Ooma VOIP device – steps to take before buying and testing

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Goodbye POTS and explore Ooma

It’s about time to ditch POTS (i.e. plain old telephone service) once and for all. I was very pleased to visit Amazon and see over 3000 reviews or ratings, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

And there’s another benefit from ordering it at Amazon. The device is only guaranteed for a 1 year “limited” warranty by Ooma. It appears that Ooma offers an extended warranty for one year, for about forty dollars. I read it in one of the reviews. But you can get a 2 year Square Trade waranty for about thirteen dollars. And Square Trade gets excellent ratings on Amazon, BBB, Web of Trust and social media sites.

But here’s some advice before you order, install and test it.

My first advice is to run it behind a router, via an Ethernet cable. I had bad experiences when I used a Vonage device as a router, many moons ago. Packets kept getting drops and my tests isolated it to the Vonage device. Now I’m not saying Ooma will behave similarly. Besides, if you connect either to the modem, there’s only room to run one computer. This doesn’t square in my book.

Skype as backup

Besides having a mobile phone with an unlimited plan, I would have a Skype call out subscription. I would also set up an OBI device (i.e. OBI100, OBI110, or OBI202) from Amazon. It supports a Google Voice setup, where you can call from a standard phone. This is good backup advice, in case Ooma breaks down. You can continue VOIP, along with contacting tech support.

I do recommend a Google Voice number, which rings all your phones.

Why Skype? For a few reasons:

  • You can’t call Canada from Ooma, except by opting for the premium services. But you can with a US unlimited monthly subscription – much cheaper than the Ooma premium services.
  • This really shouldn’t be a consideration. Ooma gives a 5000 minute monthly limit. Skype – I believe – has a 10,000 minute monthly limit. If you talk more than the Ooma and Skype monthly limits combined – get a life.
  • You can continue VOIP if Ooma breaks.
  • You can use Skype at Wi-Fi locations.
  • Skype is a good for international Skype-to-Skype calls.

Of course, you should set up Dect 6.0 phone system. This can be purchased at places like Amazon or Walmart.

When I get my Ooma, set it up and test it – I’ll share the results.

Tire story illustrating research

Off-road tire
Off-road tire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me share a recent story about doing research.

I take my car to a weekly tire place, which is part of a national chain.. They have an automatic air machine and give free air checks. I do this weekly. Recently, the manager mentioned I should get new tires. Tire companies recommend replacement every six years. I told him I wanted a couple other professional opinions and to do some Google research.

Let’s take a typical article from Google. Look at How Old — and Dangerous — Are Your Tires? At Look at How Old — and Dangerous — Are Your Tires?. Here are interesting segments from the article:

  • “Carmakers, tiremakers and rubber manufacturers differ in their opinions about the lifespan of a tire.”
  • “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no specific guidelines on tire aging and defers to the recommendations of carmakers and tire manufacturers.”
  • “Carmakers such as Nissan and Mercedes-Benz tell consumers to replace tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers such as Continental and Michelin say a tire can last up to 10 years, provided you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year.”
  • “The Rubber Manufacturers Association says there is no way to put a date on when a tire “expires,” because such factors as heat, storage and conditions of use can dramatically reduce the life of a tire.”

What about my other two professional opinions? One was a manager at a competing tire chain company. Another was an auto repair shop owner, who also sold tires. Neither said I should replace them, but to come back in the fall – for a follow-up opinion.

I’ll still go to the original place for my free weekly air check. And I’ll get quotes from him (as well as the other two places), when the time comes.

My point? Always do your research.



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