Ooma Office Review

I have posted questions about the Office and Telo in various forums, but I’d like to have a summary/review of the Office in one place. I’ll try to keep this up-to-date by adding/subtracting features as Ooma implements them.

PRO:

  1. Call quality is great. Sounds as good as Telo, maybe even better.

  2. Call Transfer is awesome and works extremely well. Can transfer to another physical extension or a virtual extension like a cell phone. Works well like a pbx.

  3. Linx’s DECT works very well. No problems registering to the base.

  4. Extensions work well and has own voicemail box for each extension (max extensions is 20).

  5. Conference Bridge works well (need to subscribe to multiple lines to have multiple calls to conference). Max = ? (unknown since I haven’t tested and Ooma hasn’t responded to my question).

  6. If you want virtual receptionist to be the first to answer all phone calls, it works very well. You can schedule your business hours so that the virtual receptionist to announce the “open” message during business hours and announce the “close” message when you’re business is closed.

  7. Capable of making 5 concurrent outbound calls if subscribed to 5 lines or more (Telo is maxed out at 2)
    8… Fax works well, although I haven’t tested much

  8. Alarm (haven’t tested, so not pro or con, but Office has an option to set an extension with alarm) so it should work. It’s reported by Telo users in the forums that the Telo works fine with alarm.

  9. Compared to other business voip providers (Phonebooth, Ring Central, etc) the Office uses regular phones rather than IP phones, which are much more expensive.

  10. Support is supposed to be 24/7, but I haven’t used them that much. (for Telo, I believe it’s only Ooma’s business hours M-F 7-7 PST; S-S 8-5 PST)

  11. Less expensive than other business voip providers

  12. Music-on-hold works, but you can only load an mp3 file for it. It’s not radio or Pandora.

  13. Free number porting (Telo charges $40 per line)

  14. Unlimited local and long distance to U.S. and Canada (same as Telo, but some voip provider impose a limit).


    CON:

  15. No Call log (Telo already has)

  16. No blacklist (Telo already has)

  17. No 2nd line inclusion (Telo includes 2 lines with one line subscription for $10/month, but with Office you must subscribe to a 2nd line to have 2 lines, total $40/month)

  18. No voicemail buttons on the base, so there’s no telling that you have a message pending (Telo already has and blinks orange when there’s a message)

  19. Holiday schedule doesn’t work. This is a bug. I’ll update this post when Ooma fixes it.

  20. If you set your phone extensions to ring rather than having virtual receptionist answer the incoming calls, the virtual receptionist does NOT help you answer additional incoming calls if you’re busy on another line.

  21. Need to subscribe to multiple lines to use conference bridge, $20 per line. Telo already has 3 way conference if this is all you need.

  22. Even when subscribed to 10 lines, you can only make 5 concurrent outbound calls, but can receive 10 via virtual extensions.

  23. Does not work with HD2 handsets (I was able to register the HD2 to the base and successfully make/receive calls, but other functions of the HD2 don’t work.)

  24. No option to turn off call waiting beep (Telo already has)

  25. Call queuing is not available.

  26. toll free or vanity number is not available.

  27. No Google Voice Extensions (Telo already has)

One more in the CON line:

SUMMARY:
The scenarios describe below result in incoming callers getting an error message saying: “We are sorry but all lines are currently busy, please call again later”. Ooma office is missing a general voice mailbox and has bugs in handling external virtual extensions (with call waiting and ring group).

DETAIL:

I see this more as a bug than a restriction of the system but nevertheless, it diminishes my confidence in Ooma not messing things up.
Setup description:

  • 1 Ooma phone line
  • ext 101 - office phone
  • ext 105 - virtual extension (another telos system at another location).

Scenario 1:

  • Customer calls main number, picks ext 105 and start a conversation (this has been forwarded to external number)
  • Another customer calls main number, picks ext 101: phone rings, you pickup and have a conversation.

Scenario 2:

  • Customer calls main number, picks ext 105 and start a conversation (this has been forwarded to external number)
  • Another customer calls but this time picks 105 - customer gets an error message: “All lines are busy, plz try again later”.
    This is A BUG! There are only two acceptable scenarios here:
  1. extension gets a call waiting call (as if it was a local office phone)
  2. caller gets immediately sent to voice mail for virtual extension


    Scenario 3:
  • In addition to the two extensions 101/105, there is now a mapping (press 2) from the virtual receptionist to a ring group
    which includes both extensions: 101 & 105.
  • Customer calls main number, picks ext 105 and start a conversation (this has been forwarded to external number)
  • Another customer calls main number and from virtual receptionist, presses 2 and gets the error message: “All lines are busy…”
    That is a BUG or a broken/screwed up feature…
    The call to the ring group should have rung the local phone.

It appears ooma office doesn’t distinguish between:

  • general outgoing calls
  • virtual extensions call forwarding
  • virtual extension call waiting

Until they do, your small office will need AT LEAST one extra phone line if you use a virtual extension.
I haven’t tested the ring group scenario using lynx with a second office phone but this might be another
case of needing a second phone line.

Unless Ooma admits that this is a bug and fixes promptly, this scenario kind of sucks and greatly diminishes my trust in Ooma.
It is NEVER EVER acceptable to give an incoming caller a message “all lines are busy”. The system needs a “office general voice mail”
where you send all overflow calls. You just don’t send them away, EVER!

This is an issue and we are working on fixing it. The problem is happening because we have only turned on enforcement of outbound trunk limits, but not inbound trunk limits. The way it is supposed to work is that the second call should get a busy signal. Because we are letting the second call through, there may not be enough trunks to make the outgoing call to the virtual extension. We are working on the fixing the issue that prevents us from turning on inbound trunk limits, then the problem will go away.

We are also looking into an option so you can have inbound calls go to one of your voicemail boxes if you do not have enough lines to handle an incoming call.

This is logical.

When you run out of trunks (phone lines), the system should do 2 things:

  1. Send the caller to voice mail
  2. Send an email to the system administrator to notify them of a “out of trunks” incoming call so they can remedy
    the situation and get more trunks when those emails get to frequent.

Ooma’s publicity claims: small business phone starting at $20/mo is a bit of a sham!
You need AT LEAST 2 trunks even with a 1 person office: 1 for making a call and 1 to get call-waiting/voice mail

But it gets much worse when you add more lines.
Here are a few scenarios where Ooma office maxes out in ridiculous ways…

Customer gets “All lines are busy” message with 9 trunks unused:

SCENARIO-1:

  • I pay for 10 trunks
  • 4 in-house (main + 3 lynx) and we all forward for simultaneous ring on our respective cell phone)
  • 4 virtual extension employees.
  • Everybody on the ring group (the sales extension)
  • 1 in-house outgoing call and 1 incoming calls to virtual extensions (total of 2 established calls)
  • A call comes in for the sales ring group and the caller gets a “all lines are busy” despite the fact that there are 8 free trunks!!!

SCENARIO-2:

  • I pay for 10 trunks
  • 1 office phone
  • 10 virtual extensions (sales force) are on one ring group
  • 1 established outgoing call (from office to incoming to virtual extension)
  • 1 incoming sales call to ring group and you get the error: “All lines are busy” when only 1 trunk out of 10 is in use


    The current implementation is flawed.
    You need 1 trunk for every phone you want to simultaneously ring outside the office (call forward or virtual extension)
    PLUS however many calls might be already established.

PROBLEM/BUG: Ooma office does not distinguish between established conversation consuming a trunk and ringing an
external phone (otherwise known as signaling) and requires that you pay a full trunk to ring a phone.

It should be as people intuitively understand: You need 1 trunk for each established conversation, not to ring the phone!

Seriously Ooma?!?!?!
Please don’t get overly greedy at the expense of your good name and a flawless service.
Deliver a service that can claims “never a busy signal” (i.e. out of trunk, go to virtual receptionist
and get forwarded to that extension’s voice mail).

Yes Yes, I did see the message about the “possible future feature” of going to voice mail if you run out of trunks.
Two things about that:

  1. It’s pretty self explanatory that this should be a PRIORITY MUST HAVE feature, not just “we’re looking at”
  2. Even if you this feature, it is ridiculous that one would have to pay for such over-capacity to ensure that the
    phone will ring if you use a combination of forwarding and/or virtual extensions and ring group.

I agree with these posts 100%. Any incoming calls in excess of paid lines should go to voicemail. Until this issue is address - no sale. Sorry OOMA.

I agree 100% as well. Unfortunately, I ponied up the $$$ w/o properly doing my due diligence (hence, no one to blame but myself), so I’m currently stuck while waiting for more features. I mistakenly believed that Ooma Office had all (or at least most) of the Telo features, plus a few extra features catered for small business. At the rate at which I see said features being implemented, we will probably cut our losses within 6 months… :frowning:

Yes, for my part the good folks at Ooma graciously offered me a refund on the Office box.
I will take residence with phone.com until such a time that the Ooma office product matures a little more.
It’s really too bad. I “wanted” that ooma office to be fantastic.

The problem they face is how they are following the old PBX trunking paradigm too closely.
The other approach used by most VOIP providers have you use SIP phones. The phone
plugs directly in your network (ethernet jack) and has more built-in smarts. You don’t have
to buy hardware from your provider (ooma office / telos are ATA boxes that convert from SIP
to regular analog telephone). For that matter, if you really wanted to keep your old phone,
you can buy an ATA box for $40-70 which enables your old phone to plug to your network.

In that new paradigm, there is no distinction between in-the-office and anywhere in the world.
Your office is the whole internet. Your outgoing phone calls will display your office’s main number
on call ID. You get a lot of nice features built into the phone (some are even video phones).
You can install a SIP app on your iphone/android smart phone and have it act like a SIP phone.
Some will even allow you to send/receive faxes from your smart phone as if they were sent
from the main office. But most importantly, using a cloud hosted PBX, you don’t have to
worry about running out of trunks and having your customer get a “sorry but all lines are busy… call later” message.

Ahh but what about cost?!?? Ooma makes it it’s main marketing jewel to claim starting at $20/mo.
I reviewed 6 business VIOP providers and the prices are very competitive.
As a matter of fact, given Ooma’s current predicament, those solutions can be MUCH CHEAPER
than ooma office.

Ooma office right now:
call to virtual Extension consumes 2 trunks,
call-forwarding/simuli ring to your cell phone consumes a trunk,
ringing each virtual extension and forwarded cell phones consumes a trunk each
Call-waiting and/or voice mail consumes a trunk (if you have 1 line and are on an outgoing phone call,
clients calling in don’t get call-waiting/voice mail… they get an error message “call again later…”

It’s hard to believe that Ooma would miss the mark so badly.
Have they done no market research at all? Are they just relying on people’s ignorance of the new/more
open SIP phones technology. I have to thank them for that because they FORCED me to do more research
and I found a more open world out there.

I reviewed 5-6 cloud PBX solutions that range from FREE for up to 5 devices + $0.03/min with simpleVox
(but they are also very young and there seems to be zero service so not valid for me).

Phonebooth offers a true/clean/genuine $20/mo lines with call-waiting/voice mail using a cloud PBX, standard
technology, great network and support.

RingCentral was offering it at $25/mo/line.

Phone.com: I got one unlimited minutes line for $25/mo and a free 300 shared minutes.
For $5/mo each, I can setup as many extra SIP phones as I need and use the “shared” minutes.
I can buy more shared minutes (about 3-4 cents/min) or pay $25/line for unlimited and including the $5/mo hardware fee.

I mean, really truly Ooma either has to readjust their aim and remove those ridiculous restrictions they have created
or do nothing and continue to rely on people’s ignorance until their customers start running into those restrictions and
either pony up for more lines or get frustrated and start doing a bit of research as I did.

Good Luck Ooma. I really want to love your office product. Please get your act together!
Sincerely,

  • Christian

Christian,

You have hit all the points of why I bailed out on the Ooma Office as well. For what it’s worth, I ordered 2 unlocked ATA devices, Obihai Obi202 and a Linksys SPA2102. Since they’re unlocked, I can use them with any SIP service provider. I chose voip.ms and callcentric. Either one opens up 25 trunks per line. Their call quality is comparable to Ooma although they use different voip codecs. voip.ms and callcentric both mainly use g711u, whereas Ooma uses mainly iLBC. Another attractive feature that voip.ms and callcentric have is that they have a “pay as you go” calling plan for those who don’t use the phone much. This makes voip.ms and callcentric great for home and office use.

My conclusion is that Ooma Office is still in its infancy, therefore does not have all the features for my business needs. Ooma is still implementing features to the Office that other providers already have existing. Ooma Office’s trunk limitation also drives me away from using their product. It was buggy from the start. The Office Manager (web portal) is extremely sluggish when trying to login or changing features.

I don’t like pointing out Ooma’s negatives and even suggest others to use different products in the Ooma forum, but I’m hoping Ooma’s staff will not delete my post and see it as a suggestion to improve the Office to be competitive with other office products out there. The Ooma Office has potential to be a great product.

For entrepreneurs who just start their small business, I’d suggest to purchase the Telo first and if your business grows a few years later, you can add premier service to the Telo for an additional trunk or consider the Office, granted that the Office has all the improvements that everyone posted above.

Ooma - is there an update on the issue of a call going to voice mail on busy? We are a dealer/integrator and have delayed three client installations because of this issue. If it isn’t going to be fixed quickly, we 'll have to implement a different system.

Please reply.

My office phone needs are much simpler than others on here, but my disappointment in the Ooma Office system is as great. I guess I bought into the claims and hard sell that the fax feature would work and it simply doesn’t. After shelling out the money for this system and then spending so many hours to get it all set up, not to mention porting my fax number over, I find that the Ooma Office fax works no better than the old Vonage system I ditched years ago! You know, Ooma, Vonage lost a class action lawsuit because they were found guilty of lying about their fax compatibility claims. You might want to look into that.

It looks like this was a failed experiment and I’ll be going back to my old Ooma equipment and online fax service. Sorry Ooma Office, but you failed. There are also many other bugs in the system and online UI, but since I’m sending this back anyway I’m not going to waste anymore time by writing an in depth review.

I switched to Phone DOT com and could not be happier.
Your regular phone line can accept faxes which you can view online, get via email etc…
All for cheaper than Ooma office was costing me.

Would like to share my opinion on ooma office.
Been using it for 1 week now. The call quality is good. Music on hold works good. I only need 1 phone line. Customer care is fast.

I don’t actually use the virtual receptionist at this time so I think I would’ve been better off getting ooma premier.

Ooma premier has way more features and it costs less. Pretty much all the features of ooma office, even supports multiple lines and google voice extensions, blacklist. You even get the ooma iphone app which let’s you call from your iphone. Even something as simple as call forward when network is out as well.

Why wouldn’t ooma office have those features? Especially when you are paying more?

If you aren’t going to use the virtual receptionist do yourself a favor and get the cheaper ooma premier than ooma office.

Now I am stuck with ooma office as I already ported my business phone number to ooma office. (ooma office purchased from amazon.com).

Long time Ooma user (currently have Core).

I was all ready to upgrade to Ooma office when I read here that @ the $20 plan, if a second person calls my business they will get a BUSY signal? That is absolutely ridiculous when the Premier service with Core includes call waiting and an extra line for $9.99 a month!

I was so excited to go with Office because of the virtual assistant and hold music, but knowing I have to pony up $40 a month for 2 lines (the same service I have for $9.99), is an absolute deal breaker. Get with the program Ooma!

Can an ooma representative chime in here?
Have the mentioned issues been fixed?
I have ooma office sitting here on a 30 day trial and I’m considering returning it based on what I have read in this thread.

Please advise

I am told that incoming calls to office when capacity already taken up will roll into voicemail.

As for faxing, any VoIP (even the ones with private dedicated pipes such as Uverse, FiOS, Comcast voice) would be hit and miss. Just do a search on “faxing” + any of the providers out there.

Some complaints are how much Office costs compared to Ooma’s “free home phone.” This comparison is not realistic because Office is intended for a different segment of consumers. Can’t compare prices with residential service.

In a nutshell, Ooma Office is for small businesses with room to grow.

Service Starts at $19.98 per month (1 User + 1 Phone Number)

Users: $9.99 each per month
Phone Numbers: $9.99 each per month
Internet Fax: $9.99 per month
Conferencing: $9.99 per month (10 rooms up to 10 callers each)

Customers can link multiple Base Stations to one Office account to support up to 20 phones in a single office. Each Base Station supports up to five phone extensions through the combination of the built-in phone port and four wireless Linx devices.

Currently, Ooma Office supports up to 20 users receiving calls on multiple devices, in or out of the office. Users can answer calls coming in to their Ooma Office number on their analog desk phone, a remote phone number and a mobile phone.