Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Way to VoIP - Part 1

In some ways I'm still old fashioned. I still have POTS. And I have DSL. I've had my challenges with DSL but I'm living with it. I just go to my daughter's house to upload my videos and I've come up with an alternative to cloud backup. But I'm just making excuses.

And the cost.

$52.11 for voice service. And $42.95 for Internet.

Yeah, there are places where I can make minor savings. I can get the POTS down some and drop long distance. Then we could use our cells for long distance. But that requires re-training. I went and sat down with AT&T and they couldn't come up with any savings. I did learn something that I'll raise later.

In my news feeds I'd come across several articles on VoIP.
These inspired me. I've been using Goole Voice for my business line and was very satisfied with it.

The Obihai devices keep coming up in these discussions. There are several models including OBi100 and OBi110.

Where I'm headed is to:
  1. Move my Internet connection to Comcast (from AT&T DSL)
  2. Cancel my AT&T DSL
  3. Port my POTS number to Google Voice (not quite that simple)
  4. Use OBi100 to deliver the Google Voice number to home phones
Years ago when Google was more liberal with their Gmail account names I got a Gmail account that is [myhomenumber] That was fortunate. Don't use your normal Gmail/Google Apps account for the Google Voice number. I added a Google Voice number to that Gmail account. I just let it assign a random (temporary) number for now. I'll fix that later.

Then I bought an OBi100.

That's a quarter sitting on top of the device.

Following the instructions here I setup the Google Voice account on the OBi100 in less than 5 minutes.

I plugged a spare phone into it and played with it. It worked fine.

My normal house phones are cordless Uniden CLX485s that only use one RJ11 connection. To give the OBi100 a real life test, I plugged the Uniden CLX485 base into the OBi100 and plugged the spare phone into the house RJ11. Remember that I can't unplug the house from the POTS due to the DSL services.

Then I forwarded my POTS number to the temporary Google Voice number.

Works like a charm.

There are even some unexpected benefits. When a call comes in to my POTS number, the spare phone will ding one time as it forwards to the temporary Google Voice number. Sometimes we would hear that ding and the temporary Google Voice number wouldn't ring.

I logged into the associated Google Voice account and there was nothing in the inbox. But there were entries in the spam folder. Google Voice was sending those calls directly to spam. Since I made this switch I have received NO telemarketer calls.

My plan is to continue with this configuration for a month to make sure I understand it completely.

The next steps are to install Comcast Internet and cancel AT&T DSL. Then port the POTS number to Google Voice.

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