Monthly Archives: May 2014

No more free phone with Google Voice and Obi…but there is a solution!

**UPDATE**

Interesting Email from Obihai:

The Google Voice Service is Still Working on My OBi! How come?
At the end of last year, Google Inc. announced that the open and documented XMPP communication protocol would be abandoned in favor of a new, proprietary way to do real-time voice, video and instant messaging communications. The time-line for the migration to this new way was not stated. At about the same time, but separately, Google stated third-party applications should stop supporting XMPP by May 15th 2014. Now that this date has passed, like you, we have observed Google services using XMPP are still connected and working, e.g. you can still place and receive calls using a Gmail account configured on your Obi device. It is important to note, this does not change the previous statements from Obihai that we no longer support direct connections to Google Voice on OBi devices. We strongly recommend all OBi owners using the Google Voice service obtain a new service to ensure continued, uninterrupted calling from the phone connected to the OBi. Fortunately, there are several OBiTALK Approved Service Provider (ASP) choices available to all OBi device owners for Internet VoIP phone services. These services are easy to sign-up for and configure automatically on an OBi device. They also come at a great price – with all fees and taxes included.

**END UPDATE**

This post will deviate from my normal VMware posts, but I think there are many that this might help.

I have been using Google Voice with my Obi 100 for about a year now.  Aside from the E911 service through Anveo.com I pay nothing for my home phone service.  The E911 only cost me something like $12 for the year.  Everything was going fine until the announcement that Google Voice would no longer work with Obi because Google was eliminating XMPP Support.  I don’t have the details of why this won’t work anymore, I just know it wont.  If you want details about XMPP, read about it here.
Obi-vs-GV-1b

The question that Obi users face is, “What do I do now?”.  The good news is that there is a pretty good list of alternative providers, but the bad news is that they are not free.  It would seem like the best time to get into a contract is right now though because many of the providers are offering cheaper plans until 5/14/2014 at which time the XMPP ends.  The plan I am going for is 2 years for $50 which gets me 500 minutes per month along with E911.  This comes to just over $2 a month for phone service!
Pricing

The provider that I decided on is called Vestalink.  I don’t want to port my number out of Google Voice, so after the nifty Vestalink video I will show you how I accomplished this.

**Please use my links for signing up for Vestalink as I can earn a referral; note that I am NOT paid or sponsored by Vestalink**  First go to here and sign up for a free 30 day or 60 minutes of talk time trial.  You don’t have much time though if you are going to get one of the deals before 5/14/2014.Click the Sign Up Free link.

SignUp

Enter the appropriate information for your internet details as well as your login details.   Click Continue.
Signup1

Enter the Zip code closest to where you would like your number.  This pulls up a list of cities nearby.  Click the one you are interested in and then click Continue.  Make sure you note your new phone number…we will need it later
Signup2

Enter your address for E911.  This is important so please make sure the information is correct.  Click Continue.
Signup3

Now to select your device.  I had the Obi, so I clicked on the “Bring your own device / Softphone / Smartphone / Tablet / OBi Adapter – Click Here” link.  To continue you then have to click on Click Here.
Signup4

The last thing to do is to verify the information is all correct.  You must check the consent box and then enter a phone number that they can verify that you really want to sign up.  The phone number cannot be a VOIP number.
Signup5 Signup6

If it didn’t take you into the Vestalink Dashboard, then go to www.vestalink.com and then click Login.  Enter your email and password and then login.
Login

We need to get Vestalink talking to your OBi device.  Click Devices and then Click Softphone/BYOD.  You need the IP address of your OBi and you can get this by following the directions here or by logging into your router and finding the IP from the DHCP list.  My guess is that if you are here setting this up, then you probably should be able to find this information.  Enter the IP address and then click Send Configuration.  You might be asked for the OBi password and which by default is admin/admin.  Your OBi device is magically configured for use with Vestalink.
OBiSetup

Time to forward my Google Voice number to my new Vestalink number.  Go to Google Voice and click the little settings gear at the top right and then click Settings.  On the Settings page under the Phones tab click the Add another phone link at the bottom of the page.  Type a new name…I used OBi and then put the Versalink phone number that your wrote down earlier…right…:)  Click Save.  Google will require that you verify the number by Google Voice calling the number and requiring that you enter a 2 digit code.  After verifying the forwarding number go back to the Vestalink Dashboard.
settinggearNewPhoneVerifyphone

We need to Spoof our Google Voice number when we call out, so instead of using the new Versalink number on the caller ID of who you are calling…it will look like your old Google Voice.  Click on Numbers and then click Spoof Caller ID.  Put your Google Voice number in the “Set to” box and then click the Verify Ownership box.  Versalink will call your Google Voice number now and ask you to enter a code.
SpoofID
VerifyOwner

That is is…when someone calls your Google Voice number it will forward it to your new Vestalink number (and now you have caller ID).  When you make a new call out it will use the new Vestalink number, however the number will be spoofed with your old Google Voice number; so it looks like you are calling with Google Voice but you are not.

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