Ooma Annoyances

We are a couple of weeks in with Ooma and there are a few rather annoying things I’d like to report.

  • About 80 – 90% of the calls we receive and 10% of the calls we make have an audible buzzing background sound and make it very difficult to hear the other party. The sound is audible on both sides of the conversation.
  • My Caller ID (outbound) has yet to activate. It’s been several weeks and I’ve even received a piece of mail (paper) confirming things from Verizon.
  • Verizon is still listed as my carrier for Regional Toll Calling and Long Distance. Unless I missed something here I was under the impression that Ooma was making changes to my call plans with my existing carrier (as per their agreement on signup) which would eliminate all but minimal charges with VZ. Instead I’ve got both though I’m missing the standard features like CallerID and have been given crappy call quality as an added bonus.

I tried calling Ooma this am to discuss but while their web site says they open at 8am PST, the recording states they won’t be open until 8:30 instead. My wife is less than pleased… Operators are standing by…


— My buzzing sound has been reported and has been forwarded to engineering. CallerID is apparently hidden for “Security Reasons” by default, but you can enable it on outgoing calls by dialing *82. I expressed my discontent with this option and suggested it be a one time activation with the option to block as needed – the way everyone else handles it. Provisioning Ooma, apparently does NOTHING with your existing carrier LD service and you have to actively cancel Long Distance. I’m going to wait another month to see whether my call sound issues go away before trusting Ooma to be my sole provider at the house…

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26 Replies to “Ooma Annoyances”

  1. Pingback: Steal This VoIP
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  3. wow..that sucks..have you signed up for a period of time 12 months?. My wife uses her mobile loads so don’t think she’d even notice if I tweaked the house phone! I have aVoIP line into the house from Orange too and it’s dodgy. I’ve never trusted VoIP as a voice solution for business or private calls for that matter. I’ve seen VoIP in huge enterprises and it’s flaky at best. VoIP for me is a alternative, providing a very cheap or free second option.

    Anyways best of luck, keep us imformed.

    PS. snap on the WP template!

  4. Actually the hardware was free though sells for 400 bucks. There’s no contract so I can just ditch it later if I want without effort.

    My goal was to cut the cost of our home line (currently about 90/mo) to closer to 20 if possible…. if the service can’t get better I’ll have to keep eating some landline crow.

  5. Jon,

    I was referred to your situation. Contact me if you’d like to try a PhoneGnome box as an alternative way to achieve your above stated goal to “cut the cost of our home line”.

    We don’t make changes to your home phone service, but we can provide suggestions for doing so that work well along side the PhoneGnome box.

  6. David / Rob – I actually considered the PhoneGnome quite actively (at least mentally) but thought it might be too geeky for the wife approval factor.

    Maybe I should be reconsidering though …

  7. interesting feedback… i had read the New York Times article a month ago about the various home telephony options out there and based on that article and the author’s perspective that ooma was the way to go, i was and am looking forward to buying ooma when it becomes available. So definitely let us readers know if the buzzing stays around or goes away (perhaps u got a test system with some bugs in it? i had a friend who bought one of the first iphones and had to get it replaced right away because the there was issue with the screen…so it seems test hardware sometimes can have issues ). …on other web sites the lucky people like yourself who have been able to get an ooma system have raved about the voice quality so this is hopefully a one-off issue….i did try to install phonegnome as a way to cut my landline costs…but couldnt get the install to work. i thought i was somewhat technical and could handle it…but i was humbled in front of my wife! …so eventually found an engineer down the block from my house to come over and make it work….that made me look better since it even took him all weekend with messing around with nat and other arcane networking technologies….so it does now work but the cost savings are pretty incremental and not significant for my situation because no one else i know has a phonegnome box and just as it is described in the NY Times article, there is no real cost savings unless you are calling people who also have a phonegnome box (which i assume is just you folks in tech land!)…so looking forward to getting ooma when i can buy one and saving real money…

  8. Tom P.

    I’d be happy to take a look at your situation and see if I can provide some suggestions to let PhoneGnome help you save some “real money. You can contact me personally by sending to sales@televolution.com and mention this blog post.

    I’m sure we can find significant savings for you. What do you have to lose? You already have the PhoneGnome box and it’s all hooked up and working. It’s worth a try, before spending $400 new dollars to “save money”.

  9. Tom P – My prior posts on Ooma were more positive, but the call quality is the single most important aspect and it’s something that needs to be resolved or I’m out. The potential is there…

    I’m looking forward to comparing with PhoneGnome…

  10. In Ooma’s defense, I will say, having PhoneGnome boxes interfaced with landlines in dozens of countries around the world, the most common issue for call quality is the inside wiring and the connection to the telco central office. People never believe that it could be their own wiring (or other devices on the line) because they can’t hear these things on their plain phone, but a digital interface to the line is much more sensitive to these electrical problems and, at least with our PhoneGnome box, in 99% of these cases, cleaning up the connection from the PhoneGnome box LINE port to the wall-jack/telco box resolves the problem.

    PhoneGnome tries to automatically detect and adjust to these situations and we can perform even more fine-grained tuning on a per box basis remotely, from our operations center, to help, but when the electrical problems are bad enough, ultimately the only answer is to clean up the wiring/connections.

    This is extremely rare, by the way, in our experience, but it has happened in a few cases. I don’t have any idea of course if that is what is going on with your Ooma box, but it’s something to try.

  11. Sure looks like some of the problems I documented on my web site are coming true.
    ooma threantened legal action if I didn’t remove the “slanderous” things I said.
    I’ll just watch them fail.

  12. I am the founder of magicJack.I hate to see people suffer for no reason.With the solutions you have indicated above,you will never find a cure.I will give the original poster one of my MagicJacks and all these other pretenders can see what will put them out of Business in the future.We are easiest to use, least expensive best price and something you Love so much you will tell all your friends about.


  13. Dan, with all due respect, your comment is off-topic spam. MJ is a USB device that hooks to a PC. If we are going to discuss MJ, than we have to every PC-based VoIP. The ooomas and PG being discussed here are different – No PC. For people who do not want to setup a PC every time they want to make a call.

  14. @Dan – You’re the Telsave guy right? I’d be interested in trying out your service…

    @Wayne I agree it’s a completely different thing, but that’s OK, I’d like to test it anyway.

  15. Jonathan

    My email is Dborislow@aol.com.That email rejects the least amount of spam.I will gladly send both you and Wayne a MagicJack or anybody else on this thread presently.Sorry for the late repsonse,I thought I was kicked off this thread.I am the Tel-Save guy.It’s hard to be a cowboy in this day and age.

    The reason I thought I should respond was the mention of voice quality.That is only achieved by having a great Network in place,not if you are using a PC or stand alone device(they all have a CPU and OS).We are the only 49/50 state certified CLEC in the country with 31 gateways to reduce our costs and achieve highest quality in VOIP.The device was simply designed for the user to use his existing telephone within a minute of getting it in the mail(plugnplay)Don Burns(CEO) and I are one of the few in the VOIP world who had millions of telephone customers before.I believe we understand what the consumer demands.

  16. Pingback: Follow-up on Ooma
  17. PhoneGnome sounds like a hardware version of skype….

    – Need a landline to place regular calls to regular non voip numbers.

    – monthly plan… if there is a monthly fee you might want to check their support make sure it’s worth it otherwise pay an extra 5bucks to go w/a bigger provider like packet8 or vonage.

  18. Just to update, I put ooma-revealed.com back on the air and updated it with what I have learned. It should document for everyone the technical reasons why Ooma fails.

  19. Just to update, I put ooma-revealed.info back on the air and updated it with what I have learned. It should document for everyone the technical reasons why Ooma fails.

  20. Pingback: Ooma Annoyances
  21. ooma goes out every night for the past two nights, even though my internet service works fine. I comes back on sometime the next morning.

    ooma support will not respond to my e-mail messages or phone calls (in the last 48 hours).

    How about some response?

  22. ooma goes out every night for the past two nights, even though my internet service works fine. I comes back on sometime the next morning.

    ooma support will not respond to my e-mail messages or phone calls (in the last 48 hours).

    How about some response?

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