Finally got some of my questions answered about Ooma

Yesterday, after not receiving any feedback from anyone at Ooma after my last blog post, I decided to instigate an online chat with their support site.

I first got what I assume is a level one support person. After I started asking my questions, he quickly transferred me to an engineer.

Agent (Vincent): “Helllo Jason, My Name is Vince. How can I help you?”
Techcraver: “hey Vincent. I have a question. I have ooma invites to give out, but my family members are wondering: is a PSTN number required to use ooma?”
Agent (Vincent): “It is not required, but it’s more for backup.”

Then I started to ask the key question, about security:

Agent a: “so you are concerned about the last leg on PSNT in term of security?”
techcraver: “pretty much.”
Agent a: “from your questions, I can see you understand our DT technology”
Techcraver: “I’m a VoIP junkie”
Agent a: “so while the call travels via IP, it’s encrypted, but once you are on a PSTN, on the box side, we have the ability to detect phone tapping”
Techcraver: “this is my main fear, someone using one of these :
0 Agent a: “this said, some one sitting outside you home with crocodile clip can connect just like they can on traditional phone lines”
Agent a: “give me a sec to look at that link..”
Techcraver: “it’s just a phone splitter”
Techcraver: “so what’s the recourse if you detect splitting/tapping”
Agent a: “yes.. but ooma is still more secure than your regular phone line..”
Agent a: “even more so if both sides have ooma, because the calls will be encrypted and decrypted right at the box”Agent a: “if we detect tapping we simply disconnect the call..”

But what about my question regarding if a bomb threat (or threatening phone number) is called in from the ooma network and my ooma box is the node that the call is terminated from?

Techcraver: “what about this scenerio. What happens if my ooma box is a ‘node’ and my node is the gateway for a bomb threat that is called in. They trace the call and see that it ‘came from’ my number. then what?”
Agent a: “ok so first, any call that is terminated by an ooma box was originated by an ooma box, this being the case, we know where the call originated from.”
Agent a: “we keep track of all calls made to and from an ooma box”
Agent a: “so if a bomb threat is made through your ooma box, we have the callers name and address.”
Agent a: “Also more than likely, we’ll permanently disable that ooma box.”
Agent a: “the one used to originate the call of course, not the one used to route the call. I hope this answers your question.”
Techcraver: “ok. I can just see alot to go through for the node owner. That is, cops banging on my door – having to explain what ooma is; so on and so forth.”
Agent a: “cops would not come to your door”
Agent a: “the FCC would call us to get the trace of the call.”
Agent a: “then they would give the name and location of the caller to the proper authorities”
Techcraver: “ok. very cool. I appreciate your time. these are the questions my friends and family have asked as I’ve share the ooma idea with them”

So in all, I feel that I advanced toward an answer to my questions, but I still don’t feel 100% secure in recommending Ooma as a telephony solution for anyone that calls on my opinion.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

  • Denny

    Regarding where the agent says:
    Agent a: “cops would not come to your door”
    Agent a: “the FCC would call us to get the trace of the call.”

    It doesn’t work that way. How would the cops know you have an Ooma box, until you tell them? And the FCC isn’t going to call anybody. They will indeed bust down your door and you will have to point them to Ooma.

  • jason

    Hey Denny,
    I had the same exact thought.

  • ooma.cares

    Funny, this post was written in August 2007, almost five years ago. OOMA has moved away from POTS line as backup idea. The post doesn’t tell the user even back then could have an option of keeping POTS and OOMA as independent lines if they wished.
    The post goes great lengths to find fault with the service, but doesn’t even has a correction when OOMA rectified the short coming.
    I am a happy OOMA customer for more than three years. I was looking for an answer and accidentally hit this post.
    A little bit of positive attitude goes a long way….