[kwlug-disc] Cable Modem.

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Tue Dec 3 14:43:57 EST 2013

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> Thanks Khalid, remind me ...
> One plugs their traditional phone handset (could be a multi-handset
> cordless base station) into one of these doohickeys, and the doohickey
> plugs into your local computer and/or network (non-wi-fi)? i.e. Even with
> network, plugging into usb will let you choose configuration options if so
> desired.

Both the MagicJack and the Ooma (as well as Nettalk), have an RJ11 where
you connect your phone to. It does not matter if it is an old set or a
cordless phone base with or without an answering machine.

The newer MagicJack can connect to both Ethernet and Wifi without any
additional kits.

The Nettalk has two modules (I think, but I have not bother much with
Nettalk since the feedback is negative perhaps due to requiring opening
ports in the router, ...etc.)

A computer is *not required* for any of them. The MagicJack *can* connect
directly to a Windows PC via USB and used for calls via a program that it
downloads, this is useful if you travel often, but does not work with a
Linux PC.

The Ooma has Ethernet only, but you can buy a WiFi adapter for $50 or so.
In any case, I prefer a wired setup so that interference and signal
strength are not a factor in reliability or quality.

You can check the Ooma features here, which are more than what MagicJack
provides, for more money as well:



- and/or uses the BT you noted. (How does one dial with a BT headset and
> net. only connection?)

The Bluetooth thing is an Ooma exclusive feature. It allows you to connect
a headset and use it to take calls. It also interfaces to your smart phone
so it rings as well. This requires an extra Bluetooth adapter, but it is
sold bundled with the unit, so you get it for free. Have not tried that
feature since I don't have a headset. Some report that not all phones are
working though.

- or, for that matter, when travelling and a hotel only has wi-fi?

Ooma is kind of bulky for that. As large as a consumer router, with a
separate power supply.

MagicJack is the most diminutive, and has a tiny USB power adapter, so
suitable for travel, and has WiFi built in (latest models). So this is the
most suitable if you travel a lot. If it is not plugged in,  and someone
calls you, you get voice mail attachment sent to your email.

It all just works for you? Plug and play and get on with your day?

Mostly yes.

For Magic Jack the challenge was that you have to activate it from a
Windows PC, and you have to be in the country that issued the credit card
(did not work when I took an unactivated unit to Egypt, and tried to
activate it. It worked on the first attempt after I was back in Canada).
Once you do that, it works immediately with a new number that you choose.
Porting your existing number takes time, and there are reports of delays
and snafus, which discouraged me from going just MagicJack.

For Ooma, you go on their web site (from a Linux PC using Firefox), enter a
code on the bottom of the device, and after a few clicks, you have it up
and running. The confusion was that it has two RJ45 Ethernet inputs, since
it can be setup between the router and modem to guarantee QoS priority to
itself. Once you find the correct socket, things work fine.

The rest is from your account on their web site, which is really well
thought out and pleasant to use.

> Sufficiently good call quality, etc.?

Yes. I can't tell the difference. Perhaps the DECT cordless handset is more
of a factor than the fact it is VoIP.

> On 13-12-03 10:59 AM, Khalid Baheyeldin wrote:
>> On Dec 3, 2013 12:25 AM, "unsolicited" <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:
>>> FWIW, I've always thought it would be a bad idea.
>>> If part of the point of vendor selection is to be vendor
>>> independent, getting VoIP with your carrier, then maybe
>>> having to move, seems counter-intuitive - if there are
>>> other choices available.
>> I absolutely agree with this. Decoupling and minimizing dependencies is
>> the
>> best strategy. Bundling is bad, and makes moving away from a provider much
>> harder.
>>> Khalid was looking into USB dongle VoIP thingies not long
>>> ago - perhaps they have a role in your calling, too.
>> Magic Jack is still the cheapest option. You can get the device for $50
>> when on sale, add $10 if regular retail. For $30 a year you get free
>> calling to Canada and the USA and a Canadian number with caller ID ...etc
>> Moving your existing number to them is possible but some report delays and
>> snafus that made me wary of doing so.
>> I settled on Ooma Telo, which are more reliable and quicker to port
>> numbers, and offer a 60 day trial period (hardware is 30 days return via
>> Bestbuy).
>> The monthly cost 3.99 a month for free Canada wide calling, and $10 more
>> for USA which gives you an additional USA number, so relatives can call
>> you
>> for free, and many nice features. The device is $150 but is discounted to
>> 130 and bundled with blue tooth for a headset.
>> Oh, and it is Linux based with the source on their web site!
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Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
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