OBIHAI recently announced the end of support for their 100/110 product line. This means no more firmware updates for this device. Unfortunately, this translates to loss of Google Voice functionality for many users, since the device will fail when trying to connect to Google Voice with an error “Backing Off : TCP connection to XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX failed”. In this post, I’ll discuss a simple solution to recover Google Voice functionality. All you need is an old laptop or a desktop that is connected to your router via ethernet. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Install FreePBX & Asterix

The first thing we are going to do is to wipe the old system and install FreePBX and Asterisk. To do so:

  • Download the FreePBX distribution. I used version SNG7-PBX-64bit-1710-1 which bundles FreePBX 14 along with Asterisk 13, 14 or 15.
  • Use UNetbootin or Etcher to create a bootable USB from the ISO image you downloaded and install it. During installation, you will be asked to choose the version of Asterisk. I chose the recommended combination (FreePBX 14 with Asterisk 13).
  • You will need to create root password, remember this password.
  • After the installation is completed, reboot the system and login using username root and the password you set earlier. You will then be presented with the web address of the FreePBX GUI.

Step 2: Configuring FreePBX

We now need to configure our FreePBX installation for use with Google Voice. In a different laptop/desktop, open the FreePBX GUI in a browser window. You will be asked to create an admin user the first time. Once logged in:

  • It is recommended that you activate your FreePBX (free to do so). Once activated, you can access Admin -> System Admin where you will be able to do many things, including setting a static IP for your FreePBX installation.
  • Go to Admin -> Updates and click Module Updates. Select Standard, Unsupported and Extended in repositories, and click on Check Online. The page will reload with your selection. Scroll down to Connectivity where you will be able to see Google Voice/Chan Motif. Click on it, select Download and Install. Scroll back up to the top of the page, and click on Process. The system will download and install the Google Voice motif. If an Apply Settings button appears at the top in red, click on it (do this every time this button appears).
  • Go to Application -> Extensions and add a new PJSIP extension. Fill in name (e.g., 100), and a secret. Leave everything else to their default values and submit followed by apply settings.
  • Go to Connectivity -> Google Voice and fill in your Google Voice username, password and number. Check Add Trunk, Add Outbound Routes and Send Unanswered to Google Voicemail. Once you submit and apply, check back the entry (the top right of the page will list your newly created entry). You should see the status as Connected. If you don’t, try enabling access to less secure apps in your Google account and retry.
  • Go to Connectivity -> Inbound Routes. Add a new inbound route. In the DID field, put in your Google Voice number (10 digits only, e.g. 1234567890). In the Set Destination field, choose Extension and select the PJSIP extension we created earlier.
  • At this point, you are ready to check if all this works. Install an SIP client (e.g., Zoiper SIP Softphone) on your phone, add your FreePBX IP as the SIP server. User will be the extension you created (e.g., 100), and the password will be the secret you set on this extension. Try making a call, it should go through Google Voice. If you call your Google Voice number, the SIP client should get the call. If both work, you are set.

Step 3: Configuring OBi100/110

Finally, let us point the OBi device to your FreePBX server.

  • Login to OBITalk, and remove the (defunct) Google Voice entry.
  • Recreate SP1 as a Generic Service Provider. Check Primary Line for Outgoing Calls. Use the FreePBX IP address as the proxy server, and 5060 as the port. Username and password would be from the extension you created in FreePBX (e.g. 100). Save it, and go to your dashboard. You should see Registered in the status.
  • Now you should be able to make and receive calls via Google Voice through your OBi!