VoiceStick Replacement – IPKall with GrandCentral

So VoiceStick, one of my free VoIP service providers decided they were going to start charging money. I was on the Next2Nothing plan where all incoming calls were free, but they would charge 2¢/min for all outgoing calls. I was fine with that since I didn’t plan to make any outgoing calls.

However a month or 2 back, they secretly started charging money without notifying the users. I only found out after Ungsunghero mentioned it to me and realized I had a negative balance. Since I was on the “free” plan, there was no need to provide a credit card and I might have started out with some free credit. When I saw my balance, it was at -$1.32 or something like that.

I’ve mentioned VoiceStick previously, stating how they were better than IPKall both in quality and the fact they can provide local numbers from anywhere in the USA. IPKall restricted your number to be in the Seattle area which was either 425, 206, 360, or 253. My IPKall still works fine and I haven’t had any problems with it, but now I lost a local number for my parents in LA to call me. Worse case scenario, they can still call my cell phone.

Anyway, I was just telling Derek and Tekman a few weeks back about GrandCentral, because Tekman needed a number which wasn’t long distance for his son’s school to call him. I told him about GrandCentral and how it’s basically choose a number and get free call forwarding. GrandCentral has a whole slew of neat features. Call forwarding is just one of the many.

I believe GrandCentral (being in beta) is still an invite-only service, so if you’re interested, feel free to leave your name and email in the comment area.

This got me thinking… Can I get a local number in LA (626 area code) and have it forward to my IPKall phone number. I decided to give it a shot and it turned out quite successful. Initially, I was having some quality trouble, where I had a hard time hearing the other side and vice versa. It turned out it was because I was “uploading”, which caused more deterioration of the VoIP connection than previously with my other VoIP services. Of course the quality isn’t as good as what VoiceStick was before and probably worser now since it’s going through 2 VoIP connections (first through GrandCentral, then through IPKall/FWD), but I asked my parents to give it a try and with my “uploading” software closed, the quality was actually rather good.

Setting up GrandCentral is pretty easy. You provide some information, give it an area code/address and it’ll return you a set of phone numbers to choose from. I wanted one that was easy to remember (basically one with repetitions of digits and found a pretty good one after going through about 30).

Setting up IPKall is a bit more difficult. At this point, I’m going to assume you already have a VoIP Phone Adapter (such as the “unlocked” Linksys PAP2) or you’ll be using a PC-Phone software (somewhat like Skype) provided to you by FWD.

IPKall isn’t exactly a VoIP service. They’re sort of a door that can connect a phone number to an existing VoIP service that allows incoming connections. They recommend FWD (Free World Dialup) as the VoIP service provider. FWD doesn’t provide actual phone numbers, but they allow incoming connections and what IPKall does is to connect an incoming call into that VoIP service. I’d suggest setting up the FWD account before you setup the IPKall account.

Creating an account on FWD is pretty straight forward. What you’ll want to keep note of is what your FWD Number is and the password you set. You’ll need this information to setup your VoIP Phone Adapter. Here are the settings I have on my Linksys PAP2:

SIP Port: 5060
Proxy: fwd.pulver.com
Use Outbound Proxy: No
Register: Yes
User ID: Your FWD Number
Password: Your FWD Password
Use Auth ID: Yes
Auth ID: Your FWD Number

Anything I didn’t mention, I’m assuming it’s the default. After saving, check the registration state and see if it changes to Online. It usually takes less than 5 minutes if the information you enter is correct.

Creating an IPKall account is pretty much like GrandCentral. You give them some information, select the area code you want, then select your phone number. After your account is created, update the following settings:

SIP Phone Number: Your FWD Number
SIP Proxy: fwd.pulver.com

Although it says it may take up to 60 minutes for the changes to take effect, I’ve noticed that creating a new account can take a day before the phone number starts working.

Now go back into GrandCentral and tell it to forward all calls to the IPKall phone number you just setup and everything should work just fine!

If you need help, feel free to leave a comment.

34 Replies to “VoiceStick Replacement – IPKall with GrandCentral”

  1. Whoa, I just noticed your new header. Very cool, though it looks a tiny bit odd how the tree limbs don’t go all the way to the edge of column.

  2. The original had a white border, but it’s hard to tell it now since the whole background is white. I thought about moving the tree limbs to the edge, but in the end decided to leave the white border there.

    But let’s give the tree limbs all the way to the edge a try. 🙂

  3. Have you registered for multiple numbers then? I had hoped to get a local number for the schools and then register for a local number for my parents, but it seems to be limited to one “fake” number per account that you can attach to any number of phones.

    I suppose I could invite myself for a second account, but that seems a little shady, particularly since I would want both numbers going to the same cell phone… 😉

  4. Also, it looks like your timestamps (my comment timestamp, at any rate) are on Standard time (i.e. they’re an hour slow). Either that, or an hour just flashed by…

  5. The timestamps are in PST (-8), but it’s currently PDT (daylight savings time) which is -7. Let’s just say WordPress doens’t have an easy checkbox to enable daylight savings time. and I don’t want to remember to update that timestamp setting every 6 months.

    That is correct. For every phone # out there, only one GrandCentral account can be associated to it. I had to disassociate my home phone from my 425 GrandCentral # which I initially got to play with. Have you tried pointing the it to to another GrandCentral # (basically creating a chain)? I wonder if that’ll work and if the quality would deteriorate or not.

  6. Its amazing the new things that are coming out everyday! Sure I would like to try out GrandCentral. Thanks for the invitation.

  7. Looks good – would love a GrandCentral invite.

    I am currently setting up a system that should allow for me to receive calls anywhere in the world and my friends (in Australia and the US) will be able to call a number that doesn’t cost them a lot. Will let you know how it goes.

  8. PLEASE send me an invite, my email is [deleted]@gmail.com , you have no idea the need I have for a local number to forward like this. you pretty much have information on what i have been trying to figure out for amonth

  9. Hey, GrandCentral sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for! If you have any more invites, I’d really like one! Thanks!

  10. I read your article and found it very useful.

    I haerd of Grand Central for first time from you, really want to give it a try! Can you pls send me an invitation?

  11. Wow, that seems like a great solution to get a free local number. I already have IPKall set up, and would love for you to send me an invite to GrandCentral. My email is [DELETED]

    To save money this will be my main phone line, and I would like 911 services. I found a site that offeres e911 to any DID for $2.00 per month. Assuming things work out well, I can have a free local number through GrandCentral for people to call me, and I can set up the 911 service to my IPKall DID. Is that correct?

    The link to the e911 service is:

    Are there free e911 services, or better ones that anyone knows about. That is the only one I have found.

    Thanks again.

  12. Invitations sent.

    In regards to the E911 services, what service are you using in conjunction to IPKall? If you’re using FWD, I’m not exactly sure if outgoing would work since outgoing calls will go through FWD and not IPKall. FWD doesn’t exactly call out into the regular phone networks.

    If you want 911 support, you might want to consider getting a SIP service which supports outgoing calls or just using your cell phone.

  13. Ahhh, if they support outgoing calls, then you should be fine, since all 911 does is forward that # to your closest police station’s emergency line.

    And you’re correct to assume that 911 will work on a cell phone even if it’s not activated. In fact even if you use T-Mobile and the strongest signal in your current area is Verizon when you dial 911, it will actually go through Verizon’s lines.

  14. ….back to the future?

    Well I am back running Marketing and Sales at i2telecom (voicestick.com)

    I left about 9 months ago over a dispute and contract issue and a mad man took over the wheel (The guy I had the dispute with) Anyway he started charging EVERYONE for everything.

    Well the CEO (Guy with the contract issue) made me a great deal to come back.

    For starters, we got rid of the $3.75 a month fees!!

    All we ask is that you use $1 a month of service (This keeps the HOGS from locking up a ton of DID numbers.)

    USA incoming 1 cent a min, USA outbound 2 cents a min. ANd with the free DID you can use our bridge (A WONDERFUL thing if you have a cell plan that offers Fave calling)

    ALSO I have need for beta testers.

    Go see this link and get $10 of calling and a free did and free incoming calls (The free incoming is for your cell phone)

    Go to this link

    [VoiceStick] CODE number for FREE $10 for BETA test of MyGlobalT

    Thanks Krunk! for the forum. Email me for anything you need

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