Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hack your DSL line to get phone service

When my ISP installed my DSL only service (no phone), the technician tested the line for a dial tone with a buttset. This got me thinking. I asked the technician why there was a dial tone if it was a dry loop with DSL only. He said that there is indeed a dial tone but that you can only dial 911 or receive calls. He said you can't call out to anything besides 911. I said to myself, "Wanna bet?"

I hacked it in under 5 minutes. Now I can call in and out, including free long distance. No, I didn't violate any laws or do anything highly technical. I just setup Google Voice! This saves me $20 a month. Now I'm not saying this will work with your DSL provider, but it did for mine so I thought I'd share.

Here's what I did:

1. Retrieved the phone number for my DSL service (this was provided to me when I signed up)
2. Added the phone to my existing Google Voice account with Gear icon>Settings>Phones>Add another phone
3. When Google Voice asked to verify my phone, I chose voice verification. My old POTS line phone rang and I typed in the 2 digit verification code.

That's it!

How dialing in works: If you dial my Google Voice number, it rings my home phone.

How dialing out works: Well, it's admittedly a bit clunky but I browse to voice.google.com, click call, put in the number, choose the "Phone to call with" and wait for it to ring. Once I pick up the phone, it connects me to the number I dialed from my browser. I can also do this from my Android device using the Google Voice app.

The beauty of this hack is that it dials out by dialing in. :)

Why have a home phone in the cell phone age? Well, cell phones are awesome but they run out of battery, get lost or damaged, etc. My home phone is powered by the phone line and sits there reliably on a shelf for when it is needed. Nice to have options.

Hope this helps someone save some money. Don't forget your DSL filter! If this helped you, leave me a quick comment.