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Incoming calls on smartphone softphones

posted Jun 8, 2015, 4:32 AM by EZvoip Co   [ updated Jan 2, 2016, 8:56 AM ]
We have received a number of reports of customers being unable to set up incoming calls on their smartphone softphones, more specifically, Zoiper. One reason is that by default, Zoiper sets up accounts on our Toronto1 server, but many of our customers have their phone numbers (DIDs) set up on different servers.

Even with updated instructions, softphone developers change their interface and create new features and GUIs all the time, which is why specific instructions are not always useful - it is better to have a general understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. The following tips might help in setting up softphones for incoming calls.
  1. Most softphones on smartphones (such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry) are designed to conserve battery and for low resource use. Maintaining a connection for incoming calls uses more battery than having a connection "on-demand" only for outgoing calls. As such, by default, softphones set up accounts without incoming calls. For most softphones, receiving incoming calls requires an additional step in setup, such as checking off an "always available" checkbox. This may also be called "allow incoming calls" or "maintain connection to server".
  2. Any number of devices may be set up with one account for outgoing calls. This means that with the same credentials, you could be making a phone call to Honolulu on your Windows PC, your spouse could be making a phone call to Buenos Aires from her iPad and a relative could be calling Shanghai, all at the same time. However, if one was to call you, there is no telling which device will ring. If incoming calls are important, it is best to set up a different account for each device. You can then have an IVR menu allowing callers to choose who to call with an extension, or even have all devices ring at the same time with the Call Hunt or Ring Groups feature.
  3. If setting up a different account for each device is undesirable (even though we can usually do so at no extra charge), you may register only one device on the server with the incoming phone number, and all the other devices, used only for outgoing calls, on geographically close but different server(s). This way, only the device registered on the server with the incoming phone number will ring (if properly setup as explained below).
  4. In our current setup, phone numbers and their respective connected accounts must be on the same server. We generally attach a phone number (DID) to the server we recommend to you in our welcoming email. If you decide to change the server (for instance, if you are traveling and wish to connect to a server closer to your geographical location), let us know and we will move the DID to your server of choice. Don't forget that you may also order a new phone number anywhere in the world, so that you can be called with only a local phone call and then forward your calls to the number connected to your other geographically close server.
  5. Some network providers may disable incoming calls for competitive / monopolistic reasons (for instance, they might want you to use their more expensive voice service if they are a cell phone provider). In our testing, we have not found this to be the case with any of the providers we tried, yet that does no eliminate the possibility that they may do so in the future.
  6. If you are using Wi-Fi, your router may not allow these connections to take place. All the routers we tested allow incoming calls with no issue, but incoming calls may explicitly be denied with a setting on some routers.
  7. Finally, when troubleshooting a partially-working connection, it is useful to bear in mind that some of the changes you make in the setup of your softphone may not be immediately reflected in the way it operates, because the softphone might not immediately update its connection, keeping the old, stale connection. Sometimes softphones update and reconnect to the server only every hour, and rebooting the smartphone or restarting the softphones may not necessarily force the new settings on. In such situations, you might need to change the "polling time" setting on your softphone and reboot, or simply wait until the next server polling has taken place.
Most importantly, be sure that the server we indicated in our Welcome Email (or updated in subsequent communication) is the server you are registering on! If unsure, delete your account and try setting it up again.