Free VOIP calling via PBX box & VOIP gateway?

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  #1  
Old 08-12-20, 12:34 PM
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Free VOIP calling via PBX box & VOIP gateway?

I've been looking for options on home phone service. Currently I pay for an old fashioned landline. These days, except for my current cable ISP, all the providers that are available in my area are offering only VOIP. Even the main phone company, Bell, has switched to VOIP. But they want to charge me like $60/month for it. Other providers are offering more reasonable fees but I started researching it and found that there might be a way to build a system yourself and not have to pay monthly fees.

1. Cheap and Easy Guide to Building a Private Telephone System

2. Retrofit a PBX to Existing Phone Lines


Those Instructables are mostly explaining how to build a private phone network. But what I need is an actual phone line that calls in and out. In step 6, it seems to say that after you've done the wiring, all you need to do is have internet service, buy a VOIP gateway, and connect it to the PBX. Then you get free incoming and you can make free outgoing calls. You apparently don't need to sign up for phone service with an ISP or a phone company. All you have to sign up for is internet. I can't confirm that. Somebody asked if this is true in the comments below one of the articles but nobody answered. So does anybody know if this is true or not?

There are companies claiming to offer lifetime accounts for a one-time payment, which give you free VOIP phone service forever. I've been suspicious of their claims. But maybe they're just charging you a fee for something you could do for free yourself, if you know how to set it up. That's why they can offer you a lifetime account. And maybe this is why paid VOIP service is generally cheaper than traditional landline phone service - it doesn't actually cost the provider anything.
 
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Old 08-12-20, 11:45 PM
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Nobody is going to handle your incoming calls for free.
You could use Magic Jack or Ooma.

Magic Jack vs Ooma
 
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Old 08-13-20, 12:49 PM
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So are you saying I can get any VOIP gateway box, connect it to any PBX box, and connect that to the existing phone lines, and that will let me do certain things within my house. But if I want incoming and outgoing calls, I still need to sign up for a phone bill from a VOIP provider. Is that correct?

I just want to be sure. Since these are using actual phone cable, would the in-home system work at all when the internet is down and/or the power is out? Because non-VOIP phone lines work when there's no internet or power. So if you've got analog equipment hooked up, would they work?
 
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Old 08-13-20, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by doublezero
Because non-VOIP phone lines work when there's no internet or power.
I think that only applies in the less-and-less common situations where you still have a phone company that provides actual copper-wire POTS.
I say that because in my experience, Verizon and Comcast phone service is based on fiber optics, which means they go down without power (they DO have a small backup battery).

Originally Posted by doublezero

But if I want incoming and outgoing calls, I still need to sign up for a phone bill from a VOIP provider. Is that correct?
Originally Posted by PJmax
Nobody is going to handle your incoming calls for free
Actually you can. I have 2 landline numbers that I've ported to "Google Voice", which is NOW actually "Hangouts" and "Hangouts Dialer."
I make and receive calls on the 2 former landline #s with 2 old Android phones that I have assigned those landline phone #s. The old phones work over WiFi. I can ALSO make and receive calls on Windows 10 computers, and CloudReady Chromebooks, and if you work at it, iPhone or IOS.

1) Amazon Prime-Alexa provides/includes VOIP "Alexa, call the Ghostbusters, 212 555-2368"

2) Google Hangouts offers free VOIP calling via internet to Android, Chromebook, iOS, and Windows.
-Port a LANDLINE # to CELLPHONE by calling your cell company, one time fee around $40.
-Port a CELLPHONE # to Google Hangouts. One time fee is around $30.

That Google-Hangouts phone # that your old Landline #. You can make and receive calls for free from that phone # over almost any device that has an internet connection, that supports the Google Hangouts app. So, my Windows10 desktops, Chromebooks, and Android phones I allow me to access multiple Google Hangouts phone #s.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 08-13-20 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 08-16-20, 11:15 AM
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You could take a look at SIPBroker - Login then you may get free incoming calls.
I prefer to pay just a small bill and use Callcentric for North America, and Zadarma for Europe.

You may of course call for free with google voice.
 
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Old 08-23-20, 01:25 PM
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I don't use my cellphone when at home, I'm old school I guess preferring analog phones. I installed what's called a 1A2 key system in the house when I bought it 35 years ago, so there's a phone in every area, even on the deck in a wooden cabinet. I modified the 1A2 system to use standard (non-1A2) phones. These days since I'm the only one here I don't typically have the system powered on to use the intercom, but do occasionally to talk to someone who rings the doorbell. I know there are many modern enhancements to that now.

About 5 years ago I went to Ooma which provides a standard analog line via the internet. I've been satisfied with the cost, service and features. If the power and/or internet goes out, it can be set to forward calls to another number such as a cell phone.It's connected to all the phones on the key system. Ringing current is sufficient, the ringing an electronic and cordless phone, and an old standard bell in the garage that I can also hear on the deck.

It's not a given that analog tip & ring will always work during a power failure. A while after a prolonged power outage my analog line from the local phone co, went dead. I assumed maybe another tree went down and hit wires 4-5 days later. Found out after talking to a telco tech my line didn't go directly to the central office, but to what's called a SLIC, which is like a local node. They run on battery backup and the batteries had simply run out.

I'm in the business and we're finding that local telcos aren't typically enhancing/replacing defective outside plant wiring. Because of many business and residential lines switching to VoIP or cable service - that's freeing up a lot of cable pairs. But then those spare pairs that they switch to could also deteriorate.
 
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Old 08-23-20, 01:30 PM
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I installed what's called a 1A2 key system
Wow that is old school.
I still see a lot of that equipment left behind in old businesses.
 
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Old 08-23-20, 02:25 PM
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You're probably familiar with 1A2 then! Yes back when telcos installed them, they tended to just leave the KSU/power supplies behind if it was replaced. I have a Melco 19 station intercom on my system. Talk about cave man.

As for the OPs search for free service - I know a few years ago there was an ATA - maybe the brand was Obahi? - that was compatible with Google Voice. But I heard Google Voice was considering making it non-compatible with ATAs, I don't know the status now.
 
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Old 09-06-20, 07:36 AM
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You may use google voice on your cellphone via the wireless network, but not via an ATA.

If we look at history they started with lots of telephone companies who did not cooperate, now we have the same on all the new platforms, Riot, Skype, Google Voice, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp Viber,Talky......

They pop up, and disappears, and who knows what will last.

For the momen most of my friends has a facebook account, and then messenger is the most common phone option, but still calling the phone number are the most trustworthy thing. :-)
 
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Old 09-06-20, 09:24 AM
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VOIP is, of course, data and here are a couple of my experiences.

An new alarm customer in a large office building would occasionally fail to send a test signal. Nobody could figure out why, so it was given to the "grey beard"; me. I ran a report on that customer for "No Test Signal" and found each was followed by a "AC Power Restored" signal.

At the premise I made sure the alarm was in front of the customer's phone system, chased the line back to the phone closet on that floor and then down to where phone lines entered the building. The phone lines were tied to a fiber T1 (multiplexed digital data) unit with a local power supply with battery backup. A flashlight through the power supply vents revealed no batteries!

Also had similar problems with cable companies failing to connect the backup battery in their VOIP units.
 
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