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VOIP Relay Concept

I want to set-up a way to call my mom easily and inexpensively in Japan. You guys know a way of doing the following concept? Either with third party devices, software, or services combined? (e.g. with MagicJack and Grand Central)? The cost should be close to nil.

Concept:

Be able to call my mom's cell phone from my cell phone.

Example:

1. I call my computer at home with my cell phone. (free)
2. My computer calls my mom's computer using VOIP (e.g. TeamSpeak, MagicJack).
3. My mom's computer calls her cell phone. (assume free)
4. We are able to talk to each other on our cellphones without dialing an international number nor pay international fees.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 27 May 2009 22:21:48 +0000

i think I saw it on 24 once...
i'm sure someone's got something set up like this at home.

sarcast
Wed, 27 May 2009 23:27:51 +0000

Get two iPhones and install Skype?

ktula
Thu, 28 May 2009 00:17:56 +0000

the iffy part is #3 in your example. does it costs money to call a cell phone from a landline in japan? if so, you might be able to set it up.

also, what are you paying now? localphone.com has the best rates I've seen ($0.02 landline and $0.086 for mobile) and you can set it up to call from your cell phones.

do you want to set it up so that she can call you guys too?

gnowk
Thu, 28 May 2009 01:00:42 +0000

These are some good questions. Let's define the concept some more.

"the iffy part is #3 in your example. does it costs money to call a cell phone from a landline in japan? if so, you might be able to set it up."

I'm not understanding what you are getting at. Are you talking about Japan landline to Japan cell phone? We are assuming that cost is zero.

"also, what are you paying now? localphone.com has the best rates I've seen ($0.02 landline and $0.086 for mobile) and you can set it up to call from your cell phones.

Thanks. I'm going to have to look into this service. It might become an integral part of this equation.

I'm using 10-10-987 right now. I don't know how much it costs. Cost is not the biggest issue and not the biggest driver for this concept, though it does play a role. A few key drivers for this concept:

1. Can't do 10-10-987 on a cellphone.
2. Can't dial local (national) number to go overseas.
3. Can't dial international number from cellphone (my plan won't allow me without fees/plan).
4. Can't dial multiple countries without worrying about the different rates. (Requires research)
5. Provide convenience without driving up cost
6. It's exciting and fun to come up with an automated technology solution that solves everyday problems.

"do you want to set it up so that she can call you guys too?"

Yes. Let's define the concept here. Although the example is for me to call my mom. Ideally, we are looking for a mirror solution. That means a computer and a cell phone on each side. The setup is virtually mirrored on both sides. Therefore, instead of using me and my mom, let's say side A and side B.

Ideally, anyone can pick up a cellphone, call the computer on side A, and talk to another cellphone on side B.

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 28 May 2009 02:34:50 +0000

"I'm not understanding what you are getting at. Are you talking about Japan landline to Japan cell phone? We are assuming that cost is zero."

I am not familiar with Japan's phone standards, but assuming it's the same as ours, you can get a SIP/PSTN voice gateway like the Cisco SPA3102, which would make it possible for you to call your mom's cell via her landline over SIP from here.

"I'm using 10-10-987 right now. I don't know how much it costs. Cost is not the biggest issue and not the biggest driver for this concept, though it does play a role. A few key drivers for this concept:"

10-10-987 is $0.12/min to landlines and $0.23/min to mobile in Japan with a $0.53 connection charge.

With localphone.com, you can set up US local numbers for your mom's Japanese numbers that you can dial direct from your cell phone. You can also set up Japanese local numbers for your US numbers for your mom to call from Japan directly. For other international numbers, you can call a local access number to dial them directly. These should address most of your concerns.

"Ideally, anyone can pick up a cellphone, call the computer on side A, and talk to another cellphone on side B."

both localphone.com or voice gateways should do the job. the former for convenience and the latter to tickle your DIY fancy...

also, take a look at and SIP based or Skype video phones...
Asus Eee AiGuru SV1 Skype phone

gnowk
Thu, 28 May 2009 02:44:53 +0000

Thanks for the Cisco SPA3102 SIP/PSTN voice gateway tip. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Now I know what to look for. But I'll be looking for a open source software version of this thing, so that it can turn a computer into a voice gateway. Therefore, reducing hardware cost and enabling remote network distribution. I'll probably start on SourceForge.

The localphone.com service does indeed solve many problem; for the US-side anyway. I signed up and will be using it with my cellphone. If I can solve the problem in the previous paragraph, then we can eliminate the cost of localphone.com as well.

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 28 May 2009 18:17:39 +0000

localphone.com actually works both ways, your mom can use it in Japan too. I don't follow how it only solves your problem on the US end, please elaborate.

the software equivalent would be an asterisk based linux distro, e.g. Trixbox, PBX in a Flash (PiaF), etc. or 3CX on windows.

for a pure software solution and be able to call her cell, you'd have to use a VOIP provider (which localphone.com is also one). the alternative is to buy specialty hardware like the voice gateway to use her landline to dial out.

gnowk
Thu, 28 May 2009 22:47:53 +0000

You should always send out referrals when you send us ideas. After I signed up, I learned about the referral and it was a pity.

Maybe I don't fully understand how the localphone.com service works. I had assumed that it just works in the US. Are you saying my mom can set-up an account in Japan, they'll give her a local japan number, and she can do exactly the same thing from Japan?

I'll be looking at these software that you are recommending. Why can't these software "be able to call her cell"? There is no software equivalent that could dial out from the modem on the computer?

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 29 May 2009 03:29:13 +0000

Exactly, I mentioned it earlier, you might have missed it.

If you use mapped local numbers on both ends, you don't need anything else. If you prefer to roll your own solution, there are pure software and hybrid hardware/software solutions.

"I'll be looking at these software that you are recommending. Why can't these software "be able to call her cell"? There is no software equivalent that could dial out from the modem on the computer?"

I was referring to a "pure software" solution sans additional hardware.

In order for you computer at home to connect to her cellphone, your setup has to be connected to the public phone networks. You can achieve this by routing the calls through:

1) a VOIP provider (pure software on your end)

2) her landline via the voice gateway (hybrid hardware/software). the voice gateway is your "modem" for voice.

gnowk
Sat, 30 May 2009 15:28:21 +0000

http://www.sipgate.com/one
http://voxilla.com/2009/06/03/sipgate-looks-to-disrupt-us-la . . .

- free US number in your area code and 200 outgoing minutes when you sign up.
- no monthly service fee
- incoming calls are free
- outgoing domestic calls are $0.019/min
- very competitive international rates
- E911 is $1.90 a month
- universal number - rings all your phone numbers a la Google Voice
- works with a softphone, SIP phone or ATA adapter

gnowk
Thu, 04 Jun 2009 22:05:02 +0000

Sounds interesting. Does this work in other countries?

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 03:21:21 +0000

i read a post where someone mentioned their UK account worked in Australia. So, very likely.

gnowk
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 05:45:23 +0000

Actually, I meant can I set this up for my mom so that she can use it to call us from Japan?

But I guess it would work, right? I can set her up with an account, get her a SIP phone. And then she would be able to call US phone numbers without paying anything right?

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 07:40:26 +0000

My experience is that it won't work. I did that with skype (US number) and my brother when he was overseas and it didn't work.

Doesn't hurt to try now.

sarcast
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 16:42:49 +0000

Incoming calls are free, but outgoing calls cost money, unless it's to another sipgate number.

If she doesn't mind going through the trouble, she can use dukaDial ( http://labs.jaduka.com/dukaDial ) to set up outgoing calls and they would be free.

Just realized that the 200 free outgoing minutes expire after one month. Also, the "ring multiple phone" feature goes against your outgoing minutes.

sarcast, skypein should work overseas. Not sure why it didn't.

gnowk
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 17:32:36 +0000

do you know what the quality is like compared to gizmo?

Winnie
Sun, 07 Jun 2009 21:19:18 +0000

about the same... try them and hear for yourself...

gnowk
Mon, 08 Jun 2009 04:24:41 +0000

I've been working on this for a while. Without knowing how to program a computer, the best thing I have come up with is this:

1. Get a laptop and install both MOBILEDIT & LOGMEIN.COM on it. They are both free, just trust me here.
2. Get a bluetooth capable cellphone and pair it with the laptop.
3. Get a sound cable that will connect to the cellphone and connect to the laptop via the mic and headphones jacks.
4. Send it all to Japan.
5. Have your mother put a japanese sim in the phone and connect the sound cable.
6. Get a USA virtual phone number (I used Magic Jack).

Logmein.com allows you to control the japanese computer from your computer at home.

To place a call:

1. Call (from your USA cellphone) the magic jack phone number. Because you can control the japanese computer you will be able to answer that call from your computer in the USA. Once you have "answered" on the Japanese laptop, you have opened the first half of the line.

2. Open Mobiledit on the japanese computer. Mobiledit has a bluetooth dialer so you want to open that feature.

3. From your computer in the USA you are controlling the japanese laptop and you tell it to command the japanese cellphone to dial your mother's cellphone number via bluetooth.

4. When your mother answers her cellphone, you have a connection.

This is a lot of work to call Japan but it saved me a bundle when I called the Philippines ($0.20 per minute). For the sake of time and energy, I have left out some simple steps but you should be able to get the idea and make it work if you wish.

mxr
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 02:50:22 +0000

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Title: "Networked Family" Concept
Weblog: GearHack
Excerpt: Yesterday, I started the "VOIP Relay Concept" topic. I didn't want to pollute that topic. But to give you guys full context to the importance of that topic, here is where all this idea started. 1. My mom is overseas. Very distant from us. I want her to feel like she is part of our family. 2. The . . .
Tracked: Thu, 28 May 2009 19:35:07 +0000

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