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Old 01-16-2018, 08:12 PM
bizerta bizerta is offline
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Can a cell phone act like a house phone?

Can a cell phone act like my house phone?

The phone company is charging me $30 a month for a landline that I barely use. With a prepaid cell phone, I can get service for about $6.00 a month with one hour of talk ($0.10 per minute thereafter).

With my house phone, a line comes into my house to some sort of a junction box. I then have five physical phones (extensions) wired to that junction box. I can dial out from any phone. My wife and I can both talk at the same time to our children when they call, etc. Is there any way (or product) that can be a cell phone going to that junction box such that all my house phones can still be used as extensions? I would then migrate my house phone number to that cell phone provider.

In addition, cell reception in my area is spotty. As the junction box is in the basement, reception is really poor. Is there some device on which I can hook an auxiliary antenna up on my roof?
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:16 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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i have seen cordless house phone sets that somehow pair with a cellphone and seem to do what you are asking about
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:24 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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There are apps to do this and some service providers can do it as well. Usually what happens is that single number will call multiple devices on their own numbers. If you are using multiple cell phones you'll have all the costs of each device unless it's done under some sort of plan by the cell service provider. But you don't need a bunch of expensive smart phones at each extension.

I'd like to see something like Weisshund described. Since I work at home I'm here a lot and I get tired of having to drag my cell phone around with me wherever I go. It's almost guaranteed to ring if I leave it at the other end of the house.

I suppose this is meaningless to the generation that's grown up with cell phones.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:28 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Personally, I've never seen a device that would do what you are asking about, thought that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. However, you might want to take a look at a VOIP package and see if any of them have pricing that works for you. Vonage is the big one. I got rid of it when I no longer had any use for a home phone and their prices were getting to expensive, but their home page says $9.99/mo. I have no idea what caveats they have though. I do believe they have a product that will let you tie their device into your phone NID.
Also, look into what your broadband provider has to offer. I believe all of them have phone service and it might be cheaper to bundle it with your internet and cable.

As for getting better cell phone reception, there's a device called a microcell. It's basically a small cell tower (or at least acts like one) that your cell phone will grab on to. It connects to your home internet and routes your cell phone traffic though your internet connection. Back in the day, if you begged/asked nicely/explained how terrible your cell phone service is at home, some cell phone companies would give them to you for free. I have no idea if they still do that.
Even without that, poke around in your cell phone settings. Assuming you have a smart phone, most of them have a setting that will use the internet for voice calls if you have a 1)a good wifi signal and 2)a bad cell phone signal.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:33 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
There are apps to do this and some service providers can do it as well. Usually what happens is that single number will call multiple devices on their own numbers. If you are using multiple cell phones you'll have all the costs of each device unless it's done under some sort of plan by the cell service provider. But you don't need a bunch of expensive smart phones at each extension.

I'd like to see something like Weisshund described. Since I work at home I'm here a lot and I get tired of having to drag my cell phone around with me wherever I go. It's almost guaranteed to ring if I leave it at the other end of the house.

I suppose this is meaningless to the generation that's grown up with cell phones.
Check with either your cell phone provider or your POTS company (or poke around in your account online). What you're looking for may be called multi ring. I've seen that for POTS where someone can call that number and it'll ring other ones at the same time. I've never used it and don't know all the ins and outs of it, but I know it exists. There's also call forwarding, not sure if that's having a different number ring instead or another name for the same thing.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:33 PM
FinsToTheLeft FinsToTheLeft is offline
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We've got a Panasonic cordless system with Bluetooth support for two cell phones. Our chargers are in the kitchen next to the base unit and we can receive or make calls from any handset in the house using either our "landline" (really VoIP) or either cell phone.

Panasonic calls this Link2Cell.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:33 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
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Asterisk should be able to do all that stuff, though I am a bit hazy on the setup details, not having tried it.

Note that if you have decent wired (or wireless) Internet at your house then you can get phone numbers for $1-2 a month and use them over the 'net.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:37 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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https://www.vtechphones.com/design-t...onnect-to-cell
  #9  
Old 01-16-2018, 08:44 PM
Reply Reply is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinsToTheLeft View Post
We've got a Panasonic cordless system with Bluetooth support for two cell phones. Our chargers are in the kitchen next to the base unit and we can receive or make calls from any handset in the house using either our "landline" (really VoIP) or either cell phone.

Panasonic calls this Link2Cell.
This (a cordless phone with Bluetooth support to connect to a cell phone) will probably be your cheapest option, especially since it come with its own wireless system.

Otherwise, an external antenna-based amplifier (with a rooftop antenna) for the basement would be hundreds of dollars by itself.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:31 PM
KMS94 KMS94 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinsToTheLeft View Post
We've got a Panasonic cordless system with Bluetooth support for two cell phones. Our chargers are in the kitchen next to the base unit and we can receive or make calls from any handset in the house using either our "landline" (really VoIP) or either cell phone.

Panasonic calls this Link2Cell.
I too have a Panasonic system, and another benefit is you can leave the cell phone "over by the window" where it actually gets a signal. If I try to walk about the house while using the actual cell phone, it almost always drops the call.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:13 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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My solution was VoIP (via voip.ms). Got a 2nd hand box off of Amazon, unplugged the POTS connection on the outside, plugged the box into the house wiring*.

Yeah, a few bucks a month makes even Vonage look like a ripoff. Never mind the phone or cable companies.


* Cut and spliced a regular cord to make a crossover cord. Rarely needed now but I wanted to be sure.
  #12  
Old 01-17-2018, 08:24 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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We replaced our land line with a cellular base station (basically a cell phone in a box) which connects via a standard RJ-15 phone connection to a standard wireless handset. It's just another line on our cell plan, so it costs us about $10 a month, and it pretty much works exactly as our landline did, so I am saving $20 a month. I would just as soon get rid of it in favor of our two cell phones, but my wife insists on keeping a "house phone". Why? I don't ask.
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Old 01-17-2018, 12:20 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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On the other hand you need to consider the possibility of major emergency use. The landline system is a very ruggedly designed system. The cell phone system is not. So if there is a hurricane or similar catastrophe and you (also) have have an old fashioned dumb phone which doesn't require electricity (unlike an answering machine...) the landline will probably work when the cell phone doesn't. Likewise the landline knows your exact address when you call 911. The cell phone may only be close.
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:15 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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My mom recently got a little box from Verizon that does exactly what you're describing. She got to keep her old phone number and everything. From her perspective, it works exactly like her home phone used to, except that it's cheaper and she now has caller ID.

Quote:
Quoth PastTense:

On the other hand you need to consider the possibility of major emergency use. The landline system is a very ruggedly designed system.
Well, it used to be, at least. AT&T around here recently decided to completely discontinue the old system, and switch over to a 100% digital system that's just as (un)reliable as cell phones. That was what prompted Mom to finally switch over (though numerous instances of terrible treatment from AT&T in the recent past also contributed).
  #15  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:26 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Lots of phones can use your wifi network instead of the phone network. My T-Mobile iPhone can and does. I don't need to give a crap about cell phone coverage (even though there's a tower 1/4 mile away so its almost never an issue).

So if I lived in outer bumfuck where there's only 1/2 a bar of service, or no service, I'm just fine as long as my internet is still working.

Of course, that wouldn't help me much if I'm away from the house but in the same area.

Here's the iPhone doc on wifi calls; https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203032
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2018, 03:43 PM
cmosdes cmosdes is offline
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I went with ooma. It is a bit expensive to startup and it is just voip, but it costs me less than $5/month and I don't need any special handsets and can use the handsets I have in the house. In the end it is cheaper than vonage and I've found it to be very reliable.
  #17  
Old 01-17-2018, 03:58 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
So if I lived in outer bumfuck where there's only 1/2 a bar of service, or no service, I'm just fine as long as my internet is still working.
And there's the rub, IMO. Your ISP goes down, and so does your phone. I have Comcast as my ISP; we probably suffer an outage of 10 minutes to two hours at least once a month.

And, similarly, if your power goes down, unless you have a UPS attached to your modem, that'll also take your phone down.

If you live in an area where you still have the traditional landline system, it may well be more foolproof than either your power or your ISP. But, yes, you're probably going to be paying a premium (compared to cutting that cord) for that security.
  #18  
Old 01-21-2018, 06:38 PM
glowacks glowacks is offline
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We have phone service that comes in the same line as our cable internet (and TV if we paid for it). It works fine when the power is out, assuming that you have a corded phone that can work without power, of which we keep exactly one of precisely because of this utility. I don't know if the cable modem that splits off the telephone and internet signals has a battery backup, or if it can be powered entirely by the cable coming in for pushing telephone service through it into the house's phone system, but I explicitly remember the power going out recently and receiving calls. Not having caller ID on our corded phone, I answered every call we received. I intentionally wasted the time of someone from the NRA trying to get donations (why he thought our house was a good place to look, I don't know, but we also receive mailers from them sometimes. We're the only people to ever live at this address.)
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:28 PM
The Original Bob The Original Bob is offline
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If you have dsl or cable internet, port your landline number to Google Voice. Get an OBI and connect a cordless phone setup to it. You can also use Google Voice to forward calls to your cell phones.

It's $20 to port to Google Voice, after which it's free calling. The only cost for an OBI is to purchase it.

https://www.obitalk.com/obinet/
  #20  
Old 01-23-2018, 09:13 AM
Khendrask Khendrask is offline
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Check with your phone company.. I just tried to drop a landline from one house down here, and was told that I cannot drop it, it is required by law, but I could reduce it to absolutely basic service for about $8/month.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:46 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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If your phone company tells you that you're required by law to keep on using the service that you're paying them for, then ask someone else. Or tell them that you're going to stop paying them, but that they're required by law to keep giving you basic service.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:01 AM
wolfpup wolfpup is online now
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I picked up one of these cellular gateways when I was going to drop my landline, which I think is literally what the OP is asking about. I think Amazon sells them now. I ended up keeping the landline so I've only done rudimentary testing with this thing, but it seems to work. The BT model lets you connect one standard telephone to the gateway, so if the phone is a cordless base station with multiple handsets it does the same thing as Panasonic's Link2Cell, but with any telephone. The BTTN model can also connect to the home's phone wiring, so it enables all the phones in the house. (An important caution when connecting any device like this to the home wiring system is to disconnect the system from the telco service line, which continues to supply voltage even when service is cancelled and can damage devices like this.)

I can't attest to how reliable it may be in the long term. The two disadvantages I noted are (a) the Bluetooth range is very limited, so wherever you normally leave your cell phone to charge has to be very close to the device for it to work reliably, and (b) call display isn't fully functional -- IIRC, it picks up the incoming number from the cell phone's call display, but not the name. I think years ago there were also complaints that it didn't work with some cell phones. Caveat emptor, YMMV, etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:42 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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The one my mom got, the box itself connects to the cell network, without having to go through a separate cell phone. So you just need to make sure to put the box someplace with good cell reception (and, of course, within cord's reach of one of your phone outlets).
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