villainsmitty wrote:Okay, here's a big question from a newbie. I have to have AT&T to get DSL so I guess i have to at least keep my basic service or pay for the dry DSL version. Assuming I keep my basic service, let's say I attach this to my router and phone, when I make a call, how does the phone differentiate between whether I'm calling long distance using Ooma or AT&T, or is everything through Ooma at that point?
Also, if I call a family member, will it show a new # I picked when setting up Ooma or my landline #? Will calls placed to me at both numbers still get answered through my Uniden answering machine?
I'm just wondering how both phone numbers work at the same time and when you call long distance, it knows to go through Ooma and not ripoff AT&T.
Thanks for any info.
1) You don't need to keep your full AT&T service if you no longer plan on using their telephone features. Call AT&T and ask for "Naked DSL." That's where you're leasing their lines just for DSL data. The voice line will be dead, i.e. there'll be no dial tone. If the AT&T rep doesn't know what you're talking about, ask for a supervisor. Naked DSL is not something most phone companies advertise because they end up losing voice subscribers. Also threaten to change services if they don't offer you Naked DSL. You should also search for "Naked DSL AT&T" on the Internet.
2) If you go though AT&T's landline, your voice is transmitted as an analog signal. If you go through the Internet, your voice is converted to a bunch of digital blips first (sounding like a fax machine), and then converted back to voice at some central location before it reaches the other person. If you look at your RJ11 phone jack, you'll see 4 (or 6) colored wires. Only 2 are used for voice. The other two are normally unused -- unless you have DSL. The DSL digital signals travel through these unused wires. And that's how AT&T will know if you're calling through a normal landline or through the Internet (i.e. Ooma). Actually, the only thing it'll know is whether it's a landline call, in which case it'll charge you. A call through the Internet isn't really differentiated by AT&T from any other digital data. For example, it couldn't care less whether the data is carrying a YouTube video or iTunes music or an Ooma call.
So the short answer to your question is that a normal landline call is detected through the two analog voice wires. Internet calls, like all Internet data, travels through two different wires.
3) If you use an Ooma, you'll be given a new number based on some criteria you choose, i.e. area code. Or you can port over your landline number, just as you can bring your landline number over to a cellphone. I believe the fee is $40.
Your Uniden answering machine will answer whatever line it's connected to. The back of the Ooma has a regular RJ11 phone jack where you plug in your telephone equipment. Anything that you had plugged into your wall jack can now be plugged into the Ooma. So if your Uniden is plugged into the Ooma, it will answer all calls made to the Ooma.
Keep in mind that there is no connection between your landline and Ooma except that they sort of share the same wiring infrastructure. You can keep your landline with Ooma (in which case, you'll have two numbers), or close your landline account (but make sure not to do so until you've transferred your number over, if you want to keep it).
Bottomline: Close your landline account and all your calls will be made through the Internet.