VOIP to gtalk (and back!)

Lots of talk about VOIP these days – and those who have been following know that we implemented Switchvox – a VOIP PBX in our office over a year ago.

In general – it has gone well. Switchvox is based on Asterisk – and there were some bugs that seemed to conflict with our PRI hardware. It's still not clear to me where the problem was. Brian @ Switchvox worked pretty hard to patch SV for us to bypass the problem once he isolated it. June's update, SV has been stable and we've been happy with it's maintainability and flexibility.

I've wanted to be able to use it to connect with Skype and/or gtalk .. and yesterday I finally it working pretty well with gtalk – so thought I'd document it a bit here in case others want to do the same. It's certainly possible to do this in Asterisk as well – but it's likely that most Switchvox users are not so sophisticated as the traditional Asterisk or Trixbox users .. so here's the overview of how to do it in Switchvox. I may be adding SipBroker here unnecessarily – but I don't have Switchvox set up to accept SIP calls directly – so I like having Sipbroker in the middle to handle that for me and to simplify dialing – as you'll see below..

What you need:

  1. Switchvox.
  2. A (free) gtalk account.
  3. A (free) gtalk2voip account.
  4. A (free) sipbroker.com account.

Go get 'em now. I'll wait for you. On the gtalk2voip account – don't bother getting a "business" account. A personal one is fine.

At sipbroker – you need to set up your Switchvox with sipbroker as a provider. This will make it much easier for you to dial out to gtalk – and in from PSTN (regular) phones.

Got it all? Ok .. here goes.

YOu need to set up a Switchvox extension that you are going to map the sipbroker account to. That way – calls from sipbroker will go directly to that extension in Switchvox. You can do this with a real extension – or a virtual one – that forwards to another extension (or even to your cellphone/home phone etc). If you've used Switchvox at all – you know how to do this. Very easy. The extension you set up will be the "callback extension" below.

On Switchvox – set up Sipbroker as a VOIP Provider:

The account ID is something that YOU define @sipbroker.com. It can get a bit confusing, as you have both an accountID and an ALIAS and a SIP-code and a "member number" at sipbroker.com. Here's what I see on the sipbroker "member details" page. the accountID to put in Switchvox is circled in red.

So long as you have set this up properly – you should now see sipbroker.com as an active VOIP provider which you click "system status" in Switchvox.

Now it's time to go to your gtalk2voip account.

It's all set up? Good. Now – in gtalk – select the "buddy" service@gtalk2voip and send "help"

The Gtalk2voip system will respond with a list of commands that are supported by gtalk2voip – including a URL for your personal account page in gtalk2voip. Click that. At the top you'll see your sipbroker ID. It's *018####. Make note of that number – you'll use it soon.

Now you can make your first call from gtalk to your Switchvox extension. In the gtalk client, open a conversation with "service@gtalk2voip.com and type "call *######@spibroker.com" where the *####### is your sipbroker number (see above .. mine is *398_smudge) ..

Gtalk will ask you to accept an incoming call .. and will then connect you to your Switchvox extension (or to your cell/home phone if you configured a virtual extension with a call forwarding rule).