Communicating while traveling can be difficult and expensive. In order to alleviate some of the headaches, I setup an Asterisk PBX at home to route calls using hard and soft VoiP phones. Recently I migrated from having a dedicated machine at home for this to using the DIgium Asterisk package on a Synology NAS unit.
The first task is to figure out which VoiP provider is going to work.
- Ability to receive and place up to 3 calls simultaneously.
- Easy, high quality international calling (both incoming and outgoing).
- Support numbers forwarding to multiple support ‘agents’ so that someone can always answer.
- Ability to forward a primary numbers to multiple extensions or outside lines. (i.e. from one US number to a variety of international prepaid sims without any additional configuration – i.e. handle no longer functioning phones automatically).
- Incoming US and Dutch phone numbers.
I have been using FlowRoute for some time no as my outgoing provider. They provide good quality calls and I’ve never had an issue with them. However their trunks for incoming lines are priced at $17/month, which I find to be preventative from considering them as a serious solution. I would like the ability to handle 2-3 calls at a time once in a blue moon, but am not going to pay for that capacity all the time at such a high rate. I still do recumbent them for outgoing calls, where a incoming trunk is not necessary.
CallCentric is one of the main reasons this search has even begun – they discontinued their free incoming DID service which I was previously using. I’m not so interested in CallCentric at this time because when I was using their free DID service, the calls were often poor quality and network often lagged. I also do not find their pricing model to be very attractive.
In my search for VoiP providers I started by trying one that I had tried to use about a year ago, VoiP.ms but am still unable to add credit even after having a hold put on my registration when I registered way back when (I was trying to top up using paypal, for their minimum amount, $25). So now to just wait for them to contact me and verify me again (last time this process took days).
I cannot get my asterisk server to tie into DIDLogic correctly.
IPKall has been giving away free incoming DID’s for a long time now. This is a very simple and easy to use service with decent quality (considering its free). Its not a good business solution, but figured I would mention it as I have used it for a while and never had any issues with it. It is also great for testing things out, or if you need a ‘burn’ number (i.e. a number just for a few days).
LocalPhone seemed very promising at first, however I have run into problems with them. They don’t transmit the DID number, but rather your account number to the asterisk server. As such asterisk cannot differentiate between different DID numbers on a single account. To alleviate this I created a second account and added a DID to it. However upon adding that second trunk to asterisk things started to get messed up. When a call comes in on LocalPhone2 it is still picked up by inbound call rules of LocalPhone1. I believe this is because of the insecure=very option that LocalPhone requires in order to function.
In addition to the above problem, for some reason one of the phone numbers on my local phone account is forwarding to someone who I have no idea is – and i didn’t set it up that way.