NetTALK DUO: Review

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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With businesses depending on US and Cananadian customers and a gaggle of family members in the states, we've been looking for a stable, solid solution for cheap (read: free) telephone calls to and from the states.

When I first moved here 3.5 years ago, I brought part of a complex business multi-line VOIP business system. Heck, the handsets were over $250 alone. But it bit the dust, the main server-based box took a poopoo and we were left with nothing.

Our LD phone bill has been outrageous.

We tried MajikJack and it did not fit our needs on several levels, inconsistent call quality being one. We tried a virtual 800 number and the quality was, to put it politely*, "suboptimal." There are a few players we hadn't yet tried along with the Google Talk thing, which was next in line to be tried.

Our forced-ranked criteria:
1) Top call quality
2) Stable Platform
3a) Initial Cost
3b) Ongoing cost


There was recently an ad on DR1 looking for distributors for NetTalk DUO. Although I had no intention in being a distributor, the ad did spark enough curiosity to do some cursory research on the unit. I came away somewhat impressed, minimally enough to give it a try. It seemed to fit the above qualities, but a real-world test is what would matter.

So I had Mom CB go to a CompUSA in Tampa last week to buy one with a return caveat. The cost was roughly $70 for the unit and $30 a year thereafter. She's not the most technical person and with the help of excellent customer service got the unit configured with a Tampa Bay 813 area code (and a cool, easily remembered number.) She called me...I answered...and the quality of sound was excellent. Not just good. But as excellent as a traditional land line phone. I called her. Same thing. We went back and forth for a couple of days, different times, to further test based on web traffic. The NetTalk Duo passed with flying colors.

It arrived in the DR today, and I hooked it up. It's the size of a pack of cigarettes, but skinnier, with three ports (power, ethernet and phone) and three status lights. I couldn't get it to work at first until I changed ports on the router (the router wouldn't recognize its existance in the first port, go figure.) Bingo! Success! We made numerous calls to FL and NY, all with excellent quality.

So I now can recommend the NetTALK DUO as a solid, quality, low cost solution to calling the states and Cananada free from the DR. Of course, the long-term satisfaction is yet to be determined. I'll report back.

So far, most satisfied. :classic:

Free Local and Long Distance Calling with netTALK's DUO




*Record this date, this may be a First...
 
Jan 17, 2009
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Could you please post with which router and Internet service you're using it? I need to replace ours too. We had a Vonage which worked ok but we couldn't make it work with the newer Codetel Thompson router. Thanks
 

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
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I have recently gone the NetTalk Duo route also.

I configured it on my laptop to have the option to use it with the laptop on my return to Tampa.
I plugged it into my 8 Port Switch which is plugged into my Claro Modem/Router (Thompson TG580).
Configured and it worked with no problems.

I plugged it into my Linksys Router which is plugged into the Claro Modem/Router (Thompson TG580).
The green light came on and it was working with no trouble at all.

I have Vonage in Tampa and Vonage has now come out with the option of "Extensions", (FREE!).
"Extentions" is Vonage's option of specifying one additional phone as your Vonage line also.
(Outbound calls ONLY, unless perhaps you transfer your Vonage number to your extension number)

It works just as if you were using your home Vonage line, just need to dial an "Access Code".
What's neat about this is that I have the Vonage World Plan which allows me to call the U.S., Canada, P.R and 60 countries FREE. Including landlines in the D.R.

I made my NetTalk Duo number, my Vonage "Extention" number. IT WORKS!!!!!

One thing you must remember CB, that is the "Fair Usage" clause.
That is determined (According to Vonage) by the number of calls, number of unique numbers called, etc.

I did not really read the fine print on the NetTalk Duo (I get/make maybe 10 calls a month).

I have not fully utilized the NetTalk Duo, waiting for my new Panasonic DECT 6.0 cordless phones to arrive next week.

The ones I ordered come with a separate "Range Extender (Repeater)" unit, which reportedly will double the range.

So I will probably be able to use the phones in both houses.
You can place the "Range Extender" in a separate location to maximize your range.

I have had MANY cordless phones and the DECT 6.0 technology is great, the phones work great in the house (I use them now for my Claro line). In the past other cordless phone were severely hampered by the concrete block walls.

DECT 6.0 technology is Router, Wi-FI, Microwave(Not for cooking the phone, lol) friendly, they do not use the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz frequencies.

Don
 
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windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
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The NetTalk Duo solution looks like a great step up from MagicJack at a reasonable price point. I have no need for it at this time because MagicJack (and SKYPE and GOOGLE) works well for me. If MagicJack disappears in the future, the NetTalk solution will certainly be a good one to investigate. Keep us posted on how it works after a few months of usage.
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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Could you please post with which router and Internet service you're using it? I need to replace ours too. We had a Vonage which worked ok but we couldn't make it work with the newer Codetel Thompson router. Thanks
I have a Thompson Speedtouch 336 DSL modem and a Netgear WNDR3300 wireless router.

I don't have Vonage.

I got a Tampa number from NetTALK that rings here in the DR. When Tampa-based Mom CB wants to call me, she makes a local call on her Tampa number to the NetTALK Tampa number.

As long as I have access to high speed innerweb and a computer or router, I can receive free calls from anywhere and can place free calls to North America.
 

AZB

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
12,269
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83
I use google voice on my android phone. I use the app groove ip. this app allows me to login with my google voice account. Now my cell phone becomes an american phone when i am in wifi zone. I can receive american calls on my atlanta number and I can make all free calls to usa. in addition, I also have my dominican republic sim card to act as a local cell line. It's like having 2 phones in one. Now my cell phone rings when someone calls me from usa and also my local line rings when someone calls me in DR. My out going calls to usa are free through google voice (through app groove IP).
I do not need a laptop to be on, just need a wifi and I am all set.
This nettalk box seems like an excellent alternative to magicjack, considering no computer has to be turned on at all.
Good info cobraboy. Now if you send me your tampa number via PM, I will call you from my google voice setup on my cell phone so you can see how well it work. Just for testing purposes.
AZB
 
Jan 17, 2009
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Thanks, Cobraboy. My problem seems to be the new Codetel modem/router. We got several appliances that didn't work anymore after we changed to the newer model, Vonage being one of them. But that's fine. Too expensive anyway so we cancel the account.

AZB, magicjack just came out with magicjack plus that doesn't need a modem. It may not work with any of the ADSL modem/routers that Codetel gives us. There are many problems reported on the web that it doesn't even work with some AT&T modem/routers in the US. Not worth trying. For now, I'll stick to my regular magicjack but it's a pain when using a laptop.

There is an alternative to the NetTalk which doesn't seem to have mixed reviews (at least on Amazon) that works with google voice. The OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP Telephone Adapter and the same model without the service bridge. I just don't understand well enough how this one works or google voice for that matter. Need to do a lot more research on both units.
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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Good info cobraboy. Now if you send me your tampa number via PM, I will call you from my google voice setup on my cell phone so you can see how well it work. Just for testing purposes.
AZB
Will do, but I have to buy another telephone first. Until then I have to plug the Codetel ot NetTALK wire into the only phone we have...:classic:
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
I've had various voips over the 5 + years here in the DR but recently switched due to economic reasons to Google Voice based on Aftab's recommendation. I use the computer now but will be getting a cheap wifi phone sometime in the future. It has worked fine for me for the last month or so.
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
There is a drawback to using the Google phone service if you use the computer as opposed to a wifi phone; the tone of the ringer can't be changed and is not very distinctive nor strong.
 

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
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Another drawback I have with Google Voice is it sometimes goes off-line somewhere in the system and simply does not allow me to make calls.

Last time this happen was just over a month ago, it lasted a couple days.

I use my Google Voice via a Linksys ATA box and thus do not need the computer on to "Receive" calls.
Still need the computer on to make calls.

The problem may not have been Google but the interface of using IKPall through the ATA box, hard to know why.

Been using Google Voice for about 2 years +/-.

I have options of using Skype with my Skype WiFi phone, Skype cordless phones and Skype desk phone.

I am not that happy with the voice quality on any of the 3 types of Skype phones.
They also just don't have a very good "feel" to the handsets.

When my new Panasonic DECT 6.0 phones arrive, I will transfer the Skype number to the netTALK DUO.

Right now my Google Voice rings a Panasonic DECT 6.0 cordless phone. Again, they are GREAT phones.
Not only are they hands free speaker handsets, they also have TALKING Caller ID.

Don
 

AZB

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
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you guys have to try google voice over android phones. The setup is easy and the voice quality is amazing. No laptop to connect, no cordless phones and no ata adapters. I have an american line on my cell phone whenever I have wifi around. I love it.
AZB
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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you guys have to try google voice over android phones. The setup is easy and the voice quality is amazing. No laptop to connect, no cordless phones and no ata adapters. I have an american line on my cell phone whenever I have wifi around. I love it.
AZB
I buy minutes from Orange on my phone. Plus I don't have an Android-and most likely never will-so it's not an option.

We used NetTALK for over an hour twice today, once incoming, once outgoing. Crystal clear.
 

arrugala

Bronze
Nov 7, 2010
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I Have an android phone HTC. but google talk not available outside the US.So how do u get it to work. inDR?
 

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
5,412
565
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you guys have to try google voice over android phones. The setup is easy and the voice quality is amazing. No laptop to connect, no cordless phones and no ata adapters. I have an american line on my cell phone whenever I have wifi around. I love it.
AZB
That's great for the single person living alone, but for those with families, it just won't do, taking the phone line with you.
 

Ben

Member
Feb 2, 2004
148
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I've been using NetTalk for over 6 months now in Cabarete where my internet provider is the cable company. I had some issues early on and decided to upgrade my internet speed one notch above the cheapest plan. Since then the NetTalk device has worked great. In my experience call quality is much better than MagicJack. The price sure beats paying a monthly fee for Vonage.
Ben
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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One thing you must remember CB, that is the "Fair Usage" clause.

Don
Did some research and seems that you have to get an upgrade plan...IF you exceed 5000 minutes a month. I think we're safe...

Thanks for the heads' up...
 

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
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When I take the wife to Florida, she lives on the phone calling the D.R.
With the phones being speaker-phones, she would just leave it on speaker and jab away.

Thanks for taking the time to read the fine print CB, she was racking up many, many hours a week.

Kinda had me worried a little bit.

Besides the minutes, I know Vonage has that "number of unique phone numbers" clause.

I found the following on Vonage Fair Usage Policy: It's 3,000 minutes

Because over 95% of Vonage's residential unlimited calling plan customers use less than 3000 minutes per month and do not have any unusual usage patterns, a customer's aggregate usage may be considered outside of normal use if it exceeds 3000 minutes per month IN COMBINATION with one or more of the following, including, but not limited to, excessive:

* unique numbers called
* call lengths
* call forwarding/transferring
* conference calling
* short duration calls

Based on such a combination, Vonage may determine that abnormal, unreasonable or impermissible usage is occurring, and may take appropriate steps described below to enforce this Policy and the Terms of Service ("Vonage's Rights").
They don't really define the limit on "unique numbers called".

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And netTALK DUO limits in addition to the 5,000 minutes includes the following:

For example, if you subscribe to our residential service plan, and your usage is inconsistent with normal residential use, you may thereafter be required to pay our applicable, metered rates that netTALK.com applies for commercial service for all future use of our service for the device that was inconsistent with normal residential use. Unlimited voice services are provided primarily for continuous live dialog between two individuals. Lack of continuous dialog activity, unusual call patterns, excessive conferencing or call forwarding, excessive calling to inflated tariff areas, excessive numbers and/or consistent excessive usage will be considered indicators that use may be inconsistent with normal use, or that impermissible use may be occurring and may trigger an account review or further action by us. We may determine inconsistent use based on material deviations from the usage patterns and levels of most of our customers using the same and/or similar service plans,
And like Vonage, how many numbers called is "pie in the sky" based on customer average.

Don
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
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And like Vonage, how many numbers called is "pie in the sky" based on customer average.

Don
It's just their way of keeping commercial call centers from using it. If 100 calls a day to different numbers are seen, it gives them a clue...