Checking Google Voice SIP service availability

During the past weeks Google has been turning on and off the inbound SIP service in Google Voice. Suddenly you woke up and saw someone in Twitter claiming that it worked, and hours later it just didn’t work anymore. Then I thought about making a way to ping Google Voice servers and getting this information in a nice way.

When inbound SIP support is enabled Google Voice servers (which run OpenSIPS, by the way) respond to OPTIONS requests, so my idea was very simple: send a SIP OPTIONS message to GV servers and print the result somewhere. This somewhere had to be the web. But I didn’t want to host a website, so I thought “hey, maybe it’s time to try that Google App Engine!”.

Applications run in a sandboxed environment on GAE, so you can’t have extension modules or even access the socket module. But you can make outgoing HTTP requests. With these limitations in mind this is what I came up with:

GAE has cron job support, that is, it can do a GET request at regular intervals. So why not leverage this and make a GET request every 5 minutes to some web service which tells us the GV SIP service status and store it? This way we don’t need to connect anywhere every time someone wants to see this data, because is kept up to date by the cron job.

This required a component which must able to handle HTTP requests and generate SIP OPTIONS requests. I didn’t have this, but since I work every day with the python-sipsimple library and I know some Twisted it took me very little time to build one. I called it SIPwPing and it’s available on my GitHub.

Some of you may think this is completely over-engineered. And you are right. But I wanted to play with GAE and this was a very good excuse to do so. 🙂

Application is now live running at http://gvoice-sip-status.appspot.com and the source code will be available on my GitHub account later today.

PS: The application is using the free plan and if any quota is exceeded at some point I’ll not bother much, since I already had the fun making it work 🙂

:wq

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