Other posts related to ooma

Configuring Ooma

 | February 7, 2011 5:09 PM

Ooma is awesome.  I have had it for over two years and love the fact that I have never had to pay a monthly fee, never had to pay for long distance, never had to worry about it breaking, etc.

However I never tried to optimize the configuration of my Ooma until today.

Quality of Service

The Ooma is setup to be in front of my router “so that Ooma can intelligently prioritize voice traffic over other traffic.”

Ooma QoS Topology

Ooma’s Configuring Quality of Service document recommends configuring the upstream internet speed based on your SpeedNet results.  It turned out the default setting of 384 Kbps was about 10% of my actual upstream speed.  Ooma’s Learning more about Ooma Quality of Service (QoS) document recommended:

For the most optimum results, it is best to configure your "Upstream Internet Speed" to be 15-20% less than your measured upstream bandwidth.

I did three tests and got 3.46 Mb/s, 3.97 Mb/s and 3.60 Mb/s.  The average of these three is 3.68 Mb/s so I configured my Ooma to 85% of this value which is 3125 Kbps.

I was going to update the reserve bandwidth for calls from the default of 130 Kbps to 215 Kbps.  But after reading this forum about Quality of Service Settings I concluded it won’t make a difference.  I can’t change the codec used from the default codec (iLBC) to the high-bandwidth codec (G711) so I can only assume it uses the default codec.  In this forum it says to contact Ooma which I did and Ooma promptly changed it.  Ooma said the high-bandwidth codec takes up 90- 100 Kbps which is less than the default of 130 Kbps.

In conclusion changing the QoS settings doesn’t change the voice quality, it only changes how much data is available upstream when you are making a call.  But it was worth investigating since I found out how to improve the voice quality.

Port Forwarding

I set up port forwarding from my Ooma to my router for VNC and SSH.  First I forwarded ports 22 and 5900 TCP from Ooma to my router.  I found the router’s ethernet address on the 172.25.35 network using Airport Utility.

Then I configured the iMac to port forward.

  1. Configured to use DHCP with manual address (Settings –> Network –> Airport –> Advanced –> TCP/IP.  )  I chose 201 because that’s supposedly out of the range of normal DHCP addresses.
  2. Used Airport Utility to port forward.  Went to Manual Setup –> Advanced –> Port Mapping and added Apple Remote Desktop and added SSH port mappings.

Port Forward has instructions for setting up a static IP address and for port forwarding with the Airport Extreme but they are outdated.  However I couldn’t find anything better.

Real VNC has a page on port forwarding for VNC and on that page is a link to a test page to see if your port forwarding is working.

What I found was I was only able to truly test if port forwarding was working when I was off my LAN.  Even when trying to use the outside IP address while within my LAN did not work.


25 Gadgets That Actually Save Money

 | December 2, 2008 2:29 PM

This article, CyberMonday Gifts That Can Pay For Themselves?, led to this article, 25 Gadgets That Actually Save Money.

In these articles I do have the following.

  1. Ooma
  2. Slow Cooker
    • not saving any money with it
  3. Battery Charger
  4. Blender
    • again not saving any money with this one
  5. Flash Drive
    • again no money saved here
  6. Solar Calculator
    • discarded by someone else, not saving any money since I always my computer for calculations
  7. CFL’s
    • questionable if worth it considering the toxic mercury dust inside each bulb
  8. Programmable Thermostat
  9. Efficient Space Heater
  10. Laptop
  11. Hybrid Car

Things I might buy.

  1. “Smart” Power Strips
    • seems liks a good idea though I usually manually turn off everything so I think it will take a long time before I get my investment back
  2. Kill-a-Watt
  3. Efficient Shower Heads
  4. High Efficiency Washing Machine

Things I would like to buy.

  1. Windmill

Grateful Day 7

 | November 29, 2008 9:48 PM

Ji Seon’s parents and brother left today at 5 PM for a long drive home.  Earlier in the day Dylan expressed his disappointment that they were leaving but when they actually did leave he was okay about it.  Isaac wouldn’t come to the door to see them leave, he kept saying he didn’t want them to go.  I picked him up and brought him to the door because I didn’t want him to miss saying goodbye.  Victoria actually cried and reached out for her uncle, Ji Seon’s brother, and new best friend.  This was the first time the kids ever got upset about one of our overnight guests leaving.

A few memorable quotes from this Thanksgiving weekend.

Dylan to Ji Seon’s parents.

I have never seen 엄마 cry.  I have seen 아빠 cry.

(엄마 is “umma”, Korean for mommy.  아빠 is “appa”, Korean for daddy.)

Isaac to Dylan after Dylan was calling Isaac a monster during a game.

Dylan: Hide!  Run away!  Isaac is a monster!

Isaac: I am not a monster.  I am a baby.

Dylan: You’re not a baby.  You’re three years old!  You’re a big kid!

Five things I am grateful for today (this seems to be getting harder everyday).

  1. I am grateful that Ji Seon’s parents and brother’s visit went well.  The children really enjoyed their company and Ji Seon enjoyed the break.
  2. I think I am grateful about my recent purchases but now I am wondering if I should have been more grateful with having less.  For example I have three different cordless phone systems because I can’t decide which one to keep, Uniden 1580-2, Uniden 1560-2 or Panasonic KX-TG9344T?  Why don’t any of these have speed dial?
  3. I am grateful my Ooma system is working well, that I will no longer have to pay monthly phone bills, and that I convinced Amazon to give me $30 credit when they lowered the price by that much on Black Friday.  However I am not happy that I apparently blew out my Ooma scout.
  4. I am grateful that when we do not feel like cooking there is such a wide variety of dining options here in Sunnyvale.
  5. I am grateful that every Saturday I can go to the Farmer’s Market and buy reasonably priced organic (or at least pesticide-free), fresh picked, local, delicious produce.  Right now is apple and persimmon season so we have been eating a lot of those lately.  Dylan and Isaac’s favorite fruit remains the fuji apple.  Mine is the pluot but that went out of season awhile ago.  I am not sure what Ji Seon’s is, she’s the most demanding fruit eater I have ever met.
  6. I am grateful tomorrow is Sunday and that I can worship with others our God.

Next Phone?

 | November 15, 2008 5:12 PM

Phone technology keeps evolving rapidly.  As far as I can remember we have been using landline phones.  The big technology change was push button phones.  Then suddenly cell phones appeared and I must have been one of the last ones to get one.

But I was part of the early group of people that dropped their landline altogether and only used their cell phone.  But when I saw I was running out of minutes and was too cheap to purchase more minutes or a landline, I started using Skype.  The service is fantastic and is only $3 per month for unlimited outbound.

Now though we are having problems with our Verizon cell phone service.  Apparently where we live is a dead zone for Verizon.  In fact we did not get very good reception at our last place either.  Unlike the north east, Silicon Valley does not seem to be a great place for getting Verizon cell phone service.

We have been considering cutting down to one cell phone line instead of two which would save us about 50% off our cell phone bill or even paring down to just a pay as you go plan.  Since we started using Skype so much we’ve found our cell phone usage has gone down a lot.  Also I do have concern about cell phones and brain cancer since the evidence is starting to mount.

The only reason we were hesitant to go with Skype exclusively was because Ji Seon does not like being tethered to a computer when she wants to make calls.  She likes walking around when she talks.  And so far the Skype accessories for doing this look underwhelming.

Enter Ooma.  I heard about them on the radio so I thought I would look into it.  The reviews on Amazon have been pretty fantastic.  Basically you pay $250 for a device that you hook up to your internet.  Then you can your old fashioned phones again and never have to pay a monthly fee.  The only drawback is that it does not include free calls to Canada, calls are 1.2 cents per minute.  In a normal month that would work out to be about $3 per month which is what I pay already for Skype.

One of my favorite blogs, My Money Blog, has a similar discussion, Ask The Readers: Skype As Replacement Phone Service? » My Money Blog.  Someone recommended Ooma.  I can only imagine Ooma will become more popular.

My remaining questions are:

  1. Should I drop Verizon?  I have complained a few times to them about the service and each time they say to call in again and have someone test it.  I am not sure if it is worth calling them again.Update: I called Verizon and their response was that nothing can be done and that it must be a dead zone.  They issued me a one time courtesy credit of $30 and opened a trouble ticket.Update: Verizon called me to let me know that my area is a known trouble area and that new two cell towers are going to be opened in thirty to sixty days.  Of course while telling me this the call was dropped. 🙂
  2. Should I drop down to one phone line (AT&T or T-Mobile) or go to pay as you go (T-Mobile)?  I am leaning towards pay as you go in which I will pay about $100 per year for 1000 minutes.  On the other hand a basic individual cell phone plan will cost $35 per month (T-Mobile) and you get 300 minutes per month and a much nicer phone.
  3. Should I upgrade my Skype account to include unlimited inbound?  The cost to do that would be another $5 per month and the inbound number would not show up on caller ID when I call people on outbound.  And I would still have to make calls from my computer.
  4. Should I buy Ooma?  It seems great but $250 at once is a good amount of money and what if they go out of business?  If they included free calls to Canada I would be in.  You do get a $50 credit for referrals but that expires in 3 months so it is not worth much.
  5. What would I use to call Canada if I no longer used Skype?  Pay 1.2 cents per minute on Ooma? Use a free service like Voipcheap to call Canada (I don’t trust them)?  Or just use Skype computer to computer or iChat, both which are free?  But then that would depend on my parents having their computer on.  I do have lots of Skype credit for calls to landlines so maybe I can use those to initiate a call to my parents at 2.1 cents per minute and then use Skype computer to computer or iChat.