I am calling for free!!!

Now I know why my telco is trying so hard to squeeze the last left penny from my pocket. I can now call for free and it is available for everyone with a broadband Internet connection, without getting into criminal acts. This weekend I enabled VOIP calling as a test at my home. Apart from some issues configuring my ISA Server firewall everything worked flawlessly. I can now call all landlines in most Western European countries and the US for free.

What did I do to get free calling?

1. I bought myself an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). I choose the Linksys PAP2 with two phone connections.
2. I registered at http://www.sipdiscount.com and ordered EUR10 calling credits. This Voice over IP (VOIP) provider offers free calling to landlines in most Western European countries and the US plus some really good rates for other countries (I call Suriname for 18 Eurocents/minute). I also received a free phone number.
3. I configured the Linksys PAP2 with my account and servers at sipdiscount.com
4. I configured my ISA Server firewall to enable SIP from my home network (more about this later).
5. Then I connected a phone to the Linksys PAP and voila!

VOIP calling is no different from ordinary phone calls. The quality is the same. Only beware that fax through voip does not seem to work very well. In the Netherlands it is possible to move your phone number(s) to voip. This service is not offered by sipdiscount.com, but I found it available at www.budgetphone.nl.

Now free calling is working, I started my migration away from high phone bills to cheap voipcalling. I will soon drop my ISDN line and move all my phone numbers (not my fax number) to a voip account.

I will follow up this posting with some more information about how I managed to configure the ISA Server to enable SIP for VOIP calling.

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5 Responses to I am calling for free!!!

  1. François says:

    Hey Ray,
     
    nice article, I am watching these new developments very closely.In the office we have setup a 7 day work shop to explore all new features of VOIP, we are looking at a Unix PABX that supports all kind of SIP/Voice protocols (http://www.asterisk.org/). My intrest primairly lies in the new Unified Messaging features that both Live Communication Server and Exchange Server 12 will support in the near future. Up to now I have no real insight in the way this should be setup.
     
    Please keep your blog updated, I am very intrested in hearing how this turns out in a real life scenario!
     
    Greetz, François

  2. François says:

    Hey Ray,
     
    Have you ever considered using the Linksys SPA3000, it will offer similiar functionality as the PAP2 box with the addition of a FXO port that you can connect to the "old telephone network (PSTN)".
    This addtional port will offer you:
    – A way to keep your existing phonenumber and telephone line and route it to the handsets.
    – A fall back option if VOIP is not available, the box will automatically route the outgoing call through PSTN
    – A PSTN to VOIP (and vice-versa) gateway that makes it possible to dial your normal phone number and forward it (always, or on demand) to a voip provider. (Call Suriname from you mobile phone for just the mobile-local rate + the low NL to Suriname rate)
    François
     

  3. Martain says:

    Hi Ray and François,
     
    I guess VoIP services should become that reliable so that a fallback option to a POTS line isn\’t necessary anymore.
    And that will be the future; (internet) service providers are now starting to offer VoIP. The maturity of these services is growing.
     
    Ray, what is your experience with it so far?
     
    Regards,
    Martain Spierings

  4. Unknown says:

    Hi there,
    I don\’t know much about this upcoming technology that is VOIP but I\’m living in Belgium and when I red your article about calling for free over the border lines my eyes begun rolling ;-)))At home my structure is like this.
    I\’ve got a subscription at Belgacom (Belgium official telecom provider). It\’s KPN for the Netherlands I think. Nietwaar? :-)There are 2 telephones connected to it.I\’ve got 4 machines on my LAN connection to a Switch that is connection to my linksys WRT54G that is connected to my ADSL modem.
     
    So my question would be if I could do the same? And what do I need to buy extra? I saw that I could need the Linksys PAP2, a subscription to sipdiscount.
     
    What else?
    And also you said that when you call to suriname it cost 18cents but further in the text you can call for free???

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