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For my European business going on almost 20 years, I've used Teleappliant VOIPtalk. In the 2000's, when I ran an Apple accessories online store, we had it all linked up to an Asterisk PBS running on Mac OS X, and it worked great across mobile/laptop/desktop via software (X-Lite, which is now Bria Solo Free) plus hard phones/ethernet PAP2T boxes via remote users and a small office-based call centre.

Now it's more about my small business having cheap calls to people around Europe, but occasionally I have used it to locations outside of Europe.

It's been very reliable, support from VOIPtalk has been excellent, and setup was generally very easy (they have many setup documents for all types of end devices/software), plus the audio quality is usually very good - quality does vary, and obviously that can be for many reasons (as discussed here), but it was usually very good. Just my 2p worth er… 2c worth.
 


I've been a satisfied Vonage user for 15 years. I've had hardware problems twice over the years. One time, they sent me new hardware gratis because I had been a subscriber for so long. I can't remember what happened the other time, but, in my experience, Tech Support has been easy to reach and competent in solving problems.
 



... I'm curious about your experiences with Vonage and Callentric, especially regarding:
  • reliability
  • support
  • audio quality - and variation in audio quality
  • ease of setup/management
  • cost
And do you have any idea how Callcentric and Vonage compare vs. Skype?
Vonage was trivially simple to employ - we paid the bill and plugged the device into our wall, and "it just worked". But it doesn't have the features that places like CallCentric or the like have.

CallCentric seems to be set up for people or businesses who desire more access to the details of their service. They can integrate with an Asterisk PBX, for example.

For my usage, support has been fine. Trouble tickets have been addressed quickly, and I have found needed information in the FAQs as well as in online discussion forms. But, I haven't had any real problems to know how they might handle that.

I have not had any reliability issues.

Audio quality has been fine, but I am not super-picky.

Management has been no problem, but setup took a bit of time and research. The concepts were new to me, and it took a while getting my hardware working as I wanted, and creating and managing how the incoming calls would be routed and how I wanted the IVR to work probably would be a challenge for a lot of people. I sort of enjoyed the simple flowcharting type of exercise needed, but many would not.

Depending on how much you value your time, it is fairly cheap to try out with little commitment or lock-in. Spend a few bucks to get a phone number from CallCentric (or similar like voip.ms) and test it out - most hardware and/or software will work with any VOiP provider. If it meets your needs, you can then port your phone number to it and cancel your "old" service once the new service is properly tested. In the future you can always port the number to somewhere else, if need be. CallCentric's funding system is generally "prepay" where you draw down a credit that you need to fill up from time to time (although I think they now have some ability to autopay the invoiced amount from a stored credit card rather than just drawing down your stored credit).

My costs have been about the same as they were with Vonage, but now I have multiple phone numbers (4) being routed to multiple hardware devices (8 hardware lines) and potentially software instances too (we don't regularly use any software access). In our house we use "regular" phones to access the system (we have a few POTS two-line corded phones and a POTS two-line cordless pair of handsets, as well as a few single-line corded phones), and then my son has a device in his dorm room, and my sister just moved her Vonage phone line over to our CallCentric account and she has a device at her home for her landline number. For her especially, since she uses the number for only a few minutes per month, her costs are under $5/month – this is much more ecconomical than more "consumer-friendly" services like Vonage that have a "flat-fee" business model.

Voicemail delivery as an audio attachement to email messages, and text notifications of voicemail are useful. The telemarketer block is great. World-wide per-minute rates are very competitive, and we have found the lower level "bundled" talk-minute plans fit our usage patterns well.

We almost exclusively make calls through the standard phone system, so do not make use of any of the fancy direct VOiP phone to VOiP phone features that exist, like super-high-quality audio codecs. I believe that for calls "within the Callcentric network or to SIP URIs" all possible codecs are supported, but to or from the PSTN ("regular" landline and cell calls) the codecs are more limited.
 



Thanks for the report. Are you a business customer or are you using their home service?
Also, how is audio quality, and do you use softphone apps?
Home... very good... no. ;-)

By the way, there is one feature I have always particularly liked about Vonage. They have an option called Simulring. It permits two or more phones to ring simultaneously when the Vonage number is called. That eliminates the annoyance of having people call both your home and cell numbers and leave two messages. I rarely give out my cell number, and I have my Vonage voice mail turned off. This allows the one message to be recorded on my cell phone so I can listen to it where ever I am. I believe Xfinity has recently added this feature, but I'm not certain about that.
 


Any experiences with Ooma?
I finally switched to Ooma about a year ago, after good reviews from a friend who had used it for several years as well as good ratings on Consumer Reports.

The basic tier is free except for taxes and fees, which amount to $5.70 per month (in Oregon).

You can port your old phone number for a fee, which worked without incident for me.

We plugged the device into an ethernet switch near the old POTS wiring, and plugged it in. All our old wired and wireless phones work as they should.

Set up was easy and we haven't had any issues with it. It can also work over WiFi, but I preferred to avoid potential wireless issues by using a wired connection.

It does not, of course, work in a power outage like old landlines did.

We've been happy with the service and the savings, call quality seems unchanged.

Hope this helps.
 



And for me, the best feature is that Ooma also rings my iPhone on an incoming call to the Ooma number, and I can answer on my iPhone (no Ooma app needed). Their iPhone app allows cheap overseas calls from the US or while abroad. Been a happy user for many years now.
 


Home... very good... no. ;-)
By the way, there is one feature I have always particularly liked about Vonage. They have an option called Simulring. It permits two or more phones to ring simultaneously when the Vonage number is called. That eliminates the annoyance of having people call both your home and cell numbers and leave two messages. I rarely give out my cell number, and I have my Vonage voice mail turned off. This allows the one message to be recorded on my cell phone so I can listen to it where ever I am. I believe Xfinity has recently added this feature, but I'm not certain about that.
I've also been using Vonage for about 15 years. Excellent voice quality, very reliable.
Couldn't be more happy. I really never have had any issues. I think early on, I had to call tech support about something, but I haven't needed to call them in years.

And the SimulRing is excellent. It rings my cell and my home phone at the same time. I only give out my Vonage phone number to people, and I tell people that number reaches me at home and away. Very simple.
 


Thanks for the Ooma recommendations. I am considering dropping my Xfinity voice service for it (though I'd still have no choice but Xfinity for high speed internet). I wonder if the sound quality would decrease.
 


... there is one feature I have always particularly liked about Vonage. They have an option called Simulring. It permits two or more phones to ring simultaneously when the Vonage number is called. That eliminates the annoyance of having people call both your home and cell numbers and leave two messages. I rarely give out my cell number, and I have my Vonage voice mail turned off. This allows the one message to be recorded on my cell phone so I can listen to it where ever I am. I believe Xfinity has recently added this feature, but I'm not certain about that.
A Google Voice account is similar to Simulring. Create a list of the phone numbers, and any call to those numbers 'fans out' to all listed devices.
 


I am considering dropping my Xfinity voice service for it (though I'd still have no choice but Xfinity for high speed internet). I wonder if the sound quality would decrease.
I dropped Xfinity voice service and went to Ooma a few years ago. There was no difference in the voice quality. There was a small amount of latency (delay) in the audio. I switched from Ooma's west coast servers to their east coast servers (closer to me) and it all went away.

I've been happy with Ooma but I am itching to try SIP and Asterisk and FreePBX. I'm bored, tired of staying home and need something new to try! ;-)
 


I finally switched to Ooma about a year ago, after good reviews from a friend who had used it for several years as well as good ratings on Consumer Reports. The basic tier is free except for taxes and fees, which amount to $5.70 per month (in Oregon). ...
I pay about the same amount in Arizona for Ooma Home. It has the full boat of services (forwarding, simultaneous ring, voice-to-text voicemail notices, etc.). It also has an app from which you can make outgoing VOIP calls from your mobile device. You must subscribe to Ooma Premier for incoming call service on your mobile device. With the Premier service you can also get a second number (line).

The only significant issue I have is the failure of one Ooma Telo (VoIP gateway), and my outgoing fax, from an HP Laserjet, drops the call even when the Laserjet is on VoIP settings and the Ooma device is set for most compatible.

I also have Ooma's handset for use at home – which works well unless you want to use it as a speakerphone. It cuts out a bit when on speaker; not sure why.
 


I pay about the same amount in Arizona for Ooma Home. It has the full boat of services (forwarding, simultaneous ring, voice-to-text voicemail notices, etc.). It also has an app from which you can make outgoing VOIP calls from your mobile device. You must subscribe to Ooma Premier for incoming call service on your mobile device. With the Premier service you can also get a second number (line).

The only significant issue I have is the failure of one Ooma Telo (VoIP gateway), and my outgoing fax, from an HP Laserjet, drops the call even when the Laserjet is on VoIP settings and the Ooma device is set for most compatible.

I also have Ooma's handset for use at home – which works well unless you want to use it as a speakerphone. It cuts out a bit when on speaker; not sure why.
Investigated this service but one-time $39.99 charge per phone to keep your phone number(s) plus $100 purchase price for the Ooma Telo device made me pause. I have multiple phones so this is a significant upfront cost.
 


Investigated this service but one-time $39.99 charge per phone to keep your phone number(s) plus $100 purchase price for the Ooma Telo device made me pause. I have multiple phones so this is a significant upfront cost.
It's $40 per phone line, not phone in the house, at least when I changed. We've got at least 8 phones that were designed for POTS scattered about and it was only for the one phone line.
 


I pay about the same amount in Arizona for Ooma Home. It has the full boat of services (forwarding, simultaneous ring, voice-to-text voicemail notices, etc.). It also has an app from which you can make outgoing VOIP calls from your mobile device. You must subscribe to Ooma Premier for incoming call service on your mobile device. With the Premier service you can also get a second number (line).

The only significant issue I have is the failure of one Ooma Telo (VoIP gateway), and my outgoing fax, from an HP Laserjet, drops the call even when the Laserjet is on VoIP settings and the Ooma device is set for most compatible.

I also have Ooma's handset for use at home – which works well unless you want to use it as a speakerphone. It cuts out a bit when on speaker; not sure why.
When I checked the Ooma web site, it appears that simultaneous ring is available only with their $10+/mo Premier service and not their Home service as you stated. Can you explain the discrepancy? I might be interested in switching from Vonage if you are correct and the Ooma site is incorrect.

Thanks.
 


It's $40 per phone line, not phone in the house, at least when I changed. We've got at least 8 phones that were designed for POTS scattered about and it was only for the one phone line.
Each of my mobile phones has a separate number that needs to be transferred to the Ooma system. Seems pricey.
 


The discussions about Ooma have made me reconsider my landline service. After exploring the Ooma FAQ and other information I still am uncertain about how it would work in my home.

I have old-style phones (Model 2500; made by several companies including Western Electric, Northern Telecom, and others) located in several rooms in my house.

Would I need a separate Ooma device for each phone?

I have a network closet where all my phone lines plus cable modem and router reside. The original wiring in the house was done with CAT5e but only a single line was run in each room. The folks who came in later to fix the situation split off a pair in each cable for phone service but that meant my 1000BASE-T became 100BASE-T.

Could I put a single Ooma device in this closet and run all the phone lines through it at that point? If so, I would probably hire a network expert to be certain it was done correctly.
 


Could I put a single Ooma device in this closet and run all the phone lines through it at that point? If so, I would probably hire a network expert to be certain it was done correctly.
This is what we did when we got the Vonage phone service. After installing the Vonage box, we disconnected the internal phone line from the outside phone service. Next, we tied the output phone connection from the Vonage box to the internal phone lines inside the house. It works well. Just like having a normal phone line in the house. I'm sure Ooma will be the same. Hope this will help your situation.
 


Each of my mobile phones has a separate number that needs to be transferred to the Ooma system. Seems pricey.
You mean wireless phones, right? Ooma is a home phone (POTS) replacement, not a celluar/mobile phone replacement system.

If your wireless phones all connect to a single "base station" unit, then all you need to do is connect the base station unit to the Telo. That is it. You can continue to use the exact same phones you have now. The POTS wire goes from being plugged into the wall to being plugged into the Telo. Pragmatically, the Telo is a replacement for the primary wires coming into the house. (If only using one wall jack/socket, then it's effectively a replacement for that one socket.)

The Ooma phones offer some extra features, but those aren't necessary.

If you had 2-3 physical phone lines coming into the house and some independent wireless phone groups off those 2-3 lines, then the Ooma headsets might make some sense. The Ooma phones can the linked to another phone number so that number only rings there. But for one phone number spread out over a large house, you don't really need that. (Ooma claims some voice quality improvement, but I don't think there is a huge gap if using decent wireless tech from other vendors.)
 


... Would I need a separate Ooma device for each phone?
Technically, no.
Ooma Support said:
I usually put the Telo behind the router and set the Quality of Serivce (QoS) for that port highest. ... When routers were slower and usual ISP bandwidth more limited, it made some sense to put this in "front" of a router, but today with > 30Mb/s and lower backbone latencies, I don't like the security tradeoffs (of letting random folks pound away at the Telo's defenses).
I have a network closet where all my phone lines plus cable modem and router reside. The original wiring in the house was done with CAT5e but only a single line was run in each room. The folks who came in later to fix the situation split off a pair in each cable for phone service but that meant my 1000BASE-T became 100BASE-T.
Depending upon how that hackery was set up, you may need some help. First, you have to disconnect those hijacked 'phone pairs' from the outside phone wiring. Second, you may need a wall jack in your network closet, disconnected from the outside, where you can plug the Telo in. The kind of breadboard/junction block they used to bring all those forked Cat5e wires back is a key here.
Could I put a single Ooma device in this closet and run all the phone lines through it at that point? If so, I would probably hire a network expert to be certain it was done correctly.
Only because of the customization done to basic phone wiring set-up in the house. If it's a standard AT&T mount to internal house wiring, you can just 'undo' that pretty straightforwardly.
 


You mean wireless phones, right? Ooma is a home phone (POTS) replacement, not a celluar/mobile phone replacement system. If your wireless phones all connect to a single "base station" unit, then all you need to do is connect the base station unit to the Telo. That is it. You can continue to use the exact same phones you have now. The POTS wire goes from being plugged into the wall to being plugged into the Telo. Pragmatically, the Telo is a replacement for the primary wires coming into the house. (If only using one wall jack/socket, then it's effectively a replacement for that one socket.)
The Ooma phones offer some extra features, but those aren't necessary.
If you had 2-3 physical phone lines coming into the house and some independent wireless phone groups off those 2-3 lines, then the Ooma headsets might make some sense. The Ooma phones can the linked to another phone number so that number only rings there. But for one phone number spread out over a large house, you don't really need that. (Ooma claims some voice quality improvement, but I don't think there is a huge gap if using decent wireless tech from other vendors.)
I am reading the Ooma details a bit differently. It appears that I can purchase the Ooma Telo base station and an Ooma phone number, and use the Ooma-provided number in the Ooma Telo mobile app on my iPhone. As long as I have WiFi access, this looks doable. Perhaps I'm misreading, but this is from the Amazon Ooma Telo page.
Download the Ooma Telo Mobile App and take your Ooma service on-the-go.
Make free U.S. calls on your smartphone using your Ooma phone number from anywhere in the world using WiFi. Features include the ability to upload contacts to the address book, listen to voicemail, and change Ooma preferences directly from the app. Compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices.
 


I am reading the Ooma details a bit differently. It appears that I can purchase the Ooma Telo base station and an Ooma phone number, and use the Ooma-provided number in the Ooma Telo mobile app on my iPhone. As long as I have WiFi access, this looks doable. Perhaps I'm misreading, but this is from the Amazon Ooma Telo page.
After further reading it appears that you need a POTS line to use Ooma Telo base station and then use the landline Ooma number with the Telo mobile app.
 



The only significant issue I have is the failure of one Ooma Telo (VoIP gateway), and my outgoing fax, from an HP Laserjet, drops the call even when the Laserjet is on VoIP settings and the Ooma device is set for most compatible.
I have a need to send/receive faxes (low volume), and that's the only reason I've kept my POTS landline. From what I've read, I'm impressed with both Ooma and Vonage, but I've seen conflicting reports on using fax with them. A lot of "it should work, but we don't guarantee it" official statements. I'd be interested in forum members' experiences.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have a need to send/receive faxes (low volume), and that's the only reason I've kept my POTS landline. From what I've read, I'm impressed with both Ooma and Vonage, but I've seen conflicting reports on using fax with them. A lot of "it should work, but we don't guarantee it" official statements.
It looks tricky, due to fundamental differences between POTS and VoIP. This Slashdot Media website seems to have useful information:
VoIP Mechanic said:
 


When I moved last fall, I decided I didn't want to pay for a bundled service for a house phone that I seldom use. I purchased the Obihai OBi200 and set it up with my Google Voice number. It works great, and I like the fact that there is no monthly cost for me. I looked at Vonage and Ooma but didn't see the advantage to pay monthly for a service I could get with a low investment into Obi. It supports faxing as well.

The only concern I have about recommending this setup is Google Voice does not offer 911 service. I found a few services that offer it pretty cheaply but have no information on the reliability of the services, so I would love informed information on using one of these or another 911 service.
 


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