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Replacing phone with VOIP
Old 10-27-2009, 08:25 PM   #1
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Replacing phone with VOIP

is it possible to find a VOIP that provides a regular phone number and uses regular phones, that a very low tech DW will accept?
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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Never mind. Im wrong. I actually dont know the answer to your question. I thought I did.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:31 PM   #3
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I probably don't have the answer, either. At work we have regular phones that are VOIP, with regular phone numbers. I have no idea of the best way to get that at home.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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I have used Vonage in the past. It was easy to set up and DW did not know the difference. We had 4 phones in the house, the base station hooked into the Vonage modem and all the rest of the phones worked just like they always did.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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This is probably not what you are looking for cost-wise and, in fact, may be the exact opposite but... The new Smart Phones (Blackberry, iPhone, HTC, Samsung, etc.) with Wi-Fi can do what you are asking:

How WiFi Phones Work
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:04 AM   #6
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magicjack is $19.95/yr (thats right per year) for free long distance to anywhere in US or Canada and it plugs into a USB port on your computer and then the other side plugs into a standard phone. i have also pluged it into a prewired phone jack and then pluged a phone into another jack. another interesting thing about magicjack is if you travel to any other country in the world and you have an internet connection and your computer you can place free calls to anywhere in the US & Canada and you have with you a US number so people here can call you like you were still here.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:10 AM   #7
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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. Here in wildfire/earthquake country that doesn't feel like a good choice.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdw_fire View Post
magicjack is $19.95/yr (thats right per year) for free long distance to anywhere in US or Canada and it plugs into a USB port on your computer and then the other side plugs into a standard phone. i have also pluged it into a prewired phone jack and then pluged a phone into another jack. another interesting thing about magicjack is if you travel to any other country in the world and you have an internet connection and your computer you can place free calls to anywhere in the US & Canada and you have with you a US number so people here can call you like you were still here.
This Magicjack is kind of interesting. It, essentially, lets you plug your desk phone into a computer with Broadband service. The cost is actually ~$47 for the first year and ~$20 a year thereafter. It, also, has been vetted by the Media and even PC Magazine.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:18 AM   #9
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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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Old 10-28-2009, 07:41 AM   #10
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I've had two different VOIP providers - you port your current number to them, and then you unplug the line from the phone company line at the source to your house, and plug the box into any jack in the house - that gets you connected to every phone in your house.

At that point there isn't any difference in usage from your standard old phone. You need a high speed internet connection to make it work, but that's it. You do NOT even need a computer in the same house, they don't connect to the computer at all, the interface box they provide does everything to convert the internet side to a plain old telephone-like system. If you didn't tell someone you had VOIP, they would not know.

Originally had Call-Vantage thru AT&T, but they discontinued that service, so I switched to T-Mobile @HOME ( we have a family plan, so just $10/month to add this, unlimited L&LD calls). Works fine. I know people who have been happy with Vonnage and/or Comcast also.

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Old 10-28-2009, 08:23 AM   #11
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We went with Vonage. Now looking at ooma to get away from the monthly fee entirely. We were able to keep our existing number with Vonage. But had to replace any old phones (900 baud). Not sure is ooma can xfer your existing number.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:36 AM   #12
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We went with Vonage. ... We were able to keep our existing number with Vonage. But had to replace any old phones (900 baud).
?

Why would you need to replace your old phones when going to vonage? What is a 900 baud phone - are you trying to use cellular/wi-fi phones with Vonage?

I'm pretty sure the OP is talking about re-using their old POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) phones.

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Replacing phone with VOIP

is it possible to find a VOIP that provides a regular phone number and uses regular phones, that a very low tech DW will accept?
-ERD50
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:54 AM   #13
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I haven't had a landline phone for over 5 years and can't imagine ever going back. My landline provider had absolutely horrible customer service and would go down several times a year for hours or even days at the time.

I use only my Blackberry now but have had several VOIP's over the years and highly recommend getting one.

My favorite was Sunrocket, who are now out of business. Vonage was OK but sometimes poor call quality. ITP had great service and prices but I had an issue with returning my equipment. (my fault for not putting tracking on my return) and used Magic Jack for a year. The only issue I have with MagicJack is that you must have a computer turned on otherwise it was fine.

I have also used skype and love it. But, that is not what you are probably looking for.

My cell phone is fine for emergencies. Even if I had bad cell phone reception I still would not go back to a landline but use a VOIP. My old landline went down much more often than my power ever has!
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
?

Why would you need to replace your old phones when going to vonage?
One of the phones in our house was 10-15 yo ... messed up the reception with Vonage. Spent a couple hours with tech services to isolate it (in the guest room) then every thing was fine.

FWIW, I went to my Vonage Billing History and noted the price of my 2 lines (home and lake house) has creeped up from $45/mo to $55/mo. Seems the taxes and fees have creeped a little but they also "upgraded" from a $14.99 plan to a $17.99 plan. Sooo I dumped Vonage at the lake ... just bought an ooma box for $190 (shipped free). So little phone use there; seems like a good place to start. Box will be here in a week.

Funny, vonage offered me a 9.99/mo for 100 minutes/mo. This is only offered to those who cancel.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #15
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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.
Not any more. Plenty of monitoring companies offer monitoring over broadband. Basically, they provide their own VOIP ATA for your alarm's phone line. For the non-nerds in the audience...an ATA is just a box that allows "normal" land-line phone systems, to use the services of a VOIP provider via your broadband connection.

NextAlarm is the alarm monitoring company I use - been quite happy with them. And, the ATA they supply, can handle two lines. One is pre-configured for the alarm services, the other you can configure for your VOIP provider - assuming they allow you to use your own VOIP equipment, which the good providers do.

Back to the original Q - yes, if DW knows how to use a phone, VOIP won't be a problem. After the initial setup, it functions no differently from a traditional land line. Of course, it offers far more options than a land line - but such services are optional.

The main concern with VOIP, is your broadband provider. If your broadband Internet connection is reasonably fast and reliable, your VOIP will be as well - assuming you have a good VOIP provider. One caveat here...broadband over satellite, is incompatible with VOIP. Satellite data transfer speed is OK, but the delay in the connection make real time activities - such as a phone conversation - next to impossible.

We use CallCentric for our VOIP providier - they've been great. One nice thing about them - you can try the service for little or no cost, prior to making the commitment to transferring your land line number over to them, or getting a new incoming number. Which, given the spotty reputation and quality of many VOIP providers, is something one should consider before making the leap. Callcentric accounts are free, and outbound calls to other Callcentric numbers are free. If you don't know anyone with a Callcentric account (likely), you can drop $5 in your account for outbound calls to anywhere.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:56 AM   #16
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A just in time discussion for me.... so I will thread hijack a bit and ask a few questions...

I currently have AT&T phone and DSL... can I just cancel the phone and keep the DSL with AT&T.. moving the phone line to a VOIP provider?

What speed do you need for the phone? I have the SLOW speed DSL, but it works just fine with SKYPE with video calls... I can not see how voice alone would need any more speed...

Which option is best for calling overseas? ie, voice quality, costs etc... My wife wants to call her mother and friends back home... some do not have SKYPE and she also wants to be able to just 'call' at any time....
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:25 PM   #17
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I currently have AT&T phone and DSL... can I just cancel the phone and keep the DSL with AT&T.. moving the phone line to a VOIP provider?
Depends - but probably yes. What you want to ask AT&T about, is "naked DSL". They probably offer it.

However...I'm assuming your land-line phone number, is on the same line as your DSL. If so, and you wish to keep your existing number, it can get a bit messy. Yes, it can be done - LNP (local number portability) should apply to your existing number, and good VOIP providers can handle the transfer. There is typically a fee for this - $25 or so is common.

The problem is a bit of a chicken/egg scenario. When the VOIP provider initiates the phone number transfer, lacking any instructions to the contrary, AT&T will disconnect your land line when it goes through. Problem is, this takes out your DSL in the process, leaving you without the VOIP service you just initiated.

You need to coordinate things with AT&T and your VOIP provider, to pull it off with minimal interruption. Even then, it's not fool-proof...make plans for alternate phone and/or Internet access, should somebody screw up - it can take days to fix.

If you don't need to transfer your existing number, the process is quite a bit simpler. Activate your new number with your VOIP provider on your existing DSL line, then have AT&T make the switch to naked DSL. Much less of a chance AT&T will screw up that process.

Quote:
What speed do you need for the phone? I have the SLOW speed DSL, but it works just fine with SKYPE with video calls... I can not see how voice alone would need any more speed...
Speed is not a big deal - any decent DSL service will suffice. Latency is far more important...that is, how long things take to respond on your Internet connection, when the VOIP data requests are made/received. If you've heard overseas correspondents on the news via satellite phone, you understand latency...reporter poses a question, and 5-7 seconds later, the response comes...but the flow of words is fine. Imagine carrying on a phone conversation like that, and you'll understand why latency is bad.

Quote:
Which option is best for calling overseas? ie, voice quality, costs etc... My wife wants to call her mother and friends back home... some do not have SKYPE and she also wants to be able to just 'call' at any time....
I've only called Canada on Callcentric...but they claim to have some of the lowest international rates around. Again - try before you buy, if at all possible. Sound quality on VOIP is another variable, that quickly separates the bad from the good providers...
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #18
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I have a magicjack and have a love/hate relationship with it. I love that it is inexpensive (I signed up for the 5 year plan, when that was for about $99, or $20 a year). When I travel and stay away for a few days, I carry that along and use the magicjack to make calls on my laptop.

Becaue I have a Magicjack, I only carry a tracfone prepaid as my mobile (no, monthly fees!). I do keep a landline, but to save money, I don't make non-toll free calls on it (use the landline to receive calls, caller id, 911, and the security system where I live is set up to the landline). I only pay about $20/month for the basic landline and caller id service.

The part I hate about Magicjack, results are spotty, and if you want to spend a night totally frurstrated, try their online customer service.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #19
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@easysurfer:

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Becaue I have a Magicjack, I only carry a tracfone prepaid as my mobile (no, monthly fees!).
Don't you have to keep buying new card every 90 days or every year? In other words, you have quarterly/yearly fees with this plan... ? What would be the minimum you have to spend per year?

With T-mobile pay-as-you-go plan I spend $10/year after initial $140 investment, but if there is a better plan (e.g. when minutes never expire), I'd consider it too.

Thanks for sharing magicjack experience. I was wondering about it's quality.

@Kroeran: Porbably obvious but... With any VOIP plan, don't forget that if electricity or internet are down, you'll be out of luck. I guess an emergency cell phone or "cheap" land line would work for such cases - but I suggest having some plan B for such cases.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:59 PM   #20
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Yes, each time you buy a card, that extends the time and minutes. You can buy cards that start from 90 days to 1 year. Of course you can load more than a year at a time..currently I have about 420 days and over 1000 minutes before it expires. They also have a double minutes for life of phone option too. Either buy this card (for $49) and activate that for the phone, or several phones that you buy have this already added in as a bonus.

Prepaid is not for everyone, but for me, that works fine. I have the double minutes option and I get a yearly card (800 minutes -- 400 doubled) for about $99. For me, I don't care to use the phone to text, as a camera, surf the web, etc.

On the magicjack, there's an unoffical forum for folks who have magicjack but realized the company's customer service is pretty much nil. For me, I got a good usb powered hub which cleared up much of the bad call quaility -- most of the time..

in case anyone wanted to look for me detail:

Unofficial magicJack tips, tricks, and hacks forum | Unofficial magicJack forum

:: Windmill Trading :: HUB-4U2ABK 4-Port Powered USB 2.0 hub with 2,000mA AC Supply
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