Using ring groups with a third-party spamfilter service
From VoIP.ms Wiki
The voip.ms service has a built-in filter which can be used to block unwanted calls from telemarketers, debt buyers, fraudsters and other unwanted callers. CallerID Filtering allows the user to supply a list of numbers; any number which matches an entry on the list may be blocked, redirected or handled in various ways.
As telemarketers will try to circumvent the blocks by calling from some other number, various third-party services have been created to build blacklists of thousands of numbers of known unwanted callers. These are packaged and deployed in various forms; one form of third-party spamfilter requires that the user direct all inbound calls to one or more Ring Groups.
In this configuration, inbound calls ring both at the subscriber's handset and at a second location - in this case, the unwanted call filtering service. If the call is legit, the third-party server ignores it; if the call is unwanted, the third-party server answers immediately so that the subscriber's phone gives only a brief single ring or doesn't ring at all.
One such server is the Jolly Roger Telephone Company (jollyrogertelco.com) which, despite the name, is not a replacement for voip.ms or any other telephone company; it is a third-party call filter service to block unwanted telemarketing calls by directing them to one of several automated robots instead of to a real human being.
The voip.ms service offers multiple features which make it well suited for use in conjunction with such third-party services:
- Ring Groups allow the same inbound call to ring at two or more locations at once
- Creating a SIP URI allows calls to be forwarded back out of the system to other Internet services at no cost
- If a third-party service doesn't support SIP URI to accept calls, Call Forwarding entries can be created to send calls back out to the public switched telephone network
In this example, the third-party spam blocker is shown as jollyrogertelco.com; the setup will be similar for other providers which rely on the subscriber's access to Ring Groups to send all incoming calls to both the local handset and an outside service.
1) The first step is to obtain a number for inbound calls on the voip.ms service, if you don't already have one. See: Order a DID Number
2) The next step is to create an account on the third-party service, for example https://www.jollyrogertelco.com calls this subscription their "landlubber" service (offering "landline" or "VoIP" as options). When the system asks for your telephone number, provide the number which you're sending on call display on your voip.ms outbound calls.
3) The third-party server will send an e-mail once the service has been set up on their end. This looks something like:
- This is a note to confirm your service with the Jolly Roger Telephone Company!
- You have one telephone number active with us!
- Your first telephone number is 1NXXNXXXXXX.
- See the 'Pick A Robot' link from www.jollyrogertelephone.com to find the numbers to our bots. If you don't have time to look them up now, just dial a random bot at 206-259-4999 for the US, 020-3813-1739 for the UK
4) It should be possible to get the SIP code from the "settings" tab on https://jollyrogertelephone.com/amember/personal-options (it's at the bottom, next to a red-button link "How to use SIP codes").
5) Another alternative is to call the supplied number, +1 206-259-4999. A seemingly human-sounding voice will ask "Hello? Hello?". This is the robot. Hang up. The third-party server will send an automated e-mail indicating that the robot took the call and will provide the SIP configuration information:
- A caller from NXX-NXX-XXXX dialled 206-259-4999 and was marooned for 10 seconds with a Jolly Roger bot named 'Kim the Kraken' The recording of the call is attached.
- Want SIP? You got it! Your SIP Code is 3jrt66r. For instructions on how to use SIP to integrate with Jolly Roger Telephone, click here: jollyrogertelephone.com/how-to-integrate-with-sip/.
- (The actual SIP Code will vary for each subscriber. In this case, 3jrt66r is used as a placeholder as an example.)
6) Create the SIP URI from the supplied code by opening https://www.voip.ms/m/sipuri.php on the voip.ms control panel. See SIP URI#Creating a new SIP URI. For this third-party server, the SIP URI is the SIP Code supplied in the e-mail, plus a suffix, so 3jrt66r could become 3jrt66r[email protected] for example:
- Create new SIP URI
- SIP URI sip: [email protected]
- Description: ...whatever...
- (Apparently the SIP URI with the [email protected] suffix answers everything as the robot, the [email protected] suffix answers just the unwanted calls as the bot.)
7) Once the SIP URI for the third-party server exists, it needs to be added to a Ring Group. On the voip.ms control panel https://www.voip.ms/m/ringgroup.php click the "Create a new ring group" button.
- A dialogue box will pop up asking which extensions should ring when an incoming call arrives. Check the box for the SIP URI you just created (above) and check the box for whichever handset you intend to use to answer calls. This will cause incoming calls to ring in both places at once.
- The "ring time" for the third-party server should be set to something relatively short so that, if the call is not answered, the various fallback settings for the DID may be used.
- Select an inbound number:
- Change the routing of that inbound number to "ring group" and pick the ring group which you just created (above):
9) Optionally, you may use CallerID Filtering to take the numbers which call you most often (or everyone in your phone book) and send them directly to one of your extensions - without going through any of the filters. There is no requirement to do this, but it may cut down on the number of notification e-mails you receive.
- Done! Goodbye, telemarketers.
- Call Hunting differs from using ring groups in that up to eight extensions are tried sequentially, instead of simultaneously/in parallel. By trying the spam-filter bots first, then failing over to a SIP handset a few seconds later (and, if that fails, a second line on the same handset or voicemail), a Call Hunting configuration would avoid the handset ringing once before the 'bot blocks the unwanted call.
- Interactive Voice Response can be a useful tool to block spurious ADAD/robocall and misdial traffic from reaching live persons at your site. When the IVR answers, the caller will hear "Thank you for calling XYZ Inc, for Sales press 1, for Service press 2..." before the call is passed to the selected extension.
- Nomorobo and How to Prevent Robocalls with Nomorobo? introduce another, similar alternative, but for a provider that requires the calls be sent back out to a regular telephone number (instead of a SIP URI). See that provider's documentation on https://nomorobo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205065739-Voip-ms for more detail.
- Jolly Roger FAQ: How to integrate with SIP is a general overview on how to configure SIP addresses and ring groups to block unwanted calls.
- NPR, CBS, Fortune, PC World, NY Times, Consumers Union, Mashable, SMH and IBT give the background on why subscribers would want to use VoIP features to put an end to unwanted marketing calls.