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Asterisk appliance type machine

 
 
Andrew Hodgson
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      09-24-2007
Hi,

I keep coming back to this again and again . I am looking for
something which would allow me to have extensions, voicemail, and
would allow me to dial in and out through a range of providers (based
on rules), as well as through analog if desired.

At present I am using a range of Skype accounts, but if I could get
rid of these I wouldn't be too bothered.

I have looked at Trixbox, but I need to get hardware capable of
running this, and I was just wondering if someone had packaged this
sort of thing up in a small form factor for 10-15 users? At work we
have a Cisco based system at a DR site, which uses software in a
router to perform the functions, including using flash based storage
for voice mail etc (should we need it). It is this sort of thing I am
looking for.

I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?

Any other suggestions?
Andrew.
 
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Gordon Henderson
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      09-24-2007
In article <ugmff3l47g6sbccgsdafd13uh8ie4be2c0@localhost>,
Andrew Hodgson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Hi,
>
>I keep coming back to this again and again . I am looking for
>something which would allow me to have extensions, voicemail, and
>would allow me to dial in and out through a range of providers (based
>on rules), as well as through analog if desired.
>
>At present I am using a range of Skype accounts, but if I could get
>rid of these I wouldn't be too bothered.
>
>I have looked at Trixbox, but I need to get hardware capable of
>running this, and I was just wondering if someone had packaged this
>sort of thing up in a small form factor for 10-15 users? At work we
>have a Cisco based system at a DR site, which uses software in a
>router to perform the functions, including using flash based storage
>for voice mail etc (should we need it). It is this sort of thing I am
>looking for.
>
>I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?


I don't think so - their website still says only avalable in the US
and Canada... Although I have to say, it does look like a nice little
box...

If you have the time and energy, getting an asterisk system going
(via Trixbox, FreePBX, or one of the other pre-canned systems) isn't
that hard, but you do need reliable hardware. Putting it all on flash
is slightly harder, but not impossible. Doing it yourself may well be
the way to go if you want to "fiddle" with setups and configurations -
asterisk is hugely configurable and can do almost anything you can think
of that can be done at the end of the telephone. Quizzes? Singing 99
bottles of beer on a wall, etc. Oh, and even speaking to people

The book is even free now as a PDF - have a look at:
http://www.asteriskdocs.org/

But there are many pre-built systems avalable for you to choose from and
I'm sure you'll get many posts from people (myself included!) touting
their wares

My system does most of what you need, but it really is designed as an
"appliance" (there's no command-line interface for example), so might
not be quite as flexable as you want it to be. (It boots from flash,
stores VM on flash, but there is only one "rule" for outgoing calls,
but you can have prefixes to dial out via any number of external SIP
providers you care to plumb it into) (or you could always pay me to
write you a custom version

So for example my own office unit accepts incoming calls from a BT line,
but by default makes outgoing calls via an IAX trunk to a VoIP service
(er, my own), but by prefixing the number with 70, I can make outgoing
calls via Sipgate, 71 gives me voiptalk, 72 voipcheap, etc. It also
accepts incoming calls from any of them plus my own service...

Drop me an email (my address is valid, or just drop the +usenet if your
mailer doesn't like plusses) for more details, before the advertising
police complain...

Analogue interfacing is always a PITA, I've found - the main problem
interfacing digital to analogue is echo, echo, but that can usually be
"tuned" out to an acceptable level (zero if you're lucky with good
BT lines!) And some interface cards are better than others (they're
also a bit more expensive too )-:

Or you can buy another Cisco system...


Gordon
--
www.drogon.net
 
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Andrew Hodgson
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-24-2007
On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 17:56:23 +0000 (UTC), Gordon Henderson
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>In article <ugmff3l47g6sbccgsdafd13uh8ie4be2c0@localhost>,
>Andrew Hodgson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>Hi,
>>
>>I keep coming back to this again and again . I am looking for
>>something which would allow me to have extensions, voicemail, and
>>would allow me to dial in and out through a range of providers (based
>>on rules), as well as through analog if desired.
>>
>>At present I am using a range of Skype accounts, but if I could get
>>rid of these I wouldn't be too bothered.
>>
>>I have looked at Trixbox, but I need to get hardware capable of
>>running this, and I was just wondering if someone had packaged this
>>sort of thing up in a small form factor for 10-15 users? At work we
>>have a Cisco based system at a DR site, which uses software in a
>>router to perform the functions, including using flash based storage
>>for voice mail etc (should we need it). It is this sort of thing I am
>>looking for.
>>
>>I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?

>
>I don't think so - their website still says only avalable in the US
>and Canada... Although I have to say, it does look like a nice little
>box...


Yes, especially voicemail on the SD/CF card, and the analog
interfaces. Its not too expensive, either, as these things go.
>
>If you have the time and energy, getting an asterisk system going
>(via Trixbox, FreePBX, or one of the other pre-canned systems) isn't
>that hard, but you do need reliable hardware. Putting it all on flash
>is slightly harder, but not impossible. Doing it yourself may well be
>the way to go if you want to "fiddle" with setups and configurations -
>asterisk is hugely configurable and can do almost anything you can think
>of that can be done at the end of the telephone. Quizzes? Singing 99
>bottles of beer on a wall, etc. Oh, and even speaking to people


Well, I have some EPIA mainboards which I have deployed some basic
Linux services on, however, I have issues with CentOS running on these
- either the boards/chipsets or the USB CD-ROM I am using cause the
thing to hang on the initrd.

Putting a rackmount in there is not an option, neither is putting in
another tower server - they are just so hungry on power, although I
may considder both depending on dimentions and power requirements.
>
>The book is even free now as a PDF - have a look at:
> http://www.asteriskdocs.org/


Thanks - always useful.
>
>But there are many pre-built systems avalable for you to choose from and
>I'm sure you'll get many posts from people (myself included!) touting
>their wares


Thanks. It would be nice to have a GUI based system, then see how it
reflected on the various config files - I am not good on telephony, so
would prefer to see the actual logic of the thing, then look at the
config files - last time I did this I just gave up after not
understanding most of the lingo!

As to interfacing with analog equipment, is it best to use a PCI card
or an ATA?

Andrew.
 
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alexd
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-24-2007
Andrew Hodgson wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I keep coming back to this again and again . I am looking for
> something which would allow me to have extensions, voicemail, and
> would allow me to dial in and out through a range of providers (based
> on rules), as well as through analog if desired.


Linksys SPA-9000 with an SPA-400 for the analogue line(s) and voicemail
perhaps? The SPA-400 actually runs Asterisk, ironically enough.

> I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?


http://keison.co.uk/digium/digium_as...eloper_kit.htm you
mean this one? No prices, however.

> Any other suggestions?


Small form factor PC + some kind of analogue/SIP gateway, if you don't mind
hacking it together yourself [read: running the Trixbox installer CD].

--
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09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

 
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Andrew Hodgson
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-24-2007
On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 20:39:35 +0100, alexd <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>Andrew Hodgson wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> I keep coming back to this again and again . I am looking for
>> something which would allow me to have extensions, voicemail, and
>> would allow me to dial in and out through a range of providers (based
>> on rules), as well as through analog if desired.

>
>Linksys SPA-9000 with an SPA-400 for the analogue line(s) and voicemail
>perhaps? The SPA-400 actually runs Asterisk, ironically enough.


I have just seen those yes. Has anyone connected a wireless VOIP
phone to this or any other similar system?

I also saw this: http://www.solwise.co.uk/voip-pbx-ipbx-011cf.html -
anyone any opinion on it?
>
>> I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?

>
>http://keison.co.uk/digium/digium_as...eloper_kit.htm you
>mean this one? No prices, however.


That is the OEM edition which is over 4K!
>
>> Any other suggestions?

>
>Small form factor PC + some kind of analogue/SIP gateway, if you don't mind
>hacking it together yourself [read: running the Trixbox installer CD].


Haven't ruled this one out either.

Thanks.
Andrew.

 
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alexd
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-24-2007
Andrew Hodgson wrote:

> On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 20:39:35 +0100, alexd <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>


>>Linksys SPA-9000 with an SPA-400 for the analogue line(s) and voicemail
>>perhaps? The SPA-400 actually runs Asterisk, ironically enough.

>
> I have just seen those yes. Has anyone connected a wireless VOIP
> phone to this or any other similar system?


Can't see why SIP WiFi handsets wouldn't work, although I'd prefer Siemens
DECT IP handsets.

>>> I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?

>>
>>http://keison.co.uk/digium/digium_as...eloper_kit.htm you
>>mean this one? No prices, however.

>
> That is the OEM edition which is over 4K!


Ouch! That's Cisco money! What are the prices stateside?

--
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23:01:11 up 1 day, 12:54, 1 user, load average: 0.38, 0.37, 0.24
09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

 
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Gordon Henderson
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-25-2007
In article <ot2gf3tgs4pmdoakipsd6o5l35mv8759j7@localhost>,
Andrew Hodgson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 17:56:23 +0000 (UTC), Gordon Henderson
><(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>>If you have the time and energy, getting an asterisk system going
>>(via Trixbox, FreePBX, or one of the other pre-canned systems) isn't
>>that hard, but you do need reliable hardware. Putting it all on flash
>>is slightly harder, but not impossible. Doing it yourself may well be
>>the way to go if you want to "fiddle" with setups and configurations -
>>asterisk is hugely configurable and can do almost anything you can think
>>of that can be done at the end of the telephone. Quizzes? Singing 99
>>bottles of beer on a wall, etc. Oh, and even speaking to people

>
>Well, I have some EPIA mainboards which I have deployed some basic
>Linux services on, however, I have issues with CentOS running on these
>- either the boards/chipsets or the USB CD-ROM I am using cause the
>thing to hang on the initrd.
>
>Putting a rackmount in there is not an option, neither is putting in
>another tower server - they are just so hungry on power, although I
>may considder both depending on dimentions and power requirements.


My smaller units are based round the EPIA boards - the CN-1000 to be
precise. I've not really had any issues with them and they preform quite
well, but I do have a separate development PC where I compile up a
custom kernel for them and make sure I build up an initrd.gz file with
just what I need.

There is a variety of boxes for them from 1U to wall mount to "pizza"
box type of things.. The down side is that they look like PCs - which
they are, really, so that's one advantage the Digium box would seem to
have - and it probably reflects the price.

>>The book is even free now as a PDF - have a look at:
>> http://www.asteriskdocs.org/

>
>Thanks - always useful.
>>
>>But there are many pre-built systems avalable for you to choose from and
>>I'm sure you'll get many posts from people (myself included!) touting
>>their wares

>
>Thanks. It would be nice to have a GUI based system, then see how it
>reflected on the various config files - I am not good on telephony, so
>would prefer to see the actual logic of the thing, then look at the
>config files - last time I did this I just gave up after not
>understanding most of the lingo!


What you'll end up with is the GUI implemtor interpretation of how a PBX
ought to work (and this is no different in my case!) so trying to
understand the dialplan logic generated by the GUI might not be that
easy - if approaching from "cold" as it were. I started by reading that
book (paper copy!) and the O'Reilly "Switching to VoIP" which also has
asterisk examples in, then looking at what FreePBX was generating, then
throwing it all away and starting from scratch, because it didn't seem
to quite offer what I was looking for (or rather than the clients I was
talking to at the time were looking for)

>As to interfacing with analog equipment, is it best to use a PCI card
>or an ATA?


A lot depends on how much wiring you want.. And maybe the proximity of
the BT lines to the kit. I've always used PCI cards for PBXs, but have
used ATAs for remote sites connecting back to a central asterisk PBX.
ATAs are good for the "home worker" who only wants a single phone on
their desk, but I much prefer the Siemens DECT units for a home office
solution. A good SIP phone has many features an analogue phone simply
doesn't have - usually easier to use call transfer features, maybe
better caller display, multi-line appearance and so on.

Gordon
 
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Gordon Henderson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      09-25-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, alexd <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Andrew Hodgson wrote:
>
>> On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 20:39:35 +0100, alexd <(E-Mail Removed)>
>> wrote:
>>

>
>>>Linksys SPA-9000 with an SPA-400 for the analogue line(s) and voicemail
>>>perhaps? The SPA-400 actually runs Asterisk, ironically enough.

>>
>> I have just seen those yes. Has anyone connected a wireless VOIP
>> phone to this or any other similar system?

>
>Can't see why SIP WiFi handsets wouldn't work, although I'd prefer Siemens
>DECT IP handsets.


I've used a Wi-Fi SIP handset - the UT Starcom F1000G. I'm not overly
impressed - it does work, but Wi-Fi in general suffers from issues when
other devices are using the same access point, so it was easy to cause
breakup in the signal. Maybe with a better access point which can do
some sort of traffic prioritisation, life would be better, and it might
just be that the UT phone isn't the best... I'm going to be trying one
of the new Nokia communicators soon though.

Even though, I think DECT is much better as it was specifically designed
for voice and multiple handsets.

>>>> I have seen the Asterisk appliance, are these now over in the UK?
>>>
>>>http://keison.co.uk/digium/digium_as...eloper_kit.htm you
>>>mean this one? No prices, however.

>>
>> That is the OEM edition which is over 4K!

>
>Ouch! That's Cisco money! What are the prices stateside?


The developer kit is $2195, which in todays GBP terms probably is an OK
price for what you're getting.

http://www.digium.com/en/wheretobuy/...t_code=AADKSTD

.... but with 8MB of flash and 64MB of RAM, you have to develop a "well
tight" system. I have 256MB of RAM and 64MB of flash in mine, but I've
not tried too hard to optimise it. (The cost savings aren't worth it)

Gordon
 
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Jono
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      09-25-2007
Andrew Hodgson formulated on Monday :
> Well, I have some EPIA mainboards which I have deployed some basic
> Linux services on, however, I have issues with CentOS running on these
> - either the boards/chipsets or the USB CD-ROM I am using cause the
> thing to hang on the initrd.


The problem that I encountered on a Epia 800 was that Centos, at first
and subsequent boots, runs a process called "cpuspeed". with this
disabled, the install went swimmingly.


 
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