Mushroom's Donating Phone Lines to Volunteer Groups across the UK. What's it all about?
We have included below some of the common questions that have been raised so far. If the answer to your question does not appear here, please also check Zoiper’s full FAQs page, or feel free to contact us using the chat function on our website too.
Some of the details below are reasonably technical so if you are finding it difficult to understand then again please do contact us.
What is being offered?
We are offering (free of charge) a local-rates phone number with your local area code, for your vulnerable residents and those in need to call. Along with this you will be provided with 5 SIP extensions for your volunteers to login to using an app on their Android/Apple smartphones or via computer on Windows/Mac devices. Instructions for setting up the app are also provided.
Currently we are providing 5 extensions per Action Group, allowing up to 5 calls to be taken simultaneously. You can arrange for more than one volunteer to be logged into the same extension at the same time so that the call-handling workload can be shared amongst a wider volunteer pool.
When a call is received, all users logged into an extension will be notified, and the first person to answer will be connected to the person calling.
We usually aim to get your number and extensions to you within 48 hours or your request (during normal working hours) however actual time may vary depending on how busy we are!
What are the costs?
There are no direct costs for the phone line or extensions, the only related costs are as follows:
- The phone number we can provide will be a local area code, local-rates number, so those phoning in will incur whatever charges they normally would for a local landline call (which may be nothing if they have a free minutes allowance)
- Outbound calling from the app is restricted due to the complexity of costing and charging for this if it was enabled – most groups are using the system to receive inbound calls (preventing the need to circulate personal numbers widely), and then using their own phones to contact individuals for specific requirements (sharing their own numbers on a much smaller scale).
- Zoiper (softphone app) push notification on iPhone – We have become aware that some iPhone users are having to pay through the Apple App Store for Zoiper’s Push-Notification subscription, which is 99p for a month or £8.99 for a year, in order for calls to be notified to them when they do not have the app live on their screen (i.e. if it’s only running in the background). This was not intended as we are seeking to provide this support at no charge (and we have no affiliation with Zoiper so gain no financial benefit), however we have been informed that Apple no longer allows apps on iPhone to carry on running in the background, hence the only workaround is the paid-for push-notifications, purchased through the App Store. Users with Android phones do not appear to have the same issue and there is also a PC/Mac version of Zoiper available which may be helpful.
Where can I find my voicemails?
Unlike a conventional phone your voicemails will be sent directly to the email address you specify. These will be sent with an audio file attached, so you can listen to the voicemail message directly from the email and do not need to call a voicemail service. If you can’t find any voicemail emails and believe you should have received one, check your email’s spam folder too.
407 error/unable to register an extension
A 407 error relates to the login details that have been entered. The login details are case sensitive so please make sure you type them precisely. Please also remember that for the ‘Account name’ and ‘username’ fields, you should use your extension number.
If your problem persists then please contact us so we can reset the password for you.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any password reset enquiries.
Extension registration failure on an Android device
We have seen in a few cases that when first attempting to login on an Android device, users have been unable to register their account. We have found that by simply pressing your phone’s “back” button until the app homepage and then pressing “next” through the menu options again (the app should remember your credentials), you should then be able to register successfully.
If problems persist then please get in contact with us so we can assist further.
Calls not ringing/notifying on iPhone:
In the more recent updates to iOS (the iPhone’s operating system, Apple has removed the ability for apps to continue to run fully in the background (i.e. when the app is not live on your screen). Consequently this may prevent some calls from ringing through for users on iPhone.
Zoiper has confirmed that the only work-around for this is to subscribe to push notifications (this can be done through the app Settings and then “Incoming calls” settings), and costs 99p for 1 month or £8.99 for a year, payable to Zoiper through the App Store. A number of groups have done so and established that this has resolved the problem.
To be clear, Zoiper is a third-party app to which Mushroom has no affiliation and gains no financial benefit – regrettably they are currently unable to offer an alternative (unpaid) solution for iPhone users. As you will appreciate, our offering of phone numbers and the call systems we have been setting up is something we have wanted to give to your communities entirely free.
Zoiper is available on Android as well and does also have a desktop version for Windows and Mac (available from their website, setup is much the same as on your phone), which may be a suitable alternative in some cases.
Missing or one way audio:
Missing or one way audio is one of the most common issues with VOIP, fortunately in most cases it is relatively easy to solve.
This tutorial is not applicable for poor quality audio
The most common reasons are:
– NAT related network issues (>95% of the missing audio cases)
– SIP ALG / Stateful firewall issues
– An issue with the headset, audio card or audio driver. (happens mostly on desktop).
– misconfigured portforwarding on the router
1) NAT Issues
This is a very common problem with the SIP protocol (IAX is rarely affected) where the incoming packets do not reach Zoiper, causing no incoming audio. In some cases the packets from the Softphone also do not reach the other side, causing the other side not to hear anything.
Error 408 Request Timeout:
This error means that the phone did not receive a reply from the server(or there is no connectivity with it) and is common with new installations or when changing the network connectivity, i.e. being it 3G/4G or WiFi network.
Check the routing device/ firewall settings
Common reasons include:
- There is typo (or an extra space) in the host/domain name:
Open Zoiper -> Go to Settings -> Accounts -> (your account)
Double check that the setting for “Domain”is correct and does not contain any spaces.
- There’s an issue with your internet connectivity
Please open your browser and check if you can visit a random website. If not, you have to fix your internet connectivity issue(s) first. If you are not able to do so yourself, we would suggest contacting your ITSP (internet service provider)
- Your network provider is blocking VoIP calls. (this happens mostly in middle eastern countries)
Contact your internet provider and ask if they allow VoIP calls on their network;
- Use TLS encryption for the SIP signalling, especially when combined with a server running SIP on port 443.(this requires server side support for TLS);
- use RTP encryption for media;
- use a third party VPN service;
Incoming calls are not working:
Issues related to incoming calls are a common problem with Voice over IP. Most computers and phones do not use a fixed IP address or sit behind a NAT network.
VOIP servers use REGISTRATIONS to keep track of the current location of a user. This also serves as a way to keep NAT bindings open on your home or office router.
Bad Audio Quality:
The most common reasons for bad audio quality are (in descending order of frequency):
- A problem with the internet connection to the provider
- The provider has a bad route for a certain destination
- The destination phone has bad connectivity
- A problem with the phone or PC
- A volume problem
SIP 404 – Not found:
SIP 404 – Not found. error means that the server could not find the extension (or number) you have entered.
This is usually due to either:
- An incorrect prefix (try adding or removing the international prefix or use + instead of 00 or vice versa);
- or the number does not exist.
If this problem persists then contact one of the Mushroom team so we can assist.
Phantom calls from unknown numbers (100, 1000, 101, 1, 1005 …):
Phantom calls from unknown numbers (100, 1000, 101, 1, 1005 …) are usually from SIP scanners/ scammers and are called “ghost calls”.
If you are receiving “Ghost calls”, usually they are being sent to you by SIP Scanners for scamming purposes.
You can try blocking port 5060 except for the IP of your server with your firewall, or change the Zoiper SIP port in Zoiper 5 -> Settings -> Advanced -> Network -> SIP options sub-tab (or from the advanced network configuration menu of your account depending on the product that you use) settings menu to something else than 5060.
You can find some additional information here.
The above list outlines the most commonly-occurring issues we have seen, however if the answer to your question does not appear here, please also check Zoiper’s full FAQs page, or feel free to contact us using the chat function on our website too.
If you have a particular error code or message, you may be able to find an answer online by searching Zoiper’s website for the code.