We’ve got a terrific new VoIP development for you today especially for those who travel internationally. For several years, a VoIP company called VoxBone has been pushing hard to establish an International Number™ (iNum™) for every phone on the planet so that every telephone could call every other telephone at little or no cost. They’re not quite there, but two recent events will certainly hasten the implementation. The first was an announcement from VoIP.ms that they would provide a free iNum DID and free iNum calling to every one of their customers with a credit balance in their account. The second was last week’s announcement from Google that they, too, would support free iNum calling worldwide using any Google Voice account. Today, we’ll show you how to take advantage of these two developments to begin making free calls worldwide using your PBX in a Flash™ server, a WiFi-enabled smartphone, and an available WiFi connection. Basically, the plan is to use free iNum calling to get back to your PBX for dial tone and then use DISA for free Google Voice calling in the U.S. and Canada.
Until everyone has an iNum or Google opens up Google Voice outside North America, the hidden beauty of iNum for those of us who have both is the cost savings that can be achieved by phoning home with iNum from anywhere in the world for free. And, once the call hits your Asterisk® PBX, it’s incredibly simple to route the call to DISA, prompt for a password, and then place a call to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada at no cost with PIAF2™ and Google Voice.
This can be accomplished in several ways. First, you can download a SIP phone and use it in conjunction with your VoIP.ms account and a smartphone to make free iNum calls from any WiFi hotspot in the world. Bria is our favorite on both the iPhone/iPad and Android platforms. If $10 is too rich for your blood, there are some free alternatives: CSipSimple for Android and 3CXPhone for Android or iPhone. A second alternative is to use Google Voice or Gtalk to connect back to your PIAF2 server via iNum and then use DISA and your local trunks to place outbound calls. A final alternative is to take advantage of the numerous local numbers now available in many countries to phone home using iNum. The only cost of these calls is the cost associated with calling the local number. You’ll find a list of the local phone numbers to make these calls on the iNum web site or in the footnote to this article.1 So today we’ll show you how to set up your PIAF2 server to support free iNum calling. It’s a 15-minute project.
VoIP.ms Setup. To get started, if you’re not already a customer, register for a voip.ms account by filling out their registration form.
Once you submit the form, you’ll have to confirm your registration by clicking on the link that is emailed to you. Then you’re ready to login with your email address and the password you set up when you created your account. That’ll bring you to the Main Portal Page for your new voip.ms account.
You’ll need a positive balance in your VoIP.ms account in order to create your free iNum account so deposit some money using PayPal or a credit card by clicking Finances, Add Funds. The minimum deposit is $25 which can be used to make penny a minute calls in the U.S. and Canada or equally reasonable calls to any phone number in the world. We won’t be doing any of that today. For today, all of our calls will be free thanks to iNum and the generous support of VoIP.ms. But the nest egg will be there as a backup to your other PIAF2 VoIP providers which is an excellent idea anyway.
Like Vitelity, VoIP.ms lets you create subaccounts to compartmentalize your VoIP services. This makes it easy to use VoIP.ms on multiple PIAF2 servers or even standalone SIP telephones. It also provides added security by separating out account names and passwords for VoIP services from your main VoIP.ms portal account that let’s you manage your settings and VoIP funding, a very good idea. So let’s first set up an account to use with Asterisk just to show you how easy it is.
From the Main Portal Menu, click on Subaccounts, Create Subaccount. The Subaccount creation form will display. Fill it out so it looks something like this. Just click on the form below to enlarge it if you want a better view.
Once you’ve clicked the button to create the subaccount, it takes about a minute for voip.ms to activate it. Then click Main Menu, Portal Home. The bottom of the portal page will now show your subaccount.
Let’s create one more subaccount. We’ll use this one so that we can access VoIP.ms from a standard SIP app running on our iPhone or Android device. We can use the subaccount either to make outbound calls directly from VoIP.ms on a pay per minute basis, or we can use it to make free iNum calls. To create the subaccount, repeat the process above and fill in the blanks using your own credentials and a very secure password. Be sure to choose ATA device, IP Phone or Softphone for the Device Type. We always leave International Calls Disabled unless we really plan to make international calls. This will not affect your ability to make iNum calls, and it reduces your financial exposure in the event your subaccount is compromised. Never, ever use auto-replenishment from your credit card on a VoIP provider account from any provider.
Before we get too far along, let’s activate your new iNum DID. Click on DID Numbers, Order DID. When the DID Order Form displays, click on the iNum link to order your free iNum DID.
When the iNum DID order form displays, fill out the form by clicking on the POP location nearest to your server. Then, in the SIP/IAX Routing column, be sure to select the Subaccount we created previously rather than the default Main Account. Finally click the Click Here to Order button.
You’ll get a Confirmation display that shows your new iNum DID. Write it down! We’ve already set up the proper routing for your new iNum DID in the previous step so you can ignore the Managing Your DID message.
That completes the setup of your VoIP.ms account with your free iNum DID. Now let’s configure your PBX in a Flash server to support VoIP.ms and iNum. We’re assuming you already have a PBX in a Flash server configured with at least one Google Voice account activated. If not, stop here and complete that step using the PIAF2 tutorial and optionally the Incredible PBX 3 and Incredible Fax 2 tutorial.
Smartphone SIP Client Setup. We used the free cSipSimple Android app to set up a connection with our second subaccount at VoIP.ms using cSipSimple’s Basic Setup Wizard. Here are the entries required to gain connectivity:
Once your SIP client is connected to VoIP.ms through your smartphone, you can make free iNum calls using this dial syntax: 0118835100xxxxxxxx where xxxxxxxx is the last 8 digits of your iNum beginning with 0. As noted previously, you do NOT have to enable international calls on your VoIP.ms subaccount for these calls to go through.
PBX in a Flash iNum Setup. We’ll be using the FreePBX GUI to configure PBX in a Flash to support iNum. Using your browser, log into the IP address of your server: http://ipaddress/admin. When prompted for your username and password, use maint and whatever FreePBX password you assigned when your server was set up.
To simplify things, we’re going to set up 2 trunks: one for your VoIP.ms subaccount and another for iNum. Begin by choosing Trunks, Add SIP Trunk in the FreePBX GUI. For Trunk Name, use voipms. For Maximum Channels, choose 2. For the Dial Pattern, enter 1 | NXXNXXXXXX and, in Outgoing Settings for the PEER Details, enter the following using your subaccount name and password as well as the POP you chose for your subaccount:
Leave all the fields for Incoming Settings blank. For the Registration String, the syntax is subacctname:firstname.lastname@example.org:5060/8835100xxxxxxxx. Using our example and assuming you’re using the Atlanta POP, the entry would look like this where xxxxxxxx is your own 8-digit iNum beginning with 0:
Verify that your server got a successful registration with your VoIP.ms subaccount by clicking Tools, Asterisk Info, SIP Info.
Now click Setup, Trunks, Add Custom Trunk. For Trunk Name, use iNum. For Maximum Channels, choose 5. For Dial Pattern, use 0XXXXXX. including the period! For Custom Dial String, use SIP/0118835100$OUTNUM$@voipms.
Next, we need to create an Inbound Route. Use your full iNum DID number in the DID Number field, e.g. 8835100xxxxxxxx where xxxxxxxx is your personal iNum beginning with a 0. Activate CallerID Superfecta for the CID Lookup Source. And choose a Destination for the incoming iNum calls. This could be an extension, an IVR, or whatever else you’ve set up on your server. For now, route it to a working extension on your PBX so we can test it below. Then you can edit the inbound route and change it to any destination.
Finally, create an Outbound Route. Name the route OutiNum. For the Dial Pattern, use 0XXXXXX. with the trailing period. For the Trunk Sequence for Matched Routes, choose inum. After you save the trunk settings, move it to the top of your trunk listing in the right column of FreePBX. What this route does is allow you to call other iNum numbers (including your own) by simply dialing the last 8-digits of any iNum that begins with 8835100 or 0118835100. These 8 digits will ALWAYS begin with a 0.
Now let’s modify at least one of your existing Google Voice Outbound Routes so that you also can make iNUM calls with Google Voice by dialing from any extension using the full 8835100xxxxxxxx international number. Go to Outbound Routes and click on the name of one of your Google Voice trunks. Add the following new Dial Pattern and click Submit Changes: 8835100XXXXXXXX
Taking iNum for a Spin. To test things out, use a phone connected to an extension other than the one you chose to route incoming iNum calls to above. Dial the last 8 digits of your own iNum DID, and that extension should begin ringing. Answer the other extension and make sure you have audio in both directions. Next, dial your complete iNum DID beginning with 8835100. This should also cause the other extension to ring even though the call was initiated through your Google Voice trunk. If you’d like to get a Weather Report by Zip Code, we’ve set up an iNum for you to try. Just dial 09901997.
Originally published: Monday, February 27, 2012
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Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
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- Local iNum Access Numbers include the following: [↩]