So while I am certain this post title seems unethical that could not be further from the truth, but I like steal for SEO and to be honest that is probably how you got to the post so I am thinking you probably aren’t the most ethical person anyway :).
In any case now that you are here lets get down to getting you home phone service … for free!
First of all, there are some things you MUST have if you want an actual hardware phone to sit on your desktop etc. that you can make calls from. if you simply want a softphone(software that allows you to make calls from your computer) ignore these two items:
1. A VOIP modem that is unlocked like the ones found here (disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with ebay or any of these sellers, this just happens to be where I purchased my ATA setup)
2. An actual home phone. Any plain Jane phone setup will work, answering machine etc not required (not recommended either since google voice comes with one that includes voicemail transcription to boot!)
Now that we have that out of the way and you have either decided to purchase the items needed for your hardware phone or forego that and use the softphone we are ready to Steal our way into free home phone service for good!
First, I need you to set up a google voice account. You can go to the google voice page to do that. if you already have a google account (gmail, google apps, etc.) then just sign in with your current username and password and proceed.
Next you need to put in your city, state, zip code, area code or whatever you desire and pick a phone number that you like, it also gives you the option to search for available numbers by name etc. so you can get your first of last name in your phone number or even your pets name or anything else you like if you so desire.
That’s it for Google Voice setup, obviously I would suggest that you tinker around with the settings and everything to see how it works but we’ll get to more of that in a minute.
Now you should sign up for a free sipgate account at SIPGATE keep in mind it really does not matter where your free number from sipgate is located (so if it is out of your area code etc. dont sweat it) for example I live in Louisiana but my sipgate number is in California, but that is exactly why you just picked a really cool google voice number! (I’l explain more later). Sipgate will ask you to send your cell phone number and select your carrier so they can send you a text message with an invite pin. Do this, they wont spam you, in fact you wont get anything from them again unless you request it. this is just how they get you an invite code.
Once you get the code texted to you (I got mine in seconds!) you simply finish filling out the sign up forms and move on to the next step, which similar to google voice lets you pick a phone number (much less flexibility here, and again which number you pick with sipgate really wont matter). After you have picked that number, first you should write it down or copy and paste it somewhere so you can remember what your sipgate number is for later in this tutorial, then you need to go into your sipgate settings and turn all voicemaill options off!
when you turn them all of your sipgate voicemail settings screen should look like mine (blank!)
Now, at this point you need to either paste your sipgate number that you noted earlier or grab the piece of paper you wrote it on and go back to your newly setup google voice account.
In your google voice settings you have some killer options. Not the least of which is that you can forward any calls to your google voice number to up to 8 phones! So now if your friends call your google voice number it can ring your house phone, your cell phone, your work phone, etc. all at the same time. and now I know what you’re thinking, but what about those people that I really dont want to be able to call me at all those places. this is where google voice really gets brilliant. You can do just about anything you want for any number. So you can take that persons number and tell google voice you would like calls from them to go straight to voicemail. And now you can listen to that ear-numbing message at your own convenience or just read the transcription that is automatically sent to your gmail inbox.
It also allows you to set up groups. i.e. where if co-workers call you they hear a professional work voicemail if you dont answer, but when your wife calls you can have a personalized voicemail telling her that you are sorry you did not answer but you love her and you will call her back soon. (and thank god for the rest of us, noone has to here how sappy you are but her, and probably the eight girlfriends she is having “girls night” with when she hears it :P) obviously this allows for a great dynamic for professionals as well, realtors come to mind right off the bat for me, if they have an important customer that they are expecting a returned call from but they are about to go into a meeting just set up a voicemail that will activate if they call and you miss it giving them the good news! This is a dynamic that I believe could simply change the way people do business.
Now that you have went into your google voice settings and added your new sipgate number as well as your cell phone and any other number you desired (if you chose to do so) Every time someone calls your google voice number it will ring every phone associated with your account. (if that is what you chose for it to do, obviously if you set up groups, special settings, etc. it will do what ever it is you have asked it to do) so give it a shot, test it out and make sure it rings all the numbers you asked it to!
And now anytime you want to call someone you simply select call from your gmail account, it will ask you what phone you would like it to ring (home, mobile, work etc.) and it will ring that particular phone and connect you to the person you want to call. making calls this way will ensure that people you call only see your google voice number and not whatever number you are calling from (As a side note: this is a setting in google voice that can be changed as well. So if for whatever reason you prefer the number you are calling from to show up as that number and not your google voice number GV allows that too!), essentially making sure all your calls are routed exactly how you like them! Obviously you can still make calls by directly picking up your phone but it will use the number you are calling from on the receiving users caller Id. i always reccomend calling through the Google Voice interface so you do not have to worry about people calling you back at only one of the numbers. As an added bonus Google voice has an Android app where you can call directly from your smartphone using an on-screen phone like feature directly from your cell, there are also several web apps that can be downloaded for other phones from here. And word on the street is that the iPhone App for google voice will be back in the app store very soon as well!
Now finally, if you chose (like me) to have an actual hardware phone follow the instructions below to set up your unlocked voip modem to ring your phone!
1. Login to your sipgate account and locate the SIP Credentials link like in the photo below
Use those credentials and follow your modems setup guide to complete the registration of your new home phone service. if you bought the voip modem I reccomended above just follow these steps:
You must first determine what IP address it received. To do this, you need to pick up the phone attached to the Line 1 jack and
dial: **** (four asterisks)
then dial: 110 #
and you will be told the IP address of your device (e.g. 192.168.0.100).
Go to any browser equipped computer on your network and enter the address:
(where is replaced by the address that was given to you in STEP 1.
Click on the “Admin Login” button near the top right side of the screen, then click on the “Line 1” tab.
You need to modify only a few parameters from the factory default. They are listed here:
Proxy: This is part of your SIP Credentials that you got by clicking on the link in the previous picture
Display Name: Enter your full name, this will show up as part of your callerid.
User ID: Enter the phone number you chose when you signed up for SIPGATE, service. That is important make sure you use the SIPGATE number not the Google Voice number.
User Id: Enter your SIP Id as given to you in the SIP credentials part of your SIPGATE account.
Password: Enter the password that you also see in your SIP Credentials on your sipgate account.
Click on the “Save Settings ” button at the bottom of the form.
If you bought another type of VOIP modem (or even the one i recommended but dont like my instructions) Sipgate offers a wonderful picture tutorial in PDF format with how to set up dozens of additional VOIP modems as well as the one I suggested you can find that by simply clicking here
As an added bonus, when most people are considering a home phone, getting a new home phone or dropping their current one they always seem to wonder about emergency 911 service and fortunately with sipgate it stores your address for that very reason, so although you should make all normal calls using the instructions decribed above, if someone breaks into your home or you are otherwise in danger you can sleep well knowing your free home phone service still keeps you protected!
If you chose to forego the actual hardware phone ignore that last bit about the router setup and enjoy your new softphone. With the advances in Computer technology like they are its no doubt you are probably just a bit ahead of your time.
Until next time, Hope you have a great day and enjoy your new Stolen (err, I mean FREE) home phone service!
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