This forum includes tips for maintaining the best audio quality possible with the Ooma System. If your Ooma system is having issues with dropped calls, static audio or echo, look here for assistance.
#31194 by Bill D
Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:44 pm
LetterK

Glad to hear I'm not alone.

On Saturday the Ooma CSR I called through my Scout agreed with me and she called me back on my Hub confirming it sounded much better. She did a diligent job writing it up, asking questions and having me run a speed test. She gave me a CS number and promised me I would get a call back from a higher level tech, but no call yet.

I've made more test calls and this problem is not 100% repeatable - occasionally the Scout calls are better, but never as good as the Hub. The Hub calls are always excellent, which is why I haven't bailed out and returned this to the retailer yet.

I would love to know the actual difference between a Hub-call and a Scout-call. The HPNA is digital and shouldn't cause this problem. The fact that Ooma says fax calls may not work on the Scout is a clue that there may be a design difference. However, it could be an intermittent bug only in some Scouts or in some Hubs' HPNA inputs. Either of these would causes Ooma to advise only faxing on the Hub. I've seen some posts of folks that say faxing on their Scout works fine.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to return the Ooma to the local retailer while I still can. If this Scout call quality is fixed, I’ll likely keep it and sign up for Premier, maybe even Lifetime.

Please keep me posted on how your replacement Scout works out. If it works that tells us plenty. If it's the same, the problem could be the HPNA input on the Hub, as you've suggested.

Since many others on this forum have been down this same path - any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. I've read most posts and didn't see any solution, but maybe I missed something.

Bill
#37781 by william
Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:15 am
Like bill and letterk, I'm also experiencing the Ooma scout poor call quality issue (scratchy, crackling sound heard by the listener). I have my scout connected directly to my hub with a 12 inch jumper cable, so it can't be a DSL-HPNA interference issue. I spent about 2 hours last night researching this issue in the forums, and have tried the QoS settings recommended by various members, to no avail. Ran the VoIP tests and got great QoS numbers too. Calls from the hub sound terrific. Since we also have a landline at the house, I am able to call my landline phones using both the scout and the hub and run various experiments like tweaking the QoS settings, etc. Nothing seems to help.

I'm thinking there's a design or manufacturing issue with the scout and/or hub hardware (or firmware). In another thread, I noticed that ooma appears to be working closely with at least one ooma user to try and diagnose the root cause of this issue. My plan is to call ooma and terminate my annual premiere subscription since the main reason for my using premiere was to have a second phone line served by the scout. If ooma can sort out the issue and come up with a solid fix, I may re-enroll in premiere in the future. Good luck to all that are suffering from the "scratchy scout" problem!
#37798 by Bill D
Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:38 am
William,

I fully agree with your well-written post. I'm a retired engineer with much time on my hands. After much effort (including dragging out my old oscilloscope and test gear) I eventually threw in the towel on the Scout's scratchy crackling sound and also on the Scout's unreliable VMWI signal.

However, my hat's off to Ooma for their Hub and Basic service. I have 3 Hubs, two at my home in Florida and one in California, but like you, Ooma's Scout problems have pushed me away from Premier.

The set-up I'm happy with is - Hubs mounted vertically (connectors up) - Hub's convection cooling seems to work best this way (turn the brightness dial down) with my small-footprint Scout on my desk and my wife's on her desk - we only use the Scouts for checking VM. Our old Uniden 2-line phone system (TRU8866) with 10 wireless handsets works great and the handset's VM keys programmed to access Ooma's VM work great. Our daughter in Denver also recently duplicated our Hub/Scout set-up and is also pleased.

I agree with you that Ooma likely has an inherent hardware or firmware bug in the Scout and/or Hub interface. Many posters have tried numerous Ooma-supplied replacement Scouts to no avail. All 3 of my Hubs and Scouts function identically. To keep Ooma growing, their engineering talent must focus on new products and not old products, therefore I doubt these problems will ever be fixed (I've been there, done this and saw this movie many times).

If a Moderator is tuned in - Ooma seems to listen to its customers (ie; recent VM/basic issue) - A classy move for Ooma would be to offer to have a single Premier subscription cover 2 Hubs (each with only a single phone number) because the final 2-line set-up I've achieved by paying for a second Hub is simply what Ooma promised to deliver with a Hub/Scout combination.

Bill D
#40407 by DGorvetzian
Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:44 am
Bill D, William,

I, too, have wrestled with this for most of December, trying different Ooma and network configurations and happily achieving great success with Hub-based calls, but never able to resolve the 'scratchy' voice quality issues with the Scout. I fully appreciate why there would be a difference: I expect they're doing additional compression / decompression on the signaling between the Hub and the Scout. That would explain a difference in voice quality, as well as why fax can be reliable on the Hub but not on the Scout.

I have also experienced the same problem that other posters have regarding Message Waiting lights operating properly on the Hub, but unreliable setting and clearing of the lights for phones connected to the Scout.

For all three of these reasons (voice quality, fax support, and Message Waiting lights), I've given up on the Scout. I'm on day 29 of my initial purchase, so I'm returning my Hub+Scout system, and I'll instead be purchasing two Hub-only systems (I don't need the Scout for picking up VM as Bill D. uses it; I can easily do that from my cordless handhelds).

It would've been nice if the Hub+Scout system worked as reliably as advertised, but regardless, I'm happy with the Hub-only solution enough to purchase two. I guess that's saying something.

/Doug
#40420 by feartheturtle
Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:32 am
Doug:
Careful with any future purchase. Read the fine print on the retail packaging if possible. Many (most?) "hub only purchases" will require a yearly tax/fee ($12 after the first year). This is certainly the case if you find the "hub only" for sale at any Costco. You might want to consider selling the scout(s) you don't plan to use on eBay.
#40503 by Bill D
Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:34 pm
Doug,

I obviously agree with the conclusion in your well-written post, but I continue to be very surprised to read many posts by Scout users that hear no difference in call quality between calls from Hubs and calls from Scouts. These posts keep me wondering if I'm missing something. Your post helps me think that I'm not missing something (or maybe we both are missing something).

I've now had two number ports from AT&T (I'm leaving my third Hub at the other house on the Ooma-assigned number) and I'm very happy with Ooma including my international calls.

Your point about not really needing a Scout for VM access makes sense. I now find that I mostly access VM with my 2-line Uniden wireless handsets (I have 9 of these handsets around the house) and the VMWI works perfectly from the Hubs. The latest project I'm considering is putting a UPS on the cable modem, router, both Ooma hubs and the Uniden base station, so that all 9 phones work during a power outage (the handsets are all battery powered). We get long power outages durring hurricanes in Florida, but landlines keep working.

Addressing feartheturtle's comment on the $12/year for each Hub - I believe the grandfathered TOS of $0 annual fees is still valid for Hub+Scout combos (not for Hub-only Costco purchases) so that may be a factor in your decision.

Bill
#42151 by DGorvetzian
Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:06 am
Bill D,

Re: Call quality, and the fact that some people are quite happy with Scouts... Yes, that's confusing to me too. It could be something with the Scout itself, or it could be that I (we) and all the people I call, are simply more sensitive to the noise. It's not, as Ooma Tech Support originally thought, my home wiring, as I was directly connecting the Hub & Scout using a dedicated Ooma-supplied phone wire (I think you had the same config, if I recall correctly).

Anyway, my completely-unproven theory is that the general population has become more tolerant of crappy voice quality due to so much cellular use (and AT&T Wireless in particular :x ) that they simply don't complain about it like they would have 10 or 15 years ago. Regardless, the Scout is a neat concept with inadequate execution for my needs.

(By the way, I don't know about you, but I actually had pretty good call quality using the Scout *on my end*. It was the poor suckers on the other end of the call that were having the trouble, and my friends were comfortable enough with me to keep saying, "Repeat that? You're breaking up!", so I didn't have to actually be on the other end of the call to learn that there was a problem with the Scout.)

Re: UPS... Yes, good call. I tried that, actually, and bought a UPS for my routers & Hubs in my office, happily knowing that my Verizon FIOS (fiber-optic) head unit, mounted in the garage, had its own UPS. I found out afterward, though, that my FIOS head unit UPS only supplies power to the phone output, not the Internet output. So I'm out of luck unless I want to purchase another UPS for the FIOS head unit. I need to test the power consumption of that sucker first to see if a reasonably-priced UPS will keep it running for more than 5 minutes.

Bill D & FearTheTurtle, I'm really unfamiliar with the $12 tax / fee. I'm not sure how to figure out if this fee applies to me. I purchased two reconditioned Hub-only devices from Frys.com; not from CostCo. Do you have any idea why this 'regulatory fee' would only apply to CostCo purchases, or any Hub-only installations? It seems strange to me that purchasing from another retailer would eliminate the charge, or buying the system in a combination with something else (in the case, a Scout) would eliminate a 'regulatory charge', presumably government-imposed.

(I note that the Rate Sheet also shows a distinct difference for Telo & Costco-purchased Hubs for "Ooma Care phone support". $20 per incident / $40 per year? Yikers!)

/Doug
#42189 by feartheturtle
Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:46 pm
Doug:
The regulatory fee for Costco "hub only" purchases is directly related to the retail packaging. Sometime last year the Costco stores (not Costco.com) started selling "hub only" products that clearly stated on the outside of the retail box that the purchaser would be responsible for a yearly regulatory fee beginning in year 2.

I'm reasonably certain that all "hub + scout" purchases are exempt from that fee. I know my retail box from Costco.com makes no mention of the fee. Refurbished "hub only" systems might be exempt from the fee, but you should probably check the packaging and paperwork that came with those units.
#42202 by Bill D
Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:01 pm
DGorvetzian wrote:Anyway, my completely-unproven theory is that the general population has become more tolerant of crappy voice quality due to so much cellular use (and AT&T Wireless in particular :x ) that they simply don't complain about it like they would have 10 or 15 years ago. Regardless, the Scout is a neat concept with inadequate execution for my needs.

(By the way, I don't know about you, but I actually had pretty good call quality using the Scout *on my end*. It was the poor suckers on the other end of the call that were having the trouble, and my friends were comfortable enough with me to keep saying, "Repeat that? You're breaking up!", so I didn't have to actually be on the other end of the call to learn that there was a problem with the Scout.)

Re: UPS... Yes, good call. I tried that, actually, and bought a UPS for my routers & Hubs in my office, happily knowing that my Verizon FIOS (fiber-optic) head unit, mounted in the garage, had its own UPS. I found out afterward, though, that my FIOS head unit UPS only supplies power to the phone output, not the Internet output. So I'm out of luck unless I want to purchase another UPS for the FIOS head unit. I need to test the power consumption of that sucker first to see if a reasonably-priced UPS will keep it running for more than 5 minutes.

Doug - - Your theory on folks having increasing tolerance to low call quality makes sense. I'm convinced every Scout user has the outbound quality issue but few notice it and the "poor suckers" listening don't complain as yours and mine did.

Like you, I also had excellent incoming Scout call quality identical to the Hub, so I suspect the bug may be some sort of HPNA-induced jitter on the Scout's outbound link only.

I haven't tackled the UPS yet, but luckily all the stuff I need to power is in one place. After my two Hub number ports were completed, I cancelled my two AT&T landlines and they instantly offered me a good deal on 18Mbps U-verse, so I cancelled my cable modem. U-verse was installed a few days ago and it works well.

Yikes - $20 per incident for Ooma CS? They should pay you the $20? :D I've called CS several times and they are not well informed. Spent many hours last week trying to fix "call forward on network outage". CS was baffled and just randomly changed things. Later, I did a search and found a post by a moderator with a work-around to a known bug. CS had no clue about the known bug.

The good news with Ooma is that CS is rarely needed because this forum is outstanding. It's the best user forum I've seen. There are many diligent, patient and articulate debuggers volunteering and my hat is off to all of them. Ooma should have a scoring system like Yahoo Answers and give the best contributors some money or cool gear because this forum is a big asset for them. Get on it Ooma!

Bill
#43028 by yangsun
Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:53 pm
bsumpter:

Have you got your call quality problem resolved? I'm experiencing the same problem as yours and wonder whether there is a solution for it. The call quality is generally good, but if someone is watch youtube or internet TV or downloading some large file, the call is not tolerable at all. I'm using standard setup with modem->ooma->router. Also my broadband is through comcast. I'm not using my ooma scout at all currently.

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