60 Second Asterisk Overview
Cognation doesn't provide
consulting services for Asterisk.
This information is here for informational purposes only.
I'm a strong supporter of Asterisk and I couldn't run my business
Asterisk is an open source Linux based ip-pabx. That means you can download for
free one of the smartest and most flexible IP PABX solutions available today.
start check these links out;
There is also growing wealth of information on the wiki
http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Asterisk (although a little
Asterisk includes features out of the box such as
Voicemail to email
Fax to email
Conference rooms with secured passwords
Gui web control for conference rooms
Agent and call centre stats
Web displayed operators console including drop and drag
Dial from outlook/dial from html command.
Text to speech – when I dial extension *61 my asterisk box
downloads a text file of the New York weather report from the bureau of
meteorology and then reads it aloud to me – (to get it to do
this took only 40 lines of code)
Remote agents – you could answer your office extension from
your home pc.
Auto/manual recording of calls (auto archive or email of
calls to conversation participants)
For the non technical there is now Trixbox
(originally called asterisk@home - don’t be put off by the name
people run entire companies on this version)
The Trixbox solution the easiest way to get started. It is an
.iso cd that you burn, load into a suitable PC (I run mine on a P3-1ghz) and this
super smart scripting code automatically installs the following software;
Asterisk (the open source
AMP (an open source release
of a gui configurator) they have their own separate sourceforge website
FOP (a graphical web page
for transferring calls, monitoring who is online etc)
Web meetme (a graphical web
page for monitoring and controlling conference calls)
If you want to
link multiple sites together and use a closed dialing group to
connect your sites together via a vpn to save money with free inter
office calls then checkout this great tutorial on setting up DUNDI.
Trixbox is available from
There is an excellent setup guide here
better check out this step by step video that documents the entire
process from start to finish.
BTW you might want to check out
www.cognation.net/asterisk/katrina as an example of rapid deployment.
Asterisk gives you for free what today the very best Cisco, Nortel
or Avaya would charge you $40k+ for.
Asterisk also gives you the ability to intuitively customize your
solution as much or as little as you want, allowing this project to be open
sources means you have 1,000+ developers out there working for you on
customizations you can implement when/if you choose and as this technology is
gpl’d you never need to worry about increasing costs or license fees.
Cognation Pty Ltd
+61-2-9016-5642 (Sydney in-dial).
How do I run Asterisk?
I've had a couple of people get in
touch with me to ask how I run my own personal asterisk solution, so
here is a run down on the hardware and voip providers I use.
My server is an old P3 1ghz - 512mb - 20gb - intel motherboard with
onboard video and 100mb nic in a rackmount case.
The great thing about asterisk is how low the processing requirement
is. This is a pc I was using for another application years ago that
I would probably have tossed by now but Asterisk never uses more
than 10% of the processing power.
I use the
http://www.digium.com/en/products/hardware/tdm400p.php card to
terminate pstn onto this server.
I have two X100M modules but am only using 1 of them at the moment
Packet8(in Australia I terminated my Telstra pstn line into the
My main handsets
are 3 x Polycom 500 with 3 individual line appearances, I'll probably
update to a Polycom 601 with 6 line appearances soon but at the
moment I have 2 on my desk and 1 in the other room of my apartment.
I dont use any
cordless handsets at the moment however my GSM mobile the HTC TyTN
has a wifi and gprs connection which I run a WM5 sip
I use have used both firefly and windows
messenger as sip clients in the past, currently I'm using IAXcomm as
my laptop softphone.
My primary carrier in the USA is a
www.Packet8.net service. For
$19.95 a month I can receive unlimited incoming calls and unlimited
outbound calls to both landlines and mobiles in the USA.
They also offer
more expensive services that have unlimited outbound calls to Asia
or Europe etc.
I also have a backup service from
www.Stanaphone.com that I
can receive unlimited inbound calls as long as I have a
positive balance (eg I put $5 on it a year ago and have been using
it ever since). This number also acts as my fax service because when
it receives a fax call it converts it to a pdf and emails it to me.
My primary Australian number is
For $9.50 a month I can receive unlimited inbound calls from my
Australian clients (eg a local call for them in Sydney) which is
then delivered over the internet to anywhere in the world that my
Asterisk server is located (e.g. here in NY).
So this means that when my clients in Australia want to ring me,
they dial a local Sydney number and for 10c unlimited they could
technically talk to me 24x7 at no more than this 10c charge.
The other advantage of this is that when I make outbound calls to
Australia it costs me the same as if I was in Sydney (eg. 10c per
call unlimited time frame).......are you starting to see why voip is
I also have 3 other voip services terminating on my server that are
various USA numbers eg NY 212 or SF 415. Basically these are numbers
purchased by clients I represent here in the USA.
Although I answer these calls anytime 8am to 6pm, outside of these
hours they are automatically directed to a customized voicemail for
each client answered in their name (the voicemails are then sent as
wav files to my email address so even if I'm traveling I can still
return these calls as soon as I get the email).
The cool part is that should I
wrap up my contract with these clients, the voip service can be
quickly and easily transferred to be answered somewhere else
anywhere in the world.