Computers & Electronics

Question about telephone service options

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  • Mar 21st, 2016 12:17 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 21, 2014
126 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto

Question about telephone service options

Hi, I think similar threads were made in the past, but it's hard to determine the pieces of information that's relevant to me, so please excuse me for posting.

Basically, I am currently with voip.ms, and cost-wise, I am fine with it but it sometimes stops working without me touching anything or changing anything and I've had periods when I went without a home phone line for months because I didn't have the time or knowledge to deal with it. (it was originally set up by my brother who no longer lives with me) I'd done troubleshooting a few times in the past but this time I thought enough was enough.

So I ordered Ooma and set it up this weekend. I was quite impressed at how easy it was to set it up, but I wasn't very pleased with the first customer service encounter I had with them. Besides, I thought it was free after the initial purchase of their device but learned that it was actually something like $4 per month.

Then I realized freephoneline.ca has a similar service, which costs a lot less, both in terms of the device purchase and the porting fee.

If anyone's had experience with freephoneline.ca, can you tell me if it's as easy as Ooma to set up and maintain? I hardly ever call anyone or get call from anyone on my home phone line, although my mother calls overseas sometimes and that doesn't happen a lot either (if I charge my account with $25 prepaid credit, it can last me 6 months easily). So the important factors for my decision would be:

- How easy is it to set up.
- Will it stop working for no reason, or is it such that once it's set up there's no more hassle?
- Cost - I guess I would eat ~$4 monthly service fee if it's the cost of convenience of never having to deal with the phone stopping to work but obviously like cheaper option, taking into consideration the international rate.

In all, I am currently interested in freephoneline.ca because it looks a lot less costly than Ooma, especially the international rate, which is half of Ooma's rate for the international destination that my mom calls. So if someone can tell me that it's plug-and-play and doesn't give the trouble of randomly stopping to work for no apparent reason, I would return Ooma and go for freephoneline.ca.
Or I am happy for any other suggestion.

Thank you.
7 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 24, 2003
15030 posts
2081 upvotes
Toronto
I would go with the Obihai VoIP adapter. I am using freephoneline.ca as line 1, VoIP.ms as lin3, and Googel voice on lines 3 and 4.

Service on all lines has been excellent. Only time I had problems with the Obi was when my internet service went down. In order to get the Obihai to work again, I just had to remove the power plug for a few seconds, and re-connect the power to have everything work again.

Which ATA adapter were you using before Ooma?

Helpful thread here: newegg-ca-obi200-39-99cad-obi202-59-99c ... k-1882793/
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 21, 2014
126 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto
Grandstream HT502. That may have been a part of the problem, but if I need to replace the ATA adaptor (with no guarantee that it won't give me headache in the future and with the certainty that I will still need to deal with the set up and maintenance) I think it might be better to just switch to an option with less hassle.

Let me research Obihai.

Edit: from a quick glance, it looks like Obihai isn't the same kind of plug and play service like Ooma, but if it's just the initial set up, I'd be ok. It's not totally clear to me how Obihai works though. The adaptor itself seems to cost more than $100 so that's not an advantage over freephoneline.ca.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 24, 2003
15030 posts
2081 upvotes
Toronto
Once the Obihai is setup to your liking, you can save the configuration and reload it to replacement adapters too.

I was using a Linksys pap2t that was also very reliable. I switched to the Obihai in order to use my Google voice number.

The Obihai 200 will go one sale every so often for $40. The Obi202 is on sale now for $65 from newegg.ca: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...697.1458401368 EARN CASH BACK

I was so impressed with the Obi200 after getting my first one that I purchased a second one as a spare.

Shipping to an inpost location is free too.
Deal Addict
May 26, 2011
1801 posts
469 upvotes
Vancouver
FreePhoneLine and VoIP.ms provide very similar services. The pricing structure is different, and VoIP.ms has more complex inbound call routing options, but the actual VoIP is the same. VoIP.ms even uses Fibernetics (FreePhoneLine's parent company) as one of their carriers, so some of the service is literally identical. Ease of configuration would be similar.

It is not expected for VoIP equipment to randomly stop working, but not impossible. We can help you troubleshoot that if the issue arises again. This problem is often caused by your router, so be prepared that you may need to replace it if it is one of the ones that cannot be made to work properly with VoIP.

OBi ATAs are great, but unless you require its advanced call routing features (multiple service providers being the most significant) it's fine to stay with your Grandstream ATA. For basic phone service it is unlikely you will notice a difference between the two.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 21, 2014
126 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto
PianoGuy wrote:
Mar 21st, 2016 10:56 am
FreePhoneLine and VoIP.ms provide very similar services. The pricing structure is different, and VoIP.ms has more complex inbound call routing options, but the actual VoIP is the same. VoIP.ms even uses Fibernetics (FreePhoneLine's parent company) as one of their carriers, so some of the service is literally identical. Ease of configuration would be similar.

It is not expected for VoIP equipment to randomly stop working, but not impossible. We can help you troubleshoot that if the issue arises again. This problem is often caused by your router, so be prepared that you may need to replace it if it is one of the ones that cannot be made to work properly with VoIP.

OBi ATAs are great, but unless you require its advanced call routing features (multiple service providers being the most significant) it's fine to stay with your Grandstream ATA. For basic phone service it is unlikely you will notice a difference between the two.
Thanks, PianoGuy. In fact, you've helped me in the past, in case you don't remember. I still remember and I very much appreciate it.

network-settings-voip-phone-issues-1538 ... st19634459

I see that that thread was back in August 2014, so I suppose it went about year and a half without problems (although, I've had to power off my ATA adapter and reconnect to get it to work a few times between then and now). Now it doesn't seem to work and I think I did the same steps that I did based on your help then, but it wasn't working for me.

Maybe it's best to give my current setup another chance...

I would always tell my mother, who doesn't understand anything about computers or electronics generally and has to ask me every single thing, "You need to understand the basic principles of how these things work. Once you understand that anywhere you go, the icon that looks like gear/cog means settings/preferences/options, you will be able to start to figure things out yourself no matter which app you are using".

But I probably need to tell myself the same thing about anything related to network. I never understood the basic principles of how network really works, what all the terms mean, and every time there is a problem, I look for troubleshooting on ad-hoc basis, hope it never happens and move on.
Is there a way I can pick up a bit about network in general and voip in particular that would make it easier for me to troubleshoot or even to just follow someone else's instructions when there is a problem?
Member
Jun 21, 2008
420 posts
98 upvotes
mississauga
All the non standard phone solutions require some tinkering,setup and maintenance. As a personal example, i got a cisco spa122 last year and signed up for voip.ms. It took some setting up and tweaking but it works. After doing that i set up voip.ms and fongo on an android cellphone and have been using that lately. Hope this helps
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
20864 posts
6884 upvotes
PianoGuy wrote:
Mar 21st, 2016 10:56 am
It is not expected for VoIP equipment to randomly stop working, but not impossible. We can help you troubleshoot that if the issue arises again. This problem is often caused by your router, so be prepared that you may need to replace it if it is one of the ones that cannot be made to work properly with VoIP.
Basically this. With a questionable upstream I could see random usage failures.
But with a reputable one, I'd be looking squarely at the end user's equipment over the upstream.

If there's something wrong on your end, no amount of provider changing will solve your issues.

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