Google Voice with Landline phones


#1

Hi all…I’m new here and seeking some hand holding and assistance. I just recently moved my folks into a care center. The CC has Wifi and I want to use those landline phones and their number for it on Google Voice. They have a cellphone at the moment but it is on my sisters plan and will be disconnected once they get or can get Google voice. Is this possible or do they have to have a cell plan. They have no money as all of it is going to their care center so I’m trying to come up with an option that won’t cost them anything. If this is possible, can someone be kind enough to give me step by step instructions as to how I can achieve this. Thank you, in advance! Mary


#2

You do not need to link a cell phone number (or even a landline number) with Google Voice. When you set up GV, you can select your GV number (Google gives you a few choice numbers to pick from). Steps:

  1. Buy an Obi 200 adapter to bridge between CC Modem/Router Wifi and landline. This is pretty much the only upfront cost - assuming you have a landline phone handy.

  2. The basic connection is: Wifi modem/router <— Obi —> landline phone

  3. Set up Google Voice online.

  4. Follow Obi instructions to setup Obi account/connection online.

Now, give out GV phone # to mom and all her family and friends. When they call the GV number, any landline/cell number registered under the GV number will ring. Free calls to any phone (cell, landline) within US and Canada.


#3

But, if I want to use the number they have had for over 30 years, can I do that? I have already purchased the OBI200 and the Wifi dongle since they will not have their own router but will be using the Wifi at the care center. My mind is just not wrapping around all this and every where I read gives different information…must have a cell number first…add the landline number to the cell phone and then port that number. I"m so confused! I’m not completely computer illiterate but I’m a far, far cry from a tech…thus needing the hand holding.


#4

If they’ve had a number for over 30 years – presumably landline – do they intend to keep using / paying for that number? If not, then they will lose control of that landline number, and it will not make sense to link that number to GV.

Truth be told, it’s been 5-6 years since I’ve used GV. I don’t have a landline at all, just GV and a cell phone - which I link to GV. But the cell phone linking is entirely optional. I have delinked it before, with no detriment to my ability to use GV.

Why not just follow step by step?

  1. Do Google first. Use your folks’ Google account to set up GV. Same Google account means they will only have to maintain one Google contact list for mail, text and voice. Jot down the new GV# assigned in this process.

  2. After (1), then just go to Obi - and follow their step-by-step directions. My Obi is connected to my modem/router. Not sure how that plays out at the CC.

Let us know how it all works out.


#5

You can call whatever telephone company issued that phone number and ask if you can move it to another service. Unfortunately the answer may be no, many old land line phone numbers are tied to a specific land area so are not portable to another service unless it is in the same specific region.


#6

In the US, telephone numbers can be ported to Google Voice. There will be a one-time charge to port a number in, and it will stay on GV after that.

And while GV can theoretically be used for voice calling over WiFi… don’t rely on it. If you want to be able to reach them reliably, they need a voice plan. WiFi calling can work well in a good, low-load environment, but the WiFi at a nursing home? I wouldn’t count on it.


#7

From the FCC: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/porting-keeping-your-phone-number-when-you-change-providers

If you’re switching service providers and remaining in the same geographic area, you can keep your existing phone number. This process – often referred to as phone number porting – can be done between wireline, IP and wireless providers.

Read the rest of the short explanation page for more details and the caveats.


#8

Thanks, everyone…I guess I wasn’t entirely clear. My folks just moved into this care center and we have discontinued their landline. But, we were hoping we could use the number in GV so they would not have to give out a new number to family and friends. This will be their only source of communication since they are 92 & 93 and cell phone technology is a bit too daunting for their brains to comprehend. The care center just switched to Fiber Optic Wifi and I was hoping it would be enough for the GV calling. If I need to pick a new number, I will but was just hoping to retain the old one. I do not mind paying the fee to port it over if I can. So, wilsontp, you do not think they would be able to even make a phone call over the Wifi? What if the folks did not have a computer? Could I set them up with a google account on mine and then just port their number? Thanks again…


#9

Just to clarify…we are trying to do this because they are on very limited funds and paying for phone service is not in the cards for them. A few other folks have some A T&T box that is not longer provided from AT&T and it cost them around 15.00 a month. If it was still available, I might have gone that route.


#10

Unfortunately, if the line is disconnected, it may already be too late to port it out. Some phone companies keep a telephone number reserved for a time. If that’s the case, you might be able to re-activate it for long enough to port it. You’ll have to ask them about that.

This is because the porting service is meant to move an active telephone number to a new service, and the porting process itself is what turns off your old service. (When the old phone company gets the porting request, they terminate your line of service automatically.) So a porting request may fail if the old line is already disconnected.

I wasn’t real clear on that, sorry. They will be able to use WiFi for calling, with either a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet. But it will not be reliable. It should work most of the time, but it will never be as reliable as landline or even cellular calling, because there are just more moving parts. If you don’t need 100% reliability, than the WiFi may be just fine. But it’s something you really will want to test on-site before making a decision to trust.

Since GV is accessed via the web, you can set it up on any computer or smart device. So yes, you can set it up using your PC. But note what I said above - if you have already terminated their telephone service, it might already be too late to port the number. (I’d suggest calling their phone company and asking.)


#11

I too have had bad experience with CC wifi - so s-l-o-w even for casual web surfing. Voice over a slow wifi can also be unpleasant (if not impossible). But hey, every CC is different, right?

As mentioned early on, it makes no sense to “port” a number that you no longer own. I should have emphasized Google WON’T let you do it anyway. But that shouldn’t be a show stopper. Just give the new GV # to the likely limited number of people that your folks will call regularly?

And as mentioned, just do it: bring a laptop and the Obi over to the CC. It’s not the most straightforward, but not so difficult either. Mostly step by step. And if you run into actual questions, just google or ask here. Best of luck!


#12

How to port your landline number to Google Voice


#13

Thank you so much for all this information. I have contacted the phone company and its going to cost me $30 to re-activate the number to port it over. So, I’m thinking I’ll just go with GV number and hand it out. Thank you for your wonderful instructions. I guess, once I test the WIFI with my laptop, I will know if its slow or not. I was thinking of buying them a WIFI extender, do you think that would help or just be a waste of my money? Thank you again!


#14

Thank you for responding to me…when I mentioned this method to the administrator at the home, she stated that she would have discouraged it a year ago because their WIFI was extremely slow but they ran new Fiber Optics and it was much better. But, I will try testing web-surfing first to see how that goes. I really don’t see my folks using the phone all that much but it will be nice to be able to get hold of them when we need to. I would just do a cellphone for them but they never remember how to use even the basis one or charge it up. I called the phone company and I can re-activate the number to port it over but its going to cost $30 to do that…I think I’ll do as you suggest and just go the new number route. One other question…it states on the instructions that you have to have a mobile number for the activation but I do not want to lose my cell number. Will this happen or am I reading things all wrong…thank you for responding to me and being so helpful.


#15

Well, I’m glad I did a test to GV…even if I re-activate the number, when I ran it through the GV number test it came back as not able to port from that area.


#16

Installing a WiFi extender there would probably be a bad idea. The nursing home should have multiple wireless access points, and there should already be one close enough to your parents’ room to get a good signal. if you can’t get a good signal in there, then let’s have that conversation once you have better data. Definitely do not buy one at this stage.

On that note, I’d suggest getting a copy of Acrylic WiFi, so you can get actual RSSI (signal strength) numbers if you need to make further decisions.


#17

Sounds like a good plan…I’ll respond back once I know more. Probably the first of next week.


#18

I saw that part too, but I really don’t recall actually needing to. Regardless, I set up mine years ago, so who knows? But one thing I know: I can always delink my cell # from Google Voice. And linking just means that when someone calls your GV#, all numbers linked will ring together. It doesn’t mean you can’t use your cell # for anything else. And again, you can always delink afterwards (assuming you really need to link in the first place).


#19

Thank you, Thank you…that makes me feel better about doing this process…I’m heading down there today with my laptop and will be checking to see how good the WIFI is and then hooking up their phones and hope I have the instructions down correct. I know I have to get a number from GV first, then sign into Obi and give them my number…I thought this would be easy but my mind is having quite the time wrapping around it…


#20

Best wishes for your success! As mentioned by others, I think this will mostly depend on the speed and quality of your CC’s wifi setup. Let us know.