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VOIP is Voice over IP or Voice over Internet Protocol - using IP networks like the Internet to route phone calls vs using a regular land-line also known as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).

This setup can be totally free by using a "soft phone" on your PC or Mac and with a small initial investment it is possible to use a regular phone and still have a free VOIP phone line in Canada - or a Canadian phone number somewhere else in the world.

  • Get a real phone number
  • No monthly phone bill
  • Call many cities in Canada free
This Instructable will cover getting a phone number, setting it up as a "soft phone" on your PC or Mac

But it gets better - with the correct VoIP/ATA device (an "Obihai") and configuration we can bridge VoIP calls over to POTS lines and vice-versa. What is the use of this? I have a VoIP device in Vancouver, Canada and a second device at a family members house in Auckland, New Zealand - this device in Auckland has a Vancouver number on it and is also connected to the POTS system and therefore has an Auckland phone number associated with it. From my device in Vancouver I can call the device in Auckland over the Internet, then call out on the Auckland land-line - so I can get Auckland dial-tone from Vancouver, for free! In Auckland they can pick up the phone and dial almost anywhere in Canada for free. There is also an app for both iPhone's and Android phones that allow you to call an Obihai device and use it to call out - for example my brother in New Zealand installs it on his iPhone and I add him to my trusted network. When he connects his iPhone to the Internet via WiFi he can call my Obihai device and use it to call me on my cell phone

A second Instructable will cover obtaining the device needed for VoIP (an Obihai), configuring the device, some tweaks needed and bridging between VoIP and POTS.

Note: I am NOT employed or have any affiliation with the companies or products mentioned in this Instructable, I do not get any financial or other compensation from them either - I am just a happy customer who can call family on the other side of the world for free and have them call me for free.

Step 1: Pro's and Con's

As the saying goes there is no such thing as a free lunch. There are pro's and con's associated with using VoIP

Pro's:
  • Real phone number from 1 of 4 provinces
  • Can use a "soft phone" or regular phone
  • Call most Canadian cities for free
  • Bridge between VoIP and POTS (future Instructable)
  • Take your phone number with you when you travel

Con's:
  • No 911 service or service not as reliable as POTS
  • Small initial cost outlay for VoIP device and "config file" (future Instructable)
  • It can be technical to setup
  • Needs Internet
  • If Internet drops so does the phone.

Step 2: Sign Up for a Phone Number.

Note: a "soft phone" is a software application you install onto a PC to give you phone calls via the PC microphone and sound card - In a future Instructable I will go through using a VoIP device called an Obihai so you can use a regular phone and not have to use a PC to make and receive calls.

I use a service called FreePhoneLine.ca
(Again I do not work for them or get any compensation financial or otherwise from them).

To setup an account with them you will need to provide your name, address (including postal code, street address, province etc), DOB, gender, email address, a valid phone number like your cellular number or existing land line number and agree to their terms and conditions (a lot of info on 911, 1-900, 411 etc etc). If you aren't happy giving this information out then don't bother registering! If you are OK with this then lets proceed.

Register on the site.
Initially you will need to provide an email address and a valid phone number (like your cellular number).
You will get a confirmation email needed to activate your account.
Once activated login to the site and click on the "register" button - here you will have to provide the info listed above.
Continue - you will need to agree to their terms and conditions.
Once you agree to the terms and conditions the next step they require is to confirm your existing phone number (this is to probably confirm you are Canadian but I am not 100% sure). They will call the number you provided and give you a 3 digit confirmation code you need to enter into a box and confirm.
Almost there.....
Now you get to pick the area code and number. The Provinces you can get a number from are: BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Once you pick a province you get a choice of cities. You can pick a number from any of the listed provinces/cities. If for example you are in Vancouver and have family in Toronto you can pick a Toronto number and family in Toronto will be able to call you for free. If you don't like the first number picked for you you can get a couple more tries.

Once you have got a phone number you can download either a Windows or Mac version of the software.
Install the software, launch it and login with the same login/password you used to register on the website.

Congratulations you have a free working phone number - no credit card needed.

To make long distance calls to places out of their free calling zone you can buy credits from your account on the freephoneline.ca website.



Step 3: Using an ATA/VoIP Device

I used this setup for a couple of months but wanted to use a regular cordless phone so I didn't have to sit at my PC to make or receive calls. To do this I purchased an ATA/VoIP device and also a "config file" from freephoneline.ca - the "config file" was a one-time $50.00 fee. A future Instructable will show how this goes together.

Comments and questions about this Instructable are welcome.
<p>&quot;Obihai&quot; confused me, </p><p>but an Obihai, appears to be a brand name for a basic ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter), similar to a Cisco SPA112. these devices can even be configured to retrieve a setup config from a remote server (using protocol such as TR-069). this allows the devices to be shipped blank, and provisioned on site remotely. new boxes can be mass pre-provisioned. this works with basically any VOIP provider. you can also write a dial plan to block calls to specific numbers, even 911 service if wanted, or reroute 911 to a different gateway (such as a PSTN). Multiple place offer free SIP service, but typically just for Subscriber to Subscriber, or Canada/US calls.</p>
<p>The bridging between a POTS line and VoIP line is what make the ObiHai 110 and above different from the usual ATA adapters.</p>
<p>Works great! Thanks!</p>
<p>Great for Canadians or friends of Canadians!</p><p>For the rest of the world try Viber. It's easy and free to other Viber users</p><p><a href="http://howtoviber.com/install-guide/" rel="nofollow">http://howtoviber.com/install-guide/</a></p>
This is pretty good. <br> <br>May I suggest you change the title to reflect the fact that people wanting to take advantage must have an EXISTING address and phone number in Canada? And also clarifies that nobody gets an actual LINE? Something like &quot;Canadians - Get a free SIPS capable VOIP phone number in Canada&quot;. <br> <br>Potentially, 35 million people can use this BUT 7 billion can NOT. Most of us don't or didn't need to even click this instructable. The title is a bit misleading.
Point taken, I have changed it to &quot;Get free VoIP phone service in Canada&quot; <br>Technically as long as you know someone in Canada you could get the service working anywhere in the world - and it would be of no use unless you know a person in Canada. A catch-22. Cheers, Steve
&quot;Point taken&quot; <br> <br>The new title seems to much more clearly reflect the contents.. <br> <br> &quot;Technically as long as you know someone in Canada you could get the service&quot; <br> <br>Unfortunately, I don't yet know any Canadians. <br> <br> &quot;it would be of no use unless you know a person in Canada.&quot; <br> <br>However, if I had been able to use this instructable, I could have used the phone to call random Canadians and make friends. Probably learn a lot of trivia, too.. Or talk about Joseph Heller novels. <br> <br> &quot;A Catch-22&quot; <br> <br>Like that one, for example. <br> <br> &quot;Cheers, Steve&quot; <br> <br>Cheers.
I have been using this VOIP method for the past several months. As long as the internet is running in home, the &quot;phone&quot; works well. <br> <br>One added bonus: there is a call forward feature that you can forward the incoming calls to both the VOIP app and your cell simultianiously. I live in one province and have friends in another. So my friends in the other provice have a &quot;local&quot; number to reach me at without incurring long distance charges and my friends in my residence province call me on my regular cell. Well worth installing and using.

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