Solved: Telephone Calls Via My Computer

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MCBride

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Seansons Greetings, How do I make telephone calls from my computer? Using Windows XP Professional

Thanks
MCBride:p
 

zx10guy

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If you're talking about using a network connection, then you need to look into a VoIP type service where you run a client or device off your computer to connect up to the VoIP provider's system. At their end, they will terminate your connection over a voice trunk to make the connection.

If you want to use an existing land line you already have to make calls from your computer, you'll need some sort of media bridge in the form of a FXO interface which allows your computer to talk over an analog line.
 

zx10guy

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I'll have to do some searching to find out if there is a single instance use of an FXO interface. The reason why I know a little about this is because I've been playing with VoIP and have done the second option. The card I purchased was a I think a Digium TDM 400. It looks like Digium has a new card out now which is a TDM 410. The problem with this card is that it's meant to work in a PBX/call manager environment. So you'll have to build a workstation/server type box with this card running in it. The system you can use is either Asterisk or Trixbox which is an open source freeware PBX software. Be warned though, Asterisk/Trixbox has a pretty steep learning curve. There are a few books out there written on just configuring Asterisk/Trixbox. You'll also find some good online resources. I hope I have the name right, but Keith Garrison has some online videos on how to configure Trixbox. Once you have the call manager set up, you can get a free software SIP phone like X-Lite which you then load on your computer as a phone extension. The software SIP phone when configured reaches out to the call manager and registers itself with it. I've done some in home testing where I've been able to make calls and receive calls via my Trixbox setup. The card was $130 at the time and the PC I used was just an extra box I had laying around.

I went down this path because I have an unlimited call plan with my Telco where I can call anywhere in the US for a flat rate. My thought was to open the necessary ports on my firewall to allow me to remotely connect up to my call manager and make/receive calls like I'm at home. I have a Sprint Air Card which I use when I'm away from home which gives me internet on the go. The use of my Sprint card doesn't incur a per minute charge so I can reduce the usage of my cell phone and stay at the very basic calling plan to save some money. Also, Asterisk/Trixbox has some other unique functions like music on hold, call forwarding, call hunting (where the call manager will dial the first extension you program in and if you don't answer there after a set period will call the next extension ultimately putting the call to your voice mail if you don't pick up), voice mail with wav file emailing so you can get voice mail via email, etc, etc.

I haven't played with the setup for a while as I've been working on bringing up a Cisco Call Manager Express/Unity Communications Express setup which will mimic what I've done with the Asterisk/Trixbox setup.
 
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We use a product called MagicJack. Cost about $39.00 initally. and $19.00 annual fee for unlimited use. You need to have a broadband service. To make calls the computer needs to be turned on. I have the MagicJack set up to call forward to our land line when we are home or to the cell phone when we are traveling, and the computer is turned off.
vicks
 

MCBride

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When I had Windows 98, there used to be a program installed that would allow you to make calls from the computer without all the extra stuff. What happened?
 

JohnWill

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The program you had on W98 was limited to calling other computers, not land lines.
 
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I'll have to do some searching to find out if there is a single instance use of an FXO interface. The reason why I know a little about this is because I've been playing with VoIP and have done the second option. The card I purchased was a I think a Digium TDM 400. It looks like Digium has a new card out now which is a TDM 410. The problem with this card is that it's meant to work in a PBX/call manager environment. So you'll have to build a workstation/server type box with this card running in it. The system you can use is either Asterisk or Trixbox which is an open source freeware PBX software. Be warned though, Asterisk/Trixbox has a pretty steep learning curve. There are a few books out there written on just configuring Asterisk/Trixbox. You'll also find some good online resources. I hope I have the name right, but Keith Garrison has some online videos on how to configure Trixbox. Once you have the call manager set up, you can get a free software SIP phone like X-Lite which you then load on your computer as a phone extension. The software SIP phone when configured reaches out to the call manager and registers itself with it. I've done some in home testing where I've been able to make calls and receive calls via my Trixbox setup. The card was $130 at the time and the PC I used was just an extra box I had laying around.

I went down this path because I have an unlimited call plan with my Telco where I can call anywhere in the US for a flat rate. My thought was to open the necessary ports on my firewall to allow me to remotely connect up to my call manager and make/receive calls like I'm at home. I have a Sprint Air Card which I use when I'm away from home which gives me internet on the go. The use of my Sprint card doesn't incur a per minute charge so I can reduce the usage of my cell phone and stay at the very basic calling plan to save some money. Also, Asterisk/Trixbox has some other unique functions like music on hold, call forwarding, call hunting (where the call manager will dial the first extension you program in and if you don't answer there after a set period will call the next extension ultimately putting the call to your voice mail if you don't pick up), voice mail with wav file emailing so you can get voice mail via email, etc, etc.

I haven't played with the setup for a while as I've been working on bringing up a Cisco Call Manager Express/Unity Communications Express setup which will mimic what I've done with the Asterisk/Trixbox setup.
There is a single port FXO from Cisco/Linksys (http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-SPA3102...3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1230750527&sr=8-3). It's $73 from Amazon. This looks like it's a neat little box. I think I'm going to order one to play with it.
 

JohnWill

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It's not a program, it's a piece of hardware. :) You also need a VoIP account to use it. This is the same box supplied by my VoIP service ViaTalk.

The short answer here is you aren't going to make calls to plain telephones from your computer without an intervening service, which you'll have to pay a monthly charge for. There's no way to get a call from your computer to the STN without charge.
 
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Actually, that box from Cisco is a FXO gateway as well. It can provide SIP gateway service to the PSTN. That is, you connect it to a landline and then you can use a SIP phone.
 

JohnWill

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Sure, but that's not solving the issue of not needing a landline, right? ;)
 
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You might end up needing to do some swapping with your current network devices.
 
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