Review of the Obihai OBi110 VoIP device, Part 1: Use your phone with Google Voice for free incoming and outgoing calls

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146 Comments

  1. eggie5 said

    My goal is to make outbound calls using google voice from my computer using ruby. I was using your previous googlevoice/asterisk/freepbx article (plus adhearsion) to do this. Everything is installed fine, however, I can’t get freepbx to install on os x (which is my devbox) for testing.

    Would this be the same difference as the asterisk/freepbx setup? Can I still interface w/ programs on computer, i.e. make calls from code?

  2. Jeff Lightfoot said

    Does it allow the four gateways (gw1-4) for multiple outgoing providers like the SPA-3000?

  3. First of all I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea and have them thinking that this is a clone of the SPA-3000/3102 – it is not. It is similar in that it has one FXS and one FXO port, but the web-based GUI interface is totally different. So, that said, as the article notes it supports four outgoing “providers”, but probably not in the way you are thinking. By using the ** codes, you can route your outgoing calls to either of two SIP providers (either or both of which can also be Google Voice if you have the latest firmware), or to the PSTN line connected to the line port, or to the OBiTalk network (which is any other OBiTalk device, or any compatible softphone).

    One thing you can do if you have technical questions of this type is to go to Obihai’s Documents & Downloads page and download a copy of the OBi Device Administration Guide. Although this document was released before Google Voice support was added to the firmware, it shows how to configure just about everything else if you want to “do it yourself” instead of using the OBiTALK device configuration panel (and has plenty of screenshots of the device’s web interface, in case you want to get a feel of how it differs from the Linksys/Sipura style interface).

    I’m just wondering how many people would actually have a need to have more than two outgoing providers? I suppose that if enough memory is available in the device they could possibly add support for more than two, but I don’t know that for sure. If anyone else would have a need for that leave a comment, and if I notice a trend I’ll send an e-mail to the folks at Obihai and let them know that this is a desired feature.

  4. Jeff Lightfoot said

    I totally understand what market this is designed for. I didn’t mean to imply that it should support some of the extended features of the SPA-3000 but it would be a perfect replacement for me if it did.

  5. Syntax said

    If you use the google voice account tied to your regular email and always have the web app open, how does it sometimes prevent calls going to the OBi110? Any way to get around this without setting up another account?

  6. My best guess on this is that when you have the web app open, it also opens a Google Chat client and when a call comes in, Google Voice “prefers” to deliver it to its own web-based chat client, even if you’ve never installed the voice plugin and therefore have no possibility of receiving calls. If you really want to avoid setting up another account, you have a couple of options. If your reason for not wanting to open a new account is because you want to keep using your existing Google Voice number, then go ahead and open a new Gmail account but don’t open a corresponding Google Voice account – instead, use this form to transfer your existing number to the new account (note you’ll have to set a Voicemail PIN on the account if you haven’t done so already, because the form asks for it):

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cjlWRDFTWERkZEIxUzVjSmNsN0ExU1E6MA

    The following caveats apply (as noted here):

    - It may take up to 2 weeks to process (though most of the time it’s within 2 days)
    - Request will not be processed if the requested target account is a Google Apps account
    - Request will not be processed if the pin is incorrectly specified
    - Request will not be processed if the target account already has a Google Voice account (unless you explicitly specify that you want the other Google Voice account destroyed)
    - All greetings and recorded names will need to be re-recorded after the transfer.

    With regard to that last point, I did not find that to be the case when I recently assisted in the transfer of a number to a new account, but YMMV. I will note that the time until the transfer takes place can vary wildly — the first time I did one it took about ten days; but in most recent case it took a little over a day (and there was only about two weeks’ difference between the two). So I have a feeling they may do these in batches.

    The other option is to use an external mail program (such as Thunderbird) or the mail program that comes with your operating system – as long as it supports POP3 you can use it with Gmail. Here’s a how-to on using Thunderbird and Gmail, but if you use some other mail program just put the name of that mail program and Gmail into a Google search and you’ll likely find instructions. Use the external program to read and send your e-mail and you’ll rarely if ever have to log into the actual Gmail site.

  7. Syntax: As a further response to your question, see this thread, which explains another possible way to avoid the problem. In that thread, “Agate” posts:

    If you want to remain logged into the gmail account that hosts your google voice number, then in Gmail under Settings, then the Chat tab, change the Call Phones setting to Call Phones: choosing Disable outbound voice calling.

    However there are some drawbacks to that so you should read the thread to find out about the drawbacks and the possible workarounds.

  8. Nerd Uno said

    Great find! And equally great article!

  9. Ragu said

    Nice article! I am well versed with PBXIAF and have had servers running in the past. But I was always annoyed by the amount of floorspace required by my 90′s era computer sitting right next to my kitchen counter (where the DSL router is located). On the other hand, I did not want to buy a $200 atom PC just for this. The Obi seems like a good match for my needs…

    One thing I’m still not sure about is how Google Voice quality compares to other VoIP providers. It probably also depends on the location of their servers in relation to where I live but I’m wondering if there is any data on this.

  10. [...] Rodriguez’s Setup Guide on Voxilla and then read the excellent series of articles on the Michigan Telephone Blog. [...]

  11. Domonbayle said

    Want so badly…… sold out everywhere though, seems you’ve made it very popular, in addition to the 50 page thread on slickdeals now.

  12. evrk said

    is it possible to set up the obihai to link to multiple phones across a house? As in, can it be plugged into some sort of input so that all of the jacks in teh house are linked to the obihai device?

  13. evrk: Yes, but you must completely disconnect the inside wiring from the phone company’s lines first, or you will damage your Obihai device. See How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home.

  14. uRwhatUr said

    You state “DO NOT use your existing Gmail address that you use for your day-to-day e-mail”

    Is that solely because of the open web app issue or for some security issue as well? I already use Thunderbird to pull my Gmail.

    Thanks – great article!

  15. uRwhatUr – It’s because when you are logged into Gmail it can interfere with incoming calls. If you use Thunderbird then you would probably not have this issue as long as you don’t log into Gmail.

  16. [...] that you can make and receive calls from your regular phone with a decent amount of ease (though as this tutorial shows, having a certain level of technical know-how is pretty useful).  For non-US residents, free [...]

  17. Martin said

    Great review. Thanks.

    Am I understanding this correctly about having to get a new/separate gmail account for Obihai to work? So, if that is the case, the obvious question now is what to do about the hundreds of contacts I religiously keep updated on my regular gmail account? Those contacts are used for several other purposes in addition to GV calls.

    Martin

  18. Martin, the problem is that if you don’t get a separate Gmail account, then any time you are logged into that Gmail account in a Web browser you risk losing incoming calls. You could use an external e-mail client such as Thunderbird, or the e-mail software supplied with your operating system, and configure it to pick up and send your e-mail, but even then, if you log into the account for any reason you risk losing incoming calls. It’s a Google issue and there’s nothing you or Obihai can do about it (you’d have the same issue if you were using Asterisk to handle your Google Voice calls).

  19. Martin said

    Yes, understood.

    The issue that Google customers will have with this concept is that all of the apps are integrated together, to a great degree. The contacts are shared across many of them (possibly all of them, though I have not actually verified that). Those of us who use Google products extensive have taken many hours of care and feeding to keep those contacts clean and pristine.

    So the proposition of using another dedicated Gmail account is doable, but introduces some nuances. (And, by the way, they are the same nuances as what would happen if you were to go out and secure multiple Gmail accounts for multiple area codes.) What happens is that you somehow need to, or want to, keep the contacts synchronized among them all.

    No utility exists that synchronizes contacts effectively. Believe me. I’ve tried. And tried and tried. Maybe there are better solutions since I tried it last 6 months ago.

    The fallback procedure then is to pick one account as the account of record and then to periodically replicate those contacts to the other accounts. It’s not so hard. But its a hassle. So now in my case, let’s see … I have 2 GV numbers. So I would then need to set up 2 new Gmail accounts, somehow get the current phone numbers over to those new accounts (because they are in use now extensively by friends and family), then set up a process of replicating contacts among the accounts.

    Having said all of this, I’m assuming that the Obihai integration with Google Voice discussed here takes advantage of and otherwise does not remove the GV features. We do use all of them – the answering, voicemail, transcription of voicemail and send-to-SMS/EMail, the number redirection, the multip-ring, etc.

    Obihai is a fascinating product and I would almost be willing to make the switch, I think. But I will indeed need to consider all that it takes to keep it up.

    Thanks again for the terrific review and great feedback.

    Martin

  20. Martin, you’re welcome. As far as I know, the Obihai device doesn’t take any features away from Google Voice — you can continue to use everything you mentioned, to the best of my knowledge.

    The only thing that some people have complained about is that the OBi devices can only support Google Voice accounts linked to gmail.com addresses. Apparently there are some “Google Apps” users that have e-mail addresses that are not gmail.com addresses, yet they still have Google Voice. The OBi devices will not support anything but a gmail.com account. The company says there are technical reasons they cannot do it, but a few users seem to think that it really would be possibly if Obihai would just remove the “gmail.com only” code in their firmware. I have no clue about any of that because I don’t use “Google Apps” and my Google Voice account has an associated gmail.com address. But other than that, I cannot think of any limitations on your use of Google Voice that would be imposed by the device.

    EDIT (March 8, 2011): And according to a post by OBi-Guru in this thread:

    Obihai listens to you, and would like to invite users wishing to use a non-gmail account with GV to test out a beta firmware.
    Please send email to support@obihai.com with your OBi number (200 xxx xxx), and you’d need to add your device on OBiTALK portal.

    So it appears even that issue is about to be resolved (actually IS resolved as of March 9 — see the comment from AndroidsOfTara below).

  21. ned said

    “It’s because when you are logged into Gmail it can interfere with incoming calls. If you use Thunderbird then you would probably not have this issue as long as you don’t log into Gmail.”

    so just to be clear about this -

    is it okay to be logged onto Google Voice? but not Gmail? or can you be logged onto one without the other?

    (second question)
    I already have a GV account / number associated with my primary Gmail account. on your suggestion I have setup another Gmail account to be used as the Obihai dedicated Gmail account. I have requested Google to change my existing GV Gmail address to the new Obihai address – this process could take a week or more. in the meantime I have the Obi110 in hand and want to set it up, but to do so now would mean I would be providing my primary Gmail address to Obihai for registration. if I do this can I later go back and change the Gmail address that Obihai will have to the newer Gmail address? or will that create issues with the Obihai registration process?

  22. ned,

    In answer to your first question, I don’t know for sure but I think just being logged into Google Voice might not be an issue, but I’d still recommending doing what you need to do and logging out ASAP, just in case.

    As to your second question, I don’t understand (“I have requested Google to change my existing GV Gmail address to the new Obihai address” — what on earth are you talking about?). But anyway, you’d be better off to clarify your question and then ask it in the OBiTALK forum. You are able to change the Google Voice registration info in your OBi device at any time, I know that much.

  23. ned said

    oh- sorry for being unclear.

    I remember reading a while back that once you committed a specific Gmail address to your GV account that you were stuck with it.
    apparently not now as Google will allow you to change the Gmail address associated with a GV account. (but it takes them up to 2 weeks to get around to do it)

    good to know about being able to change Obihai registration info at any time.

    thanks for the info and the great service you provide.

  24. Martin said

    Ned – do you plan to replicate your contacts between the two?

    Meaning, that you are now moving your GV account from one gmail to another gmail – I guess so that you never have the second account ‘open’ thereby messing up the Obihai integration.

    When you do that, you will effectively have two gmail accounts. How do you plan to get contacts from one of the accounts to the other, and keep them sync’d?

    Martin

  25. ned said

    @Martin – well that was part of my query – if there could be issues I will just wait for Google to migrate the Gmail addresses associated with the GV account before I do the Obihai registration process.

    as to contacts – that is a good question. it was recommended here that we have a separate Gmail address to be used solely with the Obihai device. so how are other people dealing with the problem of shared / syncing contacts, etc?

  26. ned said

    btw – what do you know about this?

    http://blog.soocial.com/2009/12/30/sync-across-multiple-gmail-accounts/

  27. Martin said

    @ned – yea, that is the issue. If you read up a couple of posts you will see my similar comments and issues with this ‘don’t open gmail’ proposal. In my case, as with many other people, I use most of the google products and they are all tied together – using contacts.

    The proposal here of simply using something else for email leaves gaping holes in the integration. I, for one, can’t do that.

    So, yes, I tried soocial before and it did not work out well. But it was in early adoption then and possibly now works better. I am going to try again. Your procedure then will be to:

    1. Establish this other gmail account, which will be used then for Obahai integration of gmail/Obahai.

    2. Do not enter any contacts in this second email account.

    3. Do all maintenance of all contacts in your current gmail account.

    4. Use soocial to sync the two gmail accounts, but never update contacts in the new one. Soocial may get confused (maybe not) with updates going into the separate gmail accounts. So just pick your current one as your ‘system of record’ and use soocial to ship those contacts to your new gmal/Obihai account.

    5. You might want to check how that is going in the new one, from time to time. Meaning, go into the new gmail/Obihai account and see if all of the contacts are coming across OK. The thing to look for is that new contacts come over accurately, deleted contacts get deleted, and changes to existing contacts get changed accurately.

    After doing this for a few months, report how it’s going here. :) I’ll do the same.

    In my case, I have 2 gmail phone numbers to serve friends and family in different parts of the country. soocial, theoretically, is said to be able to synchronize all of those. We’ll see.

    Or … maybe someone at Obihai could fix up the architecture so that gmail is fully operational, with all featers, at the same time that Obihai is operational. This actually is the correct answer.

    Good luck.

  28. Nerd Uno said

    You’re using this new Gmail account solely to support a telephone number. You’ll never get email here, nor will you need your contacts. They don’t sync with the OBi device! The reason for the second account is so you don’t have to give up using Google Chat, Google Talk, and Google Phone on your primary Gmail account. The lack of flexibility in allowing Gtalk access from multiple locations is a Google restriction, not an OBi limitation.

  29. ned said

    thanks Martin -

    most helpful.

    I will post results as discovered.

    btw – for anyone wanting to change Gmail addresses associated with GV accounts – Google said the process could take up to two weeks – my request was filled in less than 12 hours.

  30. Martin said

    @NerdUno

    The contacts of my gmail account, which for now is connected to my GV account, controls a slew of features as to how GV behaves – screening, forwarding, the voicemail message they hear, call rejection, call counts and history by name, etc.

    The contacts are also integrated with contacts of Picassa and Calendar and Documents, and the rest of the suite most likely.

    I would like to use Obi to connect GV to a physical device, inbound and outbound, but will not abandon all of the GV features in order to have that. Right now I use ooma, which is fine and integrates perfectly with GV. The Obi feature set is dramatically more flexible than ooma (although ooma is near plug-and-play).

    The only other thing that plays in my head with this is that we will see MORE solutions like Obi as time goes on. My personal needs are to be able to talk on a phone as opposed to mess with technology every four months. So, possibly, it is best to wait.

    But where’s the fun in THAT???

    Martin

  31. Nerd Uno said

    Martin: We appear to be two ships passing in the night. Your Ooma device doesn’t provide access to Picassa, Calendar, and Google Docs. So why should the OBi? The secondary Google account is used solely to get you a phone number to use with the OBi. Nothing more. So you’re not giving up anything by not using your primary Gmail account. Not sure how much clearer that could be??

    As for waiting on the next great ATA to come along, that’s pretty funny. For long time VoIP users, there has always been one and only one good ATA device manufacturer, and that was Sipura. The company was later sold to Cisco. Guess what? The founders of Obihai are the folks that ran Sipura. So… I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on a bunch of clones to come along. There aren’t a handful of people in the world that know how to build one of these devices, especially for under $50.

  32. Martin said

    @NerdUno

    I will definitely agree that I am not always the fastest on the block! Maybe you can help me understand how OBi and GV will integrate such that all of the GV features continue to work seamlessly.

    So, starting from the start: I set up a new google account and migrate my current GV phone number over to it. 700 people have that phone number, so I want to use it rather than asking 700 people to dial a new number.

    In this new google account I do not put any contacts in and I DON’T set any of the forwarding/ring/filtering/etc rules that I had on that phone number before. It’s just a phone number with no rules.

    Now I hook up that phone number onto my new OBi.

    How do I set up the forwarding rules for inbound calls the way I used to on GV?
    How do I give different people different greetings on my voicemail?
    How do I restrict certain inbound numbers from ringing?
    How do I make calls to Europe and get the cheap GV prices?

    All of the questions above are handled through GV contacts now. I don’t know how to implement these features without having any contacts in GV.

    Can you tell me how that would work?

    Thanks,
    Martin

  33. AndroidsOfTara said

    I am currently using the new beta firmware with support for Google Apps based Google Voice accounts. It’s working perfectly for the few inbound and outbound calls I’ve tested.

  34. AndroidsOfTara (I suppose that’s a reference to something, but it’s lost on me), that is great news. I know that the Obihai folks had originally said there were technical reasons they couldn’t do it, but apparently they have figured out a way!

  35. Nerd Uno said

    Martin: In Gmail (not Google Voice) on your old Gmail account, open Contact Manager and export all Contacts in Google CSV format. Then, in Gmail (not Google Voice) on your new Gmail account, open Contact Manager and import the Google CSV contacts you exported above. When it finishes, you’ll have all of your contacts back in both Gmail and Google Voice on the new account. You’ll have to set up your voicemail messages and Group forwarding rules anew. But, unlike Ooma, at least you can get your Contacts moved over. You can make calls to Europe the same way you do now. Pick up the phone connected to the OBi and dial the international number.

  36. Martin said

    @ofTara – the million dollar question: are you able to use the device at the same time that you have your Google Apps gmail page open on your browser???

    Meaning: you have the Apps gmail page open, with the phone app enabled, and with that configuration going you are able to make calls and take calls with no service interruptions or other ‘hiccups.’

    That would answer about a thousand questions for me if you could test that and answer my question.

    Thanks,
    Martin

  37. Martin said

    NerdUno – understood. I use that process for another purpose and am familiar with its operation.

    Now next question: I modify contacts nearly daily within the main account. How do I keep those modifications in sync with the secondary ‘OBi-only’ account?

    Do I log into the other account and make those updates every day? Or do the CSV process every day?

    Thanks for the suggestion. Hopefully this will lead to something that will work out.

    Martin

  38. AndroidsOfTara said

    Martin:

    Yes, I am able to place and receive calls with the Google Apps Gmail page open. I have GV forwarding to Google Chat and my Android phone. The phone attached to the OBi rings nearly instantly and the Android phone a second or so later.

    However, I did two things that may be enabling this to work smoothly. First, I signed out of Chat from the Gmail page. I then installed a Firefox extension called Better Gmail 2 which lets me completely hide the Chat interface. I never use Chat anyway, so I don’t care that its gone.

    I’ll let you know if I notice any problems over the next few days.

    michigantelephone: AndroidsOfTara is the name of a 1978 episode of Doctor Who called “The Androids of Tara.” It seemed an appropriate alias for a Doctor Who & Android geek.

  39. Obviously, the FTC wants us all to be jealous that you actually managed to get one of these things… that’s why they want you to disclose that you were compensated. ;)

  40. Martin said

    @Androids – just got home and played with that a bit. I notice that when you sign out of chat you also lose the ‘phone’ feature. Unfortunately I do use the phone feature, but probably can do without if I think about it some.

    Thanks for letting me know about your tests. I’d be interested in hearing more and if it continues to work or not.

  41. GrayOnGray said

    I’m having a situation where the phone connected to the Obi will ring, but the google chat client will not activate if left open at the same time. This sounds like the reverse of the issue that is expected. Ideally, I’d like them both to ring simultaneously, but if I had to have just one ring, I’d prefer to have the google chat client ring instead of the Obi-connected phone. This is because I may be connected to google away from my home and would otherwise miss a call if I’m not near my home phone connected to the Obi. Any idea on what’s happening, and whether I can reverse it, as I mentioned? Thanks!!

  42. Marc said

    @GrayOnGray – Excellent question! A possible, albeit primitive, workaround might be unplugging the Obi BEFORE leaving your home BEFORE you leave, no?

  43. JP said

    WOW! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions. I had phone service through gizmo5 and had to find a replacement in a hurry, and this worked wonderfully. I followed your steps and everything worked great. The only stumbling block was when trying to change my userid-password from admin-admin to something else. When they say to “reboot” they do not tell you that means to click on the innocuous “reboot” button on the upper right of the obihai configuration screen. Instead, I unplugged and re-plugged in my actual device, which basically wiped out the password altogether so that not even admin worked anymore, so I had to factory reset the device to then do it correctly. Other than that, I am really pleased with my new phone service. Thanks!

  44. Angie said

    Just wondering, will my answering machine still work with the Obihai OBi110 ? I rarely pick up the phone till I hear who is on the other end. Thanks

  45. There is no reason I can think of why it would not, provided you hook it up correctly. However, if you want it to intercept incoming Google Voice calls then you will have to set it to answer calls quickly enough so that Google’s Voicemail system doesn’t get to them first. I’m guessing you have it set to answer on the first or second ring anyway (since you are using it to screen calls), so I don’t think that will be an issue.

  46. Angie said

    Thanks for the quick and helpful answer! Take care. Angie.

  47. Karmen said

    I just discovered why you have to make at least one call from your Gmail account’s “Call Phone” feature. If you haven’t done that, Google Talk does not appear as a phone option in your Google Voice account.

  48. Mzag said

    I fowlled the instruction, However, the Obi device status on obitalk dashboard is always OFFLINE. and I do not recive or make call. Any Idea how to get back online?? yes, it is pluged in and leds are green!!

  49. Mzag, do you get dial tone? What happens when you dial **9 222 222 222? Did you actually add your device in the OBiTALK portal? It must show the same number that’s on the bottom of your device in the portal or your device isn’t registered, and if that’s the case you still need to add your device (when you sign up in the portal it will show a number for a softphone – that is NOT your device). If you still have issues, I suggest you jump on the OBiTALK forum and seek help there.

  50. Mzag said

    Thank you for reply, here are the answer to your questions:
    1-do you get dial tone? No Dial tone.
    2 What happens when you dial **9 222 222 222? NOTHING (I know the phone is ok, I test it).
    3-Did you actually add your device in the OBiTALK portal? Yes I did, I can see it in the portal.
    4-It must show the same number that’s on the bottom of your device in the portal or your device isn’t registered. Yes, it is the same number, I can went to setting and checked overything closly, the Gmail with extension,passaword and it also reads google voice!!

    I checked google voice and google chat was checked!!

    Both soft phone and the device which i called home it shows OFFLINE.

    I also tried to update the firewear (little yellow triangle) but it does not update automatically as claimed, it just give you a massage of need to update.

    I do not want to unblug and blug since I do not know if this will reset obi110 or not.

    I went to obi talk forum, and I did not see anything the same. I fill up a forme for service and no body reply.

    There must be a way to but back in line.

    Thanks for the help

  51. Mzag said

    Problem solved. I just did a factory reset, start again, work like a sharm.

    thanks

  52. Jim Jam said

    I have two questions with Google Voice and Obi combo.

    1. Is there a way to have notification that another call is coming in when I am on the phone. Can I see their number?

    2. It seems that when I answer the phone after I pick up after the ring the caller does not hear my first Hello. I have to repeat Hello again or twice.

    Thanks for any answers.

  53. Jim Jam, pick up your phone connected to your OBi device and dial * * * 6. If it tells you that new firmware is available, allow it to download amd install it (don’t disconnect the power to your device while it’s doing this). If it tells you that you’ve dialed an invalid code, then you really need new firmware but you will have to get it by going to the OBiTALK portal and clicking on the yellow inverted triangle next to the device name (assuming you’re using the OBiTALK portal – if not you’ll need to download it manually and install it). The latest firmware should address both of your concerns.

  54. Jim Jam said

    Problems seem to be solved here too after I upgraded firmware.
    Just have to do thorough testing. Good job michigantelephone.

    Now, next project is to get my iphone to use google voice. Can you point me to instructions?

    Thanks.

  55. Jim Jam, see http://www.obitalk.com/obinet/pg/obhdev/downloads and if you have questions, http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?board=8.0

  56. GizmoChicken said

    Thanks for recommending the OBi! Although I still implore Google Voice to give us industry standard SIP connectivity, I’ve got to admit that I miss SIP a little less now that I have my new OBi100, which seems (at least for now) to be fully GV compatible. In fact, I’d say that my new OBi100/GV combo works better than my old Grandstream/Gizmo combo.

    You mentioned that you would be willing to send feedback to you contacts at Obi. I hope your mention the following:

    ADDITIONAL SP ACCOUNTS
    You asked “how many people would actually have a need to have more than two outgoing providers?” Count me in. I have several GV accounts and a few more SIP accounts. So, I’d like to have as many full SP accounts as memory will support.

    VOICE GATEWAYS
    According to RonR’s post on the OBi site, “With Google Voice configured on both SP1 and SP2, you cannot use Voice Gateways with SIP. To use Voice Gateways with SIP, you must have at least one SIP provider configured on SP1/SP2.” See http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=688.msg4244#msg4244. That limitation is really a shame. In my case, I’d like to have Google Voice configured on SP1 and SP2 (and SP∞ if offered), while using Voice Gateways with various SIP accounts. That is, I wish that OBI wouldn’t force me to have at least one SIP provider configured on SP1/SP2 in order to use the “Voice Gateways” feature (unless OBi gives me many more SP accounts, so I wouldn’t mind wasting one of a SIP account that would really only be used for outgoing calls).

  57. GizmoChicken, I forwarded your comment to my contact at Obihai but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, you’re not the only one to request these things. There’s only a finite amount of memory in those devices, and I have no idea if the current feature set is bumping up against the memory limit or not. If it isn’t, then I would hope they would give your requests (and all the similar requests posted in their Feature Requests forum) some consideration.

  58. GizmoChicken said

    MichiganTelephone,

    I’ll bet you are right about memory limitations restricting the number of SP accounts. So I we probably won’t see to many (if any) more SPs added. (But still hope for a few more.)

    As for issue with requiring at least one SP to be a non-GV account, RonR on the OBi forum seems to think that the limitation likely resulted from an attempt to “shoehorn” in the function as an afterthought with sloppy coding. So lets hope OBi can at least remove this restriction.

  59. Andrew said

    Hi. First of all, thank you for the excellent Obi tutorial, it saved me much time and no doubt many cuss words.

    This may have already been mentioned, but sometimes I’m not the most observant of people. Apparently OBi says, ‘To use the Google Voice communications service on your OBi, you must have made at least one call from your Gmail account’s “Call Phone” feature.’

    I found this not to be true. When I created my Gmail account, Google suggested that I download their software and place a call from Gmail, I ignored this suggestion and went straight to creating a Google Voice account. I did make a test call from GV via a Nettalk number (which has to answered QUICK for GV verification) before checking ‘only Google Chat’ and setting up my OBi110.

    Again, thank you for your work.

  60. JP said

    2 HOUSES, 2 OBIHAIS, 1 GVOICE NUMBER

    Me again, thanks for all the info in how to get this all set up. I love the free phone service!!!

    I have a gvoice phone number, and have two houses. So I bought TWO Obihai OBi110s, and placed one in each house, to use the same gvoice phone number.

    I can call out from either one flawlessly — that is great. But when folks call me? At one of the houses, I always seems to hear the phone ring, and I can pick up the call. But the other house is fickle — if I had recently made a call out from the second house, then others can call me and I can pick up. But after a day, the Obihai in the second house seems to forget that it is serving that phone number, and will not ring (incoming calls go to gvoicemail) — but the dial tone is still there, and as soon as I make another call out form the second house, it all of a sudden remembers who it is and rings whenever folks call me thereafter.

    Any suggestions?

  61. Spicy Curry said

    This is a very informative read, thank you for that. I am yet to go through all of it in detail. I do have a question though.

    I will be leaving the country for an extended period, and would like to have a US phone number in whatever region of the world I would have to travel to. Would it be possible to set up the Obi here in the States and then just carry it along to plug and play into modems in other countries? Would this work? Please suggest, thank you for your help in advance!

  62. Spicy Curry: Really, that is impossible to know in advance. It depends, among other things, on the quality of connection you have, whether the local government or the ISP intentionally blocks or degrades VoIP, and whether your service provider has any internal blocks or firewall rules that would prevent such traffic (as might happen if you go to an area notorious for hack attempts on U.S. VoIP servers).

  63. Matt said

    I’ve been reading your guild on distributing VOIP throughout a home at http://mi-telecom.org/distribute.html. Up until today the page was accessible. Has the page been taken down? I’ve found cached versions but they don’t contain the pictures. Do you have a PDF version you could send me or has the guide been moved to a new address/host?

  64. Matt, we are in the process of moving it to a new server, and while that’s not happened yet some preliminary work resulted in the web server being offline. It should be back up now, but be aware that there may be one or more additional interruptions in the next few days.

  65. Wow! Thanks so much for this level of detail. I’ve been using VOIP for a while , through my cable company but not to this level of detail.

    My question is does this device rely on any services from The Obihai company? If I get one, am I just buying a device or a service as well? In other words, would I loose the benefit if the Obihai company goes out of business?

  66. John, if Obihai went out of business, only three things would be impacted. First, chances are that unless they made arrangements for someone else to take over the service, the OBiTALK network would cease to function. That only means that you could no longer make direct device-to-device calls (or device to/from softphone) using the OBiTALK network. Connections to services such as Google Voice or a SIP-based service would not be affected.

    Second, if you used the OBiTALK portal to assist in configuring your device, you’d no longer be able to do that. However, any existing configuration already loaded into the device should stay intact, and you could always browse to the device’s local web portal to make changes. The only thing I’d be sure to do if you’re worried about this possibility is to go into the OBiTALK portal and find the device’s “Webpage Admin Password” and copy it to your own password storage program, because if you don’t know what it is and the OBiTALK portal ever goes down, you’d be stuck without a way to access the device and you’d probably have to do a factory reset, which would wipe all your settings. Of course, if you’ve never registered your device with the OBiTALK portal then the password will still be the default (as mentioned in the little pamphlet that comes with your device).

    Third, you wouldn’t get any more firmware updates. At this point in time there are still a few bugs that need to be addressed (particularly for those using an OBi device as a gateway to an Asterisk server but also using the phone port to power an extension) but for most users the firmware is pretty stable. Of course, Google Voice may change something in the future that could require a firmware change to maintain compatibility. But anyway, if you’re worried about them going down I’d make it a point to check for new firmware updates on a regular basis, so if something does happen you have the latest firmware.

    As I noted above, any connections you have to Google Voice or to a SIP provider should keep working, at least as long as nothing changes on the provider end of things.

    Hope that clarifies things a little bit.

  67. That clarifies a lot about OBiTALK. Thanks.

  68. Andrew said

    Yesterday I installed the obi110, and now my cable modem randomly resets.

    System Components: Internet Modem = Motorola SB6120, Router = Asus RT-16 with Tomato Firmware, Asus Gigabyte switch, OBI 110 and Charter Cable Company supplied modem for charter telephone service.

    Configuration: I have a phone cable hooked up from obi’s phone port to my phone jack on the wall. And I have a cable connected from OBI’s line port to charter cable’s telephone modem (I have existing telephone service with charter and internet service with charter also).

    When internet modem (SB6120) is not resetting, the phone system works perfectly. Incoming calls to my google voice number and to my charter phone number will ring my home phones. Outgoing calls are made with the google voice number. Again I need to point out that when the SB6120 is not resetting everything works fine.

    THE PROBLEM: After hooking up the obi 110 (this was yesterday) the SB6120 randomly resets. Primarily while talking on the phone.

    Please help!

  69. Andrew, you seem to be under the impression that I am somehow affiliated with Obihai. I am not. I’m not aware of any way that the Obihai device could cause the cable modem to randomly reset, but in any case you should try sending an email to support@obihai.com with the information you have posted here. They might (and I emphasize “might”) be able to do some diagnostics to see if your device is doing anything weird that could cause this, but I certainly cannot offer anything more than sympathy and “dumb looks” in this case.

  70. Ed said

    Does exactly what it says it will do. Hook up a phone to the Obi, hook it up to your router, open a Google talk account and pick a phone number, follow the instructions exactly like they are written and you have a free phone. I use it every day. I had a roadrunner phone on a cable package for 40 a month and it was not as good as the OBI. Another 49 a month for my home and I saved 89 a month. All my friends are switching.

  71. ben said

    Does the Obi100 have SIP support, and flexible dialplans?

    I have a Cisco/Linksys SPA-3102 that I use with google voice to receive calls. It does it in a roundabout way, by connecting to Google Gizmo’s SIP number (Google Voice must then be configured to forward calls to the Gimzo SIP Number).
    Not a biggie in the setup, but outbound calling is an issue. It can’t call out to a landlines without Gizmo credit$.If Obi100 can call out to U.S. landlines (from within the US) for free (at least for the rest of 2011), then the Obi100 sounds like a better product!!

  72. Uh, ben, what time warp are you in? Gizmo5 was purchased by Google and then it was discontinued earlier this year. It used to be (and I had an account), but it is no more, and many of us miss it because it was a reliable way to receive Google Voice calls via SIP.

    I have no idea what you are actually doing but I guarantee you it doesn’t involve Gizmo5. Are you sure it still works?

  73. ben said

    No time warp needed! I had a gizmo5 account before Google bought them.. so maybe I get a different page than you, but under the Google Voice settings, “Add a new phone”, an option exists under “Phone Type” for Gizmo! I associated the 2 accounts long ago…

    Anyways everything still works great.. the Linksys voip connects to the Gizmo5 sip service, and friends calling my Google Voice number goes directly to the phone attached do the linksys adapter. Unfortunately, making outgoing calls via the gizmo/gv sip adapter, I’d get a recording saying I need to add credit! (which btw is impossible since the G5 site is gone, AND it doesn’t see my google voice credits!)

    This is why I’m looking at the Obi100 (as an addition, or even as a replacement alternative!) … so does it allow you to make free *outgoing* calls to landlines using the google voice service, or is it still only for incoming like my spa3102, and you still need a 2nd outgoing SIP provider dial-plan?

  74. I’m going to chalk this one up to the mysterious ways of Google, but if I were you I wouldn’t talk too loudly about your Gizmo5 account still working, because if someone from Google sees it they might just realize they missed someone’s account when they thought they had shut Gizmo5 down! ;)

    But anyway, yes, for the time being (because no one knows what Google plans for Google Voice after the end of 2011), if you have an OBi device you can use it to both make and receive free calls using Google Voice. In fact, there are two Service Provider slots per device, so you could even have TWO Google Voice accounts (in case you wanted an additional Google Voice number). Typically you’d put your “primary” Google Voice account on Service Provider 1, and that would be the account normally used for outgoing calls (with no dialing prefix required), however you could force an outgoing call to use the other account by dialing **2 first.

    You will NOT need the second outgoing SIP provider, BUT if you only have one Google Voice account then you could use that SIP provider as Service Provider 2. Same thing would then apply — calls dialed the “normal” way would go out via Google Voice, while calls dialed with the **2 prefix would go out via the SIP provider. Therefore you could use that provider as a “fallback” if Google Voice isn’t working for some reason. But normally you won’t need to use them.

    Honestly, I think you will be happy with an OBi100, but if you have a landline, OR you have service from a VoIP provider that forces you to use their device to access their service, then my advice is to spend the few extra bucks and go with the OBi110, because sooner or later you’ll probably wish you had. If you have neither of those things (and no special devices that produce dial tone, such as a cell phone to landline phone adapter of some kind), then an OBi100 will do everything you need, plus it’s very small (in case you ever want to take it with you when you travel).

    Oh, and yes, it does have flexible dialplans, but just be aware that if you go into the OBiTalk forums there is a guy in there who pretends to be a dial plan expert (and any question about dial plans posted in the forum is like throwing a raw steak in front of a hungry lion, as far as he’s concerned) and while he may give you answers that work, they are usually not the most direct (or understandable) way to accomplish what you want to do. So if you want to start playing with dial plans, grab some documentation off the Obihai site (you might need to be a registered user to get to it) and/or look for replies from people other than the one with the highest post count in the forum.

  75. Just an advisory for anyone using an Obihai device. If your device won’t connect to Google Voice AND you are using OpenDNS, the latter may just be the problem. Try using different DNS servers (Google’s are at 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4).

    For more information see this thread on the PBX in a Flash forum.

  76. Emmie said

    I’m on the threshold of taking the leap from a $70/mo phone bill to the Obi110 and Google Voice. Just want to say how impressed I am with michigantelephone’s expertise and patient, detailed replies. It’s exactly the help and encouragement I need. Thank you!

  77. ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12) said

    I also use my voip adapter to connect to gizmo5 (proxy01.sipphone.com), however I do it a bit indirectly…

    I’m using SIP Sorcery. It manages SIP accounts and can bind to any sip provider (sipphone, sipgate, etc).

    The advantage of this is that instead of changing your ata device to use a different sip provider each time, you only configure it once to register with the SIP Sorcery id/password.

    Although, if you use have a setup where you have to keep NAT alive, then I’m not sure the above will work. I don’t think SIP Sorcery has any NAT STUN/Auth servers.. you may still have to associate this still directly to the SIP provider you are using.

  78. Phil said

    I followed the setup as described in this Blog.
    Clicked on the Google Voice Wizard from the above link and filled everything in.

    Tried to call out but get “No service etc….”
    *** 1 says my OBi’s IP is 192.168.1.10
    HTTP to that IP times out.

    **9 222 222 222 echo test works
    **9 333 333 333 gets recorded response

    Dropped my firewall – still times out.

    Rebooted router and OBi – still times out

    Logged into my router and can’t ping 192.168.1.10

    Don’t see anything in my firewall logs concerning blocked ports etc.

    Tried a crossover cable between my router & OBi110 – nothing.

    Plugged my phone directly into my OBi110 phone port – nothing

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Phil

  79. Phil, are you sure you’re using the correct login name and password? Check the OBiTalk portal and make sure the password shown there for your device is the one you are using.

    Also, when you said “Tried a crossover cable between my router & OBi110 – nothing”, I assume you meant to say “computer” rather than router, correct? Because if you really ran it from your router to the device, that’s not going to work. If you ran it from your computer, then that still may not work because both your computer and the OBi110 will be trying to pull an IP address from a DHCP server that’s no longer there. You would have to set both your computer and your OBi device to static IP addresses in the same address range for that to work, and I would not even try that if you aren’t 100% sure of what you are doing because you could just make the problem worse. And also, when doing a ping test, don’t do it from the router, do it from another computer on your network (from a command line prompt). If you do it from the router, it may be trying to ping the Internet (WAN port only) rather than the local network. Basically, you should NOT be logged into your router when doing any tests of this type.

    Try a different network cable and a different port on your router, in case one or both are defective (yes, a port can go bad on a router!). If you used a network cable other than the one that came with the OBi110, try using the supplied one instead.

    It is remotely possible that you might have receive a defective unit, but I doubt it since you say that the echo test works. So either you have an intermittent issue (a bad cable, perhaps) or maybe for some reason you’re simply not connecting to Google Voice. And in the latter case, that could be something as simple as a typo in the password when you entered it. If you are truly stuck, contact support@obihai.com and be sure to include the 9 digit OBiTalk number from the bottom of your device. They may be able to do a diagnostic and tell you what is going on. They at least would be able to tell you a lot more than I can, because all I can offer are wild guesses as to what the problem may be.

  80. Phil said

    MichTel, Thanks for the reply.

    Maybe I have the setup wrong….

    I get voice/data/TV (Triple Play) from Time Warner and it comes in through an Arris Touchstone Modem.

    TV – Coax from their Arris Box to the Cable Box.

    Voice – Time Warner patched my home’s Standard Network Interface into their Arris box’s phone port so all my voice goes through TW’s network.

    Data – From the Arris modem’s RJ45 data port I patch into my LinkSys BEFSR41 router which has four RJ45 switchports. I patched the OBi110 into one of the router’s four switchports using the RJ45 cable from OBi.
    I then plugged in a “princess phone” like handset into the OBi’s Phone port. The LinkSys router has DHCP enabled.

    Getting to the OBi from the handset (**9 22 & **9 33….) works ok.

    I don’t think the OBi and LinkSys router are talking even though I see an occasional green flash on the OBi’s internet port and even though the OBi says it picked up 192.168.1.10.

    My laptop is on one of those four ports of my LinkSys router and when I log into the router (192.168.1.1) and try to ping 192.168.1.10 it fails.

    I swapped ports on the router and all four ports are working and I’m using OBi’s RJ45 cable between the OBi and LinkSys switchport.

    Checked my UN/RW and they are correct.
    Made a call from this new GV account before I opened the OBi box.
    My GV account is forwarding to Chat.

    Submitted a ticket to OBi and their answer was to use OBiTalk for the setup but I’d rather use the simple GV set up wizard via the above link you included.

    Is my basic setup wrong – thought the OBi box reclassified the voice traffic then set it to my router and then out through TW’s Arris box to the Internet?

    Thanks,
    Phil

  81. Phil,

    You wrote, “Submitted a ticket to OBi and their answer was to use OBiTalk for the setup but I’d rather use the simple GV set up wizard via the above link you included.”

    But at the time I wrote the article, the OBiTalk portal was not as fully developed as it is today. Today, my recommendation would be to use the portal.

    In any case, I’m curious as to why you are trying to get me to help you with this. I told you to contact Obihai Support; they told you what to try. If you’d rather do something else, then good luck and have fun.

    I do NOT work for Obihai, and I am NOT their technical support (nor yours, for that matter). If this were a visual medium I would give you dumb looks and say “too bad it isn’t working”, for free even, but that’s about all I would do!

    EDIT: Okay, I will offer one additional thought. The Arris modem MIGHT contain a built-in router and if so, connecting another router behind it may cause issues (it creates a double-NAT situation). Wonder what would happen if you used switch rather than a router? But even so, it sounds like your laptop and OBi110 should be able to communicate with each. So why can’t they? This is me, offering dumb looks again…

  82. Phil said

    MichTel,
    Didn’t mean to put you on the spot, your blog is pretty good and you sounded like you knew the 110 inside out.
    I’ll try the OBiTalk portal and see what happens.
    Thanks for your help,
    Phil

  83. [...] on how to use them and tips and tricks.  Most notable to me are the series of posts over at The Michigan Telephone Blog which goes through a very detailed review and how-to guides for setting up various things.  [...]

  84. Ceenote said

    MichTel,

    I am considering purchasing an OBi110 for my home and I am new to this. I just would like to confirm whether or not once connected, it can be used on multiple phones in the home instead of just the one traditional phone?

    Thanks for your insight.

    Ceenote

  85. GizmoChicken said

    Ceenote,

    It is possible to distribute VOIP throughout your house using an OBi110. (See http://mi-telecom.org/distribute.html) However, doing so is potentially complicated, and you run the risk of frying your OBi (and your house!) if you don’t do things correctly.

    Why not simply plug the base station of a wireless phone into your OBi and then distribute wireless extensions throughout your house?

  86. Ceenote said

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will do that.

  87. SPINKS said

    After setting up Obi 110 & G/V, People unable to leave me messages on my home answering machine. I did not select GV answering system.

    My home phone of 20 years no longer display when I call people instead they see the new Google assigned number. How can I change this.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Spinks

  88. SPINKS, please keep in mind that Google Voice is a free service (until the end of the year, at least) and therefore there are bound to be some downsides, and you’ve hit two of them. You cannot disable Google Voice’s voicemail, so your only option there is (if possible) set your answering machine to answer after fewer rings, or else just learn to use GV’s voicemail service. And when you place calls out via your Google Voice account, it will show your Google Voice number — nothing you can do about that either, unless your want to port your home phone number to Google Voice (and they only port from cell phone numbers, so you’d first have to port your home number to some form of cell service and then from there port it to Google Voice, and in both cases it will cost you money).

    If things like this really bother you, you may want to consider using a commercial VoIP service rather than Google Voice. Most such services will give you the option to not use their voicemail (which Google Voice does not) and most such services can accept ported landline numbers, though not in all areas of the country, and if you can port your number then that should be show as the caller ID when you make an outgoing call. The Obihai device offers support for several commercial SIP services, but they will cost you money, whereas for at least the next 40 days or so (and maybe longer) Google Voice does not. However just about any of those services will be cheaper than the landline service you may be paying for now.

    I will note that if you’re technically inclined there are ways to get around some of the limitations of Google Voice. For example, if you have your own Asterisk or FreeSWITCH server, you can “answer” the Google Voice call as soon as it arrives at the switch, then send it to the OBi110 (acting as an extension off the PBX) and then Google Voice will never send the call to its voicemail. There might be other ways to accomplish this without running your own server (perhaps using Tropo or SIPSorcery or some other online service that could accept the Google Voice calls, “answer” them, and then send them on to your Obihai device) so I think if you had sufficient motivation you could work around that issue. But still, any outgoing call you make via Google Voice will show your Google Voice number, and it would actually be a violation of a recently passed federal law for Google Voice to allow you to set any other number as your outgoing Caller ID.

    You could try asking your questions in the OBiTALK forum but I suspect they will give you pretty much the same answers, though someone might have a better workaround for you.

  89. SPINKS said

    When people call my home phone, they could hear it ringing on their end but It didn’t ring on my end. However, when they dial Google assigned Voice number it then rings for me to answer the call.

    in either case, neither my home answering machine or Google’s answering system picked up the calls.

    According ObiTalk troubleshoot, I went into Google voice, I selected Forwards calls to: Google chat. then, deselect he Box for Home number and save setting.

    I sincerely appreciate your time.

    Spinks

  90. And THAT is why people should check the documentation on Obihai’s site or ask questions in THEIR forums before asking me for assistance. I tend to make certain, probably unwarranted assumptions, such as that the Obihai device and the Google Voice account have been properly configured, that you have already gone into the associated Gmail account and made the one obligatory outbound call from there, etc. The Obihai troubleshooter probably makes no such assumptions and therefore would probably be much more helpful for new users. It’s not that I mind trying to help folks, but I just can’t help assuming that by the time they get here they’ve already done the basic steps.

  91. George Nagou said

    Congratulations to you michigantelephone! This is the best and most comprehensive instructions I have ever seen. You should have a business writing instruction manuals. Personally, going from the ATT U-verse phone service at $32/month to Ooma, I find the Ooma system so much easier to set up. True, the initial cost is higher but I was plugged-in to my Panasonic cordless phones and my house wiring(Land-line) to all extensions in less than 10 minutes and making a call to my sister in Australia using my Penney-talk calling card with a cheaper International rate. No need for Google phone service or any other service. The call voice quality,connection and everything else is similar if not better than U-Verse at 1/10th of the cost. Some of my friends using the Obi and Google voice,experience many bugs on International calling which is why I went with the Ooma system.

  92. Jack Ewell said

    Will the OBI 100 work with my home security (DSC 632) dialer which I have programed to call my cell. No information or data is sent out, all I need is the OBI phone number to how up on my cell to know my alarm has been tripped.

  93. Drew Hammond said

    Obihai has cautioned that voicemail notification (stutter tones) will not pass through if you have 2-step authentication enabled by Google. I can assigned an application-specific password and get all other features working fine. ObiSupport has just suggested getting another non-2-step authentication Google account with Google Voice. They say it is a Google issue for why they cannot push VM notifications.

    Any idea if this is being worked on from Google or whether there is any workaround? I would like to stay with my 2-step authenticated account.

    Thanks much! You have done a terrific job with this documentation and the support you give to the community.

  94. Ryan said

    This blog is great! Very informative!

    I have two questions that I haven’t seen addressed yet, and they relate to my situation …

    1 – I’d like to have the functionality of 2 or more lines, multi-ring. I know GV can ring multiple phones, but it won’t allow forwarding to another GV number. If I were to use this set up and use multiple GV numbers, is there a way I can set it up so one number rolls over to the next one if the first one is busy? Or that it just rings all simultaneously?

    2 – Has anyone tried using the OBi / GV combination with faxing? My past experience with GV is that you can’t use it for fax, incoming or outgoing.

  95. Drew Hammond said

    I have tried sending a fax with success. I have not tried receiving. Obihai continues to amaze me.

  96. Jim Jam said

    i have been using the Obihai device with Google voice for a while now without any problems.
    I am unable to receive inbound calls all of a sudden. What could be the reason? I deleted and archived old call history last night.

    Could someone advise.
    Thanks.

  97. JP said

    Happens to me once and a while. Try calling out from your phone to any number, and let them pick up. After I do that, it seems to cause the obihai to remember where it is for incoming calls, and then works again for a while. But the problem of it not picking up for me is probably more related to using 2 obihais (different locations) with the same gv number, so not sure if my issue is the same as yours.

  98. [...] my research, I found this great review over at michigantelephoneblog.com: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Part 3 covers how to get 911 service, which you don’t get with [...]

  99. [...] my research, I found this great review over at michigantelephoneblog.com: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Part 3 covers how to get 911 service, which you don’t get with [...]

  100. Just a reminder for those of you reading this review: Obihai has a relatively active forum at http://www.obitalk.com/forum/ — if you go there, you do have to beware of the “forum know-it-all” (in my opinion a real “mom’s basement dweller” type who seems to have nothing better to do than camp on their forum and dispense bad advice, occasionally mixed with good advice) but if you can learn to ignore him, that forum can be a great place to get assistance when you’re having problems with your Obihai device. Of course, if you are having real issues (such as the device stops working altogether) it might be time to e-mail Obihai support. But for general day-to-day usage questions, their forum is probably the best place to get answers. If you ask questions here, they may or may not get answered, but your chances are better of getting an answer over there. Then again, I can understand the appeal of posting in a place where you don’t have to deal with the “forum know-it-all.”

    (I know some of you may be wondering why I seem to dislike this guy so much. It’s partly because he doesn’t seem to take it well when anyone disagrees with him or dares to criticize his advice, even when the other person is giving arguably better advice. But the real issue is that he has certain ways he likes to do things that don’t make sense for 99% of users. My analogy is that if you were in Chicago and asked someone like him how to get to Detroit, he might route you up through Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and then back down I-75 to Detroit simply because he believes that everyone should have the experience of seeing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Mackinac Bridge. While you WOULD eventually get to Detroit following those directions, you might be pretty ticked off to later discover you could have taken I-94 and been there in four or five hours. And then if someone else told you about the shorter/better route, and the first guy got all pissy about having his advice contradicted, that might remind me of situations I have seen with the “forum know-it-all.” In my opinion he’s a bit like the doctor everyone hopes they never get in surgery, that won’t listen to the nurses or anyone else when they tell him he might be about to make a mistake).

  101. Ryan said

    If this were Facebook, I would “Like” your post

  102. Jerry said

    Hi – Can you tell me how I could ditch my Vonage service, but keep my current home phone number and transition to the Obi110 device? Thanks!

  103. Jerry, you can do it, but it will cost you money (exactly how much depends on the cost to establish service with an intermediate prepaid cell service). See:

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r25598813-Other-From-Vonage-to-Google-Voice-in-under-96-hours
    http://falz.net/tech/port-landline-to-google-voice
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/google-voice-a-step-by-step-primer-on-ditching-your-land-line-while-keeping-your-number/10455

  104. Jerry said

    Thanks for the reply back. Was hoping to eliminate the cost of my monthly Vonage bill vs. replacing it with a prepaid cell phone bill. Guess it’s not possible if I need to keep my current home phone number. Thanks again for the reply back.

  105. Jerry said

    Ah, I just realized the prepaid cell phone is for porting purposes only since GV can only port in cell phone numbers. I think this might work. I don’t mind a little money up front to save what I spend for Vonage. Thanks again!

  106. Kevin Shields said

    Great write up, many thanks. Can this be used overseas? I have been using my tmobile voip adapter in Finland and it works great – folks call our USA number and it rings in Finland. Meanwhile we can make USA calls as though we were in the US.

    I now have a need for a second voip line – can I do this same in Finland activity with this product and google voice?

  107. Jerry, I didn’t say it’s not possible — it’s entirely possible, it just costs a little money.

  108. Jerry, right – the cell phone is just a temporary step. Once the porting process is finished you don’t need it anymore. Put it aside for a rainy day or donate it to Goodwill (or a similar organization) or put it on Craigslist or eBay (although you probably won’t get much for it). Someone may have a use for it, but once the port to Google Voice is complete, you probably won’t.

  109. Well, Kevin, it can be done, but there are two catches:

    First, you have to initially set up your Gmail account (don’t use the same Gmail account you actually use for e-mail) and associated Google Voice account from within the United States. If you know how to use a proxy server, this isn’t a problem. If you don’t, you may need to enlist the help of a friend or relative here in the states. Note that at one point during the setup process it will need to call a US number (that’s not currently associated with a Google Voice account) for verification purposes; of course in your case that could be your Tmobile number.

    The second issue is that some people have reported that if you originate calls to the US or Canada from a “foreign” IP address, Google Voice deducts a penny per minute from your account. This seems to be a hit-or-miss thing – some folks report getting dinged the penny, others don’t. Since you get a 10 cent credit when you set up the account, you can make a test call or two and see if that balance starts declining. Again, there are ways around this, such as using a VPN, or setting up a FreeSWITCH or Asterisk server in the USA and letting that communicate with Google Voice, while you use SIP to communicate with the server. Or you could perhaps use someone else’s server – see the thread on Bill Simon’s Google Voice-SIP gateway or the article How to set up a SipBri account to make and receive Google Voice calls from an ATA or SIP device (or to use as a F***PBX trunk).

    If you run into a snag with any part of this process feel free to e-mail me at the address in the right sidebar; I can perhaps offer another option but don’t really want to post the information on that one publicly.

  110. Mark said

    I am planning an extended trip to Southeast Asia. One of the challenges will be staying in touch with family, friends and the office without breaking the bank. I have an Obi110. Is there something that details the best way to use it for international calls? Thanks in advance and great blog!

  111. Mark — see my previous response to Kevin. You already have the Obi110 and apparently have it working with Google Voice, so the only real issue is whether they will try to charge you a penny a minute for calls back to the USA, and you won’t really know that until you go there and try to use the service. But if you want to insure against that, then see the third paragraph of my response to Kevin — that would also apply to you.

    I should note that of the methods I mentioned, a VPN tunnel would be the best, although that’s generally the most difficult to set up (I’ve only done it once and have NO desire to ever attempt it again — it was THAT difficult). The thing about a VPN is that it generally works even if you are in a jurisdiction that actively blocks VoIP (for example, normal SIP traffic).

    Note that I am NOT addressing the legality of doing this because you didn’t say which countries you plan to visit (and I don’t really want to know), and even if I knew I probably wouldn’t have a clue about what the laws are in those countries regarding VoIP. That’s up to you to research, assuming you care.

  112. Mark said

    Thank you and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  113. bill mark said

    obihai are the same guys that started sipura and also komodo before that (these are all island names that are next to each other as well :)

    komodo became Cisco ATA 186. Sipura, well, that’s the whole SPA line now. Obihai has the same config options? no surprise

  114. Bill, the Obihai configuration options are not all that similar to those of the Sipura/Linksys/Cisco SPA-2000′s and PAP-2′s and similar devices. For one thing, on those earlier devices, a few of the defaults were set to values that made no sense, so you actually had to go in and change certain things to get them to work optimally. Obihai devices give you more of the type of options that are actually useful, but the defaults all seem to be set to sane values so in most cases configuration is very simple. I can configure an Obihai device to work as an Asterisk endpoint (a simple extension) in less than five minutes (after creating an account on the OBiTALK portal and getting the device registered, which usually only takes a couple more minutes tops), and that includes tweaking the dial plan to allow three-digit extension-to-extension dialing (of course, by now I’ve done that a few times). Even though I’ve been using and setting up SPA-2000 and PAP-2 type devices for several years, I still find that configuration of those older devices isn’t nearly as easy, and also they don’t offer anything like the OBiTALK portal, which gives you an easy way to configure and remotely administer devices you may have set up for your non-techie friends and relatives. I much prefer working with one of the Obihai devices to one of those earlier-generation devices.

    As for your comment about island names, Google Maps knows about Komodo and Sipura (they are both in Indonesia, apparently) but the only Obihai it knows about seems to be the headquarters of Obihai Technology. So I don’t know where you got that from (and not saying it is or isn’t true), but it is true that Jan Fandrianto, the founder & CEO of Obihai, has been involved in the design of all three generations of products. However, technology has progressed so quickly that I’m sure he and his team have entirely different chipsets to work with now than what was available when those earlier devices came out. So if your implication is that Obihai devices are simply souped-up Sipura devices, my impression is that they are not — they are a totally new design, and a much better design. I’m sure that Mr. Fandrianto’s previous knowledge and experience with such devices helped, but in my personal opinion it does look like they pretty much started over and took a better approach this time around.

    And they are not done yet. I know they have at least one new product (the OBi202) coming out in 2012 (see Voxilla’s speculations on this product), which will probably not be a direct replacement of either the OBi100 or OBi110 (particularly the latter, since it doesn’t have the LINE port) but which will provide additional functionality that (among other things) will probably make the device more appealing to commercial VoIP service providers. I am hoping to have more information on this device in a month or two.

  115. Ryan said

    Still wondering if anyone has used an obihai set up for a two line (or more) phone with two google voice numbers?

    I want to use two Obihai devices with two gv numbers, but I would want the call to rollover or “ring all” so if I am on the first line, the call could be received by the second line, just like a two-line set up that uses one main phone number given to the public.

    Does anyone know how this could be accomplished with two Obihai devices and two gv numbers?

    As I understand it, gv can “ring all” but it won’t allow any of the phone numbers it rings to be another gv phone number. This forces one of the lines to be from another service (i.e. paid service, like Ooma or another VOIP service) rather than just using an Obihai device. And actually, I don’t even know if “ring all” would include “ringing” the original gv number if attached to an Obihai device in the first place.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  116. Ryan, the current Obihai devices only have a single PHONE port (the OBi110 also has a LINE port). Therefore, at present each Obihai device can only support a single phone line. Each device does have two “Service Provider” slots and you can have a different Google Voice account on each Service Provider slot, but the two lines could not normally be accessed simultaneously (for example, you could not enable both lines on a two-line phone, although call waiting works if enabled, and you can flash between calls).

    Now I used the word “normally” because I believe I once read in the OBiTALK forum where someone had figured out a way to send “overflow” calls to another VoIP adapter using the SIP protocol. I do not doubt for a moment that the Obihai devices might be capable of such tricks, but I’ve just never had the need to do that and I didn’t save the link to the post. Of course if you had two Obihai devices (or wait for the OBi202 to arrive) then you could use two lines simultaneously, by registering one Google Voice account on each device.

    Now as for your other issue, wanting rollover from one device to another when a line is in use — the current Obihai firmware supports two channels on each Google Voice account, so normally if a second call comes in you will get a call waiting beep. If you had two Obihai devices, it might be possible to forward the second call to the other device via the OBiTALK network (each device has an OBiTALK network connection that’s IN ADDITION to the two “Service Provider” slots). That is probably a question you could ask in the OBiTALK forum (again, I’ve never had a need to do something like that, but I’ll bet someone has). I believe that Google Voice limits you to two simultaneous calls per account, even if you are forwarding to a non-Google Voice DID, so you will never be able to receive more than two simultaneous calls on the same Google Voice number.

    I have in one instance tested the situation where we have Google Voice set up to forward to both a Google Chat account (for use with an Obihai device) and to a “work” phone number. In that case both the phone powered by the Obihai device and the “work” phone (actually a cell phone, but designated as a work number) rang simultaneously when a call came in, and whichever picked up first got the call.

    You know, I am just thinking about something I ran into the other day. I haven’t tested this (and will not) but if anyone wants to try it and report your results, feel free. If this works it will be a crazy situation, but sometimes you have to try crazy things…

    What I wanted to do was send an e-mail whenever a voicemail was received to another Gmail account (not the one associated with the Google Voice account). Only Google, the company that goes out of their way to make things difficult, will not send voicemails to any Gmail account other than the one used when the Google Voice account was set up. Since you can’t log into the Gmail account associated with your Google Voice service without the risk of missing incoming calls, I had to set up a free e-mail account on another, non-Google service. For this I used GMX, which I’ve found to be a full-featured and usually reliable free e-mail service. Once I set up the GMX account (actually an alias for a current GMX account I already had – GMX lets you set up to ten aliases), I went into the Google Voice configuration options and added an additional e-mail address for voicemail notifications, and used the GMX address. After going through a verification process, I was able to use the GMX account to receive Google Voice voicemail notifications (I could have also used it to receive texts).

    But here’s the weird part. Once I had done that, in the list of possible destinations for calls, two Google Chat destinations appeared – the one associated with the Gmail address I used when I set up the account, and another associated with the additional GMX e-mail address I had added for voicemail notifications. Although I didn’t try it, I believe I could have set both as destinations simultaneously. Now, if you had two Obihai devices, and one was logged into the account using the original e-mail address, and the other was logged into the Google Chat account associated with the GMX address, it’s quite possible that calls would go to both devices (and remember, each Obihai device can be registered with two different Google Voice accounts simultaneously, using the two Service Provider accounts).

    But if you actually try this, you will soon discover the problem I fear may cause it not to work. Yes, Google Voice offers to send calls to a Google Chat account associated with a non-Google e-mail address, and yes, Obihai devices will now even let you connect to an account that is associated with an address that doesn’t end in gmail.com (assuming you have recent firmware), BUT…

    At no point did I give Google the password for my GMX e-mail account! So, if I try to set up the Obihai device to register with that account – what password should I be sending? Darned if I know!!! Maybe someone on the OBiTALK forum might know, or maybe there is no password that would work, and Google Voice just shows that account to frustrate you and make you pull out some more hair. If you figure it out, feel free to reply, because I’d be curious to know.

    If all else fails, you could always set up a FreeSWITCH or YATE server and let it connect to Google Voice, and then when the calls come in you use it to send your calls to your Obihai or other devices in whatever manner you desire (you could also use Asterisk, but I wouldn’t unless you can also get a non-Google DID to bring calls in on, because Asterisk’s Gtalk channel driver is not doing so well with incoming calls these days). There are probably a bunch of other ways to address this as well, some of which may be a lot simpler than anything I’ve suggested (I’m just waiting for Bill from the PSU VoIP blog to post and tell me I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be, and if he does say that listen to him, because he’s probably right!).

  117. Ryan said

    Cool, I’ll check on the ObiTALK network, as well as the new Obi202 when it comes out.

    I have an easy solution for you regarding the google voicemail forwarding to other emails. You don’t do this through the google voice settings, you do it through the gmail settings. Since google voice can be set up to send an email to your gmail account (the one associated with the google voice account), you can just go into your gmail settings to forward all emails to whatever email address you want, and you’re good to go. I do this on a number of google accounts I have google voice on, and I get all my voicemail sent to one central email account.

    Let me know if this makes sense or if I need to clarify further.

  118. Ryan, it makes perfect sense… at the time I guess I just assumed that if Google Voice wouldn’t let you send voicemails to another Gmail account, there was no way to do it within Google. In retrospect, that was probably a dumb assumption to make.

  119. Hunter Gatherer said

    Hi,

    Do you know if there is a way to use the Obi110 to provide a Google Voice dial tone to another PBX.

    I have a POTS/VoIP Talkswitch 244VS. I haven’t been able to figure out how to provision a Google Voice account for it. So, my thought is to use either and OBI or Nettalk to provide a dial tone routing through a lower cost SIP line than my current Primus line (as company as Lingo). I’d like to bump them out of the payment loop.

    The Talkswitch can either take a connection from the LAN or POTS and treat them in our office virtually the same; as lines on the PBX. It looks like Nettalk does if very simply; while the OBI, has much more power, but makes it a little harder.

    Our current process using Verizon (POTS) and Primus (VoIP) is to dial “9″ for a POTS out and “88″ for VoIP. Those trigger the right connections in the Talkswitch to get the desired line.

    If I run the OBI phone connection into the Talkswitch as a POTS line, what will happen? Will I have to use a dual prefix sequence to get the line out of the Talkswitch to the OBI then to the VoIP? Or??? how else could it work.

    BTW, Thank you for having the best details on the OBI. It’s a great article and you obviously know your stuff. You can tell by my handle, my knuckles are dragging on this.

  120. Hunter Gatherer said

    Oops, Sorry I didn’t see your side note about web site urls in my previous post.

  121. Hunter Gatherer,

    You’re really asking two questions here:

    1) Is there a way to use the Obi110 to provide a Google Voice dial tone to another PBX? The answer to that is almost certainly “yes”. If the PBX can connect to a SIP trunk, you can use the OBi110 as a gateway, same as you would with an Asterisk server (and as described in another article on this site). If the PBX only wants to connect to a standard PSTN-type line, well then you just configure the OBi110 as you would if you were going to plug in a phone and use that with Google Voice, except you connect the PBX instead of a telephone. You just might have to tell the PBX that it’s talking to an FX trunk so it doesn’t have any high expectations for signaling (no wink start or anything like that) but otherwise it should work. Note that in that particular setup an OBi100 would probably work as well as an OBi110, unless there are other considerations you didn’t mention.

    2) What’s the best way to connect the OBi110 (or OBi100) to a Talkswitch 244VS? Send me your contact info and I will tell you where to send your Talkswitch 244VS and all related instruction manuals, along with the Obihai device you have purchased, and when I receive those I’ll tell you what I’ll charge you to figure this out for you. Yes, I am joking (please, I do NOT really want anyone to send me their PBXes) but I am just trying to make a point — when you ask a question you have to ask it in a place where someone might reasonably have the ability to answer it. The best choice would be a forum for Talkswitch 244VS users, if such a thing exists. If it doesn’t, maybe someone in the OBiTALK forum would have some idea how to do this (slim chance, but possible). When you ask me questions about how an OBi device might be interfaced with a Talkswitch PBX, and I’ve never even heard of a Talkswitch PBX prior to your post, then there is zero chance I’ll be able to tell you anything useful (other than the general information in my previous paragraph).

    And if I seem a bit more snarky than usual, it is definitely in part because of the spam URL that you included in your post, which I deleted for you. Although I accept your apology (which is why I’m replying at all), I’m still just a bit put out that you’d even try something like that in the first place. I’m more inclined to try and help people I like, and I really don’t much like folks who try to sneak spam links into their messages. Although I have a specific policy about it, I can guarantee you there’s a lot of other bloggers that don’t like it either. So if you are really wanting help, I suggest you leave the spam links out. In this particular case, though, I simply don’t have any information on your brand of PBX, so I’d be shooting in the dark.

  122. Hunter Gatherer said

    You shouldn’t be put out. You might want to post your warning a bit more prominently since it’s common practice for most blog comments to request all three fields. You have a rather wide open field requesting a website url on your comment form with no immediate policy warning. I’m certainly not trying to spam you. If I hadn’t been looking over your pages closely, I wouldn’t have seen the warning at all. Try above the form, in Big Red Letters. I see you’re on wordpress and there’s a great wordpress forms plugin called Gravity Forms, from that allows you to customize your forms and ask for only what you want.

    RE: Will OBI work for me? I think you’ve assured me that I can do what I expected, using the OBI to provide a dial tone on a GV VoIP line set up in the OBI, just like it was any other line going into the PBX. So thanks for the answer. Still wondering if it will take a combined dial prefix, but I won’t find out unless I try it.

    As knowledgeable as you are, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of Talkswitch. They’ve been around for over a decade and were one of the first small office PBX’s that had VoIP capabilities. They were direct competitors with Bizfon through most of the 2000′s. Take a look at http://www.talkswitch.com. I don’t make anything from them, but I’ve been using one for almost five years and it’s as solid as they come. Mine was about a grand then and was a very good value in a real PBX that didn’t require proprietary phones and had VoIP management. They had a fully working, stable, relatively easy to administer system up, running and in the PBX market well before Asterisk was mentioned anywhere. For a phone tech guy like you, it’s worth your time to look them up.

    That said, looking at the technical details on the OBI110, with the exception of the number and types of lines, call routing, hunt groups, remote paging, music on hold and other PBX type features in the Talkswitch, both appliances are somewhat similar. Talkswitch though only supports relatively high end VoIP, sip services. They don’t support Vonage, Lingo or any of the consumer level VoiP providers. So, their forums generally do not get much real information for those of us looking to get out of the $30-$50+/month/VoIP line accounts they recommend. OBI looks like a great value and I certainly want to see the two line version that’s supposedly in the works.

    No one has published any way to hook a Talkswitch up through Google Voice, Skype or any of the other free/low cost services. That’s what sent me hunting down info on other ways to get a VoIP line coming into the box. If I had all the credential information on a SIP account, I could at least test the settings in the Talkswitch admin. But it seems much, much simpler just to get an OBI, set up a GV account, use the wizard and pass the whole thing through the OBI box where the Talkswitch sees the line as POTS while the OBI turns it over to GV.

    If you are in-fact correct that an OBI can deliver a free Google Voice line to a Talkswitch, a lot of people will be interested. I’ll help you out if you want to fill in the details and do some affiliate marketing/sales on the OBI coming from Talkswitch customers. Add some content to catch them and I’ll happily refer them to you so you can fill in the information blanks like you do, and maybe get a buck or two out of it. I know it’s not your style, but you are providing a needed service over here.

    Thanks for your assistance. You have a great site. Don’t assume everyone is a bandit.

  123. Hunter Gatherer, did you happen to notice that I am using wordpress.com? In other words I am NOT hosting my own blog, nor do I want to — the FREE service offered by WordPress is more than adequate for my needs, save that it does not offer me the level of customization that those who host their own blogs have. If I were getting a million hits a day and making money hand over fist from this blog (neither of which are goals of mine) then I suppose my attitude might be a bit different, but in case you hadn’t noticed this is a NON-COMMERCIAL blog. Which means that other than the extremely occasional free sample or book I may receive in exchange for writing a review, I get nothing whatsoever for doing this. Even if I had the ability to customize my blog, I don’t know CSS so it would be very difficult for me to make any changes.

    I would love to totally remove that field, or failing that, put a notice above it in big red letters. I have tried to find some way to do one or both. As far as I can tell, the only way to do it would be to purchase a paid service from WordPress called “Custom Design”, which for $30 a year would give me the ability to “Customize the fonts in your theme and dive into CSS to make all the presentational changes you desire.” This may or may not be the “Gravity Forms” you mentioned, but since I don’t know CSS, paying them the $30 might be a waste of money, and of course it would only solve the problem for one year, after which I’d be right back where I started. And no, I emphatically don’t want to go the route of begging for donations from my readers. I am not in this for the money. In fact, some days I wonder why I do it at all.

    Just because I have an interest in this sort of thing does not mean I know about every commercial PBX out there. My interests have always been more along the lines of communications for the home and/or VERY small business (home office, or one or two lines). If you’re large enough to need a commercial PBX this is probably NOT the blog you should be reading, and it’s not the audience I’m trying to attract. The only reason I ever got interested in Asterisk was because there was once this thing called Asterisk@Home (note the “@Home” part) that allowed people to set up and run a PBX in their home. That later morphed into products that now have taken a more commercial bent, and that’s part of what has sucked a lot of the fun out of it.

    As far as I am aware, the Obihai devices are not sold via affiliate marketing, and even if they were, that’s not something I personally want any part of at this point in time (I mean affiliate marketing — no slight intended against the Obihai devices, which are great). Some people go through life trying to squeeze a buck out of every activity they are involved in, and such people leave a very bad taste in my mouth, and I certainly don’t want to be one of them. I’m not above accepting the occasional freebie if one happens to come my way, but I definitely don’t want to be in any situation where I’m aggressively trying to market something (if only because I’d be horrible at it, given that I tend to say what I really think rather than what people want to hear).

    Finally, I never said you were a bandit. I said you included a spammy link. Posting a spam link does not make one a thief, it simply makes them annoying. I never, ever buy from spam and if I had the power I’d put every single bit of it out of existence. So you are pushing all the wrong buttions with me today, and I suggest you look elsewhere for a place to promote those things that interest you and/or make money for you. And if there is ANYTHING about my blog you don’t happen to like (particularly something I don’t have the ability to change), please feel free to never return.

  124. davea0511 said

    in the instructions where you need to log into your device (call ***, dial “1″, to get the ip address), the password is not admin, but rather it’s the password you gave the device when you set it up at the OBiTalk portal.

  125. davea0511 said

    If you enter your speed dial through the advanced settings of your obi100′s IP page, save it (and yes I went back after reboot to verify it was there), then go to the obitalk portal to view your speed dials two bad things will happen: (1) the changes made on the device will not be propagated to the online server and (2) the speed dials saved on your device but not saved on the server will be automatically erased even though all you did is visit the page (didn’t even press “Save Changes” online). Not sure if this is a new problem related to a firmware change … but as of Jan 2012 it exists. Of course the solution is to make sure you make the needed speed dial changes online instead of directly, on the device.

  126. davea0511, you are correct. And it’s likely a lot fewer people would probably have that issue if it weren’t for that asshole that hangs out in the OBiTALK forum and dispenses bad advice, day and night, and in particular the advice not to use the online portal to make changes. If I were running Obihai he’d have been booted out of that forum long ago. I know he’s “helped” a lot of people (in many cases, people who don’t realize they are getting bad advice, so they think he really is a helpful guy) but he constantly tells people not to use the online portal, which is the only way 98% of users should be configuring their devices (and particularly if you are configuring a device that anyone other than yourself will ever be using). The only people who should not be using the Obihai portal are probably people with severe trust issues (the type that just can’t believe that Obihai will still be around years from now, despite the offering two of the most-wanted VoIP products of 2011) and control freaks (those who can’t stand the idea that they have to log into someone else’s server to configure a device they own, even if there are definite benefits to doing it that way). I don’t know which category Mr. Asshole falls into, but I sure wish he’d STFU and stop giving such horrible advice to people who don’t know any better. Then there are the handful of true experts (the sort of people that compile their own Linux builds) and if they want to configure their devices manually, more power to them. But they are in a definite minority among users.

    In any case, speed dial changes should always be made in the OBiTALK portal, never on the device directly, unless you are one of those who simply doesn’t use the OBiTALK portal at all. The benefit (for most users) to doing it that way is that if you have more than one device registered to your account, any speed dial changes you make will be propagated to all of them automatically. If for some reason you don’t want that linkage, then you should probably create a new OBiTALK account for each device you own.

  127. davea0511, you are correct. This is a case of what I wrote being correct at the time I initially wrote the article, but things have changed since then. Later today I’ll try to remember to make an edit to clarify that. Thanks for calling it to my attention.

  128. Sean Hamilton said

    I have everything set up thanks to your great directions. Just one problem: I tried to delete my cell phone from the account, but it says that I need to keep at least “one physical forwarding phone.” This means that I can’t call home from my cell phone, because it just goes to the VM menu. Any way around this?

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  130. GizmoChicken said

    @ Sean Hamilton: I’m not quite sure what you mean by when you say that you “can’t call home from my cell phone, because it just goes to the VM menu.” But in any case, if you want to remove your cell phone from GV, just add another physical phone number first, and then remove your cell phone. And if you don’t have another physical phone number to add, get one for free from http://www.ipkall.com. But beware that numbers from IPKall are recycled pretty quickly, and so you may need to “reclaim” it on GV before it can be used (because someone else may have previously used your new IPKall number with GV).

  131. Hunter Gatherer said

    Just thought I’d let you know that the OBI 110 works just fine to deliver a dial tone from Google Voice to our PBX.

    Set it up today using the phone out from the OBI to the Line In on our 2 line Talkswitch. We used to have two POTS going directly into the T/S. Now we have 1 POTS and the OBI/Google Voice line. I took the other POTS that was going into the T/S and plugged it into the OBI Line-In. The T/S has a setting to assign a hunt group code prefix to each line. I gave it a dial code. Then I tested it using the prefix, then the number and the T/S picked the OBI/GV line and worked fine. I called my cell and it gave the correct caller ID for the Google Voice line. I’m not using the OBI for anything more than a GV dial tone, but it’s going to be replacing a $55/month Primus line.

    So, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. The OBI set up easily. The only glitch was getting the Google Voice line recognized by the OBI at first. I sent the OBI tech support team a ticket and they had it working within an hour. So far, very good. Thanks again. I’ll let you know if I find any really good tricks using it with our PBX.

  132. Dave said

    Hopefully someone can answer my question here. I am new to the OBi110. I recently installed it, and it works great. However, now I want to use the other landline phones in my house. I have read that this can be done, but I am having MUCH difficulty understanding how to do it. This is my current configuration (using Google Voice) – The OBi is connected to my router in an upstairs bedroom with an old cordless phone – it works great. I tried to connect a phone cord to the ‘line’ port and plugged that into a wall phone jack, hoping that my cordless phones downstairs would now work with the OBi – didn’t work. So my question – is it possible to get my other phones to work through the OBi? If so, please let me know. I still have landline service through my cable provider – but don’t want to drop it if I can’t get the OBi to work with the other house phones. Thank you for your time – I hope this makes sense to someone.

  133. Dave, have you visited this page yet?

    How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home

    If not, I suggest you read that and then ask if you have any additional questions.

    Just one quick point, though — the LINE jack on the OBi110 isn’t used the way you think it is. You would use the LINE jack if, for example, you still wanted to have service from your cable provider – you’d feed that in through the LINE jack and then connect all your phones to the PHONE jack. For want you want to do, you’ll only be using the PHONE jack, but I emphatically warn you NOT to make any connections between your OBi110 and your existing phone wiring until you have read AND UNDERSTAND what is written on the page I linked above, particularly the warning about not connecting your device to any phone wiring that still has voltage from the telephone company on it (the exception to that would be if you were connecting to the OBi110′s LINE port, but that won’t accomplish what you want to do).

    Remember, the LINE port is used to connect to a standard phone company line, or something like it, such as a phone line from a cable company or from a VoIP company that requires you to use only a device they supply. The PHONE port is the one that all your phones connect to, but it must never be connected to a line that has voltage on it from one of the aforementioned types of services (or from anything else, for that matter). READ AND UNDERSTAND the page I linked to above, or else don’t complain to me or to Obihai WHEN you damage your OBi110. Sorry I have to be so emphatic about it, but I really don’t want you to damage your OBi110.

  134. Dave said

    Thank you SO MUCH for your prompt reply (I know mine isn’t). Your diagnosis of my problem was spot-on. My OBi worked perfectly after I used the correct port to access my landline phones. And luckily, as you warned, I did not blow up my house. Again, many thanks. Dave

  135. Steved said

    Just wanted to tell you thanks for writing this up. I ordered one late Jan and just now got around to setting it up. The transfer of my google voice number from the gmail account I use to a new one I set up took less than one minute (I used the link you provided). I guess google sped up the process as it seemed completely automated.

    Thanks Again!

    Steved

  136. Jim Delfino said

    Thanks for the article, I have only read down to the information about the hardware solution based on Obihai. I am very new to this whole thing, phone server, I have recently installed PIAF 2.0.6.2, FreePBX 2.9.0.7, Asterisk 1.8.8.0 and Centos 6.2.

    I had an old machine I wanted to retask for this server based on an article I read in Maximum PC it did not seem like I needed much horsepower. So I am using (please do not laugh) an AMD Athlon 3200+ with only 640 meg of ram and a 30 gig HD. Well I had pretty good luck with the install based on the fact that I have no experience in linux and have not read alot of the documention that is out there.

    I got to this article because I was configuring Google Voice of course and got an error (SIP error 503) using X-Lite4 trying to test it out. So I went looking for a solution and found this article.

    My background is in Installing a particular ERP package (SAP) and writting applications for it. I was wanting to try and get rid of my landline and have some fun with what looked like a cool hobby. I was also thinking about all the neat stuff I could do with the cababilities. Anyway, I was wanting to ask a question about another piece of hardware I have that I did not think was of any value any more until I read about one of the possible fixes for Google voice.

    I have a model SP200X from signalsys.com that was used by Lightyear Xstream for VOIP calls. I was wondering if I could use it in place of Obihai? I went to the website for signalsys and the product description seemed promising but I have not gone any further.

    I was thinking about some of the other solutions you mentioned in the article too but this one required less knowledge of linux to complete. It’s not that I would not like to get to know linux better but I was in a hurry to get something to show for my efforts.

    Can you comment on this and also are there step by step directions for a beginner to use Bill Simon’s solution, I read the 4 page Simon Telephonics guide but it assumes more knowledge than I have at this point. I have only started on this since last weekend.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim

  137. Jim Delfino, at this time, ONLY an Obihai device will work as a gateway between Google Voice and Asterisk. None of the other brands of devices of this type have Google Voice support built into the firmware. Sorry.

    As for your other questions, they are not really appropriate for this article. Is it possible you posted your comment under a different article than the one you intended?

    Since you are running PBX in a Flash, I would encourage you to use their forum to get answers to some of your more general questions.

  138. brunonassau said

    I am impressed with the information on this blog! I do not live in the USA but have been using GV with Google Talk since it was available. Hat it set up withing the USA and, up to now, have never been charged to call USA/Canada.
    Now I would like to set up the Obihai 110 (will do that whilst on a trip to the USA) all seems fairly straight forward (I have a bid of experience with the old Sipuras). But I have one question you might have an answer to.
    I try to find out a way whereby I could make
    local calls here by default (10 digit numbers) without dialing a prefix like **8
    and then use a prefix like *1 to make long distance calls via GV and *2 via another SIP provider to USA and other countries. It would simplify things for my wife who rarely makes calls abroad. Locals calls here are free anyway.
    Thanks for any pointers.

  139. brunonassau, you did not say where you are nor what dialing pattern distinguishes a local call from an international call. Here in the USA, if you have a PSTN line connected to the LINE port, you can dial **1 plus 1 + area code + number or **2 plus 1 + area code + number, and the OBi110 it will route your calls via whatever service you have set up on SP1 or SP2 respectively. If you set the LINE port as your primary line for outgoing calls then any call dialed with just 1 + area code + number will go out that way. In Expert Configuration mode (or from the device’s web interface if you aren’t using the OBiTALK portal) you can set the PrimaryLine under Physical Interfaces | PHONE | Phone Port (select PSTN Line from the dropdown).

    As I say, without knowing where you are located or your local dialing patterns it’s difficult for me to say what else might need to be tweaked – I’m pretty much only familiar with USA/Canada dial patterns. My best suggestion for you is to go into the OBiTALK forum, probably in either the Installation and Set-Up (Devices) section or the Day-to-Day Use section, and post your request there. Perhaps you will get a reply from someone in your country (be sure to mention which one it is), but in any case someone there should be able to help you. In fact I’m pretty sure that “Mr. Know-It-All” (what I call him, not his actual handle) will chime in and tell you a way to make it work the way you want, but he may also try to proselytize you into his little cult of OBiTALK portal haters. I happen to think it’s crazy NOT to use the OBiTALK portal so if he tries to feed you that line of B.S. just ignore it, and use the Expert Configuration mode to make your changes (unless you are already doing manual configuration of your device).

  140. brunonassau said

    Thanks a lot – it makes sense. I am in the Bahamas and our dialing patterns are basically the same as in the US. We dial 1-242-xxx-xxxx for long distance within the country plus Canada and USA (we share country code 1 with those countries) and xxx-xxxx for local calls.
    Since I can set PSTN as primary service, would I merely set up a dial plan/pattern for local calls and leave the other defaults?

  141. brunonassau, yes you could make a dial pattern for local calls. Go into the Expert Configuration mode of your device in the OBiTALK portal and then go to Physical Interfaces | LINE and in the LINE Port section, look at the DigitMap. If you want to allow 7 or 10 digit dialing only for local calls, I believe you could change it to (242[2-9]xxxxxx|[2-9]xxxxxx|[2-9]11) which (I think) would only permit calls using 7 digits, 10 digits where the area code is 242, or n11 calls to go out the LINE port (I believe 911 already defaults to the LINE port if you haven’t changed it, but this is a little additional insurance. Note this doesn’t do any translations – if you dial 10 digits it sends ten digits, and if you dial 7 digits it sends seven digits. It’s also possible to do number translations, if your phone company will only accept numbers in either the seven or ten digit format, but you want to be able to dial it either way. You may need to experiment a bit to see what actually works but the above is a suggestion that I think will work. Test it and see if it works as you expect.

    If this doesn’t work then you might need to make some modifications in the Physical Interfaces | PHONE | PHONE Port section.

  142. George Heaton said

    I’m new to this… I have high speed internet at two houses, with different service providers at each house. I’d like to be able to take my obi110 when we go to the other house. What adjustments would I have to make on either my Google voice or OBI Dashboard to switch from one place to the other. Should I have separate Google Voice accounts for each? Thanks

  143. George, it should be as simple as unplugging the OBi110 at one house, taking it to the other, and connecting it there. Your same Google Voice account should work and you should not need to make any changes in either the OBi configuration or the OBiTALK portal, provided you have not changed the default device configuration from using DHCP to using a static IP address (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you probably didn’t do that and you should be okay).

    While you could have up to two Google Voice accounts on an OBi110, there is really no reason to unless you want to try to get a “local” Google Voice number for both locations. If you want to do that, you could create two Google Voice accounts and put one on SP1 and the other on SP2, and when a call comes in on either one it would ring your phone. For making outgoing calls, you’d select one of the two accounts as your primary line and all your outgoing calls would go out via that account by default, but you could select any outgoing account manually by dialing a prefix (**1 = SP1, **2 = SP2, **8 = OBi110 LINE port, **9 = OBiTALK network). Or you could even configure it so that calls to a particular area code or group of area codes would go out using something other than your primary line. But unless you have people in both locations that still call you using a legacy landline (thereby incurring toll charges for non-local calls), there’s really no reason you’d need a separate Google Voice account for each location.

  144. George Heaton said

    Thanks for the explanation … I have one other question : If I also have my Obi110 FXO port connected to my incoming POTS landline, what will happen if I am using the Service Provider 1 port ( Google Voice ) through my router to make an outgoing call, and someone tries to call me on my landline number. Will they get a busy signal ?

  145. No, not unless you have disabled Call Waiting on the phone port. If Call Waiting is not disabled then you should get the call waiting tone and be able to flash to switch back and forth between the calls.

  146. cnatraining said

    Hey there! I’m at work browsing your www from my new apple iphone! Just want to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

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