PBX in a Flash and Google Voice

Signing Up for Google Voice. You’ll need a dedicated Google Voice account to support PBX in a Flash. The more obscure the username (with some embedded numbers), the better off you will be. This will keep folks from bombarding you with unsolicited Gtalk chat messages, and who knows what nefarious scheme will be discovered using Google messaging six months from now. So keep this account a secret!

We’ve tested this extensively using an existing Gmail account rather than creating a separate account. Take our word for it. Inbound calling is just not reliable. The reason seems to be that Google always chooses Gmail chat as the inbound call destination if there are multiple registrations from the same IP address. So… set up a dedicated Gmail and Google Voice account, and use it exclusively with PBX in a Flash. Google Voice no longer is by invitation only. If you’re in the U.S. or have a friend that is, head over to http://google.com/voiceand register.
You must choose a telephone number (aka DID) for your new account, or Google Voice calling will not work… in either direction. You also have to tie your Google Voice account to at least one working phone number as part of the initial setup process. Your cellphone number will work just fine. Don’t skip this step either. Just enter the provided confirmation code when you tell Google to place the test call to the phone number you entered. Once the number is registered, you can disable it if you’d like in Settings, Voice Setting, Phones.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to enable the Google Chat option as one of your phone destinations in Settings, Voice Setting, Phones. That’s the destination we need for PBX in a Flash to function with Google Voice! Otherwise, inbound and/or outbound calls will fail. If you don’t see this option, you may need to call up Gmail and enable Google Chat there first. Then go back to the Google Voice Settings and enable it. Be sure to try one call each way from Google Chat in Gmail. Then disable Google Chat in GMail for this account. Otherwise, the account won’t work with PIAF.

While you’re still in Google Voice Settings, click on the Calls tab. Make sure your settings match the following:

Call Screening… OFF
Call Presentation… OFF
Caller ID (In)… Display Caller’s Number
Caller ID (Out)… Don’t Change Anything
Do Not Disturb… OFF
Call Options (Enable Recording)… OFF
Global Spam FIltering… ON

Click Save Changes once you adjust your settings. Under the Voicemail tab, plug in your email address so you get notified of new voicemails. Down the road, receipt of a Google Voice voicemail when you never heard the phone ring will be a big hint that something has come unglued.

Configuring Google Voice Trunk in FreePBX. All trunk configurations now are managed within FreePBX, including Google Voice. This makes it easy to customize PBX in a Flash to meet your specific needs. Click the Setup tab and choose Google Voice in the Third Party Addons. To Add a new Google Voice account, just fill out the form:

Phone number… Your 10-digit Google Voice number
Username… Your Google Voice account name without@gmail.com
Password… Your Google Voice password

Be sure to check all three boxes below the above entries: Add trunkAdd routes, and Agree to TOS. Then click Submit Changes and reload FreePBX when prompted. Down the road, you can add additional Google Voice numbers by clicking the Add GoogleVoice Account option in the right margin and repeating the drill. For Google Apps support, see this post on the PIAF Forum:http://nerd.bz/sdnZPr.

Outbound Routes. The idea behind multiple outbound routes is to save money. Some providers are cheaper to some places than others. It also provides redundancy which costs you nothing if you don’t use the backup providers. The Google Voice module actually configures an Outbound Route for 10-digit Google Voice calling as part of the automatic setup. If this meets your requirements, then you can skip this step for today.

Inbound Routes. An Inbound Route tells PBX in a Flash how to route incoming calls. The idea here is that you can have multiple DIDs (phone numbers) that get routed to different extensions or ring groups or departments. For today, we’ll build a simple route that directs your Google Voice calls to extension 201. Choose Inbound Routes in the FreePBX GUI, leave all of the settings at their default values except enter your 10-digit Google Voice number in the DID Number field. Enable CallerID lookups by choosing CallerID Superfecta in theCID Lookup Source pulldown. Then scroll down to the Set Destination section and choose Extensions in the left pull-down and 201 in the extension pull-down. Now click Submit to save your changes and reload FreePBX. Now your incoming Google Voice calls will be routed to extension 201.

IMPORTANT Final Step. Before Google Voice calling will actually work, you must restart Asterisk from the Linux command line interface. Log into your server as root and issue this command: amportal restart.

Posted in Technology.