Researching Obihai as an Ooma alternative

I have had Ooma for a couple years. It is an excellent system, but my premier renewal is up in July. I need to explore and test alternatives.

One that has come up is Obihai. I used to own Obihai 100 before Google Voice pulled the plug. Now they have become an approved Obihai vendor. In addition, a service called ring.to offers free calling in the US. You just need to purchase a new Obihai device and sign up to an E911 service. And it appears I can configure both ring.to and Google Voice on Obihai 200. Not bad and it only costs around fifty dollars at Amazon. And Square Trade offers a two year warranty very cheap.

  • My first step is to purchase the device from Amazon. I’m currently awaiting the delivery.
  • My next step is to set up a ring.to account, by first installing the GrooVe IP Lite. They use ring.to as a provider. And I’ve tested it successfully.
  • The third step is to test number porting. Since I have more then one Gmail account, it’s easy to test porting a GV number to ring.to. It’s only a three dollar fee on Google.
  • Finally, I went to ring.to and asked about multiple numbers. How do you set up a primary one. The answer was to set it up in ring.to as the outbound calling number.

Well, everything went well. Next step was to think through my configuration plan and present it on ring.to and Obihai forums. Here was my presented plan:

I will shortly purchase an Obi200 or OBI202 and wish to configure GV as my primary service and Ring.to as a secondary service. Here’s what I think I need to do. Correct me if I am wrong somewhere.

  • Google “obihai google voice tutorial” and follow tutorial
  • Google “2 Service Providers Obihai” and follow and Follow FAQ about secondary outbound calls
  • Don’t configure GV to call Ring.To number, as both numbers will be SP on same device for inbound calls
  • For Android tablets, let GroovIP handle inbound and outbound ring.to calls and Google Handouts and Handouts dialer handle inbound and outbound calls

Did I forget anything or state anything that is wrong?

Here is one addition someone from the Ring.to mentioned:

“Once RingTo is provisioned, it’s a simple matter to provision Google Voice to one or both of the remaining SP (Service Provider) slots. Inbound calls to either RingTo or Google Voice will ring the phone connected to your OBi. For outbound calls, you’ll configure either RingTo or Google Voice to be the primary line for outgoing calls. It’s a matter of checking a box during provisioning. You can also select which service provider to use on a per call basis by prefixing **n, where n is the number of the SP slot you want to call out on. For example, if RingTo is setup as the primary outgoing line on SP1, Anveo E911 for RingTo is on SP2 and you want to make a call using Google Voice on SP3; you’d dial **3 then the number you wish to dial.”

I’ll run Oooma and Obihai in parallel, for a couple of months. I’ll also keep the ooma device as a backup in storage, should I make the Obihai switch. Some might ask: Why have both Ring.to and Google Voice? Well, they really serve different purposes. Ring.to would be looked into as a replacement for my existing home phone. Google Drive would ring all my phones – including my mobile. If I had a small business, I could add Magic Jack Go to the mix – as they now market to small business. Different solutions for different needs and purposes. hile I would start with Ring.to for home phone number replacement, I’ll closely monitor them and Google Voice for future developments – and adjust accordingly.

More in future posts.

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