality and reliability are essential.

for personal use...I'd say Voip is fine for calling friends and family where it's typically OK to just call back or say, "wha!!>? didn't catch that...can you say it again?"

the savings is phenomenal with home based Voip. NO doubt about that.

Beater
03-19-2009, 06:57 AM
cheap, easy, works well. Pick 2

seriously though, home VOIP is fine. As long as you expect no better than cell phone quality. I design, build and sell the stuff for companies.

Remember this though, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free phone call.

our sip trunking and voip products work, and work well. However, that being said, we have been using VOIP internally since the mid 1990's, and we are just now providing it to business as a replacement for business dial-tone.

The majority of businesses do not replace tdm (traditional voice) local termination and go instead with least cost routing for intercorporate calling. Why?

you need a few things to make voip work like tdm:

adequate, up to date phone gear
cos (class of service) marking on all traffic, with strict policing over the lan and wan
NO vpn tunneling
adequate bandwidth to match the codec your equipment is using.

if you are using comcast for voice, they use a combination of voip and tdm, just like every other large company.

Biggest problem with home voip is that if you or the provider loses connectivity, you are done, then you still use your cell phone. If I was dropping my home line, I would just stay cell, for the redundancy and resiliancy.

sleeoffroad
03-19-2009, 07:03 AM
I have VOIP at home and everytime I call home and can't get hold of someone I am always pissed since I don't know if the broadband is down or there is really no-one home. Not voip's fault, but a spotty broadband / router that likes to drop out.

If you are confident in your broadband, then the voip saves you money. Otherwise it is a pita. At work we are still on regular phone since we can not afford to have phone service to be reliant on internet.

treerootCO
03-19-2009, 07:58 AM
Don't blame the voip, blame the MPLS networks provided by the phone company;)

Beater
03-19-2009, 08:31 AM
Don't blame the voip, blame the MPLS networks provided by the phone company;)

when all else fails, blame the telco.....

'root is right to some extent, and I am the mpls guy. However, VERY few companies follow the engineering to the letter on the network side. The right way is usually a lot more costly, hence they try and get by... Not on the equipment side like avaya or shoretel or what have you, but the level of networking it requires in switching and wan

j

Shark Bait
03-19-2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks guys. Exactly what I was looking for.

My cable service has been pretty reliable lately, and if it goes out it is usually not out for long.

The quality is certainly lacking in cell phones which is why we didn't consider dropping the land line sooner. Nothing beats the "wired" quality. I will definitely keep the cell as backup. I need it for business anyway.

The cost savings is significant. We were paying almost $75 per month for two lines. I dropped the second line a couple of months ago and the bill dropped to around $45. Then last month, out of the blue, it was almost $60. WTF? So, even with Ooma premium at around $10 per month we'll save $500 per year.

I seem to remember that the phone bill used to be $25 per year. When cable came along it was pretty cheap. Now, our phone bill is $45 (was $75), cable & internet is around $130 and cell with 2 phones and data is around $150 (was $200) per month. !! :eek: That's just too much. Yes, you can argue that you're getting a lot for that money.

I know. I'm old. I'll stop before I start complaining about the music the kids are listening to these days. I figure if the VOIP doesn't work out I can always go back to the land line. I think my credit is good enough. :D

nakman
03-19-2009, 10:42 AM
We just had comcast installed, and went with the Voip. They put a battery in the router so you can still get phone if the power goes out. But we often miss calls (doesn't ring, then suddenly you have a message :confused:), also can't get through on other times, and I always thought it was the cheap cordless phones we have, but I guess it could be the spotty internet service, which has been down at least twice in its first week.

But I too have grown to expect less from phone calls, and always figure if it's important they'll call back. It feels like there are 6 other ways to reach me now so I'm less worried about emergency calls... I get your email & PM's in my pocket, and in less time than it takes me to listen to your voice message. If it weren't for parents, baby sitter needs, etc., we'd probably drop the home phone altogether.

corsair23
03-19-2009, 11:47 AM
We just had comcast installed, and went with the Voip. They put a battery in the router so you can still get phone if the power goes out.

Interesting...so you have one phone that is directly connected to the router then?

Reason I ask is I try to let everyone know that has Qwest phone service that if your power goes out, your phone will still work, but only if you have at least one old school phone that does not require external power...Cordless phones for instance won't work when your power goes out unless they too have some sort of back up power system. We keep an old school phone in the closet for this reason. A couple years ago when my in-laws were snowed in up in Conifer for a week, the only things that worked were the wood burning stove and their land line. A few years before that when we had the blizzard in '03 I believe my folks lost power for a week. The only things that worked in their home was the gas fireplace and the phone :).

treerootCO
03-19-2009, 11:55 AM
when all else fails, blame the telco.....

'root is right to some extent, and I am the mpls guy. However, VERY few companies follow the engineering to the letter on the network side. The right way is usually a lot more costly, hence they try and get by... Not on the equipment side like avaya or shoretel or what have you, but the level of networking it requires in switching and wan

j

I was wondering if I would get a rise out of you. :D MPLS is cheap, why would I spend the money on a network assessment? :p:

corsair23
03-19-2009, 11:58 AM
The cost savings is significant. We were paying almost $75 per month for two lines. I dropped the second line a couple of months ago and the bill dropped to around $45. Then last month, out of the blue, it was almost $60. WTF? So, even with Ooma premium at around $10 per month we'll save $500 per year.

I seem to remember that the phone bill used to be $25 per year. When cable came along it was pretty cheap. Now, our phone bill is $45 (was $75), cable & internet is around $130 and cell with 2 phones and data is around $150 (was $200) per month. !! :eek: That's just too much. Yes, you can argue that you're getting a lot for that money.

Chris, mind if I ask who your home phone service provider is/was? Seems strange that your home phone bill went up that much? Qwest, being a regulated utility can't just raise rates. They have to go to the PUC and request an approved increase and I'm not aware of that happening.

Has anyone with Qwest phone service looked closely at their bill lately, specifically the home phone section? Notice that taxes and fees account for up to 1/3 of the cost? Been that way for a long time but Qwest just collects these fees/taxes for others. VoIP providers do not have a lot of the same taxes/fees that they have to collect so imagine if Qwest didn't either...Just saying - even the playing field :rolleyes:

Shark Bait
03-19-2009, 12:08 PM
Jeff. It's Qwest. I changed my service a couple of months ago, dropping the second line. So it's possible the previous bill was low from a credit for service not used. You're right. A lot of it is Access Charge and Service Fees. $60 seems a lot for one line of local phone service. Like I said, if I get the go ahead from "the boss" we'll cut the cord. If it turns out to be no good we'll certainly go back. :cool:

corsair23
03-19-2009, 12:19 PM
Sorry to hear that Chris...I agree with you. $60 for a single home phone line is too much, even if you add all of the bells and whistles. Unfortunately they don't ask me :) - I think Qwest is missing the boat. How about $25/month or $20/month for a phone with all the features a customer wants? Throw in say 500 minutes of LD calling to boot. IMO that would be better than them getting $0/month :hill: - I can't see the PUC not allowing a rate reduction but you never know, they could see it as an attack on fair market competition. The best value of course is when you bundle services - phone, wireless, broadband, and satellite but even then it is hard to compete with the "specials" that can be found out there individually.

Anyone out there has Liberty Bell Telephone service? Tom Martino's phone company? I've wondered how much he charges customers for reselling Qwest phone service.

Beater
03-19-2009, 03:08 PM
I was wondering if I would get a rise out of you. :D MPLS is cheap, why would I spend the money on a network assessment? :p:


MPLS is a vpn type... like everything else, there are flavors. The one thing my company has NEVER been accused of, like yours, is being "cheap"

j

nakman
03-19-2009, 03:43 PM
Interesting...so you have one phone that is directly connected to the router then?

Reason I ask is I try to let everyone know that has Qwest phone service that if your power goes out, your phone will still work, but only if you have at least one old school phone that does not require external power...Cordless phones for instance won't work when your power goes out unless they too have some sort of back up power system.

Actually you're right. We'd have phone service, but the cordless phone wouldn't work. I guess I could borrow the UPS from the computer though if I really had to make the home phone work in a power outage... but you'd have to call me on my cell so I'd know to go plug it in. :brick:

leiniesred
03-19-2009, 05:50 PM
Our company is all VOIP. I'm the network engineer.
The PitneyBowes postage machine didn't like it. It took me a year to get it to stop whining.

My grandma has "Century Telephone and Telegraph" phone service, but she lives pretty far north in MI. She has rotary dial service. She thinks land lines are just fine. When her power goes out, the phone goes out too because they both run on the same poles through the cedar swamp.

treerootCO
03-19-2009, 06:43 PM
Our company is all VOIP. I'm the network engineer.
The PitneyBowes postage machine didn't like it. It took me a year to get it to stop whining.

My grandma has "Century Telephone and Telegraph" phone service, but she lives pretty far north in MI. She has rotary dial service. She thinks land lines are just fine. When her power goes out, the phone goes out too because they both run on the same poles through the cedar swamp.

T.38
Relay
Fax Pass through

farnhamstj
03-20-2009, 06:56 PM
While I'm not down with the lingo. I do know that since my wife started using skype to talk to her parents in New Zealand. We've been saving about $100 per month on phone calls.

Romer
03-20-2009, 07:16 PM
I have had the Comcast phone for 6 months and haven't had any issues with the quality of service. I have one line tied directly into the modem then the rest tied through the house phone wires.
Bonni uses it for work and its the only service like that her company allows.

thelal
03-25-2009, 10:04 AM
As someone who has done a lot on international calling...
there are lots of VOIP providers, LD callers and more will pop up over the years with gimmicks, sales etc...
some are good, some are bad, some disappear
most of the providers work out ok and costs now (if u're willing 2 play with Sip and other techie stuff) can be as low as 1c/min international :)

However I'd be more concerned about trying to keep a consistent phone# and allow porting/routing. Its a bit like owning your own email (domain) address and picking who hosts it

Google (was GrandCentral now has a new name) and some others allow it. Worth looking at.

Lal

Shark Bait
04-14-2009, 11:06 PM
Some of you may find this interesting. Ooma had an extended outage yesterday. Their blog is here (http://blog.ooma.com/2009/04/13/about-the-april-13th-service-outage/).

Of course, just last week I decided to port my number over and drop Qwest. Hasn't happened officially yet. I've gotten used to the free long distance while I've been home and yesterday threw me for a loop. Still had cell service, though.

treerootCO
04-14-2009, 11:15 PM
and if Ooma called someone and demanded a root cause, now you know what I do for a living.

Shark Bait
04-14-2009, 11:21 PM
and if Ooma called someone and demanded a root cause, now you know what I do for a living.

Well, I'll just call you direct next time. :D

Beater
04-15-2009, 06:43 AM
yeah - but you didn't tell him it takes you 14 bidness days without escalation... lol

Shark Bait
06-17-2009, 09:25 PM
Learned something interesting today. Ooma says it supports FAX, but I couldn't get mine to work. Even with Error Correction turned off and the speed set down to 9600 bps, the fax connection wouldn't stay up. Hmmm. Oh well, who uses FAX anymore? :D