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VOIP - What Works? What Doesn't?


Bob La Londe

Jan 1, 1970
I've been playing with voice over IP telephone service for the last couple
days. I've had a plain old Magic Jack plugged into a USB port on my desk
computer for a while now (2 years maybe). I use it as a spare line, and for
the tackle and mold making sideline business. It works pretty decent.
Sometimes its a little tinny sounding, but as long as my Internet works it
seems to work. Since I upgraded my internet service a while back it has
worked much better.

Well, I decided to check out 8x8. They are a service claiming to provide
professional grade VOIP services. I know of businesses much larger than
mine who are using them. So far I am not impressed. They setup my account
wrong, and they couldn't fix it. They had to send me another piece of VOIP
equipment to get it to work the way they set it up. Its so I can send faxes
using an ordinary analog fax machine over their VOIP service. It doesn't
work. (I haven't had an actual fax machine hooked up in years for my
business, but I need to test everything.)

They claimed to make some adjustments to their compression codecs, and it
supposedly tested in both directions, but I never received a test fax. When
I tested further just to make sure hardware was good I plugged both the fax
machine and the fax modem into a plain old telephone service (POTS) line.
Both pieces of equipment worked fine on POTS. Then on a lark I decided to
plug the fax modem into the Magic Jack. I don't figure there was a
snowball's chance in heck of that working, but amazingly it did. Then back
to the VOIP port from 8x8. No joy. Call goes through, I can hear the fax
tones, but it fails every time.

Sadly I must conclude that 8x8 is not quite were they need to be just yet
for me to recommend them to my customers. If they want a cheap phone line
for occasional use I think a Magic Jack would be a better choice.

I've got three 8x8 VOIP adaptors sitting in my communications room right
now. All different models.

Bob La Londe

Jan 1, 1970
Chris said:

On a bit of a side note, how has it been without a fax machine for so
long? Are you using something else like eFax instead, or just simply
email and snail mail?

I figure at least 99% of the faxes I get are junk mail, and I don't
remember the last time I needed to fax something out (other than to start
up accounts, but those are emailed now).

And yet, it seems like it's some sort of necessity to have a fax machine
to run a business.

- Chris

I use I still have my old fax number, and I have one customer
who still faxes me purchase orders. I just had the old fax number ANI
terminated to the MyFax number. I suppose I should cancel the number and
just give them the toll free number instead.

Most common file formats will fax by email using my account. I even have
some common documents stored on my cell phone so when some jerk insists I
have somebody fax something over before he will do his job, pay his bill,
etc I can just send it from my phone. Things like tax exempt forms,
business license copies, W-9s, insurance forms, etc.

Bob La Londe

Jan 1, 1970
Robert Macy said:
I was told would be very dissatisfied with VOIP *if* your link is
satellite. Reason is that satellite links tend to 'lump' the packets
into very noticeable delays for speech.

Satellite also has huge ping times compared to other services. It doesn't
work really well for internet access to security video either for the same

Bob La Londe

Jan 1, 1970
Bob La Londe said:
Satellite also has huge ping times compared to other services. It doesn't
work really well for internet access to security video either for the same

A push to talk walkie talkie type voice service like Yahoo Messenger had a
decade ago would work ok though.