Most households these days don’t have a home phone anymore. Everybody has a smartphone or at least a basic cell phone so why pay for a landline if you don’t really use it anymore. Well, there’s plenty of people who still have a home phone for various reasons such as poor wireless reception at your home or just to keep for emergencies. Now, you no longer need to pay for a home phone service with the Obihai Obi200 VoIP Phone Adapter.
For the longest time, I kept a home phone just for emergencies. The reception for my smartphone was decent so there was no other reason for me. With a traditional landline for your home phone, if you were to lose power in your home, the phone line would still work because it’s hardwired to the phone grid.
However, standard home phone services these days don’t even use the traditional landline any longer. They are all essentially VoIP, or Voice over IP, services when you sign up for new home phone service. If you’re signing up for new home phone service, you may or may not be able to request a traditional landline depending on your service provider in your area.
When you sign up for home phone service now, you’ll get a phone modem that plugs into the cable line. It’s basically digital phone service connected through the internet now. So why pay your local provider $20 to $40 a month for something you can get for free?
This is where the Obihai Obi200 comes in. I’ve recently installed one of these in my home and it’s convenient. Setup was fairly simple with the included instructions. The OBi200 unit plugs into your internet router and then you plug your phone into the OBi200 unit. Sign up for Google Voice and follow the rest of the instructions to integrate your Google Voice number with Obihai.
You can use the Obihai device without Google Voice but you’ll be limited to calling only other Obihai users. Integrating Google Voice with your Obihai device allows you to call any number and receive calls outside of Obihai users.
A couple of drawbacks though. Google Voice and Obihai doesn’t support E911 calls. There are services you can subscribe to if you want to be able to call E911 from this setup. They can range from $12 to $25 a year and is a lot better than paying up to $40 a month just for home phone service through your local service provider.
Why doesn’t E911 service work on a VoIP setup like this? When calling out, your phone calls are routed through the internet and so the E911 service won’t know exactly where you are located. When you call through your traditional landline, E911 knows where you are basically you’re calling from a line that’s hardwired to the grid with your location set.
With these E911 service providers, what they do is associate your digital VoIP service with your information so that E911 can look up your information quickly.
Another drawback is that if you have problems with your home phone service with this setup, you won’t be able to call your service provider for technical support. You are the technical support. You’ll need to figure it out or ask a friend who knows this stuff to check it out for you.
Despite these drawbacks, I’m all for using the OBi200 with Google Voice for free home phone service.