Trixbox 2.2 - Revisited

Figured it was time provide an update on my Asterisk excursion. As mentioned previously, I decided to build my own PBX, so that I could gain more control over conference calls and standard voicemail box. Previously, I paid $15 US per month to lease a voicemail box with a toll-free number. The voicmail was necessary to manage call volume for Real Estate. Now Asterisk has provided a very powerful means of not only maintaining a voicemail, but IVR, and a large number of other telephony niceties.

Sure you could accomplish some of these tasks by paying Vonage, Comcast or some other ITSP, but then you would lose customization options. Moreover, Vonage is in serious trouble. I elected to use Broadvoice as my ITSP, as they have BYOD option that suits Asterisk users quite well. Their are other options too. As the telephony space becomes more mature, their will likely be a plethora of alternatives.

Trixbox is a fairly nascent telephony/CRM distribution developed by Digium (chief supporter of the Asterisk Project). I still have much to learn and luckily there is a plethora of information available through several wikis and IRC. A good book to grab is the O'Reilly Asterisk - Future of Telephony. Great reference text to supplement what you will find online. I will likely dedicate a substantial portion of a forthcoming netcast to my Trixbox excursion. I was somewhat surprised that their were not many people in the tribox channel.

As mentioned in a previous post, Trixbox provides a number of different tools to help build a formidable PBX. I have spent most of my time with the freepbx module.

In telephony speak, I have two SIP trunks which are dedicated to both of my SIP softphones (Ekiga).
Both trunks have dial plans for both incoming and outgoing calls. Eventually, I'll add another trunk for my wireless IP phone. If I had landline phone, I would have to add a Zaptel trunk as well. Actually, there is no limit to the number of trunks that you can create. For instance, if you were making international calls, you could configure a outbound dial plan for those country codes too.

Word of caution, since we live in a NAT'd world you will need to punch holes in your firewall. You must do this because most firewalls do not pass SIP or STUN packets natively, typically opening port 5060 will solve that problem. I have read that some people have placed their Asterisk boxes in DMZ portion of their network. Unless you know how to disable all non-essential services, you could be creating unwanted problems. Probably safer to stay behind the firewall. You'll also need to allow RTP traffic on ports 1000 - 2000, especially if you wish to be able to connect to your trixbox while you're on road. In my case, I plan to use a wireless IP phone to connect to the box and place calls to whomever. The wireless IP phone basically hunts for open WiFi networks and grabs an IP address to negotiate a connect. Pretty slick.. I will also get around to registering with FWD, as I think it would be great to make calls directly to other PBX machines without using a third party (PSTN)to bridge the calls.

What I like most about Asterisk Project , is that it demystifies telephony and removes that black box from the technology. Heh, is that the not the intent of FLOSS anyway? As I discover more useful features and gain more knowledge, I will report my findings.

Now I have only three more projects remaining. Finish my thesis, configure/install MythTV, and install Debian on NSLU2.. More fun ahead.

  • More Trixbox Musings
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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on December 4, 2007 4:38 AM.

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