More on Magic Jack

After reviewing the pros and cons of the Magic Jack voice over IP service recently, users of the device chimed in with comments of their own. I can't substantiate these claims, since I don't have the device myself, but I've shared them below for discussion and comment.

Some readers bring up new issues; others offer workarounds for the ones I brought up last time.

Here's a summary of comments by users of Magic Jack:

  • Call quality issues: Some users report connection issues, including dropped calls. Others report having no problems.
  • Thumbs down on customer service: Complaints about Magic Jack's customer service are common.
  • Three-way calling works one way. Two users report that the three way calling feature only works with incoming calls.
  • Supporting more than one phone. While Magic Jack supports only one connected telephone, you can, according to one user, use the Magic Jack in conjunction with a powered USB hub to power all telephones in your house. Household telephone wiring is wired from each jack to a central termination box on the outside of the home. For this to work, one would need to disconnect the incoming telephone company twisted pair wiring in that box. The Magic Jack could then be plugged into the powered USB hub, with a USB patch cord running to the computer and another telephone patch cord connecting the Magic Jack to the nearest RJ-11 wall jack. This won't work if you have DSL, as broadband is delivered over the same twisted pair cable that provides phone service. This is not supported by Magic Jack.
  • Adding a UPS: While Magic Jack won't work during a power outage, phone service can be continued for a short time if both the device and computer are running off of a UPS battery backup device.
  • Unexpected call restriction: One user reported that Magic Jack support told him that it cuts off calls after one hour.
  • Calls interrupt computer users: One user reports that incoming calls interrupt what a user is doing on the computer to which Magic Jack is attached. This can be annoying for the person working on it.
  • Turn up your hearing aid: One user reports that it can be hard to hear messages in Magic Jack's voice mail service during playback. Another reports that voice mails are sent in an e-mail message that includes the caller ID and an audio clip of the message that can be saved.
  • Prices heading up? Don't expect to pay $20 per year for Magic Jack service forever. In a Computerworld interview with Dan Borislow, the inventor of Magic Jack and CEO of Palm Beach, Fla.-based Ymax Corp., which markets the product: "We haven't yet changed the price structure." [emphasis added].

If you have additional comments about the operation and performance of Magic Jack, please post them here.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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