Landline Phone Replacement: OBi200 Adapter $40 Deal + Installation Tips

obi200Updated. If you still like the idea of landline phone service and multiple handsets around the house, Obihai VoIP boxes are officially supported by Google Voice to provide unlimited free calls to the USA to Canada. That’s totally free: $0 a month + $0 in tax and fees. Low international per-minute rates as well. All you need is a broadband internet connection and and a power plug (no computer).

Special offers. Get Obi200 for $39.98 when you use promo code OBIDEAL7 (expires 7/30/17). The seller should be Obihai Technology, Inc. at $49.99 before the coupon brings it down to $39.98 during checkout. There haven’t been many deals on these boxes recently.

I bought myself a Obi200 in order to try out their free calls, and also compare the voice quality with my Ooma device. I thought about making a video, but it turned out to be unnecessary.

  1. Open the box and plug in the cables. AC adapter, telephone line, and ethernet cable to router. All ports are clearly marked. All the cables are included except the phone cable which you should already have. The image below says it all:

    obi200a

    Here is the back of the box, showing the ports:

    obi200_ports

  2. Write down your unique Obi number. This is clearly printed on the bottom of the Obi200 box. Mine was 9 digits like “123 456 789”.
  3. Go to your computer and visit ObiTalk.com. Click on the link that says “Register” in the top right corner. Then just follow the directions. Dial a test phone number when it asks. It is easiest to use the “Sign in with Google Account” button since you already have one if you use Google Voice. I didn’t even have to type in my password (as I was already logged in by cookie). They didn’t require name, address, or credit card number. A few confirmation clicks, and that was it.

    obi200b

  4. Use your phone. I turned on my phone, listened to the dial tone, and called my cell phone. Success! Traditional phone service with unlimited calls within the US and Canada for the great price of $0 a month. The voice quality was fine, and continued to be quite good for the few months that I was using it before giving it away. (I already have the grandfathered fully-free version of Ooma. The voice quality between the two was comparable.)

Total set-up time was under 10 minutes. If for some reason my directions don’t work, check out the official Obi200 Starter Guide [pdf] or their extensive set of tutorials. You can also add e911 service for $15 a year.

Which Obi box model should I buy? I think the sweet spot for most people will be the Obi200, which supports T.38 faxing and has a USB port which can be used to connect to your router over WiFi using an OBiWiFi adapter.

The Obi202 offers two independent phone ports so you can use two different VoIP providers simultaneously (or you can have two Google Voice phone numbers). If you can find one on the cheap, the older boxes work too. However, note that Obihai has stopped supporting Obi100 and Obi110 with new development. Here is a handy comparison chart of the OBi100, OBi110, OBi200, and OBi202.

obi200compare2

Bottom line. If you like the idea of having a landline-style phone service (multiple handsets around the house), this is a very good way to save money on your budget.

Comments

  1. The last time I looked into Obihai was a couple of years ago but at the time they didn’t have any e911 support which pushed me towards Ooma. I’m assuming this is still the case so you’d have to use an outside e911 service. Is this still the case?

  2. I’ve heard that for security reasons, you shouldn’t use your Google account with Obihai because (1) Obihai will then know your Google info and (2) if they were ever breached your Google account would be in danger.

    The alternative course of action is to create a second Google account (that you don’t normally use) specifically to link with Obihai. I guess the downsides to this is that now you have to manage and be aware of another Google account.

    What do you think?

    • I do not believe this is the case any longer as Obi is an official “partner”. I think this is why Google wanted to stop supporting Obihai, all the data security issues. I never gave Obi my Google password and the new Obi’s supposedly use an improved form of authentication. Now, the device does get access to your Google Voice data as you give it permission, and it is possible probably that if it gets hacked then whomever could get access as well.

  3. How did the voice quality compare with your Ooma device?

  4. Jonathan,
    Currently, I have a phone thru Comcast. The Comcast router/ modem is connected to one phone outlet and that makes all of the rest of the outlets in my home “hot” or “live”. Does Ooma do the same thing? Also, I think you have done it before but wish you would do a story on replacing Comcast’s rented modem (and others) with a purchased one. I just noticed they have raised the rent price to $9 a month.
    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Ooma can also use your existing home wiring once you disconnect any other landline service. I’d like to say Obi can do the same but I haven’t tried it.

      I have done a story on rented modems:

      http://www.mymoneyblog.com/save-money-buy-own-modem.html

      • I’ve done it. Of course, I have a structured wiring setup in my house, and the OBi located by the patch panels, but the OBI will feed all your phones, I have about 6-8 throughout the house on mine and it works fine. Just make sure you disconnect at the service entrance for the landlines and any other phone service before connecting the OBI to your home’s phone wiring

    • Greg,
      I replaced my comcast modem and phone service with a Motorola sb6121 and the obi202 for about $150 initial outlay. I now have 2 phone lines and my comcast service went from 16Mbps to 23.67 mbps. The difference was my rental was Docsis 2.0 and the sb6121 is Docsis 3.0. Had this layout for 2 years now.

  5. Can I use the adapter with my present phone no?

  6. I have Ooma also but have been looking at the Obihai. With Ooma there is a lag or delay so that people step on each other when talking. I am interested to hear if you experience a similar delay with the Obihai and Google Voice.

    • I haven’t had any such problems with Ooma. People can’t tell I’m not on a landline. Is your Ooma downstream of your router, and are other people using the internet at the same time? That may be a contributing factor.

  7. This is great news! How would this work with a set of phones. I have an Ooma base I plugged into the router and three cradles around the house. Would this do the same? If so, I’m thinking of getting rid of the $16 per month (still cheap but not free) fee. Further, can you check your voicemails via email or online? Or do you have to do that on the box?

    Thanks.

    • Yes, it works the same with phones. Voicemails can be checked online or app or they’ll send you an e-mail with the link, and Google will even attempt to transcribe them into text for free. Not perfect, but usually accurate enough to get the gist of the message without having to listen to it.

  8. I bought one myself and had a similar easy and quick experience with setup. I think it took a couple tries to get Google to connect right but it was resolved within a couple minutes. That might have been due to me and my wife having different Google accounts and using that computer, but I”m not certain.

  9. I’ve had this device for a year or two now. It’s always worked flawlessly. We can’t tell the difference in terms of call quality. For a time they stopped supporting Google voice, this past May, but is was easy to switch to another provider, and then back to google voice. Now for a small fee, you can also get e911 support.

    I can’t imagine using anything else at home now. We ported our home number to google voice right when we bought this thing and haven’t looked back. Can’t recommend it enough.

  10. I got my OBi in July 2013 after having used only cellular for a couple of years. A landline was of no use to me without Caller ID, and that was $10 just for that feature. I wanted a free landline because to me, it is not worth paying for a landline at all – it in fact has a negative worth due to having to deal with the phone company on occasion. I love Google Voice and the OBi. It works fine and I love the control that comes with Google Voice features, along with online call records. I don’t care about e911 support or anything that causes this landline to be other than free. I might worry about that if we did not have working cell phones in our location, but if that were the case, we probably would not have a wifi network either.

  11. Is there any benefit of using it instead of making calls from your browser from a geek’s perspective? I would buy something like this for my parents but I’m thinking if I should buy one too.

    Also, will it work anywhere outside of the U.S.?

  12. We just purchased the OBi 200 unit recently. And after installation, I can get the phone to work to call out. But I can’t receive any call from the the same phone number. Can you please advise what additional setting I need to do with Google Voice?
    Thank you.

  13. Toni Sinclair says:

    I installed mine about 3 weeks ago. I used the wireless adapter (so the device and phone do not need to be close to the router). Works like a charm!! Henry, I had the same problem. I can’t remember what I did. I Googled the question and it popped up in a Obi forum. It had to do with Google voice. Under “phone” settings I had to delete everything but the Google “chat” option. Hope that helps!! I love the call quality!!

  14. Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks much for the informative article. Question on this:
    How does this work if we need two people need to use the service? Do both need to have separate Google Voice accounts? If so, does obi support sign up with 2 devices?

    • Larry Rosenman says:

      Yes the OBI202 (at least, as that is what I have), supports up to 4 GV and/or sip accounts (4 total, any combination).

      I use 2 GV / Sprint integrated numbers for me and my wife, as well as Vitelity (SIP, for the house number and E911), as well as an asterisk/FreePBX extension (for CNAM lookups, and to drive some IP phones I have.

  15. We have 2 Google numbers we like to use the Obihai for. Is that possible? Would the OBi200 support that?

  16. Hi,
    Since 6/22/2015 my obitalk modem has been blocked by obitalk on the pretext to pay them $10/- for service update/firmware updates. etc. They should have been some one month notice, instead they come up with the idea to mint money and blocked the phone service through Obitalk device (already paid for almost 70$). This is unethical.

    • Not my experience Khan. I have had obi202 for a couple years and obi200 for almost a year. No charge as of yet. Just dailed ***6 to update the firmware on my obi200.

  17. I installed an OBI200 at home;
    and setup speed dials and trusted callers in OBITalk account;
    Then I installed OBIon Apps on trusted callers’ cell phones;
    I was able to make calls from my home phone connected to the OBI200;
    I also able to make calls from trusted callers’ cell phone with OBIon App;

    Now, can anyone show me how to call my OBI200 home phone from other phones or OBIon App?
    I dialed the OBI number or Softphone number but unsuccessful to call my home phone!

    Thanks much for your helps!

  18. Question about porting existing number … Several years ago, I ported my old land line number to Ooma, and it’s worked fine. That number is used by all my contacts, and it would be no fun to lose it. Am I reading correctly, by going to Google Voice, there is not a way to keep my old number? According to Google Voice Help:

    “Corporate, landline, and VoIP numbers can’t be transferred. VoIP numbers include those used by Vonage, Skype, RingCentral, SendHub, Line2 and other telephone service providers.”

    • You’ll need some sort of intermediate cell phone carrier to go from Ooma to (Cell Phone) to Google Voice. I know people have used a free or 99 cent SIM card that comes loaded with a tiny bit of airtime in order to be that intermediary (I believe T-Mobile sells these but I’m thinking there are other options), but I haven’t done it myself.

  19. I’m in the same situation as you, Paul. I have read that a number can be ported from Ooma to T-Mobile (don’t need a cellphone, either), then port from T-Mobile to GVoice. Would be interested to hear if anyone here has done this.

    • Dee … that sounds like an ideal way to do this, especially the part about “(don’t need a cellphone, either)”. Hopefully someone with experience doing this will reply with the process!

  20. I have the same question. I have a number that I would like to port over, that I’ve been using for 25+ years. I don’t want to lose it if something gets canceled later down the line.

  21. I need to support 2 lines …. any options other than the 202 that I should be considering ? Can I get two google voice number on one gmail account ? If not then how do I do two different gmail logins into the 202 device for my two numbers that will be on different google accounts ?

  22. Google how to transfer your land line to google voice.
    I love Obitalk and simple to use and great and quick responses if you
    have difficulty. I love it , crystal clear and 1 week with free phone and very happy.
    If you worry that you are not righteous this may not be for you as the google
    voice may be hacked.
    1. if you want to keep your land line get a burner phone,
    transfer your land line to that phone. Then transfer the burner phone number now a cell
    number to gv. LOVE THIS!

  23. In case anyone is still following this post and the comments from Ooma users about setting up Obi with Google Voice … here is a followup with my experience.

    As others have mentioned, I was concerned about porting my existing Ooma “home phone” number. I don’t want to lose the number which I’ve had for 30 years, all the way back to the land line days.

    From the comments on this post, I understood that an Ooma number won’t port directly to GV … it requires first porting the Ooma phone number to a mobile device, and from there it could be ported to GV.

    The good news is that I have accomplished this – my “home number” at Ooma is now at GV and my phones are working through Obi.
    The sort of bad news – it was a bit arduous and cost $70.

    1. Purchased OBi202 (NewEgg, $30).

    2. Activated Google Voice on my Gmail account. Then requested a “new number” on GV. I got errors by designating my “home number” (Ooma) as the “verification number”. I had to give GV a different phone number … I guess GV will only accept a mobile number.

    3. Got a new mobile number at T-Mobile – purchased the cheapest SIM ($10) plus the cheapest minutes package (another $10).

    4. I had T-Mobile port in my “home phone” from Ooma to the new SIM account. This took several days.

    6. When T-Mobile finally verified it had my number from Ooma, I then had GV port in the number as the prime number. Google charged $20 for this port. The port from T-Mobile to GV took 24 hours.

    Total cost = $70 (Obi + SIM + GV). I’ll be ahead in 1 year after saving the Ooma annual fees.

  24. We purchased our OBi200 in December of 2015. We had already ported our old landline number to a cellphone. That was going to be our “cord cutting statement.” Then I saw a YouTube video about the OBi200. It was a cheap method to get a “home phone” back. Just one less than $50 purchase and no phone bills, ever. Just like it says in the article. Follow the easy instructions, pick a new phone number and you get crystal clear calls. Your computer doesn’t have to be on, just your router.

  25. I purchased a OBi200 a few months ago and it works well for calls within the continental US. Unfortunately, there is little to no information on how to make international calls with it using a Google Voice account. I suppose it’s because they want everyone to switch to using smart phones apps.

    • I don’t use mine for long distance but my understanding is this is just a voip device and google voice charges for long distance though it is cheaper. For instance a call to Japan google charges .03/min. Maybe you need to put some money on your account.

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