Thursday, March 20, 2014

I found the perfect voip solution for the death of OBI/google voice!!!

So many of you know that I like voice over IP (VOIP) since it enables free/cheap calling (http://thebaughfamilypublic.blogspot.com/2012/11/update-of-our-phone-strategy-version.html). The OBI100 device + google accounts ='d free calling for the past several years. However, this is about to expire in mid May, leaving those with OBI devices left to figure out what to do with their devices.

After a few hours, I came up with the perfect solution: CALLCENTRIC (http://www.callcentric.com/). Pay attention to ordering below when signing up for Callcentric, which seems to matter.
  • First, get a free inbound number from callcentric: http://www.callcentric.com/coverage/free_phone_number
    • The number has to be from NY, but it doesn't matter at all. I chose an (845) area code number: $0/month.
    • During the process it will ask you if you want to pay $1.50/month for E911 services. Say no by indicating you live outside of US/Canada.
  • However, you need to make 1 minute of calls per 90 days to not get deactivated.
    • What does this mean? I think you need to also add Callcentric's pay-per-minute feature to your account. The outbound rate is $0.02/minute. So you can conceivably have phone for $0.08/year (1 one-minute call per quarter) for unlimited inbound calls and unlimited outbound calls if you initiate them through the GV web interface. When you sign up for prepaid it asks you to fund $5 for an initial funding.
  • This area code (845) number can be used for forwarding in both my wife and my GV account, so there is no need to get two accounts. However, if you want distinctive rings, like the OBI did, you need to create two separate callcentric accounts using the process above. I just finished it and I now have the distinctive rings like I had with OBI. If that isn't important to you, then don't waste your time with that.
  • Outbound CallerID spoofing if dailing directly from phone (at a cost of $0.02/minute: http://www.callcentric.com/faq/31/218
  • Instructions on configuration here: http://blog.voipdiy.com/2013/06/manually-configure-callcentric-on.html
    • Pay particular attention to the factory reset instructions. I skipped this step and it cost me 2 hours of frustration.
  • Add this free android app (or $3 apple app) to initiate free outbound calls from your smart phone while at home (which will cause your voip phone to ring, just like the CALL button on voice.google.com does):
  • You'll be assigned two callcentric numbers. The 777 one is what you'll use when configuring your OBI device. The 845 number is the one you'll use for forwarding within Google Voice.
  • Callcentric allows for free(ish) international calling through your 777 number by using this link:
Another option is Vestalink, which many people like. However, I tried them tonight (as part of their free trial) and the lag was HORRIFIC. I'm talking about a 1-1.5 second delay. Callcentric was much better. If not for the lag, I would have gone with Vestalink. However, it drove me to Callcentric, and I love it.
  • http://www.vestalink.com/ is seamless and only $40/year. They have a 30 day free trial. Apparently, many others are very happy with the service.

*** Update #1 ****

I love the configuration. I think I prefer it to the old GV/OBI setup. Callcentric is fantastic. The smart phone apps make free outbound calling a breeze. If not for Callcentric's lack of SMS support, I'd port over to them today. Callcentric even supports "Call Hunting" which redirects rings to other numbers.

I ended up signing up for E911 on the primary line (not the second line which requires **2 to dial out). It was super easy to do.


*** Update #2 ****

We got a few unwanted "Direct IP" calls with the new configuration. This can be remedied by going to the IP address of the OBI100, then navigating to:

(Voice Services)SP1 Service->X_InboundCallRoute:

Make the following change:
{ph}                 [before]
{>17771234567:ph}  [after adding protection from SIP scanners]


1 comment:

rozina islam vabna said...


vestalink It’s a great option for home phone service that’s sound quality is so comfortable and the service is 100% reliable and you cannot beat the price, very affordable. Very esay to set up and immediate service. Great cheaper than the other providers.