OK.. So I was recently contacted and asked for an update on my situation.. is it any better/worse? How did I resolve things? Did I? Well.. here's what I did.. this may/may not work for you. First, I do have to compliment Ooma tech support.. they documented my situation from the very first call.. and I think authentically cared about my situation - even if they couldn't fix my issues on their end. They methodically walked me through various steps.. But I think I fixed it myself..
I am a Time Warner cable customer.. with a basic RoadRunner package. I was using a standard issue RCA cable modem from TWC, and an ancient Linksys WRT54G v1.1 router. The router was up to date on Linksys' software.. So I, on my end methodically tested the speeds I was getting with speedtest.net and pingtest.net. Then I decided that first, my cable modem was old and crappy. Was I really getting as much speed as TWC was providing?
I bought a Motorola SurfBoard Xtreme SB6120. On sale at BestBuy for like $80, I also saw it on Amazon for $77. Anyway, I got it added/authorized by TWC within 2 days.. It runs like a champ, looks pretty. And I actually just 'feel' its running better than the POC RCA cable modem.. It uses all 4 channels that TWC provides and is DOCSIS 3 compliant. BUT - did I notice any difference with my Telo? Nope.
Next step in the process.. The router. I actually uploaded a new operating system to the WRT54G called 'Tomato'. It took a little dinking around.. but ultimately I really liked the software. It allowed me to do things to the router that the router never dreamed of including QoS. I prioritized the Telo's MAC address.. disabled the Telo's QoS (don't need it/doesnt do anything if your Telo is after the router anyway). I noticed a bit of difference in the Telo's voice quality. However, the Telo still would drop calls periodically.. and I would still get the red blinking circles of doom. Worse, my wife still complained about the box. I had to escalate my war to use VoIP. Tomato was/is great, but the hardware in the WRT54G was ancient.
So I decided to upgrade my router. I bought a Netgear N600 Model: WNDR3700 for $129, also on sale at BB. Installing this puppy was easy/brainless - perfect for me. It also has native QoS. I prioritized the Telo.. Double checked the setup.ooma.com to kill the static IP I had set up.. and placed calls with the Telo. You know what? It worked/works even better. Calls sound cleaner.. they seem to 'fade' a little less often (you know, where it sounds like a bad cell phone signal/no tower).. and the blinking red light isn't a game stopper. I noticed it a couple of times, but the Telo now seems to be able to recover from it without me cold booting the Telo. Whereas before the only way to get the Telo to revive after cursing at it, was to unplug it and plug it back in. More importantly, my wife complains just a bit less.
The only thing that's happened weirdly, just this morning in fact.. was that an inbound call early in the AM never made it to voicemail... it's almost like the Telo didn't get the right signal from TWC... and in turn the voicemail trigger wasn't fired off. Kinda annoying at 6 AM...
So to net it out, check your own network's hardware. VoIP in a modem>router>telo set-up needs steady bandwidth pure and simple. Will my red light ever totally go away? I don't know.. I think TWC is still screwing me a bit.. so I may end up paying the an extra $9 a month for more bandwidth.. I suspect that will be the nail in my problem's coffin. So I may not have a copper phone bill anymore, but I did need to spend about $200 on new hardware for my network and a perpetual $9 a month extra to TWC for some extra pipe. The ROI on the Telo is still there.. but it's longer to achieve my breakeven.
One last thought.. I am a geek, I work for a tech company, I am willing to go under the hood and to see what's going on. If Telo wants to grow more, they need to make the unit more self-sufficient and easier to configure.. And I dare say should provide recommendations on some minimum suggested network requirements, upload/download speeds.. and perhaps some sort of wizard to provide help when the wizard blinks it's SOS signal. Oh, and please please please add an LCD/LED screen to the Telo.. It'd be nice if it would tell me what's bothering it BEFORE I drag out my laptop and go crazy trying to solve a problem. In a bit of irony, if the Telo is your only phone line and you call Ooma for tech support and your Telo doesn't work - guess what - you are SOL.
I also own/use a Vonage box for my work line.. It lives in a modem>vonage>router config.. it never goes wrong. However, it doesnt have an answering machine like gizmo, so it can live in my basement and never be seen. If the Telo had a non answering machine box, that could just live in the basement tied directly to my modem, it may make the little black box easier to insert into a personal network, without worrying about bandwidth shooting through a modem.
I hope this saga has helped someone.. thanks for reading