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Regarding the VOIP power fail vulnerability - Ooma (and I suspect other VOIP services) can be set to ring your cellphone at the same time as the "landline", so even if the router and Ooma box are down, you don't miss a call. Useful when you are traveling, too - no need to call-forward. For outgoing calls, use the Ooma app on the smartphone, and the call will appear to be from your "landline" number.
 


Regarding the VOIP power fail vulnerability - Ooma ... can be set to ring your cellphone at the same time as the "landline", so even if the router and Ooma box are down, you don't miss a call. Useful when you are traveling, too - no need to call-forward.
When this happens with Ooma, is there any Caller ID information included, and do you have any way to tell whether the call ringing on your cell phone is someone who is calling your cell phone directly versus someone whom Ooma has sent to your cell phone during such an outage?

Separately, if you make use of this feature, I guess it's a good idea to record a personal greeting for your cell phone's voicemail, if you don't want Ooma-forwarded callers to learn your direct cell phone number via the default greeting.
 



In Seattle, we had an outage yesterday that shut down everything electrical in my condo. I was talking to a government office. They disappeared, because I was using a cordless phone. Then my landline rang. It was the same government official calling me back. This is why I have a land line. It is disappearing, because the phone company can make more money going completely digital. It does not need to be a disaster. I call this a shot across the digital bow. We, the customers, are allowing this to happen. I must also mention that my cell was working, but charging it is limited to what you have on hand to keep it charged. Just a simple thought: in a real disaster, like an earthquake, all bets are off.
I’m not quite sure a POTS line is so dependable in a regional emergency. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (often cited as a ‘San Francisco earthquake’, but actually the epicenter was in about 70 miles south, here in Santa Cruz County), access to the POTS system was cut within minutes by the local phone company (PacBell/ATT) to help clear communication for emergency services. Between aftershocks, local repairs, and regional needs, we didn’t have service for about 5 days.

And last week, flooding in a underground service vault after a severe rainstorm caused loss of service for a couple of days.

I’m not convinced that a POTS line will “always be there.”
 



I’m not convinced that a POTS line will “always be there.”
I still rely on copper services for voice and data here in rural Southwest Florida. All such infrastructure in this area is buried underground for the most part. When Hurricane Irma came through in 2017, I did not lose contact with the outside world at any point, even though there were hurricane force winds throughout the area for an extended period of time.

Any service can fail at any time and for any reason. Always best to have some form of backup plan. Get to know your neighbors. Check to make sure they are doing well. Everything else will take care of itself.
 


Regarding the VOIP power fail vulnerability - Ooma (and I suspect other VOIP services) can be set to ring your cellphone at the same time as the "landline", so even if the router and Ooma box are down, you don't miss a call. Useful when you are traveling, too - no need to call-forward. For outgoing calls, use the Ooma app on the smartphone, and the call will appear to be from your "landline" number.
Yes, it does that, and as you say, there is the Ooma app. I've only rarely had it actually work for sending or receiving calls, but it's good for information.

At this point, I have any incoming calls that I don't have in my contacts going straight to voicemail, by the way.... Junk emails (I get the voicemail sent via email, and you can also use the app to read them) are less annoying than a constantly ringing phone. That includes the CVS notification service, which calls a few times a day now — “You have a prescription coming up,” “Would you like to renew this,” “You didn’t renew this,” “Would you like to auto-renew?”, and, the only useful one, “We’re done, come on in.” Apparently you can switch to getting ten text messages a day instead, but you can’t make it “important calls only.”
 


n the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (often cited as a ‘San Francisco earthquake’, but actually the epicenter was in about 70 miles south, here in Santa Cruz County), access to the POTS system was cut within minutes by the local phone company (PacBell/ATT) to help clear communication for emergency services. Between aftershocks, local repairs, and regional needs, we didn’t have service for about 5 days.
That sounds to me more like a bone-headed blunder by PacBell than standard emergency practice.
 


I was talking to a government office. They disappeared, because I was using a cordless phone. Then my landline rang. It was the same government official calling me back. This is why I have a land line. It is disappearing, because the phone company can make more money going completely digital. It does not need to be a disaster. I call this a shot across the digital bow. We, the customers, are allowing this to happen.
Without knowing if power failures are a regular occurrence for you or if you (figuratively) live and die by phone calls and, so, must have a "hot backup", most people aren't justifying the monthly expense of a landline phone for the few times that not having landline phone service is more than a nuisance. They've abandoned the service in droves. (I quit using a landline 17 years ago.)

There may be elements of a money grab by telecomms, as there is with any good or service with limited availability (even Apple: $1300 iPhones? Try to buy an iOS device from someone else). But there are plenty of reasons why POTS is dying, and consumers (or lack of them) probably are first on the list of reasons why.

I must also mention that my cell was working, but charging it is limited to what you have on hand to keep it charged. Just a simple thought: in a real disaster, like an earthquake, all bets are off.
All bets are off, as one other poster commented on landline phone service during the Loma Prieta earthquake. However, there are solar and even wind-up chargers available on the market now for mobile phones (and other electronics).

And, given that cellular is an integral part of first response now (viz. Verizon throttling data for firefighters battling the Mendocino Complex fire; see also FirstNet), there will be far more effort expended in building resilient cellular networks and restoring cell towers to usability than anyone will put into fixing thousands of POTS "last miles".
 


In the low-cost category, my smarter half and I have been using an MNVO called Airvoice Wireless for almost five years, after having switched from Virgin Mobile (another MNVO). Our existing mobile numbers switched over without difficulty. Airvoice leases connectivity from the AT&T network.

We still maintain a Verizon landline for most voice calls for sound quality and reliability during power outages, which is also the backbone for our DSL ISP service.

Our mobiles (iPhones 6 and 8) are most used for texting or services apps (like Lyft); we make or take very few voice calls on them. Our particular plan is $10/month and unused minutes roll over. Activating data required a separate setup with their reps, but it works, and I turn it on only when needed (and if I'm not in range of a wi-fi connection).

It works. I don't know how I'd feel about it were we to switch ISP service to FIOS and drop our landline, but Airvoice's more than sufficient for our current mobile needs.
 


In Seattle, we had an outage yesterday that shut down everything electrical in my condo. I was talking to a government office. They disappeared, because I was using a cordless phone. Then my landline rang. It was the same government official calling me back. This is why I have a land line. It is disappearing, because the phone company can make more money going completely digital. It does not need to be a disaster. I call this a shot across the digital bow. We, the customers, are allowing this to happen. I must also mention that my cell was working, but charging it is limited to what you have on hand to keep it charged. Just a simple thought: in a real disaster, like an earthquake, all bets are off.
Maybe one of those battery bricks that can charge your phone 5 times could be handy for an emergency, and they are not really expensive. (This assumes that the cell tower has backup power.)
 


I have two MagicJack lines (home and office). The quality of the calls isn't the best, as there are sometimes echoes others hear. I have 50Mbps service, but I don't know how much bandwdith the MagicJacks take - maybe they need more? Regardless, there is one feature MagicJack added that I find essential: Call Screening. When someone calls, MagicJack answers and asks the caller to enter a random number between 0 and 9. If the caller enters the wrong number (or no number), MagicJack hangs up. That has eliminated all robo-calls.

Now, if I have the MagicJacks answer any calls that do get through (a human who has entered the correct digit) and MagicJack records the voice message then emails me with the audio file attached, I can also see the number that called (if the caller has neglected to leave it in his message).

I've also set up conditional forwarding on my phone, so, if I don't answer (or swipe/ignore) the call, it gets forwarded to my MagicJack number, which then, of course, requires the random digit in order to get through. No more robo-calls to my phone. Any human leaving a voice message has it forwarded to my email with the audio file, so I get to see the email and hear the message on my phone (if I'm not in front of my computer). T-Mobile does a fairly decent job of identifying scammers and telemarketers, so I can swipe away any number that's not in my contacts and know they'll have to deal with my call screening.

My T-Mobile bill is $60/month for two lines, unlimited everything, here in the US, unlimited text/data in most countries overseas. (This is their "over 50" plan.) The two MagicJack lines are $85/year in total.
 


Since we're talking about phone plans here, anyone have any thoughts on Mint Mobile? I saw their Superbowl commercial, and the plans seem really good. My wife and I are currently on a legacy T-Mobile plan that has 100 minutes talk, unlimited text, and 5GB LTE data for $30/month. Moving to Mint Mobile would make it unlimited text/talk and 8GB LTE data for $20/month. Coverage would be the same (Mint is a T-Mobile MVNO), minus roaming ability, but we never roam in our area. I have no problem pre-paying for a year at a time (to get the lowest rates), as that is what we currently do with our T-Mobile plan.
 


Regardless, there is one feature MagicJack added that I find essential: Call Screening. When someone calls, MagicJack answers and asks the caller to enter a random number between 0 and 9. If the caller enters the wrong number (or no number), MagicJack hangs up.
Interesting feature. Is there an associated whitelist? I can imagine that some elderly callers could experience confusion, or simply not hear the prompt.
 


Interesting feature. Is there an associated whitelist? I can imagine that some elderly callers could experience confusion, or simply not hear the prompt.
No whitelist. The prompt is quite clear.

One downside of which you need to be aware: If you schedule an automated call-back, it must not be to the MagicJack number, as there won't be a human on the other end who will press the proper key. So I schedule the callback to my cellphone, where I may see the caller ID and answer.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've also set up conditional forwarding on my phone, so, if I don't answer (or swipe/ignore) the call, it gets forwarded to my MagicJack number...
I don't have MagicJack, but I'd love to do something similar. How exactly do you do conditional forwarding on an iPhone?
 


I don't have MagicJack, but I'd love to do something similar. How exactly do you do conditional forwarding on an iPhone?
I believe it's the same on all carriers and phones (I use a Galaxy S7):
**004*{10digits}*#

So it would be like **004*2125551234*#

And to turn it off, you'd enter ##004#

I have both numbers in a "Conditional Forwarding" contact entry (the numbers labeled "Enable" and "Disable", respectively), so I can simply tap, make the call, and it's done.

BTW: "Conditional" means "if you don't answer", so it applies if you simply don't answer, swipe away the call, or if you don't respond to the "call waiting" beeps." Anything that would have normally caused the call to go to your voicemail will now go to the number you entered in the conditional forwarding "enable" call.
 


I have been digging into cellular voice quality, and the most recent in-depth report I have found is from PC Magazine in April:

Their key points are that the phone hardware has improved, but that those improvements are not being used in calls between carriers or between different types of phones. That makes sense to me, and it also accounts for why non-native English speakers can be particularly hard to understand.

I also see two other problems that don't get much attention.

One is weak connections that cause data rates to drop very low and signals to break up and become unintelligible. They ultimately may disconnect. I have noticed this particularly when the caller is moving, in a car, a train or even on foot.

The second is users who call from noisy environments or who don't hold the phone close to their mouths while talking -- the worst case being doing both simultaneously.

Are other people seeing that same pattern?
 


Maybe one of those battery bricks that can charge your phone 5 times could be handy for an emergency, and they are not really expensive. (This assumes that the cell tower has backup power.)
I definitely know what you mean. I have 2 UNU chargers for trips and when I am away from my Mac. I have tested them, and they have room to fully recharge about 3 times before you drain them. This mean I have 6 charges available.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Their key points are that the phone hardware has improved, but that those improvements are not being used in calls between carriers or between different types of phones.
This is obvious when comparing a good FaceTime Audio connection to a typical cellphone connection (with the cellphones on different carriers). It's like night and day. The phone hardware isn't the problem, nor is the phone's bandwidth.
... The second is users who call from noisy environments or who don't hold the phone close to their mouths while talking -- the worst case being doing both simultaneously.
I encounter this problem a lot and realized that it often happens when the other caller is using a headset. I presume that the headset mic gets easily reoriented in a dysfunctional way, as someone is walking around, and there may be other issues with headsets - for example, differences in noise cancellation* or headset quality.

Other issues: people holding the phone in unusual ways (e.g. no-hands between head and shoulder), turning their head while talking, or using a phone case that may be problematic (old OtterBox?).

To my surprise, I've found that using the speakerphone can often work better than other options. One especially stunning example was when a friend was driving with the phone attached to the car visor with rubber bands (in an old Jetta diesel), and the sound was so clean over a long conversation that I thought he was parked in the car with the engine off.

*Apple's mulltiple built-in mics are designed to provide noise cancellation, but it's not clear what happens when using headsets.
Apple Support said:
If the microphones on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch aren't working
With your iOS device, you might experience one of these issues when you make a call, use FaceTime or Siri, or play recorded audio:
  • People can't hear you during a phone or FaceTime call.
  • You sound unclear to others during a phone or FaceTime call.
  • Siri says, "I didn't get that" or doesn't hear your request or hears only part of it.
  • When playing back recorded audio, the sound you hear is unclear, or you don’t hear sound.
  • You're unable to change audio sources during a call.
To find out if there’s an issue with the microphone on your device—and not your cellular connection or the app that you're using—test each microphone. Microphone location can vary by device. You can use your product's technical specifications to find the microphones.

When you test your microphones, make sure that your iOS device isn't connected to a wired or wireless headset.

There is more than one microphone on your iPhone.

To test the primary microphone on the bottom of your iPhone, open Voice Memos and tap the record icon. Then speak into the microphone and tap the play icon to play back the recording. You should be able to hear your voice clearly.

To test the front microphone, open the Camera app and record a video using the front camera.

To test the rear microphone, open the Camera app and record a video using the back camera. When you play back the video you should hear your voice clearly.
 


I have been digging into cellular voice quality, and the most recent in-depth report I have found is from PC Magazine in April:
Their key points are that the phone hardware has improved, but that those improvements are not being used in calls between carriers or between different types of phones. That makes sense to me, and it also accounts for why non-native English speakers can be particularly hard to understand.
I also see two other problems that don't get much attention.
One is weak connections that cause data rates to drop very low and signals to break up and become unintelligible. They ultimately may disconnect. I have noticed this particularly when the caller is moving, in a car, a train or even on foot.
The second is users who call from noisy environments or who don't hold the phone close to their mouths while talking -- the worst case being doing both simultaneously.
Are other people seeing that same pattern?
In my office, I have two bars. I generally have no problem talking to other iPhones. However, I do have trouble talking with Samsung phones that are typically on Verizon. The Samsung user typically indicates dropped words. There apparently can be a problem if your phone is set for LTE/Voice and Data when there is no LTE voice capability in the cell tower. There is a setting for LTE/Data only to fix this. I have gleaned this from ATT. Verizon might be different.
 


I have been digging into cellular voice quality, and the most recent in-depth report I have found is from PC Magazine in April:

Their key points are that the phone hardware has improved, but that those improvements are not being used in calls between carriers or between different types of phones. That makes sense to me, and it also accounts for why non-native English speakers can be particularly hard to understand.

I also see two other problems that don't get much attention.

One is weak connections that cause data rates to drop very low and signals to break up and become unintelligible. They ultimately may disconnect. I have noticed this particularly when the caller is moving, in a car, a train or even on foot.

The second is users who call from noisy environments or who don't hold the phone close to their mouths while talking -- the worst case being doing both simultaneously.

Are other people seeing that same pattern?
T-Mobile provides WiFi calling for my Galaxy S7. If I move around in my house, the call's audio quality varies (apparently more noticeable to those with whom I am speaking than what I hear). The cellular signal in my neighborhood is a bit weak so if I turn off the WiFi calling feature, I experience a few dropped calls if I move around in my house. I've learned to answer the call and not pace around the house while I'm connected. I also keep my phone away from my computer equipment as I think the WiFi signals may have something to do with my speakerphone feature not working as well as it should (and does, otherwise).

As for callers who do not use their phones properly (wiggling them or turning away from the mic), that's a user error. When I tell them they're fading out, it usually corrects their behavior (at least for the remainder of the current call).
 


I encounter this problem a lot and realized that it often happens when the other caller is using a headset. I presume that the headset mic gets easily reoriented in a dysfunctional way, as someone is walking around, and there may be other issues with headsets - for example, differences in noise cancellation* or headset quality.
Headsets vary greatly in quality. Poorly made ones are terrible (regardless of how much you may pay for them in stores), while good ones can be wonderful.

For example, I have a cheap Motorola Bluetooth earpiece-style headse, and many people have complained about the quality, so much so that I don't use it anymore - the iPhone's built-in speaker functionality sounds better, even over road noise.

On the other hand, when I'm at my desk, I use a (fairly expensive, unfortunately) Jabra PRO 930 wireless headset (USB connection from the base station to the computer, DECT radio connection between the headset and the base), and I've never had anyone complain about it.
 



Headsets vary greatly in quality. Poorly made ones are terrible (regardless of how much you may pay for them in stores), while good ones can be wonderful.
I need to take notes when I'm on the phone, so I have used headsets for many many years. My current workhorse is a Plantronics S-42 headset, which I have used for recorded interviews. A good headset is well worth the price.

You want the microphone sticking out to the edge of your mouth. I use a Logitech headset on my computer for Skype or other audio, and it isn't quite long enough, so sometime people hear noise when it rubs on my beard. Otherwise it works well for Skype.
 


FWIW, for routine Skype and web conferencing, I've been using a wired Logitech USB Headset H390 with Noise Cancelling Mic in my home office. There certainly are better quality headsets on the market, but at around US $20-25, it's a good value.

When I've downloaded recordings of conference calls I've been on, there've been times when my voice sounded like it was professionally recorded, and there've been times when it sounded like I was calling from a deep space probe. The main variable was the quality of the network connection during the call. The plastic construction feels a little flimsy, but I've been using it a few times a week for almost five years. I don't think it would travel well, though.
 


T-Mobile provides WiFi calling for my Galaxy S7. If I move around in my house, the call's audio quality varies (apparently more noticeable to those with whom I am speaking than what I hear). The cellular signal in my neighborhood is a bit weak so if I turn off the WiFi calling feature, I experience a few dropped calls if I move around in my house. I've learned to answer the call and not pace around the house while I'm connected.
I set up WiFi internet for my wife's iPhone when her data usage reached levels that triggered AT&T throttling. We found that WiFi levels within the house varied quite a bit, and I had to add a WiFi extender to cover the areas far from my office, which has the WiFi hub. That has reduced the throttling, although sometimes it goes back to the cellular service in the house, which may mean some spots still have unusably weak WiFi.

Judging from the number of times I have told cell-phone callers that I'm losing their voice, you're not the only one who has the habit of walking and talking. Many of them apologized and said they would stay still. It does help.
 


Since we're talking about phone plans here, anyone have any thoughts on Mint Mobile? I saw their Superbowl commercial, and the plans seem really good. My wife and I are currently on a legacy T-Mobile plan that has 100 minutes talk, unlimited text, and 5GB LTE data for $30/month. Moving to Mint Mobile would make it unlimited text/talk and 8GB LTE data for $20/month. Coverage would be the same (Mint is a T-Mobile MVNO), minus roaming ability, but we never roam in our area. I have no problem pre-paying for a year at a time (to get the lowest rates), as that is what we currently do with our T-Mobile plan.
Mint Mobile has worked well for me. I renewed for a year after the three-month introductory offer expired. I am enrolled in the $15 per month 3GB plan, which was just upgraded from 2GB per month at the end of January. According to Mint, WiFi talk has been added with iOS 12. I can't verify that because I am still using iOS 11.
 


I nonetheless very much appreciate hearing yet more evidence that I made the right choice in buying my Ooma hardware (which I have not yet had the time to set up, test, and experience.)
The most recent problem that I've had with Ooma is that unlike a real landline, when someone tries to send you a text, Ooma can't receive it nor does it send back a "failed" response to the sender. I'm up to about 2-3 missed communications now a month because new clients and humans in general just assume in 2019 that you can text to any phone number.

I've talked to Ooma about this a few times and there does not appear to be a fix for this coming anytime soon. There are online message boards complaining about this going back to 2013. I may have to get rid of Ooma for this reason alone (not to mention I used to get full-duplex with my cordless phone system on speaker phone and I do not now). (Oh yeah, and the Ooma device gets hot and this is my second one from the company.)
 


(Oh yeah, and the Ooma device gets hot and this is my second one from the company.)
Mine does not even get near hot... nor even mildly warm for that matter. Been using Ooma for a few years now and have no complaints. Originally bought as replacement for one of the legs of a triple-play bundle from Verizon.

And I suspect clients who are expecting every number they call can accept text messages don't recall the days before cell phones.
 


And I suspect clients who are expecting every number they call can accept text messages don't recall the days before cell phones.
Yes, and that is the problem. I am defintiely now starting in 2019 to lose important communications. From research this weekend, it appears that Vonage and other simiar products are not good with this either. Apparently, this is doable with Google Voice, but I don't want anything to do with Google or their products.

Glad to hear that your unit does not get hot or warm. My first one got "hot". My replacement is just warm. I don't have any other low-power devices that seem to create heat like this. Maybe yours is older and "they just don't make them like they used to".
 


The most recent problem that I've had with Ooma is that unlike a real landline, when someone tries to send you a text, Ooma can't receive it nor does it send back a "failed" response to the sender. I'm up to about 2-3 missed communications now a month because new clients and humans in general just assume in 2019 that you can text to any phone number.
I realize that your situation is different from mine, because you use your line for business, but I am glad that I haven't yet had to do business with someone who lacks the basic intelligence to ask whether my number is a cell phone or not. Or at least, I have not suffered due to non-receipt of such messages. Nobody's asked me "Didn't you get my text?". Of course, now that I've said it, it will probably happen!
 


I realize that your situation is different from mine, because you use your line for business, but I am glad that I haven't yet had to do business with someone who lacks the basic intelligence to ask whether my number is a cell phone or not. Or at least, I have not suffered due to non-receipt of such messages. Nobody's asked me "Didn't you get my text?". Of course, now that I've said it, it will probably happen!
I'm a private music teacher. My number is is given out by music stores and other places. 2018 was fine, 2019 is becoming a problem. Including yesterday, I lost 3 communications in the last 2-3 weeks that I know of.

I spent about 4 hours yesterday doing research and making phone calls to companies that might have a fix for my situation. Once I sort through the info and mess, I will post back and let you know what I've learned. Unfortunately, some of these solutions are expensive enough that they defeat the purpose of dropping my AT&T landline (which went up to $95 a month here in California with taxes when I cancelled it).

Did I mention earlier that my T-Mobile cell phone doesn't get reception where I live? I'm working on that today.
 



You might want to try WiFi Calling. On an iPhone it's at:
Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling​
I don't use wi-fi calling on either my Android phone or a very old hand-me-down iPhone with a bad battery. I only use these as emergency cell phones and texting is not enabled on either account. In order for me use wifi, I would be forced to register this old iPhone with my Apple ID and log into a Google account on the Android phone.

At this point in my life, I want nothing more to do with Apple or Google. I don't trust or like these companies and don't want them to know any more about me then they currently know. I realize this makes me somewhat of an old obstinate freak, especially to my family, non-techie friends and aquaintances, but I'm just done. If any tech companies want use or sell my personal info, whereabouts, purchases, etc., they will need to pay me for it.

On the bright side, I'm now looking at a new solution that would mean porting my Ooma VoIP home phone number to a new cheap Android phone (don't know about carrier yet, as I may leave T-Mobile).

I would use this new smart phone only as a "home" cell phone with texting enabled (which would mean no logging into a Google account). Then, I buy a new home handset phone system which allows you to connect your cell phone to these "landline" phones and receive calls and texts. I've had good luck with Panasonic phones over the years, so I would probably go with something like this:

This mobile phone would not be mobile. It would just sit there and become my new home phone that allows SMS messaging.

Clearly, I could take this cell phone with me if I chose to, but I don't see much of need for it. This home number doesn't receive many calls anymore, but when it does, it usually means work or something important for me.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I would use this new smart phone only as a "home" cell phone...
I actually changed my landline to a cell phone this year to save money (the landline was almost twice the cost of the cell phone), and I kept (ported) my existing number.

This is working pretty well, and I like having my home phone with me when I go somewhere (as well as getting texts on it), but there are two issues:

• 911 isn't tied to my physical location anymore - you can define a 911 location for the iPhone, but, of course, you may be somewhere entirely different when you call 911.

• Poor cellphone audio quality remains a serious problem. The old copper-line phone sounded a lot clearer. I often work around this by using FaceTime Audio for people who have that. WiFi Calling may also be better than normal cellular audio.
 


• 911 isn't tied to my physical location anymore - you can define a 911 location for the iPhone, but, of course, you're not always there.
I won't be taking this dedicated home phone with me, so it's a non-issue for me.
• Poor cellphone audio quality remains a serious problem. The old copper-line phone sounded a lot clearer. I often work around this by using FaceTime Audio for people who have that.
The Ooma QoS (Quality of Service) that I have now is awful. A cell phone used as a landline cannot be any worse than what I'm currently using. If we want high QoS, then we all need to go back to copper wire landlines and get rid of cell phones. There is no lower QoS then when someone calls you while driving from their cell and they are using it on speaker phone. Very, very frustrating.
• WiFi Calling may also be better than normal cellular audio.
I agree. I just got off the phone with T-Mobile and I will talk tomorrow to the store manager about getting a free cell spot, which was promised to me last October. That would solve some of my problem, and I wouldn't have to involve Google or Apple to do this.
 


• Poor cellphone audio quality remains a serious problem. The old copper-line phone sounded a lot clearer. I often work around this by using FaceTime Audio for people who have that. WiFi Calling may also be better than normal cellular audio.
Ric, could you provide additional information on whether your cellphone call quality includes any testing with and without Apple's supplied headphones with microphone, or if you have tried any third-party Bluetooth solutions?

For many years I used a Plantronics Bluetooth headset in conjunction with my non-Apple cellphone while driving up and down the interstates here. Always thought the call quality to be good. But, I will also admit I went to perhaps one too many rock concerts in my youth and my audible range is not what it once was at this advanced age.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Ric, could you provide additional information on whether your cellphone call quality includes any testing with and without Apple's supplied headphones with microphone, or if you have tried any third-party Bluetooth solutions?
Bad cellphone audio has zero to do with the phone hardware - it's all in the carrier's audio processing. This is very easily demonstrated via FaceTime Audio, which is worlds better on the same phone, the same speaker, etc.
There is no lower QoS then when someone calls you while driving from their cell and they are using it on speaker phone.
As above, that's probably an issue with the phone carrier's audio processing, not with the phone or speakerphone. I've had a long conversation with someone who was driving a diesel Jetta while using an iPhone (attached to the sun visor) in speakerphone mode, and the audio was so good, I thought he was parked quietly with the car turned off (demonstrating how effective noise cancellation can be). Built-in car audio hardware may be worse, but I doubt it would be as big a problem as the cellular carrier's' audio processing.
 


Bad cellphone audio has zero to do with the phone hardware - it's all in the carrier's audio processing. This is very easily demonstrated via FaceTime Audio, which is worlds better on the same phone, the same speaker, etc.
The carrier's audio processing isn't the whole story. How you hold the phone makes a difference; some people don't hold the phone's microphone close enough to their mouth. Some phones are equipped with HD Voice, but they only work if the network and the other phone also can accommodate HD Voice. The environment where you are can make a huge difference, but some phones have technology to cancel background noise. The big problem is that everything in the system - the phone, the network and the environment - has to work well for you to get good audio quality.

My IEEE Spectrum article on cellular voice quality is a few years old now, but it explains the problem in more detail. Sadly, the improvements promised then have yet to make their way through the phone system. I maintain a Verizon FiOS digital voice line as my primary business and home line and only use a cell phone (a dumb flip phone) when I'm traveling.
 


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