Installing the Magic Jack

VoIP telephony saves money and gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility, and now with Magic Jack, it’s easier than ever to get started. You don’t have to be a computer wizard or buy any special IP phones, and you won’t even need to use a credit card. You can use any regular phone you happen to have lying around the house, and you can be making free calls to anywhere around the country in less than 20 minutes.

Installing the Magic Jack couldn’t be easier, and it only takes a few minutes. No special equipment is required besides the Magic Jack and your phone, and you can even get by without the phone if you want to stick with the softphone application. It’s all automated—just plug your phone cord into the Magic Jack, plug the Magic Jack into the USB port on your computer, and sit back and wait. The installation launches automatically.

You are notified with a dialog box that says, “Installing device driver software”, a process that takes only a minute or two. After installation, depending on your firewall configuration, you may be asked whether you want to allow access to Magic Jack on your private network, public networks, or both. If you allow access over public networks, you’ll be able to sit in your local Starbuck’s and not only surf the web, but have voice conversations at the same time (although you’ll need to use the softphone and headset for that).

You’ll then be taken to a registration window, but you don’t need to register right away. You can have up to 30 minutes of talk time or 48 hours before you have to register. But don’t worry, the registration is quick and painless, and you won’t have to provide any credit card numbers if you’re not making an additional purchase.

At this point in the process, only about four minutes have passed, and the install is done and you can see the keypad interface and softphone on your computer screen.

At the registration window, you will need to put in your 911 location information, and then naturally, you are walked through several windows that ask you whether you want to buy a vanity number, Magic Jack insurance, an upgrade to five years of service, additional Magic Jacks for friends or relatives, or prepaid international calling. There’s no obligation to buy any of these extras, and just clicking “no” on each window will get you through the ads in just a couple minutes. Once the registration process is complete, you see a message that says you will get a confirmation e-mail within an hour, but you can use your Magic Jack right away. In fact, my confirmation e-mail arrived within ten minutes; once you receive it, just click on the link to confirm your account and you’re good to go.

Once the installation is complete, you’ll want to take a moment to set up your contact list for easier dialing.

You can of course, just pick up your handset and dial just like you would with any other phone service, but you do have the option of clicking on a name from your contact list, and clicking “send”. You can even download your Outlook contact list directly into the Magic Jack interface.

By clicking on “Menu” and then “Volume/Headset Control”, you can set up your headset (not included) to use your softphone. By default, the interface is set to use a standard telephone, so if you’re plugging into your hardware phone, you don’t need to adjust any settings here. You can however, adjust the speaker volume.

Magic Jack is as easy to install and use as they claim. It’s a remarkable tool and a great way to get an extra phone line at minimal cost!