November 29, 2011

MagicJack Plus—Calls Go Immediately to Voicemail: Solution

The new MagicJack Plus is exactly what I wanted—an inexpensive, self-contained VoIP solution to replace my POTS landline. At first, it worked flawlessly, but I soon discovered that incoming calls would occasionally roll over to voicemail without ringing the phone.

A quick search on the Internet revealed a lot of bogus information, especially regarding NAT router port forwarding. In fact, there is no need to forward ports as the MagicJack Plus initiates all connections.

So, I dug a little deeper and found that when the MagicJack Plus DHCP lease expired it would renew with a different IP address. Normally, the router should handle this gracefully, resetting its NAT port tables. However, it appears that wasn't happening.

The solution was to configure the router's DHCP server to always assign the same IP address based on the MagicJack Plus MAC address. Since that reconfiguration, there have been no more missed calls that go directly to voicemail.

You can also configure your MagicJack Plus to use a static IP address—via your account page on the MagicJack Web site—but if you do, be absolutely certain the IP address you choose is outside the range of any DHCP server you might have configured—but still inside your network—and that there are no other devices on your network that use the same IP address. I prefer the purely DHCP solution, though.

Posted by pscott at 12:05 PM