MAGIC JACK: This is small device that enable you to make free phone calls to any part of the world. Further details below:

How Does Magic Jack Work?

Magic Jack is what is called a VOIP (voice over IP)provide. According to Wikipedia:

Voice-over-Internet protocol(VoIP, IPA: /vɔɪp/) is a protocol optimized for the transmission of voice through the Internet or other packet-switched networks. VoIP is often used abstractly to refer to the actual transmission of voice (rather than the protocol implementing it). This latter concept is also referred to as IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband, broadband telephony, and broadband phone

To be a little simpler, instead of running over your regular phone lines, MagicJack runs over the internet. The beauty of Magic jack is that the installation is so simple to use, and you can use the same phones that you were using before.

They have a little USB device that plugs into your computer, that you can plug your phones into.

However, even though it's so simple; there are a couple of things you might want to be careful about.

1) Make sure that you have a seperate internet line - if you are using DSL for your internet, and it's part of your phone line, you will have to get a seperate DSL line. Many phone companies have a seperate DSL service that you can get instead of the DSL and local phone service. For example, we bought AT&T's standalone DSL service at $20 / month with a 12 month service commitment.

Other options for Internet Service include cable internet from providers like comcast, satellite internet, or through your mobile carrier, like Verizon, Sprint or AT&T. However, these all cost above $35 / month.

2) Make sure you have enough phone cables to connect all of your phone lines around the house. You are going to have to connect all of the phones throughout your house to the USB cable.

If you only have one or two phones, it's fine, but over long distance, you're going to want to reline the house.

Yours Faithfully,
SELASI KOFFI ACKOM
Director
Rescue Aid Foundation
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Thanks Koffi - this looks pretty cool. And you're using it in Ghana to make free calls via the Internet in the US? Do you use it in cybercafes, carrying the Magic Jack USB device and an analog phone along with you, or do you have Internet access at home and/or office? 

I have to admit I think the web presence is pretty terrible, though, and reminds me of the old "As seen on TV" type magazine ads in Parade magazine. I wonder how it's working out for them and if they are planning an upgrade. 

Has anybody got experience with other tools that they'd recommend? How does this compare to Skype (which is alot more expensive) or other services? I really would like to find an open source solution, perhaps using software and/or a Google android phone like the motorola droid/milestone I've been experimenting with since August. 

Cheers, 

Tobias

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