Saturday, November 3, 2007

Becoming an altruistic peer

In the last post we present one case of an altruistic individual expanding the ooma P2P model to our friends and neighbors outside the US and anyone with SIP capability.

This post provides instructions for others to continue in those footsteps to also become an altruistic peer.

Refer to this diagram:

This shows the setup for an altruistic peer, enabling access to US PSTN numbers for SIP users, in the manner as here.

  1. Purchase PhoneGnome box. Use this link to get it for $79.99 with the necessary "PowerSuite" service included free (instead of $124.98 normal price). Or get a used one on Ebay. Or convert an old SPA-3000 free here

  2. Connect the LINE port of the PhoneGnome box directly to any phone service you want (i.e. follow the standard setup of the device) and let it complete its one-time self-config to that number/line.

  3. Now connect the LINE port of PhoneGnome box to the Phone port of the ooma hub as shown in the above diagram.

  4. Sign in to My PhoneGnome and go to Features / MobileGnome / Edit. Under PIN Authentication choose "NOT Required". DO NOT click 'Enabled'. Just click 'Save'.

  5. To avoid risk of International calls, click 'Activate' for the Intl Call Blocking feature on the Features page.

  6. Set up a SIPbroker account here with sip address where number is the PhoneGnome account phone number from step 2 above (with 1 in front)

  7. Setup a SIPBroker alias

  8. Publish your SIPbroker alias as a comment to this post or elsewhere so people know how to access it.

People can now call the SIPbroker alias from SIP and they will get a dial tone and can then place a call via the ooma hub to a US number dialing 1-areacode-number. People can also dial one of the SIPbroker PSTN numbers to do the same thing by dialing your alias and then getting a second dial tone and dialing the destination number.

This setup has little cost to the altruistic peer beyond the initial hardware since the ooma service is still available at the ooma scout via the "Instant Second Line" and nor does it add cost to other ooma users or the ooma network since users already pay for unlimited local calling for DT (distributed termination).

Obviously this same thing can also be done using Asterisk with an FXO card or other means. We show a solution using the PhoneGnome device because (1) it requires no special VoIP expertise and (2) it doesn't require the sharing node (altruistic peer) to run and manage a server 24x7. And in general the $80 box is cheaper than a PC plus FXO card anyway.

Hopefully by some of us US users providing free calls to our neighbors outside the US in this way, we will find some people outside the US will reciprocate and make their local phone service available in a similar manner for local calls to countries outside the US (say India for instance). They can do so using PhoneGnome similar to as shown above (since that box works outside the US) or using any means they prefer.

Thanks to reader baloneypony for the diagram and step-by-step instructions.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Easter Egg

From a reader:


Should receive dial tone. Dial a US number as 1-areacode-number

Also reachable from outside the US at these numbers where once connected, dial *0111195258 to get second dial tone. Then dial 1-areacode-number

If abused will be taken down.

Perhaps others will follow suit and do something similar in the name of service to our global neighbors.