Cell Phones

What has everyone done with their landlines? I feel like my mom pays too much for hers at her place.

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  • Dec 28th, 2018 1:13 am
[OP]
Banned
Oct 20, 2010
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Toronto

What has everyone done with their landlines? I feel like my mom pays too much for hers at her place.

What has everyone done with their landlines? I feel like my mom pays too much for hers at her place...but she wants to keep her landline phone number? Is there a good modern alternative?
28 replies
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
5499 posts
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Montreal
I recently switched my primary line including porting to VOIP.MS and am very happy with it. However, if you're not at all familiar with VOIP, it can be a challenge to setup for a newbie. You'll have to buy an ATA device to connect her phone to the internet connection. There are tons of features so there's a bit of a learning curve. I've had my secondary line which doesn't get used very much for about 10 years and it cost me an average of $2.50 per month. I don't have the first bill results for my primary line but it appears to me that my total bill for the 2 lines will work out to about $15 per month. It's hard to tell because outgoing calls are charged at 1/2 cent per minute

If she only makes calls to Canada, freephoneline or its sister Fongo might also be a solution. If she has a cellphone, why not just get rid of the landline altogether?
Phils
Deal Fanatic
Jun 24, 2006
7936 posts
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Does she have cell service?

The $10 home phone plans via cell network are a pretty safe and easy to use option. We have had it through Rogers for years ( I am pretty sure we were the first household in my town to have it ) and it works for the most part flawlessly.
Deal Guru
Dec 10, 2004
12194 posts
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Kanata
Moved mine to Ooma years ago. I don't mind the $4.50 fee for basic, as we don't use it for too much.
Sr. Member
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Mar 11, 2011
770 posts
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Toronto
Ditched my landlines 5 years ago for Freephoneline. It costs me zero, nothing. It truly is free. International long distance adds about $10 a year. I'm really happy with my setup.

However, you are on your own for setup and troubleshooting. Plus, there are initial costs of around $150. So in your case, I would recommend Fongo Homephone. Same company as FLP, but for $4.95/month you get technical assistance as part of your subscription. Initial setup is much cheaper. They sell you a basic ATA for around $30 which they set up for you. And yes, you can port your old number over to the new service.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 10, 2005
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goofball wrote: Moved mine to Ooma years ago. I don't mind the $4.50 fee for basic, as we don't use it for too much.
"Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say"

"There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”
Sr. Member
Oct 12, 2014
692 posts
213 upvotes
London, ON
I moved my parents to freephoneline.ca

After about $150, the phone service is free. No more monthly fee's, etc. Works great for them
Public Mobile
$38 month
5GB Data
Unlimited international texting
Unlimited Canada-wide minutes
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 3, 2002
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Provided your mother is already using a reliable internet service, Freephoneline, in the longrun, is the cheapest option in Canada for a basic home phone replacement service, especially when used in conjunction with Google Voice (for free U.S. calling) on an Obihai OBi200/202/212 series ATA (these ATAs go on sale occasionally at Newegg.ca; you have to buy your own ATA or IP Phone). After initial setup fees, $89.95+tax (and $25+tax if you want to port your phone number), you'll be paying $0 each month, every month, for as long as you use Freephoneline, with the exception of 911 calls, which are $35 each (however, I'm not aware of anyone actually being charged to make 911 calls with FPL): https://forums.redflagdeals.com/newegg- ... #p28508748. With some other Bring Your Own Device SIP services (VoIP.ms, Anveo, Callcentric), you'll be paying $1.50 USD per month for 911 access, and with Ooma you'd be paying at least $3.98 CAD monthly regardless.

I've been with FPL for over 8 years (back then, FPL was $50). My yearly phone bills are $0 with them (I pay $0 each month, every month), ongoing. It's pretty hard to beat free. With everything else, you're going to be paying either ongoing monthly fees and/or per minute fees.

I suggest reading the first two pages of this thread: https://forums.redflagdeals.com/newegg- ... x-2145415/.



question-about-telephone-service-option ... #p25468891
Pianoguy wrote: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.
VoIP.ms has a lot more features and a lot more servers located all over the place. VoIP.ms charges in USD, and they also have free tech support. Freephoneline does not have free tech support for anything unrelated to problems that are on your end (they will help with account issues). And most problems will be on your end. So you might want to keep that in mind for your mom. You'd have to be her tech support, probably if you went with FPL. I do not recommend FPL to those that need a lot of handholding.
Please do not PM me for tech support. I help out on the forums when I can. Thank you.
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Jun 12, 2007
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Voip.ms and pap-2T

I blackhole known spammers using voip.ms caller-Id filtering and IVR queue
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Dec 4, 2017
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I still have a traditional landline. So do my parents. While the high reliability of voice calls in general is still attractive, as is the ability to have handsets all over the house and outside (say, in the gazebo), the big selling point is the highest quality of service for 911.

The qualities of service in Canada, in descending order, are:

1. POTS Enhanced 911: Plain Old Telephone Service, traditional lines that connect directly to local emergency services, and relay your address of subscribed service. If you call 911 and say nothing, they'll still show up at your door and possibly break it down to get to you. It works even when electric power fails.

2. Fixed VoIP Enhanced 911: Typically offered by Cable providers, such as Rogers Home Phone. Almost as reliable as POTS; does NOT work when electric power fails.

3. Cellphone Enhanced 911: Call 911 using the default dialler on your phone and they'll make a best effort to locate you using your phone's GPS or, failing that, triangulation from cellphone towers. They might not break in if you go silent because limits on location accuracy mean that there could be hundreds of residences in the location zone. Most calls go straight to the correct local emergency response centre, but if you are in range of a cellphone tower in the wrong jurisdiction, you may encounter delays in getting the right response while they find the right people. Works with no local power, though a large and prolonged outage might result in cellphone towers failing.

4. Nomadic VoIP Enhanced 911: A subscription location is registered. 911 calls go to a central location, where they verbally try to verify your current location, then hopefully relay the information to the correct local response centre. Delays may occur at any time for reasons that you cannot control. Youtube has many posts capturing this problem, even recently. Does not work without power to access the Internet in some way. Virtually all VoIP providers, no matter how you access them (at-home ATA device or cellphone) are of this type. The better mobile VoIP apps still allow route a 911 call through the phone's normal telephony connection.

I mentioned Enhanced 911 for completeness. There may still only be Basic 911 (no automatic location of any kind) on some services, especially VoIP solutions.

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/911/can.htm
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l69norm wrote: I blackhole known spammers using voip.ms caller-Id filtering and IVR queue
Anyone using an Obihai ATA or Obihai IP Phone can create blacklists and whitelists, use Nomorobo for free, and trap telemarketers within Obihai's Auto Attendant if the Obihai user wants (although this was never the intended use of Obihai's AA), regardless of the SIP service being used (or even if Google Voice is being used). I'm not a big fan of Obihai's support policies to such an extent that I wish another company made ATAs that offer all of the features of Obihai's, but Obihai's ATAs do help to make up for a lack of features offered by Freephoneline (and other basic VoIP services that aren't as full-featured as Anveo, Callcentric, and VoIP.ms), for example.
Last edited by Guest1284983 on Dec 18th, 2018 6:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Please do not PM me for tech support. I help out on the forums when I can. Thank you.
OBi200/202 Freephonline PDF guide (version 1.60) can be found here. OBi200 info can be found here. For OBi202 info, click here.
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IanBrantford wrote: I still have a traditional landline. So do my parents. While the high reliability of voice calls in general is still attractive
The call quality of all of my VoIP services for local calls are the same or better than my old Bell POTS (plain old telephone service) landline, which produced static whenever it rained. Otherwise, I would not be using them, and I use them daily. Voice quality with any VoIP service is dependent upon jitter (variation between each successive ping, which affects how choppy calls sound), pings (latency), audio codec, and the carrier(s) being used to route the call. Freephoneline, VoIP.ms, Anveo Direct (wholesale), Callcentric, and Hangouts/GV all sound the same (or better, given I had static over a Bell POTS landline whenever it rained) as a landline to me under ideal conditions for local calls when G.711u is being used, and I do use all of these services on regular phones in my house. The G.711u audio codec is the equivalent of POTS (plain old telephone service). I don't notice any difference between any of these service providers with respect to call quality for local calling, but I tend to know what I'm doing. International calling to specific numbers is another matter (due to the carriers being used to route the call to the destination). I use Anveo Direct Tier 1 Prime routes for international calls.

as is the ability to have handsets all over the house and outside (say, in the gazebo), the big selling point
All one needs to do is ensure the Telco's line is disconnected at the demarc (to avoid having power from the Telco's line fry your gear) and then plug an ATA into an existing phone jack in a house to make all phone jacks work:
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/newegg- ... #p28508728.

1. POTS Enhanced 911: Plain Old Telephone Service, traditional lines that connect directly to local emergency services, and relay your address of subscribed service. If you call 911 and say nothing, they'll still show up at your door and possibly break it down to get to you.
In terms of location, when you sign up to a nomadic VoIP service, Northern 911, which is what VoIP.ms uses (and what other nomadic VoIP services in Canada, including Freephoneline, use) already has your physical address. You provide that information to the service provider, who then sends it to Nothern 911, where they keep your info on file (one possible exception is Anveo retail, who transmits your info during the 911 call). Even if you don't say anything, they have your info. And if you can't speak, the local PSAP gets your address verbally from the VoIP 911 (Nothern911 operator). https://www.northern911.com/.
The issue with nomadic VoIP services with respect to location is that the onus is on the customer to keep 911 address information updated with the VoIP service provider. Some people forget to update their address on file when they move.

https://forums.redflagdeals.com/voip-tw ... #p20695185
This is bit interesting about Anveo (retail--as opposed to Anveo Direct wholesale):
Pianoguy wrote:The reason I suggest Anveo is that they'll allow you to set up a different 911 address for each device, while assigning each the same Caller ID so that the people you call will have no idea you're not in your usual location. With (for example) VoIP.ms you'll need to remember to change your 911 address each time you move. Anveo's usage fees are a little cheaper than VoIP.ms, but you pay for support, so in the end it works out to about the same.

IanBrantford wrote:It works even when electric power fails.
All of my VoIP services work when the power goes out (and not just for a couple of days). My home phone works when the power is out because I have plenty of battery backups. So does my cell phone (unless the cell towers are down). My VoIP services can also work on my smartphone in addition to all the regular phones in my house.



http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r32205770- (Canadian perspective)
Mango wrote:Where I live, landlines stop working immediately upon cancellation of service, even for 911. The copper is so old and decrepit that they also have a good chance of not working when it rains or snows. Even if you do have a working landline, expect a call to 911 to take five minutes or more just to reach a dispatcher. It's faster to just drive to the hospital in a medical emergency (if the patient can be safely moved).

Since my ILEC's upgrade to fibre however, I've never had my VoIP service (nor my cell phone) not work. I don't think it's safe to always say "copper is most reliable"; you have to know what is reliable in your specific area, and of course have a backup because anything can go down.
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r32206943- (U.S. perspective)
WhyADuck wrote: Buried lines are frequently cut by other utilities and others doing excavating, and overhead lines are just as susceptible as electric lines to damage.

Also, the idea of you having a solid copper pair direct to the central office is pretty much a myth for people like you in a rural area; there's a very high probability that your line is converted to fiber at one of those big green boxes and that converter requires electricity to work. Yeah, it probably has a battery backup that will keep you going for at least part of a day, assuming the battery has been maintained and correctly hooked up (that's not always a given), but sooner or later those converters will be dead as a doornail if they don't get power.

After hurricane Katrina there were places where the regular phone lines had stopped working but VoIP continued to work.


While landlines are the most reliable for 911 calls, they don't work after telephone lines have been knocked out by a storm. In other words, landlines are the most reliable, provided they're working.
cheapest-home-landline-1927933/3/#p25207887




I've heard scary stuff about VoIP 911. Isn't it unreliable?

VoIP E911 is a two step process. With Freephonline, after dialing 911, the initial E911 call centre, which does have my name, address, and call back number, still has to transfer the call to local dispatch (PSAP), which doesn't have my name, address, and phone number.

It's important, when signing up to a VoIP service you're planning on using 911 with that you always keep your address updated on file with them. If you move, update your address. Your VoIP service sends that information to the E911 call centre/Northern911, which they will keep on file.

In some rare instances, it's possible that Northern911 (I'm guessing this is what FPL and other VoIP services in Canada use, but I'm not sure) may not transfer to the correct local dispatch (PSAP) number (human error happens). Some people I configured services for in the past were very paranoid about VoIP E911 and forced me to do a test call. Worked fine. That is, the first person I reached had name and address info; they ask for confirmation. And the call was promptly transferred to local dispatch and correct address info was given to local dispatch, verbally, by the first call centre. Worked fine each and every time I was asked to test.

How does this compare to 911 with a landline?

Landline 911 is not a two-step process. You don't need to keep your address updated for Nothern911. Landlines are the most reliable for 911 calls.
But landlines don't work after your telephone lines have been knocked out by a storm.

How does this compare with Mobile 911?

Mobile 911 is not a two step process. However, they do not have your exact address, but they should have an approximate location (they should at least have the cellular site/tower that's carrying your call), especially if you're in a major city (they may have latitude and longitude). If you're in a rural area, location based on cellular towers may not be very precise. 70%+ of 911 calls are now coming from mobile phones according to the CRTC. Going forward, this is where improvements are going to be made.


Also, keep in mind that with FPL each E911 call is $35. If you dial 911 less than twice a year vs. paying $1.50 USD/month with Callcentric, Anveo, or VoIP.ms, you're ahead with FPL. And you're paying an ongoing minimum monthly fee of $3.98 with Ooma. Ask yourself how often you're calling 911. If you're a senior citizen with a lot of health issues, maybe FPL is a bad idea. (And I don't mean to belittle this point. Everyone gets old. Health is a serious matter.) Otherwise, you'll end up way ahead using a FPL in the long run (in terms of cost).

Here's the thing . . . I used to talk to FPL reps several years ago over the phone, back when they allowed tech support calls. And even then a e911 fee was listed (but not in the FAQs), and I inquired about it. I was told the fee was intended to dissuade people from test calling 911--and that people wouldn't actually be charged.

Fast forward to now, and the $35 per call E911 fee is listed in the FAQs. It's listed all over the place. It's certainly enough to prevent me from testing 911 on FPL. Reps are now saying you will be charged no matter what when you dial 911. Is that true? Maybe. Is that enough to scare me from testing 911? Sure. Has anyone been charged yet? I don't know. Anyway, no one is going to be calling 911 using FPL unless it's really necessary now, and if that's the intent, I'm fine with it. And if I really need E911 as a backup (my smartphone is always nearby), it's there for me. In the meantime, I'm not paying ongoing monthly fees for something I'm not using.

freephoneline-ca-free-local-soft-phone- ... #p27964332
__wizard__ wrote: As a customer with FPL, I used 911 service 3 months ago and never got the $35 charge
YMMV (your mileage may vary)


Obihai OBi200/202 ATAs with the OBiBT adapter can be paired with smartphones over bluetooth: http://www.obihai.com/obibt.
Then with an Obihai OBi 200/202 ATA, you'd add {911:bt} in your OutboundCallRoute, and then all of your 911 calls on your phones go out over your smartphone's 911 cellular service, provided your smartphone remains within bluetooth range of the ATA.


By the way, There's also Anveo's E911 service ($25 USD per year) available through the Obitalk.com web portal, as an alternative 911 service (limited to a maximum of 5 e911 calls per year): https://www.anveo.com/e911obi.asp (click the link for more information). People asking for help with this Anveo E911 service should probably ask canadaodyowner, who is using this service and is also a Freephoneline customer: freephoneline-ca-free-local-soft-phone- ... #p24980477. I have no experience with Anveo's special E911 service.


VoIP E911 is available all the time under these conditions:

1) You have electricity. A UPS is always a good idea.

2) Your internet service isn't out.

3) Your VoIP service isn't down.

I don't know anyone who doesn't have a smartphone.
Last edited by Guest1284983 on Dec 18th, 2018 5:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Please do not PM me for tech support. I help out on the forums when I can. Thank you.
OBi200/202 Freephonline PDF guide (version 1.60) can be found here. OBi200 info can be found here. For OBi202 info, click here.
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For anyone new to using SIP services as home phones, I'm just going to copy and paste something I've written before (mostly within the context of helping FPL users, but all four points apply to users of home phone SIP services in general). There's too many newcomers (and even existing users) who don't know this information.




For VoIP SIP services, you want

1) a router that does not have a full cone NAT,

Visit https://www.think-like-a-computer.com/2 ... es-of-nat/.
Mango from the Obitalk.com forums writes,
“Use a restricted cone NAT router, and do not use port forwarding or DMZ. Restricted cone NAT will only permit
inbound traffic from the service provider you're registered to. If you have a full cone NAT router, it will allow traffic
from any source. This is probably not what you intend.
If you have a Windows computer, you can test your router using the utility here:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,22292023. To run it, use stun stun.ekiga.net from a command prompt.”
Essentially, you download the stun-test.zip file; extract the stun.exe file from within the zip file to an easily
accessible location; use an elevated command prompt (visit
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-ru ... inistrator); change directory (cd) to the
directory or location where you extracted stun.exe (visit
http://www.digitalcitizen.life/command- ... c-commands); and type “stun stun.ekiga.net” without
the quotation marks followed by the enter/return button on your keyboard.
Asus routers, at the time of this writing, produce port restricted cone NAT routers, for example and are fine,
provided you’re using one with Asuswrt-Merlin, third party firmware installed: https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about.

2) a router that lets you disable SIP ALG if it's buggy,

To understand why SIP ALG often causes horrible problems, please visit
http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Routers+SIP+ALG (scroll down to the section on SIP ALG problems).

If you're dealing with a modem/router combo issued by an ISP or a router with SIP ALG forced on, you may have
to use voip4.freephoneline.ca:6060 for the Proxy Server. The purpose of voip4.freephoneline.ca:6060 is to circumvent
faulty SIP ALG features in routers.

3) a router that allows you to set QoS or assign highest priority to your ATA or IP Phone over all other devices on your LAN (local area network),

For a very general description of what QoS can do for you, visit https://www.voipmechanic.com/qos-for-voip.htm.
The basic idea is if you're torrenting or have a bunch of other computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. downloading and uploading (hogging all your available bandwidth), you don't want
your ATA not to have access to enough bandwidth to make or receive calls properly. So QoS or a Bandwidth Monitor feature (which is just another form of QoS) is a really good idea for VoIP users.

I often get an occasional relative complaining to me, "Hey my calls sound choppy." And then when I go visit, some kids are playing MMOs on a computer, while another person is downloading a huge file,
and another person is backing up files to a cloud service all at the same time someone else is trying to talk on the phone. All those devices, without QoS enabled, are fighting over available bandwidth along with the ATA.

and 4) A router that lets you adjust both Unreplied and Assured UDP timeouts.

Thanks to Mango, many of us now understand that in order for ATAs to remain registered and working properly with a VoIP SIP provider like Freephoneline, in particular after power failures, the following conditions must be met:

UDP Unreplied Timeout (in your router) < NAT Keep-alive Interval (in your ATA; for Obihai ATAs this is X_KeepAliveExpires) < UDP Assured Timeout (in your router) < SIP Registration Failure Retry Wait Time (or RegisterRetryInterval in Obihai ATAs)

“<“ means less than.

When a modem leases a new IP address, a problem can arise where prior associations using the old IP address are maintained in the router. When the ATA attempts to communicate using the old IP address, the response is unreplied, and then if the UDP Unreplied timeout is greater than the Keep Alive Interval (and UDP Unreplied timeout is often set to 30 by default in consumer routers) a problem arises where the corrupted connection persists. If UDP Unreplied timeout is, for example, 17, and the NAT Keep Alive Interval is 20, then the corrupted connection will timeout or close. A new connection will be created, and everything will work fine.

Another problem can occur when the Keep-Alive interval is greater than UDP Assured Timeout (often 180 by default in consumer routers): the NAT hole will close due to the ATA not communicating frequently enough with the SIP server. In turn, incoming calls may, intermittently, not reach the ATA. Again, X_Keepalives expires is supposed to be 20 with FPL.

(the above settings are making reference to those in Obihai ATAs)

Getting access to both UDP Unreplied Timeout and UDP Assured Timeout settings in consumer routers may be difficult, if not impossible. Asuswrt-Merlin (I would avoid any model less powerful than an RT-AC68U), third party firmware for Asus routers, does offer easy access to these two settings, which are found under General–>Tools-->Other settings. My understanding is that third party Tomato firmware has these two settings as well. So if your router supports Tomato firmware, that may be another option. Note that I will not be held accountable any damage resulting from failed firmware updates.


Apparently, Mikrotik routers also allow users to change both Assured and Unreplied UDP timeout settings as well:
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/recomme ... #p28056619 (I've never used them and can't advise buying them or answering questions about them)
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/recomme ... #p28059363
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/recomme ... #p28059444

The keep alive interval for FPL is 20. The SIP Registration Failure Retry Wait Time is 120. I use 17 for UDP Unreplied Timeout and 117 for UDP Assured Timeout.



ISPs do not issue customers routers that can do all four things I just listed. Typically it's far better to have your own router with strong QoS functions and a restricted cone NAT firewall,
disable whatever SIP ALG feature is enabled in the router, and stick whatever modem/router combo your ISP gives you into bridge mode (for Bell Hubs you can just do PPPoE login using your own router if you want). For Bell Hubs, visit please-sticky-how-bypass-bell-hub-use-y ... r-1993629/. For Rogers Hitron, visit https://www.rogers.com/customer/support ... ridgemodem (CGN3 instructions also apply to CODA-4582).
Last edited by Guest1284983 on Dec 18th, 2018 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please do not PM me for tech support. I help out on the forums when I can. Thank you.
OBi200/202 Freephonline PDF guide (version 1.60) can be found here. OBi200 info can be found here. For OBi202 info, click here.
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Feb 29, 2008
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Montreal
My mom s getting screwed by Bell on a landline, just so that she can keep her alarm system going. She paid the price of upgrading to a GSM module several times over.

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