998 of 1,031 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2011
UPDATE: As of 9/11/2014 Google voice is back on the Obi. I know a lot of us were down because of the Google Voice dropping Obi support situation, but as of today I have received an email that says Google voice Obi compatibility is active again. This is for old and new Obi devices. I made a test call to my cellphone and it went through. I literally just plugged it back in and everything worked properly. I never removed my Google Voice info from the Obihai website, so I did not have to go and reenter anything. Glad to have my *free* back up home phone again.
By installing the obi 100 and the Vtech Dect 6.0 I officially do not need phone service. This thing gives you the exact same service that most cable companies are selling in a bundle with cable and internet. Problem with the cable company is that after the promotion runs out each service is about 60 dollars a piece. The price jumps from 99.00 introductory 12 month rate to a whopping full circle at 180 bucks a month. I asked and asked buy my cable company refused to put me back on promotion. So, I ended up doing some research on how I could get a low cost preferably free phone service that did not require having a computer on always like Majic Jack.
I ended up narrowing my search down to 2 choices 1 I could go with Ooma, or 2 there was the Obi. Both of these phone solutions use Voip which is just an acronym for voice over the internet literally. Ooma has a high installation cost, but if you are not very tech savvy and familiar with the internet this is probably the best choice for you. Installation of Ooma is very easy as I understand it. Its practically plug in and start calling. However the drawback as I mentioned is the 2-300.00 dollar equipment fee, and the 3 dollars a month they charge for some type of taxes that make no sense to me. They are not the phone company, and how does everyone pay the exact same amount 3 dollars and some change.
Anyway I found out about the Obi110 and saw its capabilities, and I was impressed. It met all of my criteria. Low cost equipment; the obi100 was about 40 dollars and the phone was about 15 so all together I spent just over 50 dollars. Set up can be intimidating to a novice, but it is do able. It should take a novice about 10 minutes if they follow the video. As long as you follow the steps for configuring the Obi with google voice on the ObiHai website you can enjoy a free phone service that runs through your high speed internet modem. Google voice integration is perfect.
I have used the exact same phone that I bought at other peoples house and I always hear this loud static in the background, and I struggle to hear the person on the other end. I chalk it up to the analog phone combined with the latency of the cordless phone. However, when I heard the clarity that Voip provided via the Obi100 and Google voice I was blown away. No monthly fees, no high equipment fees and fairly easy installation the Obi and Google voice are a no brainier. You can even get a local number or port your cell phone or some other number to Google voice.
If you want to ditch your phone bill and need a replacement solution that does not depend on a computer. This should be your first choice. Only draw back is that there is no emergency calls and 911 can't find your location. I highly recommend, and if you read this entire review I am sorry for the length, but I tried to give a thorough review. Thanks.
485 of 499 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2011
***Update: 15 Sep 14***
GOOGLE VOICE IS BACK!
After some issues with Google's support for Google Voice/OBI integration...OBI now apparently has GOOGLE VOICE support once again! I moved over to another SIP provider (which was still dirt-cheap) during the past few months when GV wasn't "officially" supported...but I will look at going back to GV now that it's apparently supported again. 3+ years later...and my OBI100 is still going strong.
*Original reviews below*
Approximately 2 months ago, I finally made the jump to buy both my wife and I smart phones. The price for the devices themselves has never really been an issue, but I could never justify such pricey monthly subscriptions. $80+/month? Each?? No way!! When I heard that Virgin Mobile had the LG Optimus with unlimited data/text available for just $25/month, the barrier had been broken. I could have one for myself and another for my wife, and we would actually be cutting our monthly cost. Buttt...300 minutes only? Ouch. Not really an issue for me, as I'm not a big talker...but the wife can go through 300 minutes in a week, never mind a month. What to do?
Enter the Obi100.
Using Google Voice and the Obi100, we're able to use a single number that rings our home phone and her cellphone. When she's home, she picks up the home phone. Using the home phone doesn't use any of her plan's minutes. When she out of the house, she uses the cellphone. As a stay at home mom, she's typically at home to use the obi-connected phone...so she has not come anywhere close to her 300 minutes (so far). So...that is why this was a great investment for us.
Setting the Obi up can be a bit of a headscratcher. The documentation included is a bit on the nebulous side. I'm fairly competent on home electronics and networking, so my first instinct was to log directly into the Obi and try to set it up. So I pulled the IP of the obi using the connected phone (picking up the phone and dialing ***1 get the IP) and logged in. Wrong move. As far as I can tell, most installs shouldn't even require you to log directly into the obi. All of the setup can(should?)be done through the "obitalk" website. Once I realized this, the setup went smoothly.
2 months went by without any real problems. There were a couple of call drops...but I can't say it was attributed to the obi itself.
Then one day upon my return home from work, my wife told me that the "house phone" wasn't working. I immediately began troubleshooting. Eventually I was able to realize that the obi wasn't pulling a IP via DHCP from my router. The Obi had no IP address. Many various resets of the obi/router later...still no luck. So, I tried a static IP address. Still nada. My obi was hosed, unfortunately. So, I emailed Obi Support on a Friday night. They emailed me back on Saturday morning and eventually called me directly to take me through some trouble-shooting steps. Still nothing. After consulting with their engineering department, they decided to mail me a replacement, which arrived on Monday afternoon (quick!). The replacement was up and running within minutes.
I'm a happy customer. The Obi is impressive technology at a great price, with great potential as a money-saver provided you integrate it into your overall communications plan. It can be more than a house-phone landline replacement. It can also supplement your cellphone-plan in certain situations. If you can cut your landline phone altogether, AND reduce your cellphone plan to a cheaper plan by utilizing Google Voice's call-forwarding abilities and an Obi...this device will pay for itself many times over in a short period of time.
*****update: 3 May 2012*****
It's been quite some time since my original review...so I figure it's time for an update. The replacement Obi100 I received from Obihai has performed flawlessly, with no dropped calls and no missed calls that weren't caused by internet outages. Obi has come out with several software updates during this timeframe. Software updates are downloaded/installed by picking up the phone and dialing "***6". If there is an update, the automated voice says so...and then you simply hang up the phone to have the Obi download/install the firmware and then restart itself. It takes only a minute or two, and I have never had any problems during the process.
Also since my original review, and perhaps more notably, I moved to a new state and purchased a new home out in a rather rural area. The only internet service I could get was DSL with a max download speed of 6 megs/sec...and an upload of 768k. Painfully slow by my standards. I was actually concerned about what effect it would have on my Obi. But, get this...it seems to actually perform BETTER than it did on my ~20meg Cable Modem at my previous house.
Don't overestimate the bandwidth this thing requires. The Obi (VOIP in general?) seems more reliant on low-latency connections (low "ping" times) as opposed to overall throughput. My DSL now pings at ~50ms, where my old Cable Modem connection was ~200ms. There is noticably less latency in the voice as a result. That being said, if you have a router that supports QoS, and have the skills to use it, it would certainly be a good idea to prioritize the Obi's traffic to reduce the effects of network congestion on it.
Still, even if you are stuck on a "slow DSL", give this thing a try. It's pure magic, especially from a cost-savings perspective.
One final thought: If you are going to rely on the Obi for critical calls (emergency, business-related, etc)...you may want to invest an Uninteruptable Power Supply (UPS). It's essentially a battery backup in case your power goes out. Attaching your cable/DSL modem, your router, your Obi, and your phone to an UPS will allow you to continue making/receiving calls during power outages (until the battery runs out, of course).
Another update: It's now been 16 months that I've been an Obi user. Still a happy customer...and wanted to display the math of how this is really a no-brainer. Using the Obi enabled my wife's Virgin Mobile plan to use the 300 minute plan instead of the 1200 minute plan. That's a saving of $10/month ($160 in 16 months). Also, we were able to go without the one-and-only land-line phone service when we moved to our new house...and used the Obi instead. That was $50 a month ($50 x 12 = $600).
Doing the math...utilizing a $43 obi has saved my family $760 (and counting) over the past 16 months. $$$
399 of 440 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2011
(Edited April 28, 2011)
The OBi100 is a FANTASTIC device. FIVE STARS FOR THE HARDWARE DEVICE ITSELF. The OBi100 is really small. And it's easy to hook up. There really isn't too much to say about the hardware itself except to say it's too easy to hook up. The OBi100 is designed to work with the various VoIP services that are out there. And, in particular, the OBi100 is "suppose" to work with Google Voice. Many people should have no problem getting the OBi100 to work with Google Voice (GV). Set up your GV account, log into Google Chat in GMAIL, and make at least one outgoing call from GMAIL. Then do the setup for the OBi100. The online OBiTalk setup for the OBi100 is relatively easy to follow. And then it should all work for both incoming GV calls and outgoing GV calls. The typical incoming GV call process could be illustrated as follows:
Google Voice Number
But for some people, like myself, there could be a problem -- in particular, getting the phone connected to the OBi100 to ring on each and every incoming Google Voice call. Note that OUTGOING calls via Google Voice using the OBi100-connected phone were not a problem. The problem was getting the OBi100-connected phone to ring on each and every *INCOMING* Google Voice call. In other words, some incoming GV calls would ring but most other incoming GV calls would not ring. And this was with numerous repeated calls from the same phones calling into the GV number. It's was like: ring, not ring. If you don't encounter this problem, then consider yourself to be lucky and blessed.
I originally wanted to have my Google Voice to forward calls to my iPhone and also to the phone connected to my OBi100. However, initially, using the default OBi100 setup for Google Voice, the phone connected to the OBi100 may ring or may not ring -- although my iPhone would certainly ring. It was like hit-or-miss if the OBi100-connected phone would ring on an incoming GV call. I've tried directly hooking up the OBi100 to several different phones, which I know all ring when we last had AT&T service in our home, but the hit-or-miss ringing still occurred. This hit-or-miss ringing (or non-ringing) also happened with Google Chat which handles the calls in GMAIL. The OBi100 has a built-in google-chat function which is "suppose" to allow the Obi device to handle GV calls. It is "suppose" to work and should for most people. But it did not work for me.
As far as I can guess, there was probably some sort of issue with how Google Voice works with Google Chat. So, that was really more of a Google Voice problem and not completely the fault of this Obi device. If you do a search in the Google Voice discussion forum, and do a search for something like "not ring" or "not ringing", then you can see that a bunch of people are having problems with GV not ringing forwarded incoming calls on home phones, work phones, and in Gmail. Incoming GV calls forwarded to a cell phone seems to be more successful in getting the cell phone to ring. The frequent non-ringing of incoming calls in Gmail and the OBi100 appears to be with how Google Voice works with Google Chat to take incoming calls. The "Google Chat" capability should theoretically make the OBi100 ring on incoming GV calls. However, it did not work for me where GV is dependent on forwarding incoming calls to Google Chat and therefore to the built-in google-chat function in the OBi100.
TELEPHONE NOT RING FOR INCOMING GOOGLE VOICE CALLS???
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: USE A SIP TO HANDLE INCOMING GV CALLS
If you look in the Google Voice settings under Phones, you will see where you can select which phones GV forwards incoming calls to. The first phone is Google Chat. And the box for that may be checked as a default. This allows you to take incoming GV calls while in GMAIL if you are logged into Google Chat in GMAIL. And the OBi100 used a google-chat function to handle Google Voice calls. But it wasn't working for me because the phone was NOT ringing. So what to do to fix this? One option is to simply wait for Google to fix this issue. I really don't hold out any hope for Google fixing this issue anytime soon.
My solution is to take the google-chat function out of the equation for *INCOMING* calls and instead use something else to handle the incoming calls on the OBi100. That meant I had to use a SIP service. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol which is a standard used for Voice over IP (VoIP). You can look that up if you want more of a technical explanation. But from a practical standpoint that meant I had to look for a free or cheap SIP service that I could use.
What I got was a free account at SIPGATE dot com where I then set up SIPGATE as Service Provider 2 (SP2) in the OBi settings. Google Voice was already set up as Service Provider 1 (SP1) when I originally set up GV on my OBi100. When you sign up for SIPGATE, get the free account. The free SIPGATE account is free for taking incoming calls. SIPGATE is not free for making outgoing calls (after the initial free 60-minutes of outgoing SIPGATE calls that are good for thirty days). I got a San Francisco area code (415) telephone number which is not where I live in California. You may probably get one in your state, but don't expect one that is in your city since you're getting the SIPGATE number for free. If you want a SIPGATE number in your city, you will probably have to pay for one. If you don't get a SIPGATE number in your state, it shouldn't matter because you will be intending that only incoming GV calls to be forwarded to the SIPGATE number to be received by the OBi100.
The idea here is that the OBi100 uses SIPGATE to handle your incoming GV calls and therefore make the OBi100-connected phone ring. Let me also point out that, meanwhile, the OBi100 will still be using GV but for making your outgoing GV calls. The following illustrates the process:
Incoming GV Call:
(using SIPGATE to get phone to ring)
Outgoing GV Call:
(does NOT require SIPGATE)
Phone ( Outgoing Call )
Whoever You're Calling
SETTING UP SIPGATE + GOOGLE VOICE + OBi100
The following is the step-by-step setup that I went through to set up SIPGATE to work with Google Voice and my OBi100:
1. sign up at SIPGATE dot com
2. get free number
3. install SIPGATE software on computer
4. turn on the SIPGATE software
5. set up your SIPGATE number in Google Voice
6. verify your SIPGATE number
7. answer the call in the SIPGATE software and verify (you may have to do this several times to get it to take) (you'll have to click the dialpad button to get the dialpad in order to verify)
8. while you are still in the Google Voice website, go into settings, phones, and you can uncheck the box for Google Chat (to eliminate the need for the OBi100 to use the google-chat function to handle incoming GV calls, but this also results in removing the capability of receiving incoming calls in Gmail)
9. go back to the SIPGATE website where you should be logged in
10. go into the SIPGATE settings and click "SIP Credentials"
11. get the SIP-ID and the SIP-Password
12. log into the OBiTalk dot com website and go into the OBi Dashboard settings
13. under "My OBi Endpoints", click the gear icon in the "Action" column for your OBi100
14. below "Device Configuration", look for the section underneath at the bottom of the page for "Configure Voice Services"
15. Service Provider 1 (SP1) is most likely set up for Google Voice if you have that set up already
16. Service Provider 2 (SP2) may be blank (I remember it being there with nothing)
17. click the gear icon to get into the SP2 settings
18. when you get a list, click "Sipgate"
19. enter your SIP-ID from SIPGATE as your Username
20. enter your SIP-Password
21. make sure that the box for "Make This the Primary Line to Call Out" is NOT checked for your SIPGATE (because you want SIPGATE to only take incoming calls)
22. click submit
23. click "OBi Dashboard" in the left column and click the gear icon again for your OBi100
24. this time click the gear icon for Google Voice in the "Configure Voice Services" section at the bottom of the page
25. make sure that the box for "Make This the Primary Line to Call Out" is CHECKED for your Google Voice (to have Google Voice handle outgoing calls)
Note: If SIPGATE did not show up as "Registered" in the "Configure Voice Services" section, then input your SIP-ID and SIP-Password again, and then go back to see if SIPGATE is "Registered". I had to do this several times before it took.
Note: By adding SIPGATE in the Google Voice phone settings, that also adds SIPGATE to your groups settings in Google Voice but that is what you may want anyways.
Note: If you are unable to get a free SIPGATE account because they ran out of numbers, you can either wait until they get more numbers or you can try a different SIP service provider. Just be sure you get the correct SIP username and password credentials for whatever provider you use because those credentials may be different than the SIP provider's website user login.
Multiple Forwarding: I've also tried a funneling of multiple-phone forwarding of incoming calls and that worked where the SIPGATE number is designated as a HOME number in the GV settings for two different GV numbers. Using the SIPGATE as the funnel is the key to this. The process can be illustrated as follows:
Google Voice #1
SIPGATE <------ Google Voice #2 <----- Incoming Call
| . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
| . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
V . . . . . . . . . . . .. . |
OBi100. . . . . . . . . . |
| . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
| . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
V . . . . . . . . . . .. . . V
HOUSE . . . . . . . . CELL
PHONE . . . . . . . . PHONE
In this illustration, the idea is that although the "House Phone" receives *INCOMING* GV calls made to GV #1, the "House Phone" can also receive *INCOMING* GV calls made to GV #2 for my "Cell Phone". (Also, although *OUTGOING* calls are not illustrated with arrows, in my setup, the "House Phone" makes *OUTGOING* GV calls via GV #1 while the "Cell Phone" makes *OUTGOING* GV calls via GV #2.)
So far, by using this GV-SIPGATE-OBi100 arrangement, all incoming Google Voice calls have been ringing on the phone connected to my OBi100. So, it was a "ringing" success. LOL. Thank you SIPGATE.
At this point, it appears that perhaps the only time when the phone connected to the OBi100 may not ring is if the OBi100 loses the internet connection.
MORE GOOGLE VOICE SETTINGS
As for other settings that I use in Google Voice, this works for me to make incoming GV calls to more directly go where I want the calls to go.
 GV Phone #1 - OBi100 (GV-to-SIPGATE):
In GV settings,
Phones > only forwards to my SIPGATE number
 GV Phone #2 - iPhone (GV-to-cell-phone):
In the GV settings,
Phones > only forwards to my iPhone's AT&T number and to my SIPGATE number
Advanced settings (for the iPhone) > Forwarding Options > checked "Ring my other phones before going to voicemail"
(This GV number was originally my cell phone number before I signed up for GV in the first place and before I got an iPhone. It's just recently when I ported that cell phone number to GV and now have it forward to my iPhone.)
I also have the Call Screening turned off for both GV phone numbers, but that's my personal preference. You may like Call Screening and want to keep it turned on. And in Gmail, I'm NOT logged into Google Chat for either GV phone number.
HOW ABOUT SKYPE AND THE OBi100?
NOTE: You do NOT need SKYPE if all you want is the free Google Voice number.
I already pay for a SKYPE number for taking incoming calls from people with telephones. And I also pay for a SKYPE "unlimited" subscription for making outgoing SKYPE calls to telephone numbers. I have the SKYPE number forwarding to both my iPhone's AT&T number and also to the GV number dedicated to my OBi100. The forwarding works fine and the phones do ring on each and every incoming SKYPE call.
You cannot *DIRECTLY* configure SKYPE into the OBi device. However, you can go into your SKYPE settings and have SKYPE forward to your GV number to get the incoming SKYPE calls via GV going to the OBi. For my arrangement, the process can be illustrated as follows:
Forwarding SKYPE call (SKYPE-to-GV-to-SIPGATE-to-OBi):
(using SIPGATE to get the OBi100 to ring if OBi100-connected phone can't ring otherwise)
Incoming Call (made to SKYPE number)
I have SKYPE set up to allow incoming calls from anyone. That means I can get get calls from anyone calling my SKYPE number as well as calls from anyone trying to contact me via free SKYPE-to-SKYPE calls to my SKYPE username. And with SKYPE forwarding to my Google Voice number, then that means I can get the incoming SKYPE calls on my OBi100-connected phone.
(Unfortunately, that may also mean getting telemarketing calls from people making free SKYPE-to-SKYPE junk spam calls to my SKYPE username. I get those junk calls once in a while. I would then go into the SKYPE website to check my call history, look at my forwarded calls which will have my phone number in the log, click the "+" on the call to see the username of the caller and then manually put that username in the "Manage Block Users" list in the SKYPE software.)
Also in the SKYPE settings, I have SKYPE forward after 10 seconds to give me a chance to pick up the skype call on my computer if I want to. If you don't want the caller to wait through too many rings before the skype call is finally forwarded, and if you don't ever want to take the skype call on the computer, you may want to set SKYPE to forward after 1 or 2 seconds.
That's all only for *INCOMING* SKYPE calls. If you want to make *OUTGOING* SKYPE calls, then you'll have to do that on your computer or use something like a separate IPEVO SKYPE phone. If you want more of a combined solution for use with your OBi device to include outgoing SKYPE calls, then you may want to set up your own private SIP server on a computer dedicated to SKYPE, or you may want to get something like the Philips VOIP841 phone device, and then somehow set that up with your OBi device. It would be wonderful if SKYPE was somehow integrated into the OBi device, but that's probably asking for too much and would probably greatly increase the price of the OBi device.
If you are wondering about faxes, I've tried connecting a fax machine to the OBi100 and tried faxing a four-page document to Hawaii from California using my GV number. The result was a four-page blank fax at the other end. I've checked the fax machine's manual to make sure that I was putting in the paper correctly. I've also tried to fax to a local fax number and that refused to work. From what I can tell, you need a real phone line to send faxes from a fax machine and the OBi100 with Google Voice will not work for that. Also, the Google Voice discussion forum indicates faxing is not supported.
By the way, SIPGATE does have a web-based faxing capability to send out faxes, but you may have to pay for that. SIPGATE has a support page for setting up a fax machine, but you would be using SIPGATE to make an outgoing call sending out a fax. In the arrangement described in this review, only the free SIPGATE account is being used for incoming calls. Also SIPGATE does not guarantee the reliability of using a fax machine with the SIPGATE service. I assume that means for both sending or receiving a fax via the SIPGATE service using a fax machine. If you want an online service for both incoming and outgoing faxes, you may want to check out services such as TrustFAX but you would be using that on a computer and NOT with a fax machine connected to the OBi100.
INDOOR HOME TELEPHONE WIRING JACKS
If you want to hook up the OBi100 with Google Voice to your home's existing telephone wiring, that should work. We've had AT&T landline service disconnected and turned OFF at our home for some time now and so the telephone wiring in the home was not being used at all. But connect the phone line from the OBi100 to the phone jack in the wall and now there's a dial tone on the extension phones throughout the home. If you don't have a phone jack that is near your OBi100 to connect to, then use cordless phones.
If you are thinking about using an electrical phone extension that plugs into an electrical outlet to connect your OBi device to your home telephone wiring because your nearest telephone jack is like in another room, then you may not be too happy with using an electrical phone extension because it may intermittently work where you may lose the dialtone and any calls may have a bunch of static. By itself that may happen. However, it'll work if you also use a simple phone line splitter to directly connect a phone to the OBi100 as well as a line going to the electrical phone extension. Plug into an electrical outlet further away from the OBi100, router, and modem to minimize the static interference if you have to use an electrical phone extension, but you'll most likely still get static on the extension phones connected to the home's telephone wiring jacks (since the electrical phone extension is also being used to get to the jacks). It would be better, without the static, if you can plug directly into a jack and not use an electrical phone extension to get to a jack. You may want to use cordless phones if you don't have enough phone jacks around your home to use.
Outgoing Calls, Incoming GV Call Ringing & Conclusion
If you only want to make OUTGOING calls, then using Google Voice with the OBi100 works wonderfully. Whether making outgoing GV calls or taking an incoming GV call, the GV calls are clear and with almost no latency delay. Talking during calls was like on a real phone for me. If you don't want to do all of this extra setting up, then I would say spend more money and get an Ooma. My parents have the Ooma Telo box and the calls on that are like with a real phone company. Nonetheless, despite the extra hassles that you may have to go through in getting incoming Google Voice calls to ring on a phone connected to the OBi100, this device by itself is worth getting at such a cheap price.
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
I got this nifty device last week, and it's working great. I plugged it into my cable modem and plugged the other end to a cordless phone system with multiple handsets scattered around the house. I set up a new Google Account especially for the phone service (so I would not have to give my main Google credentials to OBI), and within about 20 minutes of setup time following the instructions included and on the OBI website, I was making and receiving unlimited free calls within US and Canada. We've probably used it for about 2 hours of talk time since we got it, and the call quality has been excellent, as good as the Comcast digital voice service it is replacing. No dropped calls, no noticeable delay.
One thing to know is that Google Voice does not transmit CNAM when you receive a call, which is the Caller ID name. So when you receive a call, your Caller ID will show the number, but not the name of the person calling. This is because it costs the phone companies some money to access the databases that match the number with the name, and since Google Voice is free it's pretty reasonable that they don't provide the service. My workaround for this is to program the 20 or so numbers that most frequently call me into the phone's internal phonebook, so I get Caller ID most of the time because the handset recognizes the incoming number, and then just let the rest go to voicemail. You can also have Google Voice route your incoming calls to an alternate VOIP service like Callcentric, and configure the OBI device to take incoming calls from one service and outgoing calls through Google Voice. This costs like $1.50 a month to get incoming calls from Callcentric through a New York area code forwarding number, but in the process you get Caller ID and 911 too, not bad.
One other thing - I tested it with my ADT alarm system, and it does not work. The ADT alarm system cannot call the central monitoring station through the OBI. I thought this might be a showstopper, but I called ADT and after threatening to cancel my service they not only dropped the monthly price but are installing a cellular modem to the alarm for me for free so I no longer need the landline for alarm monitoring.
And Google just announced this morning that Google Voice will continue to be free throughout 2013 for calls in the US and Canada. Now I will port my old landline over to Google Voice and drop the landline completely. To port a traditional landline number, you need to port first the number to a mobile account, and then from there port to Google Voice since Google Voice only ports numbers from mobile accounts, not landlines. I am getting a SIM card for $0.99 from T-Mobile to put temporarily into an old phone for this purpose, and then it's just $20 to port to Google Voice. For $40 for the OBI device, $1 for the SIM card, and $20 to port to Google Voice, you can transition completely to making and receiving free calls through your Internet router and drop your landline completely.
Update: Had the device for about two weeks now. I ported my old landline number to a $0.99 prepaid SIM card from T-Mobile installed in an old cell phone. Then I ported from there to Google Voice. Took about 72 hours total. It's working fine.
I also got a number from Callcentric for my incoming calls only which allows me to get incoming Caller ID name and true E911 service. Like I said earlier, the service is only $1.50 a month. The number is in the 631 area code (New York State). When an incoming call comes into Google Voice, it is set to forward that call to the Callcentric 631 number. Callcentric then tags the caller id name on that and forwards the call to my OBI device, and my phone rings. When I make an outgoing call, it routes through Google Voice instead, so people see my regular number on their Caller ID and not my Callcentric 631 number. The exception is when I make a 911 call - in this case, the OBI100 detects this and routes the call through Callcentric, which forwards the call and my address to the local dispatch center. I tested it by calling 911 (with permission) and it worked, my address pops up on their screen.
Just a word of caution - although the setup for both Google Voice and Callcentric was a breeze through the OBItalk.com website per the instructions, initially I could not get incoming calls from Callcentric to ring on my OBI100. After a lot of back and forth troubleshooting with Callcentric which handles all their support online, we realized that the fix was to disable "SIP ALG" on my Internet router which required me to log into my router and adjust the settings. I am told that this is not an uncommon problem, so watch out for it if you set up Callcentric for incoming calls and your device doesn't pick it up, it might be this problem.
Bottom line - for $40 (for OBI100 device), $21 (to port landline) and $1.50 a month, I am getting unlimited calls t US and Canada with full Caller ID and E911 service through Google Voice/Callcentric. It takes a little work to get it all set up, but when it's done it works well. Compare that to Ooma, which charges $150 for the Ooma Telo, $40 to port your landline, and $4.71 a month in my area for 911 service, and I'm saving a bundle.
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2011
So there are some pretty involved reviews here. I'm not going to go into things in too much detail. Basically, I was so impressed with the device that I just had to put in my vote. I normally like to wait a while (a couple of months) to get a solid overview of a device before I review it. But I couldn't wait. It was just THAT good! If I see things change, I'll try to update the review.
In short, I had been looking to use my Google Voice service with some kind of device that would allow me to use my home phone without any wild complexity. I never knew this device existed until someone made a passing reference to it in some thread on a forum.
The device is really small. It fits in the palm of my hand. It works just like my old Vonage adapter (bye bye Vonage). One network port in, one telephone line out, one power port. That's it.
I plugged it in, setup the account on the Obihai website, picked up my phone and dialed **5 6422 as instructed. Bingo, the service identified my OBi100 adapter and I was done with that. The only thing left was to enter the necessary credentials for my Google Voice account. That took another whole 10 seconds.
A few minutes later, I noticed that my OBiTALK dashboard indicated that there was a firmware update available for the adapter. I told it to install it and 2 minutes later, that was done. Soup to nuts could not be a full five minutes.
That's it. That's really all it took. From that point on, I was making calls. Call quality so far has been great. I really can't complain about anything.
So, all that being said, are there concerns? Well, concerns might be the wrong way to think about it, but there is some food for thought.
1] You are giving access to you Google Voice account and, by extension, anything connected to your Google account with that ID. That might bother some people. You can always setup another GMail account instead of your original one for this purpose, but that's up to you.
2] Technically, Google could always decide to start charging for the phone service (though I doubt they will) or they could change the method that connections are made through GTalk thereby eliminating the functionality on this device. What I am trying to say is, there are no guarantees of service here. Google is not Obihai and Obihai is not Google. They are independent. Two peas in a pod that work together.
3] As mentioned everywhere, including on the device itself, there is no capability to call 911 on this service.
There are genuinely a dozen other features and setups that people can use with this device, including a second VoIP provider, softphones, traditional POTS lines (with the OBi110),etc. There's a lot of nice geeky features that only a few people will use. The coolest part is that you never have to even know about those options.
If you're looking for a simple, inexpensive, no monthly charge phone line for your broadband equipped home, look no further. This is it.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
I have been using the OBi100 for about three months now. So far, I have been more than pleased with the performance of this device, particularly at this price point.
Originally, I had a MagicJack, which had to be plugged into my computer. One by one, it managed to kill all the USB ports on my computer and then the MagicJack itself finally failed. I always had to have my computer on, and I had to dial using the MJ softphone because it couldn't pick up my phone's touch tones. I was fed up with it, and I wanted to get a system which did not require a computer to be running.
The OBi provides several key features which I would like to point out:
1. Integration with Google Voice: I was already using Google Voice for my voicmail service on my cell phone and was happy with the features it provided, so I wanted to use Google Voice for my VOIP service as well, if possible. Currently, it is possible to have Google Voice forward calls to any number, but there is no way to have the Google Voice number show as your calling number unless that is the service you are using to make the call, so you HAVE to have a device similar to the OBi. Thereby, you are able to use a number which can ring multiple other numbers, use GV voicemail service which transcribes all of your voicemails to text or email if desired, and has "do not disturb" features and call-blocking features which allow you to completely control who can call you at what time.
2. Use of multiple services: The OBi allows the use of two separate services simultaneously. This opens up a few options for you. First of all, if you're in a situation similar to mine, you can use two separate Google Voice numbers on the same phone. Since Google Voice doesn't allow you to forward calls from one GV service to another GV service, I couldn't forward calls which go to my home phone to my cell phone or visa-versa since I am using GV services for both of them. However, the OBi allows me to route both GV services into the same OBi, and this allows me to receive calls made to my cell number (which is a Google Voice number, Sprint and Google Voice can be integrated) even if my phone is off or even if my cell service is stopped or suspended (such as when I deploy overseas and temporarily suspend my services).
Another key aspect of this is that you CAN use the OBi to send faxes if you use a SIP service which supports it while still using Google Voice as your normal phone number.
You can also use a second service to provide 911 service since Google Voice does not. This second service can be set as the default for 911 calls while Google Voice can be set as the default for all other calls.
3. Computer only required for setup: You have to use a computer to set up your service and configure your OBi, but once that is accomplished, you could very well use your phone indefinitely and never turn your computer back on. Not once have I had to reconfigure the device due to problems or even power cycle it.
4. Good sound quality and reliability: I have never had an issue where there was lag, chattering, static, or a dropped call. Service has been better than experiences I have had with cell phones or even certain land lines I have used.
In general, I would also like to point out that it has a tiny footprint, doesn't require much power, and complies with normal U.S. standards for cables and power (normal phone line, normal ethernet line, 120V power plug).
I have had good success with the OBiTalk aplication for my cell phone as well. Not that I'd really need to use it, but it could come in handy if you're overseas and want to make phone calls... just go somewhere that you can get WiFi access and call all you want.
And speaking of overseas, this is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family overseas. Either call using the OBi (via Google Voice) to get cheaper rates OR you can get one of these for your family/friend overseas, have them configure it for a U.S. Google Voice number, and then you can call a U.S. number which calls them overseas. Neat.
One last thing... concerning 911 service: It is no secret that Google Voice does NOT provide 911 service in any way. As I aluded to earlier, you can use a second service to provide 911 or E911 service. However, the typical minimum charge for these services is about $1.50 a month or more, so you'd still be stuck with 18 dollars a year in fees. I'd like to point out two other options. One is that if you have a home phone line, it may still have 911 service available even if you do not have any other phone services on your home line. The OBi110 allows you to hook up an incoming analog phone line in addition to an ethernet line. Another option, which I am using, works as follows: I spoke with my local police station and got an alternate Emergency Services number which goes to the SAME DISPATCH STATION as calling 911. Using the expert configuration options, I set up my OBi to dial that 10 digit number when I dial 911 instead of actually dialing 911. So, free 911 service. You can also just get your local 10-digit emergency number and save it in your speed-dial, just make sure everyone in your household knows how to call that number.
Well, that about covers it. Super cheap, free service, great features. I have already gotten several of my friends and family to get one of these, too.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2015
You need to upgrade firmware to SoftwareVersion: 1.3.0 (Build: 2872)
Size: 2.2 MB
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
All the positive buzz about this product is true. Same product/features/setup as Obihai OBi110 (read reviews on Amazon.com) but without the land line (POTS) service. I am using this as a replacement for my home phone line. You can not port your home number directly to Google Voice, but you can port to a mobile prepaid company of you choice and THEN port to Google Voice for $20. Plus the unit is the size of a mouse and comes with a 100-240v adapter. I have not tested this device outside of U.S./Canada yet but will report back with results. I am really impressed by this device. Hats off to the folks at Obihai and Google Voice.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2011
I have had (and been using) this device for almost 2 months now, and forgot it was even there! [i.e. review-worthy]
This little device has saved my family quite a bit of money on cell phone minutes so far - as a cellular only home, we decided that our children should learn to use proper telephones (for dialing 911, etc) and touch screens are more difficult than buttons for most 2-5 year olds.
NOTE: if you want 911 you must pay for that service, and program your device accordingly.
--easy to do automated setup
--user-base is very helpful
--Now that it is set up, it works. I forget I have it!
--Can check call logs on Google Voice website (I suppose you could do this with a normal phone line, though, but people don't think to...)
--you should at least read up a little to know what you're doing when getting into this kind of thing (as with any technology) use Google, the forums at ObiHai, etc. It's not that hard, but I advise anyone to do more than read the "manual" that it came with. I don't really consider this a "Con" but some might.
--It took me a couple of days to get it properly settled in (working in less than 10, but I wanted to work out some kinks).
--Voice quality is shared on internet bandwidth - if you are downloading some large file, then when you're "downloading" your callers voice, you might not hear them as clearly. Conversely, if you're uploading something large (YouTube video, etc) then your voice doesn't transmit as cleanly and your caller can't hear you as well.
--Had to buy a cordless phone set (only one jack on the device, probably can route it through the house lines, but that's a hassle.)
--Android app doesn't always work (works sometimes, though! Extra free cell minutes, can't complain!)
Overall: I can't think of a good reason to NOT get one (or more!) of these devices.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
I originally owned an Ooma Hub VoIP analog telephone adapter(over $200 new)which was covered by a 12 month warranty against defects and died after 6 months of normal usage.
After notifying them of the failure over a month ago and proceeding through their tedious escalation process,and following much painstaking explanation on my part they finally agreed to ship a replacement. That was over 2 weeks ago and still I havn't received it!(I wonder if I ever will.)
Because of Oomas obstinate foot dragging and uncooperative attitude I ordered the Obi 100 as a substitute ATA (at a fraction of the price of the Ooma Hub). It arrived on time and in great shape.
Setup with Google Voice was straight forward using online tutorials from [...] and [...] or The Michigan Telephone blog: Review of the Obihai 110 VoIP device, Part 1: Use your phonne with Google Voice for free incomong and outgoing calls.
Voice quality on both ends of the conversation on both landline and mobile phones was much better than with the Ooma, so I think this is a good example of a cloud with a silver lining.