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Old 11-04-2009, 08:37 AM   #41
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any Canadians use ooma? would the only downside be a US phone number?
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:59 AM   #42
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Ouch, appears Vonage raised their prices for the year plan. $297.81. I think I'll order an ooma.
When I looked over reviews on Amazon, they were very positive overall. However....

when I looked at the negative ones, it was pretty scary. Seems like customer service is about nil. So it's one of those things that if it all works well (and it does seem to for most), great - but if it doesn't you might be stuck. Not cool since you pay everything upfront.

A little googling also showed that the company needed to raise more cash earlier in the year, and some of the original investors were unwilling to go in. I guess if you have a backup plan, and accept the risk, it will only take about a year to breakeven over vonage. The hassle factor would be a bigger issue for me, but hopefully you end up being in what appears to be a majority that are happy with the service.

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Old 11-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #43
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Yeah, I took the risk of the company going out of business into consideration. The only hassle that would bug me is porting my telephone number (that I've had for over 13 years) AND the company goes out of business AND my telephone number gets lost in the shuffle. Otherwise, I figure it is a pretty good $200 bet. We'll see.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:39 AM   #44
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I took the plunge. What the heck, I like playing with new IT stuff. I still have Vonage, tho it appears it expired today. I don't think I ever got a reminder. They tried to auto charge a cancelled credit card.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:50 AM   #45
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I took the plunge. What the heck, I like playing with new IT stuff. I still have Vonage, tho it appears it expired today. I don't think I ever got a reminder. They tried to auto charge a cancelled credit card.
Hopefully, you won't start getting calls from bill collection agencies. I have a friend who tried to cancel from Vonage, and that is what happened to her.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:13 PM   #46
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I was poking around on the web to get the scoop on using ooma in Canada with a US area code (Canada codes apparently will be coming soon), and I stumbled on a discussion about Google's Grand Central, which seems to be a hybrid between Skype and Vonage.

Comments?
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:29 PM   #47
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ooma is up and running at the lake. Set up was all of 5 minutes (disconnect Vonage router; plug in ooma router ... add vonage router to ooma router for wifi - yup they let you keep the wireless router.). Connect to the internet once so the box can find homebase and your off and running.

I am running my home monitor off the hub and 1 phone off the scout. Made several calls voice is crystal clear. Simulated a power outage to ensure the home monitor calls my cell (modem and ooma powered by ups) ... no problem.

I'll run this thing for a couple months before dumping vonage on the primary residence.

On a side note, a friend is in the VIOP business and says ooma has to "pay" to access everyones network (all the baby bells). So one has to wonder how it can "free forever". November is my first month of "payback" ... 9 more to go.

FWIW, if there's a problem the fall back plan is to reactivate the vonage box (will take all of 5 minutes). In the mean time competition is good ... vonage rates have been creeping up for years.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:45 AM   #48
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My ooma is waiting for me at home, according to FEDEX. Total with the $40 number port is about $20 less than my 1 year Vonage plan. So, I need until next SEP to break even.

I noticed my Vonage plan included two taxes (911 recovery and fed tax) for about $25 a year. Wonder how ooma pays that?
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:35 AM   #49
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Total with the $40 number port
Do you have to notify vonage about the port or does your $40 pay ooma to handle it? How long does it take before you can start making calls?

Thanx in advance.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:06 PM   #50
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Not sure. Will find out tonight when I get home after work and play with it. I think I'll review the ooma FAQs now tho.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:52 PM   #51
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Quote: Originally Posted by Urchina
We've chosen NOT to replace our land line with VOIP, for safety reasons. To wit: if the power is off, or our internet service provider is down, we can't make a call.
Same here. Additionally, if you have a security system, the security firm must have a landline to hook into, unless you set up a wireless line for them that you know will be reliable.
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Same here. Additionally, if you have a security system, the security firm must have a landline to hook into, unless you set up a wireless line for them that you know will be reliable.
First I would like to mention that I am a 25 year telecom Eng veteran. I have worked in CATV, wireline, wireless and sat telephony.

Both quotes above are not entirely correct. First, Vonage and others have a feature that will direct your incoming calls to your cell (or number of your choice) should you lose VOIP/DSL service (and most of us seem to have mobiles these days).

Second, Vonage and others have selectable bandwidth usage (quality of service). By selecting "High" quality, your VOIP line will carry low speed modem traffic via a robust protocol. That is typically what alarm traffic is, dialup, handshake to acceptable protocol and short burst of data.

I have had Vonage at home for over a year now and have had no issues.

Regards...
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #52
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I think the concern with land-line-lovers is dialing out ... the UPS on my modem and router have worked fine thru many outages (home monitor dials out just fine). IP providers have generator back-up so the problem should not be on thier end.

Back on the number porting ... when I ported from Comcast to Vonage I was without phone for a day while the two coordinated the swap. That was a few years ago (might be better now).
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:48 PM   #53
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Ohhh, ooma says 3 to 4 weeks to port a number over. That means I need to get 1 month of Vonage to tide me over.

Maybe a change in phone number is a good thing. Would save me $60 too.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:38 PM   #54
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The whole phone number porting thing is kinda off a pain. Plus where I live there is no VOIP service provider than can provide me with a local number. So I decided to go to a toll free number and virtual attendant service. I used ringcentral.com

So I have a voip service with Vonage, but with an out of town number. I have a cell as does my wife and two teenage kids.

So now if anyone wants to reach us, they dial our toll free number and then get provided with a menu..dial one for me, 2 for my wife, three for my son and four for my daughter. So if you dial me during the day, the call routes to my desk at work and my cell simultaneously. After hours, its my home and cell simultaneously. If you select my wife, home and cell simultaniously. If you dial my daughter, she wants the home phone to ring first for 4 rings and then her cell.

So I hope everyone gets the point. If you want to reach any of us, you just need to call our Toll Free number...you don't need to know all our cells or home numbers and if any of them change, I just change then entry in my system (online).

The other nice thing is that if you leave a message on anyone's extension, it emails them the message and sends them an SMS indicating so. So I was able to drop voice mail on my cells at a cost of $10/month for every phone...that paid for the toll free service.

Finally I can call the toll free number from anywhere in north america, enter a code and dial out a number from any phone including pay phones.

Regards...
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:23 PM   #55
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Has anyone tried to use Skype to call other regular phone numbers? Also, any experience with using Skype-In? Skype-In gets you a phone number so people can call you from a regular phone.

Skype's computer to computer voice quality (and video) is excellent. I'd like to know if the same holds true for computer to phone.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:31 PM   #56
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$10/month for every phone...that paid for the toll free service
My tenants would love me to give them an 800 number ... but the site says the $9.99 plan is only good for 100 minutes (am I missing something?).

Could never give the number out to to "everyone". We push 3-4 hundred minutes most months (family of 4). So we'ld still have a porting issue (too many people would have other numbers).
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:45 PM   #57
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I think the concern with land-line-lovers is dialing out ... the UPS on my modem and router have worked fine thru many outages (home monitor dials out just fine). IP providers have generator back-up so the problem should not be on thier end.
Last ice storm we lost electricity and cable based internet. However, the plain-old-telephone service stayed up all week, and the Verizon cell phones kept working all week. We personally had electricity back for awhile before cable/internet was restored.

My brother is on a different cable company one town over, and that cable company was dropping portable generators at the bottom of telephone poles as they restored their coverage. His cable/internet was restored before his electricity. However, he then lost cable/internet and noticed that the portable generator the cable company had dropped at the end of his street had run out of gas! His electricity came back on later, but apparently the cable company's equipment was still connected to the out-of-gas generator instead of the grid, because the cable was not immediately restored. The next morning the cable company picked up the generator, and apparently reconnected their equipment to the electrical grid and his cable service came back online.

I've certainly been tempted to drop plain-old-telephone service, but I have not made the jump yet.
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:25 AM   #58
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Last ice storm we lost electricity and cable based internet.
The ice storm we weathered (last Dec) took down lines (and poles!!) through out the area. Phone lines were lieing on the ground severed along with cable and electric lines.

Your cell phone was your best friend!
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:01 AM   #59
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My tenants would love me to give them an 800 number ... but the site says the $9.99 plan is only good for 100 minutes (am I missing something?).

Could never give the number out to to "everyone". We push 3-4 hundred minutes most months (family of 4). So we'ld still have a porting issue (too many people would have other numbers).
First, that 4 cells at either $6 or $10 a month for voicemail...so just under $40/month saved from paying cell companies for voicemail. My tollfree service is $24/month for 500 minutes/month.

Second, I'm not sure I understand your second question/comment? $24 month for 500 minutes should do it. You don't need to port anything.

To me this was a good solution to all these number issues, but it may not work for you.

Regards...
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:17 AM   #60
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The ice storm we weathered (last Dec) took down lines (and poles!!) through out the area. Phone lines were lieing on the ground severed along with cable and electric lines.

Your cell phone was your best friend!
Having worked with Cable and wireless systems in Network Operations I can perhaps shed some light on the effects of ice storms and widespread outages.

First, ice storms damage infrastructure universally (pole line distribution & power). So how it affects you directly really depends on how your local plant is deployed. You can have some situations when you will have cable but not phone, or visa versa. CableTV plants are powered "along the way", while most of the phone system is power from the central office. Central offices usually have backup power vs batteries/generators. CableTV power supplies usually have battery backup also.

Cell sites and cellular phone switching systems are generally powered the same as land line phones, but the fact that they are wireless means that they have antennas. Antennas covered with ice can cause high VSWR that can shut down the systems. Back-haul traffic to the switching center mostly rides in the cabling plant and so are susceptible to physical failure also.

Second, in really catastrophic situations (like hurricane Katrina), you can lose all infrastructure and so you need to rely on sat systems who back-haul to distance central offices away from the current calamity. Services like Globalstar, Iridium, MSAT, etc can fill that need.

I guess it all depends on what level of system availability you need. But I know it will be very high and you may be better off focusing on how easy and quickly you can get emergency services as this will be a far bigger issue that communications.

Regards...
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