A phone other than your mobile phone can be useful. If you need one, you can also opt for a solution with no monthly costs!
Polycom's OBi200 provides everything you need for a home or office phone through Google Voice. For a one-time purchase of about $ 50, this little box has given me years of free phone service and a few more benefits.
What is it?
Voice over IP (VoIP) is a technology that essentially provides digital telephone services. Typically, a VoIP device needs special hardware or phones to work. However, the OBi-VoIP box connects this digital technology to standard analog devices such as telephones and fax machines.
Google Voice offers digital telephone service for free. This means that you can use any standard telephone connected to the OBi telephone socket for free local and long distance calls. You can also connect the OBi telephone socket to any telephone jack in your house using a standard telephone cable. This effectively activates a dial tone on every phone jack in your home!
There are two OBi-VoIP boxes, both of which can be connected directly to your Internet router via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi with an optional adapter. Both devices connect the digital telephone service to a standard telephone or fax.
Both OBi-VoIP devices have a USB port that can extend the capabilities of the device. For example, the proprietary OBiWiFi adapter uses this port to provide a Wi-Fi Internet connection. This is especially useful if you can not simply connect the OBi directly to the router with a network cable.
The OBi VoIP devices also support advanced calling features such as call transfer, caller ID, three-way call waiting, caller ID blocking, anonymous call barring, automatic callback, repeat dialing, message waiting, speed dialing, and more ,
Another advantage of using Google Voice is that you can call one or more additional phone numbers at the same time. When someone calls your Google Voice number, every phone that's physically connected to the OBi rings, just like any other phone number you set. This means that you can have a phone number that you can use to call home (OBi) and on your phone, making it easy for anyone to reach you anytime.
1 emergency service
The extended 911 (E911) service is available for an annual fee (typically between $ 20 and $ 25). I have an Anveo E911 service on my OBi device for years. It worked flawlessly when I had to use it once for a medical emergency.
The beauty is that all the important information, such as name and address, is displayed on the 911 operator's screen as part of the enhanced 911 profile. It is strongly recommended to enable and configure this service. Otherwise, valuable time may be lost in an emergency if someone unfamiliar with the OBi-VoIP system attempts to dial the emergency number as they would on a standard telephone.
To configure your OBi device for use with Google Voice or an E911 service provider: Read our guide on how to throw away your home phone bill.
Which OBi device do I need?
<img class = "alignnone wp-image-19853 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/fecbe1456c12ffe6810780042f2ffb0c/p/uploads/2019 /07/x6a4ce226.jpg.pagespeed.gp+jp+jw+pj+ws+js+rj+rp+rw+ri+cp+md.ic.U8wuil9fpA.jpg "alt =" The OBi200 and OBi202 VoIP Devices Two models – here are their features:
- OBi200: The standard introductory device works well if you only want to add a single standard telephone to your home network, or if you need a management for your home office.  OBi202 : You can use the two-line box for multiple scenarios, maybe you need a line for your home and one for your office, you may need two lines and a simple call forwarding to a small home office if you have a telephone line and a dedicated fax line this device may also need this.
There is a third device (the OBi 212), which allows the coexistence of two VoIP lines and a conventional analog line. This is especially useful when using the OBi, as you can route incoming calls either to the two digital VoIP lines or to the analog POTS line. However, it looks like Polycom is phasing out this model.
However, for most Home Users or Small Office / Home Office (SOHO) users, either the OBi200 or OBi202 will suffice.
What you can expect from your OBi
Once you've picked up and configured an OBi, you can expect the following:
- Free calls! You never receive an invoice for basic telephone service, including local and long distance calls.
- You can use any standard telephone.
- You can use a standard fax machine without paying for the telephone service.
- You get support from Polycom, a respected communications technology company.
These devices have many improvements, but there are also some limitations:
- Changing the password for your Google Account may break OBi's ability to connect to Google Voice. If your OBi-VoIP box stops working, your Google credentials may be the cause.
- Google may change the Google Voice service interface at any time. Add to that the good people of Polycom. However, sometimes you may need to update the firmware or reconfigure the OBi device to reconnect.
- Your Internet must be connected and functioning for your OBi to work properly. You should be aware of this because, for example, you can not make an emergency call on a telephone connected to an OBi box in case of bad weather on the Internet.
This last point may be a bit of an advantage in other situations. If your OBi goes offline, you will receive an e-mail with this status. This tells you if you have lost the Internet service at home, even if you are not there. You will also receive a notification when the OBi is back online. This can be helpful if you have other devices, such as smarthome devices or surveillance cameras, that require an Internet connection to access their services from home.
Today, most companies are struggling for recurring revenue. Everything seems to be connected to a monthly fee. However, Polycom sells a reliable device that serves its purpose without a recurrent charge. The money you save if you do not pay a monthly telephone bill covers the up-front costs of the OBi device in just a few months.