Switch your home phone to inexpensive Voice Over IP (VOIP) service

Gerry H.
3 min readMar 21, 2018

My wife likes our regular phone. It looks something like this:

She also does not like speaker phones. She does not like headsets. But I wanted to switch to VOIP to save (lots) of money. $5 a month with VOIP.MS vs $37(!) with TELUS. You can too switch your home to VOIP and save too!

Step 1: sign up with VOIP.MS (I will call them voip.ms so I’m not shouting).

Step 2: get yourself a Grandstream GS-HT701 Telephone Adapter, or something similar.

Step 3: the Grandstream has about 1 million settings, but it is only necessary to set a few of them. voip.ms tells you which servers to use — pick one server “close” to your location. The images below show my setup.

There was initially a problem with the Grandstream, it would disconnect after 15.5 minutes (poor initial settings from Grandstream). If you have that problem compare your settings (every field!) against what is shown below. Don’t remember how I fixed it, something about setting “keep alive” to true (possibly in two places), and “session timers” to refuse.

Advanced Settings

FXS Port Settings
Some important settings below, they allow your Grandstream to communicate with voip.ms.
- The SIP Servers below are found on the voip.ms website but are called “DID Point of Presence”.
- Ignore the “Failover SIP Server” field! Voip.ms does not have failover servers, even though it looks like they do (at least it looks that way to me, based on the server names).
- The SIP User ID comes from voip.ms, is called your SIP/AIX Main Username, and is a six digit number. Use the same six digit number for Authenticate ID.
- Don’t forget your voip.ms password (which you created, this is not the password you use to log in to their website!).
- Set “Register Expiration” to 3, not 60. 60 is a shitty value that will cause problems.

Transferring your current home number to voip.ms

Transferring your number is called “porting”, and your current number is called a “DID”. Porting is generally easy enough but keep in mind two things:

After your number is ported you need to set your DID’s “Point of Presence” yourself. These servers are called Primary/Failover SIP servers in the image above. But remember, ignore Failover SIP server.

[I had already been testing outgoing calls using a local server(s), but VOIP.MS wasn’t smart enough to automatically set my incoming call server(s) to the same servers…ugh. I recommend using a spare phone and test outgoing first, before you port your number. You don’t actually need a phone number to make outgoing calls. It’s the Internet.]

That should be it, you should be up and running with the info above. Note also voip.ms does have lots of self-help on their site.

After being on VOIP service, how does it compare to my old home service? No noticeable difference, other than the Grandstream needing a reboot every couple of months (or so).

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Gerry H.

Programmer and avid reader. I have moved to gerryha.gonevis.com because they have a much nicer editor. Google wons Medium.com and censors people.