Sunday, October 7, 2007

Asterisk - Installing a home PBX

As part of the process of reducing my communications bill I want to set up a VoIP service for home phone use. Now I could have just set up a single phone that connects to a VoIP provider, but I figure as long as I'm doing this why not build it on something that will be flexible enough to be useful for future projects, and be immediately able to provide extensions for myself, my wife and daughter.

So that's where Asterisk comes in. An Open-source telephony engine that has all the power of your average office PBX system plus added flexibility and it's free.

Installing asterisk onto my Linux box (same one I run MythTV on) was fairly easy, I simply downloaded the asterisk files from this page and followed the installation instructions at the Asterisk Guru page (Since my Linux system is a MythDora distribution, based on Fedora Core 6, I naturally followed the installation instructions for Fedora Core) .... Note: Some of the instructions don't work exactly as described, but nothing serious enough to mess things up.

Once installed, here are some important basic commands that you will need to know to make configuring the system possible.

Starting asterisk: at the root # prompt type "safe_asterisk"
Stopping asterisk: first connect to the asterisk console by type at the root # prompt: "asterisk -vvvr"; then type at the asterisk console ">" prompt: "stop gracefully".

I haven't added anything yet to start asterisk automatically on reboot, but I assume the simplest way would be to add the line "/usr/sbin/safe_asterisk" to the end of the /etc/rc.d/rc.local file.

Following posts will be in regards to signing up to a VoIP SIP provider, and configuring the asterisk to do something useful.

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