voiceover ip

Can I drop my cell service and just use Google voice for a phone number?

Google Voice

Episode 1690

Grant from White Bear Lake, MN

Grant is thinking of dropping his cellphone and just use Google Voice. Another option is Skype. Leo says that it could work if you use a mobile device that is data only. That's the biggest issue. Tello is one such service. But it depends on how much voice bandwidth you use, as after a set amount, Tello drops to 2G speeds. Voice takes 86kbps, and 2G is 100kbps. So it's possible. 

Can I cancel my phone service and use the internet to make calls?


Episode 1522

Jean from Los Angeles, CA

Jean wants to dump her AT&T phone service and use VOIP with the internet via Ooma. Leo says she can, but she'll be giving up precise 911 service. So if she has a cell phone, she can call 911. But that will be a regional e911 service, which will slow down response times. Ooma does offer 911 service to her registered address, but she'll have to pay for it, and if the power goes out, she'll lose her phone too. So its a mixed bag.

What should I look for in a VoIP telephone service?

Office telephone

Episode 1460

Noel from Huntington beach, CA

Noel wants to use Voice Over IP for his office telephones. What does he need to look for? Leo says that Latency is the key. The longer the latency, the more annoying the delay in a conversation. Dropped packets is another issue in VoIP. Is that due to not having enough bandwidth? Leo says no. Voice doesn't take up a lot of bandwidth. But in an office, it all adds up. Leo uses RingCentral in his office.

Wi-Fi can also mess up VoIP because it gives preference to data over voice.

Is Ooma a good VOiP phone service?

Ooma Telo

Episode 1365

Richard from Sonoma, CA

Richard bought into T-Mobile's At Home VOiP service and now it's been discontinued. He's looking at Ooma now. Leo says that Ooma has a lot of users and they are very happy with it. So it's less likely it's going to go out of business. The downside, though, is that in the event of a natural disaster or power outage, he'll lose his phone because the internet is down. He'll have a cellphone, though. So Ooma is a solid alternative.

How can I connect my VOIP Box?


Episode 1336

Jean from North Hollywood, CA

Jean doesn't have a cell phone and she's decided to move from a landline to VOIP with Ooma. She doesn't know how to set it up, though. Leo says as long as she has internet access, it should work fine. When she connected it to her modem, everything shut down. Leo says she should keep her landline for emergencies because VOIP doesn't have 911 service. So she should keep the least expensive landline called "lifeline service." During a power outage, it will still work.

Why do I have to be home to turn on my VOiP phone?

Episode 1254

Cristina from San Diego, CA

Cristina is getting rid of her landline and wants to use VOiP. But they insist someone be there during the service. Why? Leo says that is because landlines have independent power. Cable phones use VOIP. When the power goes out, the internet goes out. So they need to install a backup battery to power the system during an outage. She's also concerned about cutting the copper. Leo says they could and often do that, even though they aren't supposed to.

Why can't my Obihai VOiP box use Google chat anymore?

Episode 1082

Joe from Tampa, FL

Joe got a VOiP box from Obihai which lets him have phone service. But now it won't let him use third party apps like Google Chat. Leo says that was always a hack that Obihai used in order to use Google Chat. Google has taken the XMPP servers down, which means Obihai can't use it. And as such, they've created alternatives. But they won't necessarily be free when they do.

What are the best VOiP options?


Episode 1051

Mary from Los Angeles, CA

Mary wants to know about alternatives to Jajah, a VOIP service that she's been using and is going out of business.

Leo says Skype is one solution and she can use Skype with a phone number on a mobile phone with the app. It's very inexpensive. She can buy a Skype Out account, and that lets her make calls to regular phones. Leo did that with his daughter when she was studying overseas. Mary is worried about governments listening in when she calls overseas. Leo says that unless she's Jason Bourne, nobody really cares.