PhoneGnome arrives … looking to pick a fight with Ooma!

I received a PhoneGnome (PGE2) yesterday and was able to unbox and set it up today. I’m still sorting through the options online, but my initial impressions are very good. As you can see in the video below, the box itself is a somewhat standard looking piece of gear. This is not a critique, just a fact. My take is that this is a function before form decision and seems like a very good one.

Installation was painless. Power, network and phone line all linked in easily enough. Interestingly the PhoneGnome sits behind the router unlike other VOIP boxes including the Ooma which I’ve been writing about recently as well. I waited the suggested 5 minutes and found I had a dial-tone which confirmed the PhoneGnome was connected and had successfully auto-configured. I was actively using my network streaming from when I received my first real call (not just my test to voicemail and cell) and found the clarity to be excellent. There was one clip-out, though I think that was related to the caller’s cell connection and not my phone. Since I still have full service with Verizon at the moment, it’s hard if not impossible to tell if calls through either the PhoneGnome (PG) or Ooma are actually routing through the internet or the more traditional phone system. Ooma gives you an audible tone, but there’s no way to tell on the PG. I actually think that my initial call was over Verizon, just connecting through the PG hardware. Even so, in recent tech tests with Ooma, I deactivated the Ooma service and made a call over Verizon and things were not as clear…

The main (non feature) difference between Ooma and the PhoneGnome is simplicity. While installation of the PhoneGnome is totally painless, the service seems much more geared to tech geeks while Ooma has worked hard to take a geeky tech and make it simple for the more mass minded consumer. PhoneGnome taps into the SIP standard while Ooma uses a proprietary P2P technology to distribute and terminate calls — not too unlike Skype vs. Gizmo… I have barely scratched the surface of what the PhoneGnome is and what it can do. I know. I’m digging in now… I’m in the process of exploring and activating features via the PhoneGnome site and look forward to linking up with a few gadgets I have here. More soon!

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One Reply to “PhoneGnome arrives … looking to pick a fight with Ooma!”

  1. As a clarification, PhoneGnome has an option on their web site for you to select turning on (or off) announcements for outgoing calls, so you know if the call is being routed over POTS or via PG.

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