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Author Topic: The route an Obie/Google Voice call takes  (Read 82948 times)
Lateralg
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2012, 01:20:20 pm »

Is losing both land line & internet at same time really rare?

If we lose power, aren't our cordless land line phones dead?  I wonder how many people thought to have an old fashioned plug-it-in-the-wall phone ready for this.  And know where they hid it.
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Rick
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2012, 01:27:23 pm »

Is losing both land line & internet at same time really rare?

If we lose power, aren't our cordless land line phones dead?  I wonder how many people thought to have an old fashioned plug-it-in-the-wall phone ready for this.  And know where they hid it.

To your point, anyone with a POTS line should have a cord phone plugged into at least one of the phone jacks in the home.
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Lateralg
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2012, 01:32:25 pm »

Stewart, are you still there?  If not, anyone care to sub for him?

If a person doesn't want to use Google Voice:

1) How does he/she find SIP provider?
2) On a 0-10 scale of difficulty, where 10 is in Steven Hawking's territory, how difficult to make Obie user-friendly?  The Obie advanced setup seems to have as much, or more, features than GV, but it looks a bit intimidating.

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Lateralg
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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2012, 01:33:57 pm »

Rick,

SHOULD have.  Excellent point that I'll emphasize in my presentation to the elder folk.
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2012, 01:42:42 pm »

Stewart, are you still there?  If not, anyone care to sub for him?

If a person doesn't want to use Google Voice:

1) How does he/she find SIP provider?
2) On a 0-10 scale of difficulty, where 10 is in Steven Hawking's territory, how difficult to make Obie user-friendly?  The Obie advanced setup seems to have as much, or more, features than GV, but it looks a bit intimidating.



FYI, the device is an OBi 100 or OBi 110, not an Obie...  Wink

Given your audience, if they don't want to use GV, and they don't have a need to have two OBi devices communicating to each other, they should stick with their landlines.  With a parent in her mid 70s and more elderly in-laws, even basic technology is past their capabilities.  IMHO, the OBi devices are beyond their capabilities even with GV.  The idea of porting your landline to a prepaid cell, and then to GV is beyond their capabilities, as is the concept of getting rid of their landline...  Very few will understand it enough to get it running successfully, and OBi does not have the technical support staff to help them.  GV has no technical support staff.

I'm several decades away from that age and very technically proficient with computers and I found the OBi setup not straightforward.  The GV piece was no problem, but Callcentric setup had issues and it took several days and lots of questions on these forums for me to figure out the problem.  Without RonR's help I would have sent the device back.

Also, remember that any of them that have home security alarms likely cannot get rid of their POTS line unless they get replacement coverage from a cellular service or an valid internet monitoring service, both of which cost more money...  So the only benefit of the OBi to them would be free calls (to US and Canada via GV), they still have to keep their landline.
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Stewart
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2012, 08:07:20 pm »

Sorry that I've been away from this thread for awhile.  I'll try to address the OBi-related stuff in another post; here are a few comments on the immediate discussion:

If you have a landline that includes unlimited local calling, you can use GV for long distance, without an OBi or other additional hardware.  Once set up, you dial your GV number and immediately get the voicemail menu.  Press 2 to make a call, then dial the destination number and press #.  For domestic calls, it's free, at least for this year.  IMO, it's not the best value for international calling, though it's a simple choice for light users.  Although this usage requires multi-stage dialing, many phones allow you to insert a pause in a speed-dial or contact list entry, thus automating the procedure.

If your "lifeline" or similar landline has a cost for local calls, you can still use GV for free local and long distance calling. From the GV Web site, you can click the Call button and enter a number, or click the "call" link on an Inbox, History or Contact entry.  Your landline rings; you pick up and the destination number is called.

A GV account used in either of the above scenarios can also be useful for incoming; choose a number near your kids/grandkids and they can make a local call to reach you.

I agree with the others that a device for calling 911 via cellular is not e911; if you are unable to speak the dispatch may not reach you in time.  However, it's better than nothing and may be suitable for someone without a landline.  I have such a device, primarily as a backup for my alarm system, but it's connected so that I can also make a voice call, if my power/UPS or Internet are down.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 08:09:02 pm by Stewart » Logged
Ostracus
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« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2012, 10:24:54 pm »

Is losing both land line & internet at same time really rare?

If we lose power, aren't our cordless land line phones dead?  I wonder how many people thought to have an old fashioned plug-it-in-the-wall phone ready for this.  And know where they hid it.

Well I get my internet via cable which comes over a pole mounted wire and land-line via a buried copper, and have a cell phone which can be a backup for both services. Three different paths that would have to be knocked out. Power failure is addressed by UPSes and a generator. VoIP is still a relatively young technology and it shows. mATAs point in the right direction except for the provider tie-in.
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Stewart
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« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2012, 12:40:08 am »

Without knowledge of Obie's capabilities, they're likely to go with Ooma, MagicJack, Vonage, Skype ... and receive less value for their time and money.
Comments below are my personal opinion of those services:

Ooma has excellent quality and reliability, with good support, but is IMO a poor value.  The basic service is little more than a POTS replacement.  In addition to a big up-front payment and a high porting charge, fees and taxes run ~$5/mo.  An OBi with GV and a SIP provider for 911 would be less expensive and much more flexible.  Ooma Premier includes concurrent calls and many other features, but at ~$15/mo. + hardware costs, one of the Vonage competitors is probably a better choice.

The original MagicJack is a piece of junk and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  The software is invasive, often causes problems with other applications and can't be completely uninstalled.  To make or receive calls, the computer must be left on; power costs often negate any savings.  MagicJack Plus doesn't require a computer and has several other advantages, though an OBi setup is usually a better choice.  I might recommend MJ+ to for someone without technical skills, who didn't have a friend or family member to provide support.

Vonage World runs ~$34/mo. with fees and taxes and is a poor value for most people, except those with heavy calling (> 1500 min.) to the covered international destinations, or those that find a particular feature compelling.  Vonage World Premium is about twice as expensive, but might make sense for those with high volume to mobiles in the included countries.  There are several companies who, like Vonage, supply preconfigured equipment for use with their service and have good support.  My favorites are VOIPo (less expensive) and Phonepower (more friendly for foreign use).  Both include a "cloned line" feature, which allows you to make or receive a call while e.g. your wife is on the phone.  Both offer 60 min./mo. of "free" international calling and an inexpensive option for 1200 min.; the list of included destinations is similar to that of Vonage World.

I recommend a free Skype account, in addition to other VoIP services that you may have, not for calling phones, but to call another Skype user on their computer or mobile device.  Such calls are free and have much better sound quality than offered by a telephone, roughly what you hear on radio or TV.  You also get video.  I didn't think much of "talking head" video calling, but the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has made a huge difference.  Your grandkid can walk around with a mobile device and show you what s/he has made or drawn, their vacation place, etc.  It's the next best thing to a visit.  Also, a traveler may have access to Skype, when other services are unavailable or expensive.  Pay-per-minute calling on Skype to PSTN numbers is usually not a good value, but for certain heavy international calling patterns, a monthly Skype plan makes sense.  For Skype calls from a regular phone, I recommend hardware intended for Skype; using the OBi is complex and not very robust.
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Rick
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« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2012, 06:14:00 am »

Is losing both land line & internet at same time really rare?

If we lose power, aren't our cordless land line phones dead?  I wonder how many people thought to have an old fashioned plug-it-in-the-wall phone ready for this.  And know where they hid it.

Well I get my internet via cable which comes over a pole mounted wire and land-line via a buried copper, and have a cell phone which can be a backup for both services. Three different paths that would have to be knocked out. Power failure is addressed by UPSes and a generator. VoIP is still a relatively young technology and it shows. mATAs point in the right direction except for the provider tie-in.

Need to remember that you having power is just part of the equation.  Phone company and cable company devices, all along the route to your house, have to have power.  During an extended outage of several days, it's very likely that cable will stop working, and phone will also.  During an outage in PA we lost both, phone company put a generator on their switch but then wouldn't allow anyone to fill it with gas and it kept going out...  Same issue with cell towers of course. 

Only foolproof method is 2 cans and a string.
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Lateralg
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2012, 10:34:59 am »

Quote
"FYI, the device is an OBi 100 or OBi 110, not an Obie... 

Given your audience, if they don't want to use GV, and they don't have a need to have two OBi devices communicating to each other, they should stick with their landlines.  With a parent in her mid 70s and more elderly in-laws, even basic technology is past their capabilities.  IMHO, the OBi devices are beyond their capabilities even with GV.  The idea of porting your landline to a prepaid cell, and then to GV is beyond their capabilities, as is the concept of getting rid of their landline...  Very few will understand it enough to get it running successfully, and OBi does not have the technical support staff to help them.  GV has no technical support staff."

Thanks for the FYI Rick.

The GV, as in Green Valley Computer Club, does have technical support.
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Gary
Rick
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« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2012, 10:38:19 am »

Quote

Thanks for the FYI Rick.

The GV, as in Green Valley Computer Club, does have technical support.


I don't know what that means.  My point is that Google Voice (GV in my posts) has no technical support that your senior citizens (or anyone else) is going to find useful.  Coupled with OBi's level of support, and this isn't the right solution for many.

Even if you put together a group of people to provide these people with support, you'll find that it's like talking Greek to them.
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Lateralg
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« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2012, 11:09:46 am »

Rick,

I understand the point you're trying to make, but have a real problem with the broad generalization based on a number (age).  I've been your age.  If you're lucky, you'll some day reach my age and see that it really is just a number.

I could find a sample of people in their 20's, 30's, or 40's that I wouldn't trust to turn on my computer.  But I'm not about to generalize by characterizing any of these ages as being computer illiterate.

I hope you don't suddenly become computer illiterate when you become a senior citizen.  You bring too much to the party for this to happen.  I value, and thank you, for your technical input.
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Lateralg
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« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2012, 11:16:15 am »

Quote
Ooma has excellent quality and reliability, with good support, but is IMO a poor value.  The basic service is little more than a POTS replacement.  In addition to a big up-front payment and a high porting charge, fees and taxes run ~$5/mo.  An OBi with GV and a SIP provider for 911 would be less expensive and much more flexible.  Ooma Premier includes concurrent calls and many other features, but at ~$15/mo. + hardware costs, one of the Vonage competitors is probably a better choice.

The original MagicJack is a piece of junk and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  The software is invasive, often causes problems with other applications and can't be completely uninstalled.  To make or receive calls, the computer must be left on; power costs often negate any savings.  MagicJack Plus doesn't require a computer and has several other advantages, though an OBi setup is usually a better choice.  I might recommend MJ+ to for someone without technical skills, who didn't have a friend or family member to provide support.

Vonage World runs ~$34/mo. with fees and taxes and is a poor value for most people, except those with heavy calling (> 1500 min.) to the covered international destinations, or those that find a particular feature compelling.  Vonage World Premium is about twice as expensive, but might make sense for those with high volume to mobiles in the included countries.  There are several companies who, like Vonage, supply preconfigured equipment for use with their service and have good support.  My favorites are VOIPo (less expensive) and Phonepower (more friendly for foreign use).  Both include a "cloned line" feature, which allows you to make or receive a call while e.g. your wife is on the phone.  Both offer 60 min./mo. of "free" international calling and an inexpensive option for 1200 min.; the list of included destinations is similar to that of Vonage World.

I recommend a free Skype account, in addition to other VoIP services that you may have, not for calling phones, but to call another Skype user on their computer or mobile device.  Such calls are free and have much better sound quality than offered by a telephone, roughly what you hear on radio or TV.  You also get video.  I didn't think much of "talking head" video calling, but the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has made a huge difference.  Your grandkid can walk around with a mobile device and show you what s/he has made or drawn, their vacation place, etc.  It's the next best thing to a visit.  Also, a traveler may have access to Skype, when other services are unavailable or expensive.  Pay-per-minute calling on Skype to PSTN numbers is usually not a good value, but for certain heavy international calling patterns, a monthly Skype plan makes sense.  For Skype calls from a regular phone, I recommend hardware intended for Skype; using the OBi is complex and not very robust.
Quote


Thanks Stewart.  My presentation keeps getting richer in content.       
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Rick
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« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2012, 11:38:37 am »

Rick,

I understand the point you're trying to make, but have a real problem with the broad generalization based on a number (age).  I've been your age.  If you're lucky, you'll some day reach my age and see that it really is just a number.

I could find a sample of people in their 20's, 30's, or 40's that I wouldn't trust to turn on my computer.  But I'm not about to generalize by characterizing any of these ages as being computer illiterate.

I hope you don't suddenly become computer illiterate when you become a senior citizen.  You bring too much to the party for this to happen.  I value, and thank you, for your technical input.

The only reason age comes into it is that as technology gets introduced, older generations have a harder time understanding it.  True for all of us.  My kids understand things that I can't follow at all.  

My father in-law wired huge factory machines and is an electrician.  He can't understand the basic cabling of a VCR to TV hookup...  He has no grasp of how a VCR tape can exist on a DVD.  And he confuses cell phone technology with a portable house phone.  Simply a matter of things being invented that passed him by.  Knows more about electrical wiring than I will ever know.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 11:50:07 am by Rick » Logged
Lateralg
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« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2012, 04:43:45 pm »

Rick,

I Understand your position.

I'm going to re-check the connections and configurations on my TV, TiVo, DVD player, DVD recorder, Sound System, Desktop PC, Modem, Router, Two Laptops, Wife's desktop PC, External hard drive backup, Two Scanners, Two Printers. 

I better do this because they were all set up when I was 76 years old.

If all is okay, I'll install & test the hard drive dock UPS delivered today.

Tomorrow, after Computer Club meeting on Android O/S,  (I have a XOOM ... Ice Cream Sandwich O/S is a significant improvement over Honeycomb) I resume assembly of my MakerGear Mendel Prusa 3D printer.  When my aged legs give out after 4-5 hours at the work bench, I'll resume enhancing my capabilities with one of: Sketchup 3D CAD, Photoshop, ProShow Gold, Excel, PowerPoint, Evernote, Obi-related stuff preparing for my presentation, and helping Stan, my 91-year-old friend, undo what he did to his PC.

About 7:00, wife & I will kick back in our senior-citizen chairs, & eat dinner while watching a streaming NetFlix movie.

Early the next morning: More mind candy.

Dang!  Having a foggy, barely-functional, 77-year-old brain is a real drag.

It's just a number, Rick. 

(All of the above is true, but I may have omitted a few things due to faulty memory)   
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Gary
infin8loop
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« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2012, 08:20:27 pm »

.... and helping Stan, my 91-year-old friend, undo what he did to his PC.  ....

Priceless. 

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lk96
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« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2012, 09:58:58 am »

Just a personal opinion on some of the options related to OOMA and Vonage.
I had the "pleasure" to try/use both of them:

About 5 months ago I decided to move from Comcast voice to OOMA: I was basically
motivated to eliminate the exorbitant Comcast voice charges and rental fees
for their modem. But I will say that OOMA was unusable day in/day out.
Really crappy/choppy quality, hit or miss availability etc etc. Truely unusable.
It's possible it was just me but at least I wanted to volunteer this as a data point.
After a few back and forth with tech support I gave up and returned equipment, I cancelled
OOMA and moved phone # to Vonage. 

On the Vonage front I have to say that I'm pretty satisfied: reliable service,
solid and consistent voice quality. The main reason that Vonage
and a pseudo-LINE is still in place in my house is because of my other "house customers" that have
zero tolerance for a phone failing to ring or to call. I pay $26/month and that includes
free calls to about 60 countries.

If it was just up to me, I wouldn't be using either. But if you dont have a choice, between the two of them,
I would go with Vonage.

L.
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carl
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« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2012, 04:54:57 pm »

Is losing both land line & internet at same time really rare?



To your point, anyone with a POTS line should have a cord phone plugged into at least one of the phone jacks in the home.
Except Rick, in such a dire emergency when you have no time to get to the other side of your house where the corded phone is or you are immobilized the whole thing makes no sense. You are , in most cases, better of just carrying your cell phone with you all the time. Except in situation when you can reasonably expect 911 use combined with an extreme situation those worries are a bit absurd.I live without a POTS since almost 3 years and frankly, I have much more serious worries than that. Smiley
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Lateralg
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« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2012, 02:34:03 pm »

This request may go beyond the intent of this thread.  If so, I hope our administrator gives me some advice.

I'd like feedback from people who have used a VOIP service.  Specifically:

* What do you LIKE about the service?
* What did you DISLIKE about the service?  (If "DISLIKE" is too strong, state the improvements you'd like to see.)
* Initial cost
* Annual cost

I'm hoping for results from:

* MagicJack (orriginal)
* MagicJack+
* Ooma
* Vonage
* Skype
* CallCentric
* Obi
* Google Voice alone

Or, even better, a link to a similar study.
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Gary
MichiganTelephone
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« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2012, 08:23:47 am »

Or, even better, a link to a similar study.

Not a study, but you can find customer reviews of many VoIP providers at http://www.broadbandreports.com/isplist?t=voip (note the "Reviews" column in the chart, and click on the number) however, be aware that some of them haven't had an update in years.  Those of you that have more recent experience with a provider could post updated comments there, if you like.
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Inactive, no longer posting or responding to messages.  Goodbye and good luck.  Some of my old Obihai-related blog posts have been moved to http://tech.iprock.com - note this in NOT my blog; I have simply given the owner permission to repost some of my old stuff.
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