About - VOIP???
Q." I see and hear all these ads for Vonage,
Digital, Skype. and now "Magic Jack" - What is this all about"?
A. The first part of the answer has to
deal with VOIP cuz that's really what this is all about. What is
VOIP? "Voice Over Internet Protocol" is what the acronym
means. The big "they" out there have found efficient ways to
digitize your voice and move it around on the internet. Actually
the telco's started doing this some years ago - that's why phone calls
got so much less expensive (long before they actually reduced their
prices BTW). Now the internet is making "less
Really Really CHEAP! Almost FREE
A. With Vonage and Shaw you get a "little black
box" (brown or blue - as a rule) that takes your telephone conversation digitizes it and sends it
over the internet into the Telco system. The Telco system then
moves it to destination inside its system. All this is very
"transparent" to the end user. You really don't have to
know any of this stuff to enjoy the benefits of VOIP! Just for the record I
have in the past 12 years not found one reason not to use VOIP. It
just plain works and COSTS LESS!
Q. Is Shaw Digital Phone better than
Vonage or AT&T?
A. I can no longer make any kind of statement
as to who is best. We have been using Vonage and Magic Jack for
several years now and are quite happy. And saving a
bundle! Why both you ask? We cannot port
our Canadian number to Magic Jack as yet.
Q. What about my alarm system. I heard
this is a problem with VOIP.
A. You heard wrong. Again Shaw can take
care of the connection modification without any problem. If you
use one of the other devices you will likely have to hire a tech
to make the necessary adjustments.
Q. What the heck is Skype
A. Skype is a great product that a good
number of snowbirds adopted before Magic Jack arrived as a simple way to have phone service
while vacationing for the winter. Skype is a software product
that enables you to talk to telephones around the world via your
computer. Skype to Skype calls are totally FREE. Its simple cheap and reliable. You do need a
good HS internet connection and you are in business. One of the
super neat features they offer is $2.95 / month unlimited long
distance from Skype to any landline in North America. You should have a headset for your
computer or you can also download an App for your SmartPHone that
gives you complete portability anywhere you have a data connection -
either over wi-fi or data link. Skype also allows you to exchange video within your
calls. That is you can experience live video and - for example
see the grandkids while you chat with them. Of course this make
for great fun and a real connection. All you need is a simple
camera that attaches to the usb port on your computer. Most of
the new laptop computers include a built in camera. You might
need a tiny bit of geek assist for this. (your 12 year old
grandson/daughter can likely help).
A. Vonage is solid and portable - Shaw is not. You can
take your system with you when you head south for the winter.
Even when you go to Maui for a vacation. All you need is a HS
internet connection and you have a very inexpensive local telephone
Despite what you may have heard Vonage has improved tremendously over
the years and their customer service is now excellent (at least in my
opinion). I have been with them for since 2004 now and do not have
any problems. We actually have both systems Vonage and Magic
Jack and use
I Magic Jack for my
Q. " I have recently seen ads for a product
called Magic Jack. Just what is this and is it legit".
A. It is a small device about 1/2 the size of a deck of playing cards or a slightly FAT memory
stick. One end plugs into
your computer or a special AC plug adaptor and the other end has a hole in it that you plug your
standard (plain old) (cordless preferred) telephone into . It automatically installs its own software onto your
computer and "voila" you have a personal telephone system. It really is as simple
as that. (if it works out of the box). You need to
step through an installation procedure and chose a phone number during
the installation. They have Canadian and US numbers and
all the features they promote seem to work just fine.
I have friends that have purchased this gadget on my recommendation
(and they are still friends) and it works
great. It almost seems too good to be true but its cheap enough to
take the risk. I mean $49 per year Canada ($39 in the States) for unlimited long distance
anywhere in North America - (from anywhere in the world?).
They also offer deep discounts for 5 year plans when they do the up-sell. If you are
sitting in a Condo in Australia or England or wherever and you are
connected to HS internet even Wi-Fi and you plug
your Magic Jack device into your computer - you have all the same
features as if you were at home. Yes you can call your neighbour
in Canada or the US virtually for FREE. If you neighbour
from Canada is sitting in Portugal with his Magic Jack or Skype you
can chat as if you were across the street from each other. Take a look at it by
NEW - Magic Jack GO.
No computer required and yes it works as advertised. No I
do not have a link where I can make a buck by recommending this - Just
buy one from somewhere - even WalMart. They work. The
GO is their latest version and in my humble opinion is a great
Q. " I tried it but the voice quality was pretty bad most of the
A. It seems that most of the folks that travel south for the
winter and use these systems buy the minimum internet service possible
(low bandwidth) and expect super quality. Sorry it does not work that way.
Spend the extra few bucks for more "bandwidth" and stay away from
music and movie sharing sites and your VOIP product/products will work just
fine. If you are watching or downloading or uploading
(sharing) this stuff while using your VOIP products you will not get
the quality they offer. Also if you are sharing in this fashion
you are breaking the law.
There have not been many good comments on the web blogs and forums
about Magic Jack. It seems that if you buy it and it does not
work then you may as well just chalk it up to experience as the battle
for a refund as per their wonderful free trial/refund policy gets
pretty ugly. The service has improved a great deal in the past
couple of years. DO not plug it into your surge protector or ups
system. That seems to cause a bit of a problem. Do unplug
it and count to 20 once a month :-). Would you believe that is
an instruction in the package that I am one of the few people in the
world has ever read :-)
PS. Yes I have one and yes it works just great!
PPS. I have tried their "online chat support" and it has been
Please do not consider this an endorsement of
this product as I know nothing about the company and very little about
the actual product other than it does work.
Even if you don't have any geek genes in your body
you should be able to use Magic Jack out of the box.
Enough said about this subject.
Send your questions to
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