OT: Basic Phone Service with VOIP

I have a request for phone service at the rental house, there is already DSL there. Anyone have any experience or recommendations for adding either VOIP or Magic Jack?
Vonage seems to be $26/month (comparable to just getting basic service from the tel) and Magic Jack is $20/year but requires a USB connection.
Am I missing something here, why the huge cost differential?
Jeff
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On 03/04/11 06:58 am, Jeff Thies wrote:

AIUI, Magic Jack gets most of its income from the advertising with which it afflicts the user.
I have neither Vonage nor Magic Jack. We have been reasonably happy with the $10/mo. T-Mobile@Home add-on to our cell-phone plan, but they no longer accept new subscribers to that service.
Perce
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If your ISP offers a voip plan, I would go with them. If you go with a third party like Vonage, they have no control over the bandwidth to your house and therefore have an easy scapegoat for poor quality, inaudible service. A few years ago I tried Packet8. After paying for the equipment and setting it up, for me, tin cans and a string would have been better. Later I went with a voip plan from my ISP, which is decent quality for the most part, but does seem to degrade if I stay on a call for too long
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On 3/4/2011 5:58 AM, Jeff Thies wrote:

Magic Lack is not really suitable as a primary phone. It plugs into a USB port on an operating computer and the computer has to be up and running for the magicJack to make and receive calls. Vonage plugs into a broadband router DSL or Cable and no computer has to be running for it to operate. If you want either of the VoIP units to operate during a power outage, the equipment will have to have backup power. I am going to be installing a Vonage unit for a friend sometime today on his DSL service and I could get back to you and let you know how it works out. I got a magicJack in 2007 and it did what it was meant to do but I later got VoIP service from ViaTalk and it worked very well. I service and install commercial telecommunications gear and have experience with all sorts of phone and network equipment.
TDD
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I used Vonage for years until I moved to a location with maginal DSL service and it worked fine. Got annoyed at the below the line fees they started sticking on, but even with those it's not a bad deal.
You do need to understand that it relies on the quality of the underlying internet connection. E911 works fine, but only if the connection is there.
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On 3/4/2011 8:28 AM, Robert Neville wrote:

I've already fixed his DSL along with three AT&T techs and hours on the phone with AT&T CSR's and a supervisor. The third modem I tried, a Zoom DSL router/switch, finally worked the best and gives consistent service. :-)
TDD
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wrote:

I switched over from ATT to VOIP using Ooma about a year ago. Ooma charges for the hardware, about $200 at Costco, but service is essentially free thereafter for life. They do however have to collect an annual tax of $11.95 for the government. I have Comcast internet cable at 12 mbs. The Ooma box connects to the Comcast modem using a CAT5 cable, but a RJ11 phone jack from the Ooma box connects to a nearby house phone jack which connects all the other phones in the house. Phone calls from those phones are made without any changes at all. The voice quality is excellent. I detect no difference using my cable modem with that from ATT. (Some people have had some minor problems using DSL.) In addition to saving $30 a month from ATT, Ooma gives you free call waiting, free nationwide calling, free Internet answering service, free 911 local forwarding. For additional charge, you can ask to keep your old phone number. I recouped all my initial cost in about eight months.
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if you backfeed your old copper lines be certain to unplug the copper at the NID.
copper lines are powered even when not used, power but no dial tone.
the power can damage VOIP boxes
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On 3/4/2011 7:34 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

I thought about that. I've got an unused energy star AMD kicking around, maybe $40/year for electricity. If it can run off linux, I could probably get it to stay up for years. I don't really care if it goes down during power outages, it's not like finding a cellphone to borrow is hard.
Vonage plugs

Not bad, looks like $18/month for ViaTalk. The Vonage plans look like $27/month after the intro. But there is a lot of haze...
I've got the "top" DSL plan there, which I believe is 6 megs. Price difference from top to bottom is small with all the competition here. I would think that should work OK.
I can no longer figure out AT&T DSL pricing. I've got one account for $25/month and another which is billing at $3.95/month. Same speed.
Jeff
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Jeff Thies wrote:

Hi, You can have a cordless Internet phone. You plug in wireless base int USB connector and cordless phone and charge cradle anywhere in the house. Mine is WiFi going through router in the house. Works fine.
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On 3/4/2011 9:28 AM, Jeff Thies wrote:

I got my buddy hooked up to Vonage today. I plugged it into an open port on the DSL/modem's switch and when I picked up the phone, I heard a woman's voice saying "This Vonage unit has not been configured" or something to that effect so I left it plugged in and went off with my friend on a service call. When we returned, I picked up the phone and the Vonage service was working with the phone number the salesman gave him. He has a $9.95/month 200 minutes plan good for 2 years. He and his wife mostly use their cellphones. I bought a ViaTalk setup a couple of years ago $200.00 for two years of unlimited service. My service ran out this winter when I was too ill to do very much work so the next $200.00 I can spare, I'll renew it. The ViaTalk VoIP adapter worked very well on the 6meg cable broadband connection here at The Crotchety Old Fart's Lair. ^_^
TDD
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On 3/4/2011 6:58 AM, Jeff Thies wrote:

"Magicjack" requires that a computer be running to use so I wouldn't call it phone service. There are lots of possibilities for VoIP aside from Vonage. Maybe if you define what "phone service" means in this case you will get better suggestions.

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Jeff Thies wrote:

Does your rent include phone/Internet service? If you are considering Internet phone, Skype is another option.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

I use Net10 for incoming calls and the 3bucks a month unlimited Skype for outgoing. Total cost/month for both is under 20 bucks. If you ever get used to using a headset for those long calls you will love them. A free plug for http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/ try them out and see what you think. Crude by the way is at 105.09
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On 3/4/2011 7:23 PM, Fat Dumb & Happy wrote:

I read the Skype web page once. No way would I ever do that on my main machine. In theory, you can be used as a way-point for other people's calls, bogging down your machine. Plus, of course, like any P2P client, you are basically giving free rein to anyone. I have enough junk machines laying around that I could dedicate a box to it, but it just hasn't seemed worth the effort to set it up, so far.
-- aem sends...
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On Fri, 04 Mar 2011 21:30:30 -0500, aemeijers wrote:

There is a strategy using port blocking to eliminate being used as a bandwidth hub for other skype traffic. I don't remember the particulars as it's been several months since I read the article.
I've used Vonage in the past. It was at the very least better than cell phone quality. I talk maybe 45 minutes a week, always under 200 a month. VoIP on a 5 mbps connection is acceptable.
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Jeff Thies wrote:

With Magic Jack, you need a computer. With Vonage, not.
The $26/month is NOT comparable to basic Telco service. With Vonage you get caller-id, call-waiting, 3-way calling, voice mail, touch-tone, call forwarding, blalh-blah-blah, and all the long distance you can eat.
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On Fri, 04 Mar 2011 06:50:29 -0800, Smitty Two

We replaced 16 lines on a Norstar at the insurance office with a VOIP phone system. There were a couple months where we were ready to throw the whole thing out, but when they finally got everything sorted out, it's been very good. Not QUITE Ma Bell quality, but voice quality is generally comparable to using a cheap phone on a POTS system. - and FEATURES!!!! It makes the oldNorstar system look like a model T ford. The phone can follow me on my cell if I want, emails me voice messages, and a whole lot of other neet stuff.
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