Chris Pepin

Tech reviews and more

Google, telephone, voice, VoIP

OBi110 VoIP Review: Thumbs Up!

I purchased an OBi110 voice service bridge and VoIP telephone adapter with the goal of replacing my business phone line and leveraging Google Voice for free calls to US and Canada. I had been using VoIP through my cable provider, Charter, for $29.99 a month plus tax. The OBi has only a one time cost for the device ($49.99) and no monthly fees using Google Voice. If you’re looking for a comprehensive explanation of what VoIP is, visit this page – https://www.megapath.com/blog/blog-archive/what-is-voip/

Setup was fast and easy. First, I connected the OBi to home Ethernet network and plugged in a phone. Next, I completed the online registration process and entered my Google id and password. I made my first call within 5 minutes of opening the box. However, I immediately noticed some voice quality issues so I connected the OBi directly to my router instead a bridge – that fixed the issue. In the month I’ve been using it full time (I’m on conference calls for most of the day) I’ve only had one problem. When I tried to make a call recently I got a message “there is no service available.” I followed the online help, logged on to the admin portal and everything looked fine. I decided to unplug the OBi to reset it and that fixed the problem. I haven’t experienced the problem since.

I called Charter Cable to cancel VoIP service and they offered me a special deal to keep my service but at a lower price than cancelling it (a no brainer). I have 25Mb/s broadband service through Charter as well but I regularly see speeds in excess of 40, 50 and sometimes 60 Mb/s (see below). I use DirectTV for satelite TV. While I intend to continue to use the OBi and Google Voice as my primary phone, it’s nice to know I have a backup with Charter in addition to Sametime Unified Telephony and my AT&T cell phone leveraging a microcell.

If you use VoIP services in your company, you don’t want poor call quality affecting business so you will want to get to the route of the problem pre and post deployment. ThousandEye’s voip monitoring can help you do this and continue unhindered by pesky call issues.

Update 3 April 2012: In the past week I’ve experienced significant call quality issues and dropped calls. I have switched back to my Charter Cable VoIP service for the remainder of the week and I will try OBi again next week.
Update 20 April 2012: I re-enabled the OBI last week and have been using it as my primary phone. I haven’t experienced any issues. I also increased the QOS priority for the OBI’s Mac address on my router.
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