Free* long distance

*It’s not actually free, since you pay an annual fee.

I finally broke down and bought one of these. I’ll use it primarily as a backup with my laptop when I’m traveling. It’s running on 64-bit Win7. So far, it works adequately. I had to do a bit of experimenting with USB ports to get it to ring a phone for incoming calls on the laptop.

  • Outgoing calls are not a problem. Plug it in and start making calls after a software install included on the dongle.
  • On the laptop, I had to try a number of USB ports before I found one that would ring the telephone on incoming calls. I’m not really concerned with that, since I won’t be using it for incoming calls.
  • The phone you plug in should have a REN (Ringer Equivalence Number) of 0.0 or the phone probably won’t ring. The REN is located on the bottom of the phone. If you’re buying a new phone, the REN should be listed on the box. If it isn’t, it means that the REN is high. Notwithstanding that, my Motorolla MD481 with a REN of 0.0 does not ring on incoming calls.
  • Voicemail and call forwarding are provided.
  • Be aware that it is a basic phone service, not an extravagant system like Vonage – which I use – or your local phone system.
  • 911 service is typical for a Voip phone system in that it’s NOT CONNECTED to local police, fire or any other type of local emergency service.
  • There are a limited number of Canadian area codes available should you choose to request a local phone number. For example, in Alberta, there are only two available area codes-one for Calgary and one for Edmonton.
  • When your computer goes to sleep, or is off, the phone isn’t available.
  • I don’t recommend it without a primary phone service in the house – whatever primary phone service you choose to use.

Again, let me be clear: Under no circumstance would I attempt to use it as my primary phone service.