Review: Republic Wireless Extend Home service
New tech helping old tech.
By now, most of us have converted to using our smartphones for almost everything. It’s a compelling argument, with the ability to conjure food, transportation, clothing, and all manner of things from a magic box that fits in your pocket, and it even lets you make phone calls!
That’s great and all, but what about the humble house phone? It’s better for long phone calls as the battery isn’t being worn down by playing your podcasts or getting the high levels in whatever Flappy Bird clone is in the app store, so you can enjoy the pleasure of your calls without worrying about recharging.
Is there a way to piggyback your cell phone number onto a house phone, so both devices can be used from the same service? Well, yes, with a VoIP (Voice over IP) adapter, like the one Republic Wireless uses with its Extend Home service.
Wait, a landline through your cell phone?
Yep, at its heart, the Republic Wireless Extend Home is a way to clone your cell number onto a home phone. The kit is simple, pay $49 as a one-time fee, then wait for the package to arrive. It comes with a small VoIP adapter, which you connect to an open Ethernet port on your router, and to a house phone. Plug in power, open the Republic Wireless app, go through a couple menus, then fill in the couple of pieces of information it asks for.
That links the VoIP adapter to your Republic Wireless number, and now both your home phone and cell phone can be used interchangeably to call out or receive calls. Pretty nifty, and setup took less than five minutes.
Apparently you can use the adapter internationally as well, provided there isn’t a portal page in the way (like the “Accept terms” page most hotels use to give you internet access). If someone calls in, both your home phone and cell phone ring, and whoever answers first gets the call. Voicemail has a shared inbox between both devices, making getting important messages easier.
The interesting thing about this setup? You can make outgoing calls on both devices at the same time, handy if someone in your household needs to make a call while you’re already on the line. And yes, it works with 911, and even gives your address to the operator.
So, should I buy the Republic Wireless Extend Home system?
The $49 Extend Home system from Republic Wireless is a handy perk if you’re already getting your cellular connectivity through Republic Wireless, letting you add a physical home phone for those members of your household that may prefer that. The best part? There’s no monthly fee for the service, where competitors charge up from $3.50 monthly. If you’ve been wondering what to do with your old phone once you cut the cord on your cable bill, this is it.
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A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.