In case you missed it, Google announced at the end of last week that it will discontinue support of Gizmo5 on April 3. Many of us suspected this was the death knell for Google support of SIP given the popularity of its recent Gtalk enhancements to Google Voice. Well, not so fast! As Todd Vierling pointed out on his blog this past Saturday, Google has quietly added outbound SIP support to reach any Google Voice number. So, assuming your Google Voice number is 678-123-4567, anyone in the world can now call you via SIP by dialing +firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those using Asterisk® and FreeSwitch systems , here’s what you need to do immediately. Register all of your Google Voice numbers in the ENUM systems so that other Asterisk and FreeSwitch systems worldwide can connect with you using your new Google SIP URI without any communications charges. This also means that SIP phones such as the Nortel 1535 Color Videophone using services such as sip2sip.info can call you for free. And all they’ll need to do is dial your 10-digit Google Voice number!
To sign up for ENUM service, go to both e164.org and enumplus.org and register your 10-digit Google Voice number. Be sure to use the syntax shown above for the SIP URI (including the + symbol), or the calls will fail. It only takes a minute to register. ENUM is implemented for outbound calls by default in all Incredible PBX and Orgasmatron builds. So, just by registering your Google Voice number with these two sites, it means every ENUM-enabled server can place free SIP calls to your Google Voice number via ENUM before using any other outbound trunk for which there might be a charge.
Of course, everyone won’t register their Google Voice number with the ENUM services. So how do you call those folks via SIP without incurring charges for the call? For those that install Incredible PBX (beginning yesterday), it’s automagic. Just dial any 10-digit number, and Incredible PBX will attempt to place the call via SIP before falling back to Google Voice. The call processing is instantaneous so don’t worry about call delay. Remember, we’re living in a Digital World.
FreePBX Setup. If you have an existing FreePBX-based Asterisk system or an earlier release of Incredible PBX, here’s how to retrofit your system to support free SIP calling to Google Voice numbers. Whenever an Asterisk server attempts to place a SIP call, it sends a SIP Invite packet to the receiving server. In the case of Google, if the number is not one of theirs, you’ll immediately get a Congestion message from FreePBX. In the FreePBX design, this means that the attempt to place the outbound call will drop down to the next available trunk in the current Outbound Route. So the trick here is to create a custom trunk to handle the SIP calls to Google. And then we’ll add that trunk above your existing trunks in the Outbound Route that handles calls matching 1NXXNXXXXXX and NXXNXXXXXX. So the recommended Trunk Sequence in your Default Outbound Route would look like this:
Using a web browser, open FreePBX and choose Setup, Trunks, Add Custom Trunk. Create the new Google-SIP Trunk so that it looks like the following. Don’t forget the 1 Prepend and + Dial Prefix entries!
Click Submit Changes to save your entries and then reload FreePBX when prompted.
Now choose Setup, Outbound Routes, and choose your Default outbound route. Modify the Trunk Sequence so that it matches what was outlined above. Click Submit Changes to save your entries and then reload FreePBX when prompted.
You’re done. Enjoy your new SIP-based Google Voice calling addition.
Don’t forget to List Yourself in Directory Assistance so everyone can find you by dialing 411. And add your new number to the Do Not Call Registry to block telemarketing calls. Or just call 888-382-1222 from your new Google Voice number. Enjoy!
March 8 Update. Well, that was a quick dip. Beware the Ides of March! It was almost exactly two years ago that Google shut down SIP connectivity the first time. Hopefully, we’re not in for another two year wait. Read our original article about this and have a chuckle. But it looks like they’ve done it again. To restore your system to normal functionality, remove the Google-SIP trunk from your Outbound Route and be sure to delete your Google Voice numbers from the SIP registries at e164.org and enumplus.org. To suggest this is short-sighted (not to mention monetarily wasteful) would be an understatement. But perhaps Google wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of delighted users. Let’s hope so.
March 16 Update. It’s working again this morning! But now it’s not morning, and we’re dead in the water once more. Did we mention this might qualify as E-X-P-E-R-I-M-E-N-T-A-L?? See the comments below for up-to-the-minute updates.
Security Reminder. We mentioned this two years ago, but it’s worth repeating since it still has not been addressed. Google protects phone access to your Google Voice account with only a 4-digit PIN. When unanswered calls roll over to their voicemail system, anyone has the option of pressing * to be prompted for this PIN. It only takes 10,000 calls at most to guess any PIN, and that doesn’t take very long with SIP and an automated dialer. Once someone has your PIN, in addition to listening to your voicmail messages, they also can press 2 to place an outbound call to anywhere in the world… on your nickel. So… don’t load up your account with your entire life savings unless you don’t mind losing it.
Originally published: Monday, March 7, 2011
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