Many people have or are moving to a wireless phone system in their life. There are many benefits to this but one of the more important ones is that you take your number with you when you go out so you never miss a call to your home phone. Unfortunately with mobility there are other problems such as cell tower coverage and cost.
Since a lot of people are asking about this subject it seems like one that should be covered. Here we will list some of the options you have and the costs and benefits associated. Nothing here is a specific endorsement of any product that we may or may not use or promote through advertising. This is a straight forward best case explanation of what is out there for you to take advantage of.
Google Voice and Hangouts
Whenever the topic of VOIP calling comes up a good 50% or more of the people I talk with say that they are making use of a Google Voice free phone number and the Hangouts app on their phone to dial and receive calls over WiFi. Now this only works if you have wifi available and if you are on the road between stops or in an area were WiFi isn’t available you won’t be using your cellular data to make and place calls. Using your cell data is possible but it can eat up your quota if you don’t have an unlimited plan.
Along with using the app for hangouts you can also bond your google voice to a variety of devices such as your home computer with gmail and a headphone with mic to place calls or you can buy other devices that plug into your router and let you use VOIP over your broadband.
How To Get 911 Services Over VOIP
Remember that 911 services won’t work right unless the device and VOIP service you are using has that as a special option and if you are on the road you will be calling your home location for help which is not great if you are across the country someplace. For this reason if you are traveling always look up the police call number so you can call them directly. ALSO VERY IMPORTANT .. some services like your local ambulance won’t respond unless the call comes in from 911. I can verify that is true so call your local ambulance and fire dept for instructions or stop by and ask.
If you can sign up for 911 services expect to pay a yearly fee for it and you will either need a balance in your account or have to make the payment on time. Not paying the fee could result in problems with your local government as they have the right to fine you in some cases.
Hardware Related To VOIP Services
There are a variety of different devices that you can use for VOIP services but they are not all the same. Some of them will allow you to use your Google Voice number and others provide their own services.
Some of the available services include
MagicJack which will provide you or allow you to port your landline number to their device which plugs into your broadband router. It also comes with a App for your cell phone so you can answer and place calls on the road over WiFi or your Data Plan. Cost is just over $100 for 5 years of service.
Obihai Obi200 device will allow you to use a google voice number for VOIP services or you can sign up for a paid provider. You purchase the device and setup the services separately. Cost is under $50 for the device.
Vonage is a paid service with their own device. The price is higher than most other providers. For about the cost of two months of Vonage you can get a years worth of service with magicjack and google voice has no fee at this time. It is an option for some people so check out the additional features it offers. Its best feature is easy setup and some people say they enjoy the free international calling but other services also offer free international calling.
These three devices or options are only a starting point. Which service gives you the most for the money is debatable because if you need an option that is not available on a free or lower cost plan then it is of no use to you. However it is good to search all of your options and find reviews of these products and services before you invest time and money.
Can You Connect Your Home Phones To VOIP
If you have a large home you may want to have a home phone system that allows you to answer and place calls from many rooms. Some devices will work with your existing wiring but the easier method is using a wireless phone system that plugs into your VOIP device.
One of the best Wireless Phone system options is the Connect To Cell phones that are offered by a number of different manufacturers. Like a regular Wireless Phone System you can purchase a single Phone and Base or you can purchase a Base that will allow you to add many additional phone sets for other rooms. Each phone will need to be set in a charging doc and the main unit will plug into your VOIP device. The option that makes this system different is the ability to connect your cellphone to the base device over bluetooth and place and make calls over your cellphone plan. Simply turn your bluetooth on and place it near your base set and then all of the phones can use your unlimited cell plan.
New options are always coming to market such as the Connect To Cell wireless phone systems that allow you to use both your VOIP and your Cellphone from all of your home phones. This means you need to do your research at the time you are making the decision to drop your landline for VOIP or Cell Service.
If you are going with cell service as a primary replacement then make sure that you use a VOIP service that will allow you to place free calls over WiFi.
If you are using a VOIP device make sure that you understand your responsibility to pay your 911 services tax to the Government. Even if you didn’t sign up for 911 you can still be fined for using VOIP as your option without registering. This is different in every state and city.
And no matter which direction you go you should always have a backup plan. Whether its traveling to a local store to use their WiFi when your home services are down or using your data or another option such as a secondary cellphone. Even if you just understand which pay as you go cellphones are available at your closest store and the signup situation so you can get cell service immediately.
Landlines are probably the most dependable service out there and if you need a home phone that you know will be available under many situations you should keep your landline but some phone companies like verizon are not even installing landlines anymore in some locations so the option might not be there for you and will be less and less as the years go on.