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Free U.S. Calls with Asterisk: Here’s How

It’s Birthday Week at Nerd Vittles and, as you’ve come to expect, we do things a little differently around here. We like to savor birthdays for a whole week (sometimes more) and, to celebrate, we have a special gift for you: a tip on how to make free long distance calls in the United States using your new, free Asterisk® server.

In our column last week, you learned how to configure and reconfigure Asterisk to take advantage of the best communications deals in the marketplace. And today we have a deal you can’t refuse: free calls to anywhere in the United States using the newest IAX2-compatible provider on the block, GoIAX.com. Just sign up for a free account with your email address and a password of your choice, add a trunk using the Asterisk Management Portal (AMP) or Asterisk@Home, make a minor adjustment in your Outbound Routing, and start dialing for free. Will it last? Probably not. But who cares? It’ll work for a while, and then something else will come along. So enjoy it while you can and … Happy Birthday!

NOTE: The GoIAX service is temporarily restricted to toll-free calls only. See their web site for current status updates.

Adding the GoIAX Trunk with AMP. Using your web browser pointed to your Asterisk server, go to AMP->Setup->Trunks->Add New IAX2 Trunk. Fill in the Outbound CallerID with the GoIAX phone number you were provided when you registered. For Outgoing Dialing Rules, use the following:


In Outgoing Settings, use goiax for the Trunk Name and the following for the Trunk Details substituting your own GoIAX phone number and password:


For Incoming Settings, use iax.goiax.com for the USER Context and the following for the USER Details substituting your own GoIAX phone number and password. NOTE: If you have signed up for a DID number from GoIAX, then you’ll need to rename your USER context from iax.goiax.com to your GoIAX account number, not your DID number. E.g. 878201234567.


For the Registration String, use the following with your GoIAX phone number and password: 878201234567:yourpassword@server1.goiax.com. Now Save your changes and click the Red Bar to restart Asterisk.

Adjusting Outbound Routing for Free U.S. calls. Last week, we made Voxee.com our top priority for outbound long distance calls since they provided penny-a-minute calls within the U.S. This week we want to move them down a notch since we have a new provider that’s free. In Asterisk-speak, we want to make goiax our first priority for outbound U.S. long distance calls and move Voxee down to the second spot. If GoIAX stops working, Asterisk will automatically route the calls to Voxee without any user intervention. Here’s how.

Go to AMP->Setup->Outbound Routing and click on the US route which we created last week. It should show a Trunk Sequence of IAX2/voxee, then IAX2/teliax, and then SIP/pstn if you have a PSTN (POTS) line. Just click on the pull-down beside each trunk and substitute IAX2/goiax as your #0 choice, IAX2/voxee as your #1 choice, and IAX2/teliax as your #2 selection. Click the Add button and insert SIP/pstn as your #3 pick. Click Submit Changes and then the Red Bar to restart Asterisk.

That’s it. You’re done in just a couple of minutes. All future U.S. long distance calls will be routed out using your new Outbound US dial plan.

Making a Test Call Using GoIAX. To be sure everything is working swimmingly, start up Asterisk in interactive mode using the Command Line Interface (CLI) so that you can actually watch what’s happening when calls are placed and received. This works best if you connect to your Asterisk server through SSH from a Mac or PC. SSH comes with every Mac and the syntax is simple: ssh root@AsteriskIPaddress. If you’re still chained to Microsoft, download Putty from the Mother Country, and you can do the same thing using a Windows machine. Once you’re logged in as root, issue the following command: asterisk -r. Quit ends your Asterisk CLI session, and exit logs you out of your SSH session. Now issue the command: set verbose 5 to get maximum information. Now place a U.S. long distance call and watch what happens. You should see something similar to the following which shows that the call was placed using the new goiax trunk:

-- Called goiax/12345678910
-- Call accepted by (format gsm)
-- Format for call is gsm
-- IAX2/goiax/1 is ringing

For those that would prefer a long-term player to handle your long distance calling and don’t mind paying a little, we’ll have another suggestion for you later this week. With this provider, you get unlimited residential calling to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada for only $11.99 a month. That’s less than half the cost of most of the all-you-can-eat plans including Vonage. And, it’s roughly the same cost as BroadVoice’s in-state calling plan after adding all of BroadVoice’s hidden fees. Even though Asterisk isn’t directly supported by the provider, we’ll walk you through setting up the service to work reliably with Asterisk. Can you say Yahoo! In the meantime, there are numerous additional articles in this Asterisk HOW-TO series to keep you busy for a few days. You can read all of them by clicking here and scrolling down the page.


  1. Maybe I’m dim, but is there any way to get an internal call with this?

    [WM: No, you’re not dim. And, no, you can’t receive calls with this service. It’s just free outgoing calls in the U.S. The least expensive free incoming service with a local phone number of your choice is BroadVoice’s BYOD-Lite plan at $5.95 a month.]

  2. Goiax is great. I can’t imagine this lasting too long, but have to love it while it’s there. Can’t spoof caller id on this Iax provider, but again, can’t have everything. I can’t wait for the next article, as my Dialpad account needs a bit of Nerd Vittles Magic. Thanks for all the great articles!

    [WM: Appreciate your note. Dialpad soup-to-nuts is coming this Friday with a little luck at this end.]

  3. If you check out the forums there is a lot of negative about Broadvoice for converting residential accounts to business accounts without informing the customers in advance. They are doing so because, under the Terms of Service (TOS), they have determined, at Broadvoices sole discretion, that the usage pattern of these customers is not consistent with residential usage. The posters disagree strongly with Broadvoices determinations and mention that customer support refuses to consider pertinent facts that prove Broadvoices position is incorrect (numbers called are often to one or two relatives or friends; not to numerous locations, etc.) or to elevate their compaints to a level that has authority to reconsider their deermination. The charges Broadvoice is hitting these customers with is often in the 100’s of dollars. For inbound you are correct as BV’v BYOD-Lite is low. Just be carefull and read the TOS; BV has a reputation for being very aggressive in its enforcement of the Terms of Service. Also, they can, at Broadvoices discretion, charge $100 per diem against your charge card for the days that they determine you are in violation plus change your calling plan to a higher cost plan retroactive to the day of the alleged violation.

  4. And I forgot to mention, thanks for the tip on Goiax! I’ll give it try. Also, I have had reasonable success with Voipbuster for free outgoing via iax. It doesn’t always connect and sound quality can vary, but it is free to the US48. You have to pony up a minimum deposit in case you use them for international to get the full service in the US48 (calls are limited, otherwise).

  5. Goiax has one minor issue; caller id is locked to the one assigned by them and it is not changeable (as far as I can tell) in Asterisk. This is an issue as only Goiax users can call this number and most phones won’t display this many digits. The sound quality seems very good and they connect quickly.

  6. I use BV for all my incoming and international calls and – often – its great. International calls are reasonably cheap, but the quality suffers sometimes; Also, their support seems to be too lazy; they responded to one of my QoS related complain after 3 days with a bunch of questions on the details of call and time of call ,etc. Overall, I don’t have much of a problem using it for my purposes and incoming calls’ quality is great!

    GoIAX is simply good! I am very satisfied with it – except for callerID. Thanks for great article to get me started with it.

  7. I guess GOIAX has stopped working… No Outgoing calls any more… is anyone having the same problem?

    [WM: There was a problem with the compression codecs which they’ve been working on. But I’m now able to make outgoing calls with no difficulties. Be sure you’re registered, and try again.]

  8. thanx for the great service , i’ve tried it and it was o lalalalalalal heheh, but im asking can we make free calls to uk #’s using GoIAX, or i neeed another providers .. plz help in this

  9. Good series of articles. By any chance, do you know how to change the script files to make AAH enable call waiting always, instead of disabled by default and need using * code to enable it everytime? The Asterisk has it enabled by default. I want to hear beep and pick up incoming calls instead of going to VM. Thanks.

  10. Good series of articles. By any chance, do you know how to change the script files to make AAH enable call waiting always, instead of disabled by default? The Asterisk has it enabled by default. I want user hear beep and pick up incoming calls instead of going to VM. Thanks.

  11. I too am having problems with goiax. It worked when I first set it up, but it hasn’t worked for me for at least the last 3 days except on toll free calls. Is it working for anyone else on regular long distance calls?

  12. I’m also having problems with incoming calls using goiax’s new DIDs. The call appears to flow from the PSTN (the DID phone number) into goiax, and make it to my asterisk server. Once there, it generates a "chan_iax2.c: 5448 socket_read: Rejected connect attempt from″ message on my console. That 204 IP is the address of goiax’s server, so it’s generating a message, but my server is refusing the connection. This, I suspect, is a configuration issue. Unfortunately, goiax’s web site is might thin (er, well, absent) on documentation, so I’ve been poking around in the dark, but so far no goodness. Hope someone else is making better progress.

  13. Just wanted to know if goaix.com is still working for others. I set up an account this morning, added a Outbound Routing and Trunk for goaix but am getting "All circuits are busy" messages. I ran asterisk -r and set verbosity to 5. I can see that I’m (at least) connecting to goaix.com…but since this is my first adventure with Asterisk Im not sure if my set up is correct…

    [WM: GoIAX is having problems with war-dialers at the moment and has discontinued free calls to any destination other than toll free numbers. Hopefully, they’ll be back in business soon. Check their web site for updates.]

  14. Is goiax working for anyone right now? I haven’t been able to logon let alone ping server1.goiax.com for about a week now.

  15. The DNS record for server1.goiax.com is gone, that’s why you can’t ping them. (I don’t know if the server itself is still running, as I don’t have a cached IP address for server1.goiax.com.)

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