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Magic Jack Impression


awraynor
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I am considering utilizing Magic Jack on my 495 as I hate paying ATT $50 per month for subpar home phone service. A prime example of how the base fee is reasonable, but the extra fees add up quickly.
There is a good writeup on installing it, to include running as a service over at HomeServerLand. They aren't able to port my existing number yet, so I will wait until that option is available.
So the question obviously is, does anyone use it and what is your impression of the service. We are not heavy home phone users, but still like the convenience of a home phone.

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We are very close to pulling the trigger on that same idea. We'd like it to overcome the poor cell phone coverage at our house.

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With us the one stumbling block is the porting of our present number, which they list "as coming soon for a nominal fee". As soon as that occurs, barring any quality issues, I think it is a done deal. I have a google voice account, although I haven't fully investigated whether I could possibly take my present number and redirect to a different number if porting isn't an option soon? If you have read it, the install walk through at HomeServerland addresses most of the issues I have read at other places.

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I have had a MagicJack for about 2 years. I keep it in my laptop bag and have only used it when I am traveling. I have been very pleased with the service. I used to have Vonage in my home but had to cancel it about a few months as the call quality was poor in the evenings with my cable connection (lots of dropped words in the conversation). I had not thought of using my MagicJack for phone use until I read this post.....At $20 per year for everything it is an awesome deal. Pair it with Google Voice and I think you would have the best setup possible.

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Porting our current number is the limiting factor for the moment. I figure if I don't like it I can just go back to AT&T. I live in a decent sized subdivision, but Charter Cable doesn't have service her for me to switch. They agreed to dig the line when I moved in, but it was going to be 3 weeks so I went with AT&T for phone and internet with DirectTV for TV. Now charter won't dig at all, so my options are fairly limited.

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I have not used MagicJack, but did move to full VoIP about 4 years ago and just love it. It's not as cheap as MJ (I pay about $200 a year) but it does come with its own dedicated router like Vontage. We have never had a issue with call quality. They were able to port my line even 4 years ago and we even have E911 service. Hard to tell that I don't have a Landline. Packet8.net

Because we use the line so little now, I would move to MJ in a second if it could do all this with my current number.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi guys,

I've been using MagicJack at my house as the main house line for about 4 months now and must say that for the most part, it is pretty good. When no one is surfing the net and/or watching YouTube videos in the house, the voice quality is as good or better than cell phone. If someone is doing a bunch of Internet intensive stuff the voice of the caller can get a little choppy which cuts down the WAF tremendously! :-) Windows Update has broken it a few times (where you need to reboot the device and/or the computer), certain DVD ripping programs can break it (due to the MagicJack installing itself as a CD/DVD drive for some odd reason and the conflicts that can come with that), and obviously needing to work on the hardware of the computer it is attached to can be a hassle unless you plug the MagicJack into another computer blah-blah-blah. Right now it is installed on my main home computer (64-bit Vista Ultimate). I've thought about doing the WHS install thing which makes total sense, but still seems kind of hacky to me... I wish you could plug it in and it would work (like when plugging it into a regular PC). I haven't looked at it in a while, though, so maybe it is easier to do now. As for the number porting, they have been talking about that since it's inception and still no love... so if you're waitng for that, you may be waiting quite a while. The thing's $40... buy it, get a new number, try it out, don't cancel AT&T for a few months... if it doesn't work for you, you're out less than the cost of one month of AT&T... if it does work for you, maybe having a new number would end up being a good thing? :-)

My BIGGEST gripe with the thing is that you have ABSOLUTELY no clue if the thing has stopped working unless you notice on the computer that the software is not running OR you pick up the phone and you don't get a dial tone. Of course, if your AT&T service goes down, you would only know by picking up the phone, but your AT&T service (probably) barely goes down. The MagicJack on the other hand can go down if someone clicks on a program that conflicts with it, Windows Updates and reboots your machine, someone closes it because the popup is annoying them, etc. Again WAF is a problem there.

In the end, over the coming months, we may try switching over to an Ooma (costs more, but has it's own router so you don't need the computer on all the time and seems to have less "issues"). I find it hard to recommend MagicJack as your sole house line, but I find it hard not to recommend it because of it's cost because 95% of the time it just works... it depends on if you can live with that 5% of eff around time, you know?

::shrugs::

This post probably helps no one since I'm so wishy-washy but that is the way this product works. You want to love it, but it's kinda like a dog that pees on the carpet... but only once a week.

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We did this at my house about 8 months ago. When it was set up on my main desktop there weren't to many issues. However when I moved it to my WHS build things went downhill faster then a fat guy chasing a wheel of cheese (I can say this because I am a fat guy). I would have to reset the software 10 to 15 times a day. Caller ID did not work at all on either box. And it would randomly stop receiving and making calls. We promptly went back to Vonage and now the Magic Jack box is setting the spare parts bin the work room. This could have been so much of a better service if they used a standalone box and not that crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy USB adapter. I think you get the point. If they come out with a Vonage style box I might try it again, but for now I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole.

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