on June 11, 2011
I configured the OBi110 to use Google Voice, and it completely replaced my home telephone service. With free long distance within the US, the device will pay for itself in savings in a couple of months.
Configuring the device was easy. The online documentation was decent, and I found a few other blogs with tutorials as well. I recommend using the obitalk web site for ease of configuration. The only problem is that it stores your Gmail username and password, so there's a certain expectation of trust that OBi will not misuse that information. Personally, I created a second Gmail / Google Voice account just for this product. Thanks Google!
Note: this product does NOT provide access to 911. If this is needed, it is available through several Internet phone service providers. I used CallCentric, which provides enhanced 911 for $1.50 per month. The OBi online wizard provides easy setup for CallCentric and other Internet phone services, and configuring the device to place 911 calls through this service was fairly easy.
Also, the call quality has been excellent. I cannot tell a difference in sound quality between the OBi / Google Voice and my previous PSTN service. I have not had any problems with dropped calls either.
Overall, this is a solid product and a great way to save some money by dropping the telephone company.
on January 29, 2011
I have been looking for a simple solution that would allow us to setup and use Google Voice. Since asterisk 1.8 came out, I have been waiting for DD-WRT or tomatoes to integrate this in the router so I would not need a computer to run 24/7 to set up Google Voice.
Then comes Obi110 which solves this problem. The setup was very simple. If you don't want to store your GV credentials on the Obitalk.com you can set it up by logging on the adapter (just like logging onto the router). I did find it that if you do it this way, when you dial out you still have to dial "**1" (using profile1) then the number you want to reach. Maybe there is a way to get rid of this. But if you setup through Obitalk you can enable the prefix and dial just like in GV. You can also update the FW from Obitalk.
Everything is working as expected. Caller ID shows up correctly when you call someone. When someone calls the ID would show "+" then the number with no dash, something like this: +1234567890. My wife was on the phone for an hour and she said the quality was good. If you are looking into a simple setup (and almost plug and play) I would highly recommend the Obi110.
Update 12/10/11: Caller ID has been showing the correct format for a while now. Also, my unit died a few months ago. I called their tech support, they checked from remote and confirmed that it's dead. They sent out a replacement unit the next day! I just have to send the dead one back. Great customer service. Google voice is still free for 2012 btw.
on September 12, 2011
I waited 6 weeks before writing this review. After looking at all the email@example.com, I bought this product . I set it up using google voice and sipgate. It was easy to set up. It works fine even with VOIP enabled home security system. It worked fine for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks of use, I encountered 3 main issues. 1) Every 2-3 days, I have to reboot the system. It was stuck and we were not receiving calls. It was frustrating experience for the family. Customer service promptly pushed the update. It did not help the problem. Later, customer service attributed the problem to google voice. 2) At times, caller on the other side can't hear you. If you hang up and call back. It works fine. Customer service blamed it on google voice. 3) call gets disconnected in the middle of the call.
If you visit customer forum, you will read that many customers are having similar problems. I need a reliable communication phone line. I am disconnecting from obihai 110 and signing back with vonage. If they fix these issues, I will go back.
I encourage you visit customer forum before buying this product. I feel that the reviews at amazon.com are based on very short term use.
on March 3, 2012
First impression, I wish I had done this sooner!!! Second impression, okay never mind, never too late :)
okay, here's my feedback!
1. Made a new gmail account.
2. Chose a google voice#.
3. Now, come to Obi device ... unboxed it - read the instruction manual and did word by word:
- connected phone to Obi with cable provided in box
- connected router to Obi with cable provided in box
- turned it on with power cable, again provided in box
4. Dial **9 222 222 222 - this just connects to obi server where you hear in your own voice what you say, its like confirming that the device is functional.
5. Now, come to Obitalk internet part of configuration. Signed up with newly created gmail id on obitalk.com
6. As soon as I got logged on, it asked me add Obi device or something like that happened.. actually from here on, everything is very user friendly driven - you just FOLLOW the prompts. (If you have ever installed a software on your computer successfully, you should be able to follow what you see on your obitalk dashboard also.)
7. Once your obitalk account discovers the Obi device on the dashboard, just check the mac and serial# on the back of the device.
8. Click confirm and your device is registered and linked with your obitalk online account.
9. Now, come to configuring google voice part of the deal, On the Device Configuration page, see Configure Voice Services. That is where you will click "Service Provider 1" and it will give you the option to add your google voice#. Enter your gmail id and password and hit submit.
10. It will ask you to wait for 2 min. and then hit F5 (refresh)
11. Voila! You are all set to make and receive calls using your phone connected with Obi device!
12. 1st Troubleshooting I faced: Initially, I was not receiving the calls - it was straight going to the voicemail. It was my fault. For that, you must ensure that "Forward calls to Google chat" is CHECKED in your gmail phone settings page
13. 2nd Troubleshooting I faced: Caller was receiving a filter as in please state your name. I didn't want every caller to be stating their name, so for that you must turn off "Call screening" in your gmail phone settings page
14. 3rd Troubleshooting I faced: wasn't able to call from Obi iphone app. For that, it is necessary to have the OBi110 registered as the Voice Gateway in the OBiTALK app. To check whether it is correctly setup, touch the OBiTalk icon at the bottom of the OBiTALK app. The fourth item will probably be blank. To fix this, go into the OBi dashboard in your browser. Then click on the Softphone icon, and from the drop down list, select your OBi110 as the OBi Voice gateway. Close down and restart your OBiTALK app, and go back into the status item (OBiTalk icon at the bottom of the app) The Voice gateway should now be registered, and call will work fine.
15. For those with Vonage like me: My trendnet router (its got 4 ports as usual) is supplying internet to both vonage adapter and obi adapter, and therefore both lines are functional. But soon, once my wife is settled with Obi quality and everything - I'll do bye bye to vonage and its $35 bills every month . (Since I got a pretty good number with my gmail id, I am not sure if I would like to port my vonage# to Obi so that saves me some headache on 'how to do' and I guess $20 of number porting. I am sure people who matter to me and vice versa will know my new landline number)
This was the easiest set up. It took me 20 minutes to write this review. I hope my short n sweet guide is helpful and more people can take the plunge. It took me 3-6 months to finally pull the trigger on Obi but its never too late. Well, I still haven't taken it all as I am going to give Obi sometime before I finally kick vonage but reassuringly now it won't take much longer time now
ps: My need is to call India, don't mind free US/Canada calling also till GV is free ... and therefore I am going to install same unit at my folks places also and then we are all set to save on hefty phone bills each month!
on August 20, 2011
I am a Google Voice user and this thing is awesome. If you use Google Voice for all your calls, you need this piece of equipment. In a nutshell, the Obi110 links your home phones to Google Voice, so that you can just pick up a phone and dial. Call quality is excellent and all of your favorite calling features are supported. There are no monthly fees of any kind (so long as Google Voice is free), your only cash out is for the purchase price of the Obi110. And even if Google starting charging for Voice in the future, it's a pretty safe assumption that their service will cost no more than the next cheapest competitor.
In addition to the Google Voice integration (which is awesome), the Obi110 lets you customize almost everything about your phone system. In my configuration, I've redirected 411 calls to BING 411, 311 calls to the local non emergency police line, and 911 calls to my Verizon landline. I decided to keep my landline for e911 and faxes (VOIP craps out on faxes about 50% of the time), and changed my Verizon landline service to measured rate with no bells/whistles. The Obi110 lets you configure up to 2 VOIP services and also plug in your landline if you like.
Installing this thing and getting Google Voice up and running isn't any harder than setting up a wireless router. Those who are more technically inclined will find an Expert settings menu that allows you to mess with almost anything you could think of related to your telephone service. It takes a little bit of time to figure it out, but if you have some basic programming knowledge, it shouldn't be too difficult. There are a lot of configuration examples on the web that you can pull up by Googling "Obi110" and whatever you are trying to do. For example, you could google "Obi110 411 BING" and you'll find the config string to enable 411 to redirect to Bing 411.
I've barely scratched the surface of this thing and I am still very impressed with the Obi110. There's so much more you can do with it if you want to put in some time to learn more.
The only thing I'm a little wary of is how long this thing will last. The 1st unit I ordered from Amazon was DOA, and I had to send it back. No big deal though, Amazon returns was easy as always and I got my replacement a day later.
Assuming it doesn't crap out on me in a year or so, this is one of the most interesting and useful computer products I've ever purchased. I am very pleased with it.
** Update 8/22/13: I've now owned this unit for 2 years, and it's still going strong.
on February 1, 2011
I purchased this product a week ago and recently set it up and it works perfectly. It's been running for a total of two days since I last set it up. I will update this review in a few months after its run for a while.
My goal was to get an alternative/replacement to Skype which was my replacement for Vonage -- I no longer use landlines & totally committed to VOIP. I was tired of paying extra costs associated with telephony services thus this option. This has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
The people at OBi110 have perfected KISS principles, it was so easy to setup Google voice, actually much easier than setting up Google voice settings options in Gmail.
- Free VOIP at least when connected to Google Voice for now.
- The installation is very simple my setup is a little different from the manuals recommendation, since this is connected to my power Ethernet adapter due to proximity of my phone but it still worked on the first try.
- Simple admin UI that is easy to use and understand.
- Just works perfectly.
- It's super small.
- Next version should possibly have an automated firmware update check. It is currently a manual process.
This is the perfect alternative for services like Vonage and better, at least for now calling to the US and Canada is free using Google voice. I highly recommend this product.
on January 2, 2012
I have had this device for 6 months with no issues connecting through GV. There is a way to make 911 available on the device. All you have to do is remote into the device with your browser, go to system management, and then auto-provisioning. Under "Obitalk-provisioning" use the pull down menu next to method, select "disabled." Now save and re-boot. Once it comes back up, select "setup wizard." Now under "outbound settings", un-check default next to "Phone DigitMap" and Phone "OutboundCallRoute." Now next to "digitMap" clear the text that is in there now and paste the following:
Now next to "OutboundCallRoute" paste the following:
Where you see the xxxxxxxxxx is where you enter the phone # for the 911 dispatching center for your area. If you call the sheriff's office you can ask what the outside # is for your local 911 dispatching center(they all should have one). So you are basically forwarding 911 to that #. You can test it out by putting your cell phone # in there and dialing 911 and it should call your cell phone instead. Just make sure to save and re-boot after entering all the correct information.
The only thing with the obitalk is that when you call 911, they will obviously not have your address information.
Hope this helps.
on July 5, 2011
I have tried probably a dozen different voip solutions and we now have basically the holy grail:
1) You don't need special phones -- you can hook up your analog cordless phones (Panasonic DECT 6.0 models are usually great).
2) Service through Google Voice is free and relatively high quality -- comparable in reliability and sound quality to Skype I'd say.
3) The Obihai device really is easy to configure.
4) The device JUST WORKS. You connect it to your router and forget about it. Never need to reboot -- nothing.
5) You don't need a super broadband connection -- your run of the mill cable internet or DSL will do.
As people find out about it, this device and Google Voice is really trouble for the relatively expensive voip services like Vonage and Lingo that give you an adapter but cost $20-$30 a month. A few years ago $30 a month for unlimited phone service was a godsend; now, compared to FREE, it's kind of pricey.
There are two catches. Google Voice will not give you 911 service so you should have a secondary phone for emergencies -- which can be your cell phone. Also, we don't know whether Google Voice will stay free. But I'm pretty confident that even if Google starts charging, it will be something nominal.
on September 26, 2011
I write this assuming you've read most of the in-depth reviews on set-up.
So I'm one of those who's had a land-line phone number for a long time that I wanted to keep, which meant I had to do the port-to-mobile-carrier-then-port-to-Google-voice route. Follow the directions on the Obihai site (google it). Buy the Pay-As-You-Go SIM card from T-Mobile.com for $6.99 (mine was free because they had some promotion going on) or go to a store. After receiving the SIM card in the mail I went to the store to activate and start the porting process from Qwest (my local landline provider). I stood in line longer (45 minutes) than it took them to start the porting process. It took about a week to get my land line number moved to T-Mobile, and then another 24 hours to port to Google (paid via Google Wallet online). I put the TMobile SIM into an old ATT cell phone I had laying around to make one phone call to complete the porting to Google (I had to call ATT to have them give me the unlock code for the old ATT cell phone I used for this process. If you have a T-mobile phone you don't need this step). The T-Mobile PayAsYouGo SIM card was cheaper than the ATT one at the time, but use whatever's cheaper.
Yes, setting up is pretty easy, but there are things that Obihai could make a bit clearer (even though some of my issues are probably on Google's side), and I'm a geek!
1. To get all your phones plugged into phone jacks to ring, go out to your (usually gray) Network Interface Device box (where the phone line(s) come into your house) and unplug the jack. Even though my land line number was disconnected, my phones throughout the house wouldn't ring until I unplugged the phone jack in that network box.
2. I have Google Voice handle my phone messages, so to pick up messages from a house phone I dial my phone number (with area code as required here), I really should just set it up as a speed dial already. I haven't really tried to figure out how to use my PIN yet. Also need to figure out how to skip/fast-forward thru messages (3 3 7 would be great). Suggestions/help if there's an easier way to access VM besides dialing the entire phone number would be great if you have them.
3. My Tivo boxes have trouble dialing out to update programming, so I'm about to buy this: Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit to get ethernet from the router in my home office to the Tivos in my living room (as there's no way to wire ethernet behind my brick walls). I've been wanting to do this anyway so I can network my Tivo's, so no big deal. But you should know this aspect if you cannot get a wired or wireless internet signal to your Tivo's. I'm still tinkering with the Tivo settings to see if I can get it to dial out. Any help with the dialing out feature would be appreciated as I haven't bought the WD ethernit kit YET).
UPDATE 11/2/11: I did buy that Western Digital Powerline Kit and it works great. Since one of my Tivo's is an older Series 2, with no ethernet jack, only USB ports, I also had to buy a USB-to-Ethernet Adapter (didn't want to go wireless, too slow), so I bought TRENDnet USB to 10/100Mbps Adapter TU2-ET100, which works great with Series 2 Tivos.
4. Call quality has been great so far, and I'm thrilled to not spend $70 a month for a landline anymore. In three months that savings will pay for my Obihai and my Western Digital ethernet-over-powerline adapters.
5. Follow the advice of others and get a Gmail address JUST for your Google Voice number. Import your contacts there, and then you can create custom voicemail greetings for friends, family, spouse, business, spammers, etc. Pretty cool. I also have it set within Google Voice that only select friends and family ring both my Google Voice number and my cell phone at the same time, so I can answer whatever phone I'm closest to. Everyone else can just ring my GV #, others go straight to VM, and Spammers get blocked (you save them as a contact on your Google Voice page, mark them as Spam, and check "Block") or you can record a "special" message just for them. HA!
6. The incoming Caller ID I get provides no names, just phone numbers. I have DECT phones that talk to me and that I can program, so I make sure friends/family names/numbers are in the phone's phonebook, and it announces the names after that. Otherwise it just says the number. When you call into your Google voicemail, though, it still says "unknown caller" and then the number.
7. As others have said, no 911, but use your cell, or use one of the $1.50/month or so services mentioned in other reviews. Have yet to do this.
8. This doesn't apply to me, but from what I understand, since each Obihai box comes with its own number, and if everyone in your family has an Obihai, and say you're all in different countries (or states for that matter), you can call each other's Obihai numbers for free. I still don't quite get being able to call into your US-based Obihai from abroad and then calling within the states for free, but I guess I'll try harder to understand when I need it! UPDATE 10/1/12 Read below
9. Customer Service: After looking thru the forums and not finding the exact answer I needed, I just emailed firstname.lastname@example.org and received an answer (and answers to my follow-ups) within a few hours. Clear and concise.
I do think there are items that could be clearer in the Obihai FAQ, but these are early days, and we're among the pioneers (and thanks to those who came before and answered those questions in the forums). If all you're doing is setting up a new Google Voice account and plugging it into the box, then yes, it's easy. But if you're looking to port your land-line number or for other features, it's gonna take you some time in the forums or more than 15 minutes to set up. But after the initial cost, it's FREE (unless Google starts charging).
I'll update in a few weeks. But do not hesitate to buy one of these. I'll be telling each family member to buy one. I just wanted to go iron out my kinks in case I need to walk them thru it.
General UPDATE 11/2/11: I have had times when it was hard for the other party to hear me, as others have reported, but I just hang up and dial back.
UPDATE 10/01/12: I still have the above issue on occasion.
OBI iPhone APP Report: OK, so I just returned from Korea, where I had a couple reasons I needed to call back to the States. I didn't have time to buy any SkypeOut credits or Google Voice credits, but remembered I had the OBI app on my iPhone. WOW. I made several calls to US friends who don't have iPhones (and couldn't FaceTime)over WiFi. As long as the WiFi connection is a decent one, the app worked great. As soon as the OBI app says "Ready", you are able to dial any US number as if you were there (caller ID shows your Google Voice number)! Now I understand the use of the OBI Phone app.
UPDATE 02/25/13: FAX: I had a need to fax something recently, and had heard/read something somewhere about not being able to via the Obi. Not true. I don't even have a traditional fax machine or an all-in-one copier/scanner/fax that works. I do have a Windows 7 Professional computer and just used Windows Fax and Scan. Yes, my computer has a phone modem in it and it is connected to the Obi box (actually I have a splitter on the back of the Obi, one line goes to my computer and one goes to my phone). It worked just like a traditional fax machine.
on March 11, 2011
In addition to all the things that other reviewers mentioned, you can set it up to make free international calls using the ObiAPP.
1) Your Obi110 will have a unique 9 digit number at the bottom of the device (say 111-222-333).
2) When you create an account with Obitalk.com, it assigns a unique 9 digit softphone number. You can "add device" and associate your physical Obi No to this account.
3) You can create as many accounts as you want (as I write now - using a different gmail address for each new account). And each account comes with its own 9 digit softphone number.
How to (setup ObiAPP to make free calls to your ObiDevice):
Here is how you can let someone else call you to your Obi110 for free. For example, I will create two new accounts - ObAPP-1 (with softphone no. 123-456-789) and ObiAPP-2 (with softohone no. 987-654-321) in addition to ObiAcc-0 (that has the Obi110 tied to).
And suppose that you have two laptops - L1 and L2 and assume that L1 is in India and L2 is in Brazil.
4) From Obitalk.com download the ObiAPP. Install it on both L1 and L2. Install X-lite version 4, (a softphone client) on both of them. Set-up the account preferences as suggested on Obitalk.com screenshots (The userid for X-Lite is your 9 digit softphone no).
5) Now create the Circle of Trust (CoT) such that each account is in the CoT of every other account.
6) For both ObiAPP-1 and ObiAPP-2, use ObiAcc-0 as the default voice gateway)
7) From L1, log on to ObiAPP middleware service, launch X-lite. From this X-Lite softphone, dial **9 111-222-333
8) You will hear the Auto-Attendant, and press 1, and it rings the phone connected to you (i.e phone connected to your Obi110). So anyone with an account with Obitalk and is in your CoT, can call your phone, free of charge.
There are more possibilities. For example, L1 can call L2 via Obi110, but you can explore them further on your own. It is totally fun.
A concern I have is, how scalable is the ObiTalk network as the userbase is likely to see tremendous growth. As of now, it brings new possibilities with the "social VoIP networking" concept and seems to be doing just fine.
Another minor issue is: the status message in the Google chat seems to be affected by this device, in particular the "invisible" mode. Google chat complains - "Oops! You are not invisible because you're logged into Google Talk from another client, device, or location that doesn't support invisibility". Of course, if you do not plan to use Google voice as one (or both) of the VoIP providers, this wont be an issue.