Exploring Call-in / Dial-in

Services like Jit.si, zoom, and the likes they have facilities to call into meetings over normal phone lines. BigBlueButton also can provide that. We haven’t set that up yet, for a number of reasons, but we’d like to explore that with you. We’re likely to make a few first baby steps to test the waters and see which members really need it. Did I say that making an extra donation will help us speed up? :wink: Seriously, we are aware that for some people with audio problems, having a call-in option would really make a difference.

Most importantly: BBB has the key facilities to make this happen. Basically, the audio switching system (called freeswitch) is making it possible to call in and out over a SIP connection. SIP is the open standard for audio connections, many office phones use that standard as do many of the phone providers nowadays.

First steps
So the first step would be to expose the SIP account to each of our BBB servers. If you have a SIP phone device (hardware or software), you can simply call into that SIP address and select the room you want to join. This of course will require some configuration work for the tech.circle, but shouldn’t be too hard.

The second step would be to point a dial-in number from the Plain Old Telephony System (POTS) to the desired SIP account of our servers in Germany, Canada or the demo server. We will need to select a proper dial-in provider. Consumer grade dial-in numbers costs as little as 75 cents/month at for ex localphone.com, but you can only call in with one person at a time. We’ll be needing a business service.

Then the third step would be to have a routing server, that allows you us to put many dial-in lines to one BBB server. It is called a PBX, the famous one in the free world is called Asterisk. This will allow us many different dial-in numbers and route them. Then there’ll be the challenge to route to different BBB servers. Probably we’ll end up with different Asterisk PBXes?

Who needs it now?
We’ll be interested to explore this for members who really need this, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense. Be prepared that at first it’ll be experimental, taking one step at a time and see how that works for your people.

Detailed questions:

  • how many people of your userbase would need to call in at the same time in a certain continent?
  • We could start by hooking up a US or Canadian number to the CA server and a German number to the DE server. Would that cover (most) of your needs in the short term?
  • Did you explore SIP phone software like SIPdroid on Android? That could be a solution for some people, and would cost zero money to the collective and to the end user (considering that the enduser has Internet connection on their mobile)

Please feel free to add your thoughts, usecase and attractive SIP service providers.

2 Likes

I am asking GEO folks about how many people use dial in. In my experience in various groups, it is usually on the order of 10% or fewer of the people in a given call. A US/Canadian number would be great for my purposes. SIP sounds like a good option, would it make sense to run a trial?

1 Like

We would probably need 3 callers at the most. One is usually enough, so we could start with that.

meet.coop tech circle are looking at a trial. Might need to be on the demo server, the main server must stay stable for development in support of Amsterdam Cities programme right now.

2 Likes