My Asterisk PBX Journey: Part 12c - The 11th Hour

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 26-Jan-2007 15:04

Heres where we are at on this epic tale of PBX goodness: Since our last episode, our VoIP anti-hero now has a machine that can do the following:

  • Multiple SIP inbound and outbound trunks, providing worldwide connectivity, and access to Australian and USA toll-free numbers (using direct dial, with no international or area access codes required).
  • Bluetooth proximity detection, so any calls destined for me are diverted to my mobile if Asterisk doesnt detect my cellphone in the house. (Lazymans call diversion... no action required on my part when i leave the house).
  • Remote softphone / SIP phone connections, to allow selected friends and family access to all the services my box has to offer. (well... currently only working with IAX softphones, but thats about to be fixed).
  • DISA (Direct Inward System Access) - I can dial in from a standard telephone anywhere, and get pin-protected access to a new dialtone, then make calls out as if I was on a local extension.
  • IVR capability - its all there, ready to go "Press 1 for Tony, press 2 for Leisa, press 3 for anyone" etc etc (though I doubt ill use this in the short term.
  • Music on hold.
  • Voicemail - multiple voicemail boxes (per extension even).
  • Hunting groups, ringing groups and a "ring all phones" feature for all (or selected) incoming calls. (Can be based on trunk, or caller id etc).

For those who havent played with Asterisk yet, you set up a dialplan, and can dictate things like:

  • If I dial 09xxxxxxx its a local call, and so put it through my Telecom PSTN trunk, or failover to the iTalk trunk if this is in use.
  • If an incoming call comes through on the iTalk SIP trunk, its defintely for Bob, so only ring his extension.
  • If I dial 13004APIZZA then use the trunk only, and add the 0061 code that the service requires.
  • If I dial 027xxxxxxx use trunks in xyz order (set them cheapest to dearest), only using a trunk on a deaer service if a cheaper one is busy.
  • If I dial the wordnumber 'OFFICE' (633423), then direct call through the PSTN trunk, and actually dial the offices phone number.
  • If I dial the wordnumber 'MIKE' (6453), then direct call through the trunk, and instead of dialling 6453, dial his SIP number.
  • If I dial an 03,04,06, or 07xxxxxxx number, then use iTalk for the call.
  • Maybe Telecom has a calling special for somewhere that beats your best SIP option... just set up a rule for that number or area code, and move the rule ahead of anything else that would affect it.
  • If you dial Australia a lot, set a rule that recognises all the Aussie area codes you use, and selects the right trunk (for least cost), and adds the '0061' (and possibly even the area code(s)), so you just pick the phone up, and dial the number as a local call.
I have bought my FXO card, but waiting for it to arrive. At that point, this box will go into full time use at home, and also will be backed up by a 1KvA UPS to protect against power outages. Once that happens, I will be keen to get the WxC VFX service up and running as soon as possible.

There is lots more you can do, and everyones requirements, services, and preferences will vary. But hopefully some of the above may inspire you. It seems you can get Asterisk to do just about anything, or very little other than handle calls with a very basic dialplan.

I have spent less than $200 on hardware to get the PC, a linksys pap2t ATA, and an FXO (trunk) card to connect to my telecom line, yet I have the functionality of many high-end PBX's and more. Its pretty much all web based config using the supplied FreePBX and other tools, but you should at least be able to google for help and transcribe commands into a linux commandline (at a very basic level). Get yourself a copy of putty for windows, to remotely log into a console over your LAN, and you should be away laughing...

Any questions? (Or tips for me, because im still a newbie).

Other related posts:
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Hawkes Bay Today (newspaper) scraping Trademe for telemarketing
Smart Connect - a free alternative to Psiloc Connect for S60 Nokia Smartphones (E71 etc)

Comment by sbiddle, on 26-Jan-2007 20:49

Hey Tony now you're next project is to interface it with SMS and Web interfaces. I can go to a webpage and enter a phone number and Asterisk will call me back with a dialtone. Since I also have an SMS gateway set up I can send an SMS with a phone number and do the same thing. I found this very handy when I was in Europe as I got cheap calls back to NZ!

I also get SMS notification of VM messages as well which is cool.

Comment by adamj, on 28-Jan-2007 21:01

Im still playing with Trixbox in a VM but having a heap of fun doing it. Thinking about getting an entry level Dell server in the next 12 months and building it up into a feature rich home PABX.

Seems even running it in a VM that I have similar (And even some better) functions than we have in our excessivley expensive PABX at work

Comment by Jo Pitts, on 27-Feb-2007 11:58

Tony - well done! I'm struggling with Trixbox 2.0 currently with some real basic stuff (like getting x-lite to connect to it). Any pointers you can give in terms of where you found resources etc would be much appreciated Cheers

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