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Posted: 3/12/2011 6:23:54 AM EDT
I've got a 12 meg cable modem and am paying 49 per month for their home telephone with a battery backup. Is there any better option?

I'm really new to this, but  it  looks like I'd have to have a computer on all the time  for magicjack to work?

Link Posted: 3/13/2011 2:12:15 PM EDT
Google voice is free.
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 3:01:19 PM EDT
That doesn't really help.  Google Voice requires you to have a phone line of some sort (either land line or VoIP) to receive incoming calls.  It is not a replacement for phone service, but merely augments what you're already paying for.

I researched VoIP phone service recently.  Ultimately I had to stick with the old land line, because my alarm system will not work with anything but a regular land line.  But I did learn some things.

I didn't like MagicJack for a few reasons.  Mainly, I didn't want to have to run their software.  I didn't want to dedicate a computer to running it, or rely on my desktop machine being powered up to  use the phone.  MagicJack doesn't even offer their software for Linux, so I'd be without a phone half the time.  No thanks.

Then there's MagicJack's idea of "customer service."  There's not even a support phone number, just some goofy online "chat" thing.  Again, no thanks.

I investigated other options as well.  

NetTalk Duo could not be confirmed to work with my router.  
Ooma's device was too expensive.
Vonage has a $10/mo. plan that might be OK if you don't make many calls, as you only get 200 minutes per month without paying extra.  And the hardware cost was modest (~$40 IIRC).

There are a whole bunch of options, and probably one somewhere that will work for you.  You could read up on them where I did, the VoIP forums at dslreports.com (DSLreports VoIP forum).
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 5:13:49 PM EDT
Run your own IP PBX system in your home:

Link Posted: 3/13/2011 6:01:35 PM EDT
I used MagicJack for about 2 yrs.  Worked fine for me, but the big drawback for me is that it was connected to the computer and it had to be on in order to send and receive calls.  I switched to TalkNet Duo, which connects to the modem instead of the computer.  It's a little more expensive (about $70 the first yr, then $30 each yr after) but it seems to work ok.  I've had to reset it a couple of times in order to make and receive calls, but I make so few calls that it's worth it for me.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 2:49:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 7:58:24 AM EDT


Google voice is free.

This is what I've been using, the problem is I need to have a browser window open and be logged into Gmail which is kind of a pain. It would be nice if there was a way to have the calls forwarded to a "hard phone" other than my cell which uses minutes.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 10:16:50 AM EDT
Ooma is an alternative to magicjack.


I have a friend who uses it and he really likes it.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 10:35:44 AM EDT
I currently use Google voice with Skype.

The only issue I had was that the new skype won't let you access the number pad for incoming calls - so I couldn't verify my skype number for google.  Well not until I downgraded to an older version of skype that is.

So, on top of the internet prices, I'm paying $18 for every 3 months of my skypein number.

The one thing with google voice that you have to watch out for is... they will charge you $10 to change your number.  So, if you want a new phone number it may just be easier to get a second google account.  Or pony up the ten bucks.

Of course the benefit to this is that... I no longer have to pay skype for outgoing calls.  I don't mind being at the computer to call via google.  
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 11:33:27 AM EDT
With all these services like Google voice, MagicJack, Vonage you'd think we would be danger close to running out of phone numbers like we ran out of IP addresses. I wonder what they will do when that happens.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 5:25:56 AM EDT
login to your google account.   go to www.google.com/voice.   on the left side click on upgrade account.  google will give you a phone number  

Let's pretend: Suppose I do not have any kind of established phone service.  No cellular or land line, no VoIP number.

I go to my Google account and I start the Google Voice setup process.

At step 3, I'm prompted with:
Add a forwarding phone that will ring when your Google Voice number is called. You can add more forwarding phones later.

What do I enter?  I have to enter something.  If I leave the box blank, Google Voice won't let me proceed.

This is why Google Voice isn't a replacement for having some kind of phone line (cellular, land line, whatever).
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 1:16:52 PM EDT
I use Magicjack. I leave my computer on all the time anyway so it's no big deal. The only problem I have is when someone calls when I'm playing a game, screen goes black and is minimized.
Link Posted: 3/17/2011 4:46:09 PM EDT
I picked up an HP 5710 thin client and use that with my Magicjack. It runs 24/7, but only draws about 10 watts. The only thing I have running on it is Magicjack and related services.

A how-to: magicjack on a thin client

I picked up my thin client on Ebay for ~ $40
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