Internet phone

I recall hearing about a (free?) internet phone service that connects to a phone in the callers house, so that the caller doesn’t have to sit in front of his computer while speaking on the phone, but can’t recall its name. Can anyone help?


Edit: n/m, misunderstood the OP

Magic jack?

You might be referring to VoIP which is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s not free but it is very cheap. I use VoIP and speak to my daughter in the UK (I’m in Aus) for eight cents. It would be free if my daughter was using the same Voice Service Provider (VSP) but she’s not. The call is untimed so we can talk forever for the eight cents. I have a cable connection and use an Analogue Telephone Adaptor (ATA) which connects to my router/modem and a normal cordless phone with four extensions.

Skype is pretty darn near free. Unlimited long distance calls to North America is $3 a month and you can get a number so people can call you for pretty darn cheap too. You can buy wireless handsets that plug into your computer that are reasonably cheap now (I got one for $20 on craigslist) and there’s even ones that are more expensive but connect directly to the wireless network so your computer doesn’t even need to be on.

The Magicjack appears to be the same sort of idea, but with a much flashier “as seen on TV!” type presentation. It also appears to be cheaper overall for just North America. The best thing about Skype (and similar services) is that the online-to-online calls are free from anywhere to anywhere else, which you do not appear to be able to do with the Magicjack

There are a large number of VOIP providers to choose from these days. In the US, most of them will offer you some variant of unlimited calling anywhere in the US and Canada for a flat fee:

I went through a bunch of those reviews several months back. I’m using Phone Power.

Most of them provide you with an adapter that sits on your network between your cable or dsl modem and your computer or router, or simply hangs off your router. They’ll probably tell you not to do it that last way, but that’s what I wound up doing, and it works OK. A normal phone plugs into the adapter. Magicjack’s version plugs into a USB port.

If you’re interested in eventually being able to use their service with a SIP phone over any wifi connection, you will need a provider that opens up their SIP credentials. Phone Power doesn’t, and I may switch providers down the road for exactly that reason.

You can plug any phone into a MagicJack. I use a cordless phone that has two additional handsets in other rooms.

Much as I hate infomercials, this thing is well worth the price … it is actually clearer than my landline. Don’t expect any customer service though; you are on your own with this thing.