VoIP Phone System

Is anyone using VoIP for their home or business phone system? Does it work well, and is the sound clear? What problems are there with it?

Any info appreciated.

Dik

Hi dik.
I’ve been using VOIP for years. It is almost as dependable as POTS. (Plain Old Telephone System)
I was living in Honduras when I got the first VOIP.
My wife had a lot of relatives in Boston. so I got a Boston number.
Our home in Honduras was now a free local call from Boston.
Long distance charges ran from $1.50 to $2.00 per minute.
The VOIP system was $20 per month.
With extended family on both ends of the line our usage was typically about 2000 minutes per month, for $20.
I started working construction projects in Canada in preparation to moving my family to Canada.
I got a second line and carried the adapter with me.
As for reliability, internet problems become phone problems.
When in Honduras I had a sideline installing VOIP systems for people.
One recurring issue was paying for the service.
I was using Packet8 and they required a US bank account for direct debit payment.
I found a US bank willing to accept out of country clients and became adept at walking my customers through the process of setting up a US bank account.
Most of the problems were associated with bad internet service.
Most problems were solved.
I didn’t know what it meant but I discovered Doxis Protocal
I am not sure of the spelling.
I would request the internet provider to implement Doxis Protocal for my VOIP customers.
The Doxis Protocal would prioritize the VOIP calls.
We still have two VOIP lines. One from Boston and one from South Carolina. (The extended family has spread out.)
One of the adapters has failed. We have set that line to forward the call to my wife’s cell phone.
The other ring forwards to the cell phone after three rings.
VOIP works for us.
Note: We have two choices for internet service here;
Bad and Worse.
As for quality, I suggest that you “Bit the bullet” and subscribe to a service and try it.
You can have the call transfer to your cell phone immediately or after a number of rings.
That is probably the best way to see if VOIP meets your expectations.

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Thanks very much for your response. Much appreciated.

Dik

Howdy Dik,
I too have been using VOIP for almost three years now. I settled on using OOMA as a (hardware) provider. I have two lines (one for home and one for my small business). It works well and the quality is quite acceptable. Cost is approx. Cdn $16/month for their Premiere package. If I recall correctly the price for the ‘free’ service is approx. Cdn $3/month (ie for 911 service & other government fees). Obviously the largest issue with VOIP is ‘how reliable is your internet service’? To date we have lost our phone service for only a few hours over the 3 years, but it wasn’t any hardship as we still had three (functional) cell phones in the house.
Overall, I would highly recommend VOIP for anyone wanting to save a few $$ off of their hardwired telephone utility bill.
Regards,
GG

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Thanks for the added info GG… I’ll have a few more questions tomorrow for you and Bill.

Dik

I’m aware that location and connectivity have a large bearing on what and how things are set up, but we’ve had VoIP for longer than I’ve been with my current employer. Its very rare that we get call quality issues. I believe that we’re in the process of migrating to another platform due to performance issues unrelated to call quality though.

3CX is one such platform that allows VoIP plus other functionality, Asterisk is an open source platform that is also available. Don’t discount the integration options for such a system if it suits your business.

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Thanks Fred, you’re more than just a pretty mug…

Dik

We have fairly decent internet services here.

I’m looking at an IP Phone similar to the Grandstream GXP2130.

Does the RJ45 jack connect to my router (Nighthawk) or computer or either?

Is it better to connect to the router or the computer?

Is there an adapter that I can use to connect my regular landline RJ11 jack to? And use the Wi-Fi?

Can I connect directly using Skype and not use a third party? Not stingy… just like to do things by myself.

Does the third party provide software for linking up (automatically?)? Is it an improvement over Skype? Or can Skype even be used?

Who assigns phone numbers? After trying internet phone, can I change my phone number to my regular number? I’d use two numbers until things were OK.

Can VoIP completely replace landline service?

Do I need any other hardware?

Likely have a couple of other questions as I progress.

Dik

I’m not familiar with the Grandstream products to comment. Most IP based phones connect directly using ethernet, whether wireless or wired. Some products (like the FritzFon) use the DECT wireless protocol to connect to the router. In either case, unless you want to lose your phone whenever you turn your PC off, connect it to the router.
My phone number is supplied by my internet service provider, but I have no idea what happens outside Australia.
POTS handsets are different, and unless specifically designed as an IP phone as well, won’t be much use with a VoIP system unless you buy an adaptor. The FritzBox (as an example) allows use of old POTS equipment, or DECT handsets, but you’re likely better off to just use the proper VoIP phone.
Its also possible to get apps for your mobile (cell?) phone that use a SIP connection to provide VoIP connectivity instead of using a dedicated handset.

Thanks again, Fred… My computer may be off a day a month, but, not very often. Router sounds good, either by ethernet or by Wi-Fi.

Dik

If you are going to forward a VOIP number to your mobile phone then why bother? Just use your mobile number.

If your reason is to have a separate phone number for business then research Google Voice. It appears to operate entirely “in the cloud”, and requires no hardware at the user end. I have not researched this in detail, and its requirements and limitations may not work for you.

There may be other similar services.

Whomever you get your internet service from almost certainly offers a VOIP add-on to the package. The “bundle” may be cheaper than internet and VOIP from separate providers.

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We use google voice pretty much just as an answering machine service and a “home phone” when one is required to be provided. My wife has it forwarded to her cell I believe, but I actually don’t know that for sure.

We give it out to people/services that we don’t actually want to talk to, but may need to notify us about things. The speech to text is…eh, but since you can listen directly from the audio I’ve got no qualms. I also set up a number for my website when I started that, but I never ended up using it.

I’ve never actually tried to use it to make any calls though; only as a receiver. So as a fully functioning phone system, I am not sure how good/bad it might be.

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Mintjulep:

Thanks for the info. Just spelunking for now…

Dik

SuperSalad (aka Soup or Salad):

thanks

Dik

At my location, we use a “hybrid” system. About 120 Yealink phones on desks, but two PRI’s coming into the system.

The up side is that we also have 8 (currently) virtual fax-modems with fax-to-email routing. Clarity is amazing, I often have people ask me if I’m “still there” if I go silent, because there’s virtually no noise, crackle, or hiss on the lines.

We’re using a Xorcom Complete PBX System. Overall management is pretty simple, once I got everything configured.

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Thanks for the info… still gathering info, but, will likely implement this, keeping landline for a bit.

Dik

When I did the price comparison about 6 years ago, I quickly came to the conclusion that if I was going to keep the VOIP for more than a year, OOMA was the most economical option for me. Granted, mine is just for my home phone, so I didn’t add on their premier service that has all the bells and whistles. The break-even point may be somewhat farther away if you need those extra features, since you pay up-front for lifetime service (about $200, plus I think it’s still $35 to port over your current number).

I’ve been very happy with the quality of the connection, but the $4 monthly bill is what I really love.

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I probably should have thought of this earlier, in Australia, once the NBN (No Broadband Network…) is deployed to your premises, there’s no option for a PSTN anymore. So effectively I’ve had a VoIP phone both at work and home for the last couple of years.

I’ve had a personal VoIP phone for over 10 years though, along with a PSTN phone, its been mostly effective, but occasionally the broadband capability used to affect it. Not so much now.

Thanks… more info.

Dik

Thanks again, Fred. PSTN?

Dik