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Obi vs Ooma VoIP Systems

Since it’s been over a year, it’s time for an update on my home phone system.  Although I could use an Android smart phone with WiFi, VoIP app, talking Caller ID app, and call screening app, I still prefer traditional telephone / answering machines at home for a number of reasons, including easy call screening and simplicity.

Last year, I was using an Ooma Hub with DSL and an AT&T land line.  The Ooma is simple to setup and use, worked well, and provides nice features such as CNAM (Caller ID name lookup).  I had two phone numbers, one for the Ooma and one for the analog phone.  I liked that: only our friends knew the Ooma number.

Then AT&T raised their phone line rates beyond reasonable, so I dumped them and moved to Clear WiMax.  That move caused two issues with Ooma:

  1. I got frustrated that there was very little I could tweak on the Ooma unit myself to try to get it to work better on Clear.
  2. I missed having two lines; you can get that on Ooma by paying for Premier, but I didn’t feel Premier is worth it for me.

So I bought an Obi 202, which is a 2-line ATA (analog telephone adapter) designed to work with Google Voice and other SIP services.  I’ve sent my Ooma to a non-technical friend.

I find the Obi to be a great fit: Google Voice is a snap to get setup, it’s pretty easy to setup other services, it’s been solid, I can easily tweak the parameters, and it gives me two lines with up to 4 services.  My current setup is Google Voice plus Anveo (mainly for incoming calls and E911).

Clear WiMax is working OK, once I stopped using my 2.4 GHz cordless phone.  Skype always seems to work well, but SIP services (Google Voice and Anveo) occasionally have noticeable problems such as breaking up.  Eventually, I plan on doing a SIP-to-Skype bridge, but the SIP services are working well enough that it’s not a high priority.

In summary, the Ooma is great for non-technical people, but the Obi is better if you need more flexibility or want to fiddle a bit.



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