Category: Technology

Tempus Fugit: Introducing Incredible PBX Alarm Clock for Asterisk and XiVO

So you’re in a hurry and need a quick way to remind yourself of an upcoming appointment. With Siri or your Apple Watch, you can say “Hey Siri, set an alarm for 9 a.m.” On an Android phone, just say “OK Google, set an alarm for 9 a.m.” And with the Amazon Echo, shout out “Alexa, set an alarm for 9 a.m.” But, hey, everyone doesn’t have a fancy smartphone or an Echo. Besides that, they’re not always convenient.

If you have Incredible PBX™ for Asterisk® or XiVO® running in your home or office, it’s even easier. Just pick up any phone and dial *88 plus the time for the alarm using “military time.” Dialing *880900 will set an alarm for 9 a.m. and *882100 will set an alarm for 9 p.m. If it’s already later than 9 a.m. when you dial *880900, then the alarm will be set for the following morning at 9 a.m. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

As we mentioned, this new application is primarily for Incredible PBX users, but it will work with any Asterisk server if you have previously installed Telephone Reminders. The Telephone Reminders app is included in all previous releases of Incredible PBX for XiVO, PBX in a Flash, Elastix, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, and even the Raspberry Pi.

Installing Incredible PBX Alarm Clock on the XiVO Platform

If you’re already using our latest Incredible PBX creation for the XiVO platform, then installation of the Alarm Clock application is a one-minute procedure. If you downloaded Incredible PBX for XiVO after July 13, the Alarm Clock application already is included. Otherwise, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/alarms-xivo.sh
chmod +x alarms-xivo.sh
./alarms-xivo.sh

Installing Incredible PBX Alarm Clock on the Other Platforms

As we mentioned, the Alarm Clock application requires an existing setup of Incredible PBX with Telephone Reminders on any of the following platforms: PBX in a Flash, Elastix, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, or Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi. If you’re using any of these Incredible PBX platforms, simply log into your server as root and issue the following commands to get the Alarm Clock application installed and configured:

cd /
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/alarms4incredible.tar.gz
tar zxvf alarms4incredible.tar.gz
rm -f alarms4incredible.tar.gz
cd /root
./alarms4incredible.sh

A Quick Introduction to Military Time for All of Our Civilian Friends

“Military time” means the day begins at 0001 for 12:01 a.m. The morning ends at 1159 for 11:59 a.m. For P.M. times, they start at 1200 for noon and end at 2359 for 11:59 p.m. Now’s your chance to play soldier in case you missed the draft. Enjoy!

Taking the Incredible PBX Alarm Clock for a Spin

Once you’ve got the Alarm Clock application in place, it’s time for a test drive. Check your watch for the current time and add 2 minutes. Convert the time to military time. Then pick up any phone connected to your PBX and dial *88 plus the four-digit number for the alarm time you calculated. Remember, if you choose a time that has already come and gone for today, your alarm will be scheduled for the corresponding time tomorrow so don’t cut it too close if your watch doesn’t keep perfect time.

For those wanting to learn how to write Asterisk dialplan code, now is a perfect time. The Alarm Clock application was written without a single line of code from any high-level language including PHP. On the XiVO platform, you’ll find the code at the bottom of /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d/xivo-extrafeatures.conf.

On the other Incredible PBX platforms, you’ll find the code at the top of /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf. Just search for *88 in the dialplan.

Reviewing Scheduled Alarms with a Web Browser

You can use the Telephone Reminders web application at http://IPaddress/reminders to review alarms which you have scheduled using *88. With Incredible PBX, they look just like other Telephone Reminders which you may have scheduled either using a phone by dialing 123 or using the Telephone Reminders web application.

Originally published: Monday, July 18, 2016





Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


 
Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    It’s All About Choices: Incredible PBX ISO Now Available in the Vultr VPS Cloud


    We’ve heard you. Many prefer the ease of installation offered by the Incredible PBX ISO. Unfortunately, until now, it wasn’t available if you wanted a do-it-yourself Cloud Solution other than, of course, using a turnkey Incredible PBX server at RentPBX. Well, now you have a choice. A great new VPS provider, Vultr, now gives you the option of using your own ISO when you deploy Cloud servers on their worldwide platforms. It’s not 100% intuitive just yet, but Vultr will get there. In the meantime, we’ll walk you through the procedure if you’d like to try it yourself. The good news is Incredible PBX can run on a $5/month Vultr server with 768MB of RAM plus a 768MB cache and a 15GB SSD plus 1TB of monthly bandwidth. And you can build your server in less than 30 minutes.

    Getting Started with VULTR

    Before you can set up virtual machines at VULTR, you’ll obviously need an account. Help Nerd Vittles keep the lights on by using our referral link. It doesn’t cost you a nickel extra. In fact,for a limited time, you get a $20 credit to try out the service when you sign up using our link above.

    Once you’ve set up your account and logged in, the first step is to upload the Incredible PBX ISO so that you can use it to build cloud-based servers:

    (1) Click on the Servers link in the left column.

    (2) Click the ISO tab.

    (3) Click the Add ISO button and use the following Incredible PBX ISO link to upload the ISO to VULTR:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/pbxinaflash/files/IncrediblePBX13.2.iso
    

    (4) Once the ISO has been uploaded, it will display in your ISO uploads listing as shown above.

    Building an Incredible PBX Server at VULTR

    Now you have two ways to build Incredible PBX servers at VULTR. You can do it the traditional way by starting with a 64-bit CentOS 6.7 image and running the installer. Or you can use your new Incredible PBX ISO which we’ve preloaded into your VULTR account. Let’s do it the new way just to document the procedure.

    Start by clicking on the Servers link in the left column. Then click + Deploy New Server button.

    (1) Choose a Server Location from the list of choices shown above. For PBXs it’s always good to choose a location that’s near to both your VoIP hosting provider(s) and your actual phones where possible.

    (2) For Server Type, click on the Custom ISO tab as shown above and select IncrediblePBX13.2.iso.

    (3) For Server Size, choose the platform that meets your needs. You can always start small, take a snapshot of your server, and rebuild with a larger platform down the road if your requirements change.

    (4) Choose any Additional Features and HostName desired. Then click the Deploy Now button.

    (5) Click the Servers link to monitor the progress in building your virtual machine.

    Installing Incredible PBX at VULTR from the ISO

    Once your virtual machine Status changes from Installing to Running, (1) write down the IP address of your new server and click Restart button. (2) Click Manage. (3) Click View Console. Choose the type of Incredible PBX install you prefer and follow the prompts to enter your root password and time zone. When the operating system phase of the install finishes, your virtual machine will reboot. While this phase is underway, you’ll need to get prepared to disable the ISO during the reboot. You don’t want to inadvertently start the install all over again!

    While the Phase I install is underway, click Server Details in your browser. Then choose (1) Settings, (2) Custom ISO, and (3) click Remove ISO. WAIT at the Are You Sure prompt until the reboot begins in the Console Window. Then click YES in your browser and also close the Console window.

    Now use SSH or Putty to login to your new server as root at the IP address you wrote down above. Once logged in, run the Incredible PBX installer to begin Phase 2 of the install: ./IncrediblePBX13-12R.sh. Choose the type passwords you wish to use for Google Voice, and the install will begin. In order to bring your server up to current specs, it will reboot once more after a few minutes. Then you’ll need to kick off the install once again: ./IncrediblePBX13-12R.sh. Choose the type passwords you wish to use for Google Voice, and the install will finish without further interruption. When the install finishes, the server will reboot to bring Asterisk and your firewall on line.

    Login to your server as root one more time to get the latest Incredible PBX updates and set up your passwords and verify your time zone. Then you’ll be ready to handle future server admin using your browser:

    Make your root password very secure: passwd
    Create admin password for GUI access: /root/admin-pw-change
    Create admin password for web apps: htpasswd /etc/pbx/wwwpasswd admin
    Set your correct time zone: /root/timezone-setup
    Make a copy of your Knock codes: cat /root/knock.FAQ
    Review current info about your server: status
    

    If you want to add fax support to your PBX, we’ve got one more installer to run, and you’ll be all set. Just run the following command and press the ENTER key each time you are prompted for input (about 21 times):

    cd /root
    ./incrediblefax11.sh
    

    Success!

    It’s a GUI, GUI World Out There

    Most management of Incredible PBX will be handled using your favorite browser and one of two GUIs: the Kennonsoft menu which appears when you access the IP address of your server using a browser AND the Incredible GUI which is available on the Admin page of the Kennonsoft menu.

    Choose Incredible GUI Administration from the Admin menu of the Kennonsoft GUI (shown above) by clicking on User to switch. The default username is admin and the password is what you set in the preceding step. Now edit extension 701 so you can decipher or change the randomized passwords that was assigned to the 701 extension and its voicemail account: Applications -> Extensions -> 701.

    Setting Up a Soft Phone to Use with Incredible PBX

    Now you’re ready to set up a telephone so that you can play with Incredible PBX. We recommend YateClient which is free. Download it from here. Run YateClient once you’ve installed it and enter the credentials for the 701 extension on Incredible PBX. You’ll need the IP address of your server plus your extension
    701 password. Choose Settings -> Accounts and click the New button. Fill in the blanks using the IP address of your server, 701 for your account name, and whatever password you created for the extension. Click OK.

    Once you are registered to extension 701, close the Account window. Then click on YATE’s Telephony Tab and place some test calls to the numerous apps that are preconfigured on Incredible PBX. Dial a few of these to get started:


    DEMO - Allison's IVR Demo
    947 - Weather by ZIP Code
    951 - Yahoo News
    *61 - Time of Day
    *68 - Wakeup Call
    TODAY - Today in History

    Now you’re ready to connect to the telephones in the rest of the world. If you live in the U.S., the easiest way (at least for now) is to set up a free Google Voice account. Google has threatened to shut this down but as this is written, it still works. An update supporting Google Voice OAUTH 2 authentication is available here with a complete tutorial. Just start at step #1b. A better long-term solution is to choose several SIP providers and set up redundant trunks for your incoming and outbound calls. The PIAF Forum includes dozens of recommendations to get you started. You’ll also find an incredible deal from our platinum sponsor, Vitelity, at the end of this article.

    Configuring Google Voice

    If you want to use Google Voice, you’ll need a dedicated Google Voice account to support Incredible PBX. If you want to use the inbound fax capabilities of Incredible Fax, then you’ll need an additional Google Voice line that can be routed to the FAX custom destination using the GUI. The more obscure the username (with some embedded numbers), the better off you will be. This will keep folks from bombarding you with unsolicited Gtalk chat messages, and who knows what nefarious scheme will be discovered using Google messaging six months from now. So keep this account a secret!

    We’ve tested this extensively using an existing Gmail account, and inbound calling is just not reliable. The reason seems to be that Google always chooses Gmail chat as the inbound call destination if there are multiple registrations from the same IP address. So, be reasonable. Do it our way! Set up a dedicated Gmail and Google Voice account, and use it exclusively with Incredible PBX. It’s free at least through 2013. Google Voice no longer is by invitation only so, if you’re in the U.S. or have a friend that is, head over to the Google Voice site and register.

    You must choose a telephone number (aka DID) for your new account, or Google Voice calling will not work… in either direction. Google used to permit outbound Gtalk calls using a fake CallerID, but that obviously led to abuse so it’s over! You also have to tie your Google Voice account to at least one working phone number as part of the initial setup process. Your cellphone number will work just fine. Don’t skip this step either. Just enter the provided 2-digit confirmation code when you tell Google to place the test call to the phone number you entered. Once the number is registered, you can disable it if you’d like in Settings, Voice Setting, Phones. But…

    IMPORTANT: Be sure to enable the Google Chat option as one of your phone destinations in Settings, Voice Setting, Phones. That’s the destination we need for The Incredible PBX to work its magic! Otherwise, all inbound and outbound calls will fail. If you don’t see this option, you may need to call up Gmail and enable Google Chat there first. Then go back to the Google Voice Settings.

    While you’re still in Google Voice Settings, click on the Calls tab. Make sure your settings match these:

    • Call ScreeningOFF
    • Call PresentationOFF
    • Caller ID (In)Display Caller’s Number
    • Caller ID (Out)Don’t Change Anything
    • Do Not DisturbOFF
    • Call Options (Enable Recording)OFF
    • Global Spam FilteringON

    Click Save Changes once you adjust your settings. Under the Voicemail tab, plug in your email address so you get notified of new voicemails. Down the road, receipt of a Google Voice voicemail will be a big hint that something has come unglued on your PBX.

    One final word of caution is in order regardless of your choice of providers: Do NOT use special characters in any provider passwords, or nothing will work!

    Now you’re ready to set up your Google Voice trunk in the GUI. After logging in with your browser, click the Connectivity tab and choose Google Voice/Motif. To Add a new Google Voice account, just fill out the form. Do NOT check the third box or incoming calls will never ring!

    IMPORTANT LAST STEP: Google Voice will not work unless you restart Asterisk from the Linux command line at this juncture. Using SSH, log into your server as root and issue the following command: amportal restart.

    If you have trouble getting Google Voice to work (especially if you have previously used your Google Voice account from a different IP address), try this Google Voice Reset Procedure. It usually fixes connectivity problems. If it still doesn’t work, enable Less Secure Apps using this Google tool.

    Troubleshooting Audio and DTMF Problems

    You can avoid one-way audio on calls and touchtones that don’t work with these simple settings in the GUI: Settings -> Asterisk SIP Settings. Just plug in your public IP address and your private IP subnet. Then set ULAW as the only Audio Codec.

    A Few Words about the Incredible PBX Security Model for CentOS

    Incredible PBX for CentOS joins our previous Ubuntu build as our most secure turnkey PBX implementation. As configured, it is protected by both Fail2Ban and a hardened configuration of the IPtables Linux firewall. The latest release also includes Port Knocker for simple, secure access from any remote computer or smartphone. You can get up to speed on how the technology works by reading the Nerd Vittles tutorial. Your Port Knocker credentials are stored in /root/knock.FAQ together with activation instructions for your server and mobile devices. The NeoRouter VPN client also is included for rock-solid, secure connectivity to remote users. Read our previous tutorial for setup instructions. As configured, nobody can access your PBX without your credentials AND an IP address that is either on your private network or that matches the IP address of your server or the PC from which you installed Incredible PBX. You can whitelist additional IP addresses by running the command-line utility /root/add-ip. You can remove whitelisted IP addresses by running /root/del-acct. Incredible PBX is preconfigured to let you connect to many of the leading SIP hosting providers without additional firewall tweaking. We always recommend you also add an extra layer of protection by running your server behind a hardware-based firewall with no Internet port exposure, but that’s your call. And it’s your phone bill. 😉

    The IPtables firewall is a complex piece of software. If you need assistance with configuring it, visit the PIAF Forum for some friendly assistance.

    Incredible Backup and Restore

    We’re also pleased to offer our latest backup and restore utilities for Incredible PBX. Running /root/incrediblebackup will create a backup image of your server in /tmp. This backup image then can be copied to any other medium desired for storage. To restore it to another Incredible PBX server, simply copy the image to a server running Asterisk 13 and the same version of the Incredible PBX GUI. Then run /root/incrediblerestore. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

    Incredible PBX Automatic Update Utility

    Every time you log into your server as root, Incredible PBX will ping the IncrediblePBX.com web site to determine whether one or more updates are available to bring your server up to current specs. We recommend you log in at least once a week just in case some new security vulnerability should come along.

    In the meantime, we encourage you to sign up for an account on the PIAF Forum and join the discussion. In addition to providing first-class, free support, we think you’ll enjoy the camaraderie.

    Incredible PBX Application User’s Guide

    And now would be a great time to learn about the dozens of Incredible PBX applications. Enjoy!

    Originally published: Tuesday, July 12, 2016





    Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


     
    Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


    ​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    2016, Independence Day: Introducing the Gotcha-Free Incredible PBX for XiVO

    True story. What became a major career move for us began in the disco era about a block away from the Lincoln Memorial. It was during a meeting with another lawyer and a federal judge at my Watergate apartment that I altered my appellate legal career aspirations to focus more on technology in the legal marketplace. So it seems only fitting, after nearly a decade supporting the FreePBX® platform, to return to those roots once again to celebrate our independence as we kick off a new Asterisk® adventure with the introduction of Incredible PBX™ for XiVO®. This pure GPL implementation of Asterisk has no strings, no gotchas, no hidden agenda, and no primadonnas. It’s open source code with no prohibitions on redistribution. The XiVO developers actively participate in the XiVO and PBX in a Flash™ communities and actually listen to constructive suggestions to improve their product. Changes happen in days, not years. Today we celebrate the return of true GPL project development and the end of closed-source ISOs and commercial modules with costly annual support contracts. Join us!

    If you’ve been following Nerd Vittles these past two months, then you already know there is literally nothing in the open source Unified Communications world that you can’t do faster, better, and cheaper with XiVO: automatic backups every night, seamless upgrades every three weeks, uncrippled endpoint provisioning for dozens of phones, powerful call centers, high availability redundant servers, real-time Asterisk technology out of the box, flexible SDK and APIs, and much more.

    XiVO Installation Methodology

    There are two ways to build XiVO servers. You can start with a minimal install of Debian 8 (64-bit), or you can use the 64-bit XiVO ISO. The advantage of the XiVO ISO is that building a system from the ISO gets you BOTH Debian 8 AND the basic XiVO install. However, you can only use the XiVO ISO on platforms that you own, not on virtual machines controlled by somebody else. Stated another way, if you plan to use dedicated hardware or VirtualBox or VMware ESXi, use the XiVO ISO. Otherwise, install a minimal Debian 8 (64-bit) operating system and nothing else on your platform of choice. Now you’re ready to choose your Incredible PBX installer. Install time: about 5-20 minutes depending upon the platform.

    IMPORTANT: When you build your Debian 8 platform on either stand-alone hardware or as a virtual machine, use a fully-qualified domain name for your server’s hostname, e.g. xivo.incrediblepbx.com, NOT xivo. Disaster awaits if you forget this! But, don’t worry. If you do forget, the install will blow up, and you’ll get to start over. But you’ll remember the next time. 😉

    Incredible PBX Feature Set

    If you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last few years, you may be wondering what the Incredible PBX offering includes. We’ve tried to preserve much of the functionality of prior releases in the XiVO implementation, and there is still more to come. Here’s a quick summary of two dozen features and applications that Incredible PBX offers for XiVO today:

    Recent Additions: Skype Connect, Port Knocker, PPTP VPN, Pico TTS, A La Carte installer, Telephone Alarms.

    The 3 Flavors of Incredible PBX for XiVO

    To kick off our Independence Day celebration, we introduced three new Incredible PBX turnkey installers for XiVO because of the numerous platforms on which XiVO will run. We’ve now combined all three of the original installers into a single script for ease of use.

    For those new to XiVO, there are three steps in getting a XiVO PBX up and running: (1) Debian 8 OS installation, (2) XiVO installation, (3) and XiVO basic configuration (typically using a web browser). The Incredible PBX installer has different tasks based upon how far along in this installation process you happen to be on a particular platform. Our special thanks to Sylvain Boily for his Python wizard to assist us in providing turnkey installs to the greatest extent possible. So here’s the new installer, but you are well advised to actually follow the platform tutorial (below) for your provider because of special quirks that are provider-specific:

    IncrediblePBX13-XiVO.sh – Suitable for Debian 8 (32-bit or 64-bit) minimal platform where XiVO is not installed. Use with Cloud VMs. Also works with Debian 8 (32-bit or 64-bit) platform with XiVO installed but not configured. This is typically the situation if you built your server using the XiVO ISO. And the new installer works with Debian 8 (32-bit and 64-bit) platform with XiVO installed and configured.

    WARNING: Incredible PBX erases and replaces stuff as part of its installation procedure. NEVER install Incredible PBX over the top of an existing production server!

    Incredible PBX Installation Procedure

    We’ve taken the guesswork out of this for a number of platforms by providing detailed tutorials that you can follow:

    Choosing a XiVO Hardware Platform

    If your situation falls somewhere in between all of these, here’s a quick summary. For stand-alone systems and virtual machine platforms that you own (such as VirtualBox and VMware ESXi), download and install the 64-bit version of XiVO using the XiVO ISO. For most other virtual machine platforms in the Cloud, you’ll start by creating a 64-bit Debian 8 virtual machine with at least 1GB of RAM and a 20GB drive. For turnkey cloud servers such as RentPBX, simply choose the VM option that already has Debian 8 and XiVO preinstalled.

    Once you have your platform up and running, simply download and run the Incredible PBX installer:

    cd /root
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/IncrediblePBX13-XiVO.sh
    chmod +x IncrediblePBX13-XiVO.sh
    ./IncrediblePBX13-XiVO.sh
    


    Incredible PBX Initial Configuration

    Here are the first steps to complete after you have finished your initial XiVO and Incredible PBX installation. Log into the web interface at the IP address of your server using username root and the web password you created during installation.

    All of this initial setup will be completed under the IPBX option of the Services tab as shown below. For each of the categories below, click on the matching section and tab in XiVO’s IPBX toolbar and fill in the properties as indicated.

    General Settings:SIP Protocol


    WARNING: If your XiVO server is running as a virtual machine behind a hardware-based NAT router and the virtual host also is sitting behind the same router, you may experience failed calls by setting the external IP address and local network addresses in the following screen. Try calls first without these settings, and add them only if you experience calling issues such as failed calls or one-way audio.

    General Settings:SIP Protocol:Signaling (Default Codecs)

    In order of priority, move desired Codecs from right to left by clicking on + icons. If you plan to use the IAX or SCCP protocol for phones and/or trunks, also select Default Codecs under General Settings:IAX Protocol:Default and General Settings:SCCP Protocol tabs, respectively.

    General Settings:SIP Protocol:Signaling (DNS Manager/srvlookup)

    For DNS Manager and Server Lookup support (required for some SIP providers), enable the DNS Request field:

    General Settings:Advanced (Time Zone)

    IPBX Settings:Users (Creating a Default User Account)

    Before you can actually make or receive calls with XiVO PBX, you’ll first need at least one User, Extension, and Line. So click on the (1) Users tab and then (2) the + icon and Add option (as shown below) to get started.

    Use the General tab entries below as a guide to create your first user account. You only need to fill in options (1) and (2) if you would like this user to receive a simultaneous call on a mobile phone whenever this user’s internal phone rings.

    In the Lines tab, assign an internal phone number for this user. By default, the initial configuration script created a range of extension numbers for you: 701-799. This can be changed in the next section to meet your specific requirements.

    Once you’ve chosen an extension, click the Save button and a Line will automatically be generated to associate with your new User account.

    Next, goto IPX Settings:Lines and click the pencil icon to obtain your SIP username and password credentials. You’ll need these to connect a SIP phone or softphone to your user account.

    While you’re obtaining your username and password SIP credentials, fill in the blanks for the Line and click Save:

    IPX Settings:Users (Voicemail Setup)

    There are two steps to setting up voice mailboxes correctly. First, you need to configure the voicemail system defaults to accommodate your required time zones. The system only comes with support for Europe/Paris.

    Go to (1) IPX General Settings:Voicemails and (2) click Time Zones tab and then (3) + Add. (4) Name your new time zone, (5) select the correct Time Zone from the pull-down list, and (6) add the following under Options and (7) Save your entry:

    'vm-received' q 'digits/at' kM
    

    Go to (1) IPX Settings:Users, edit your (2) User account, and click the (3) Voicemail tab. (4) Click the + icon to Add a new Voicemail account. (5) Check Enable Voicemail. (6) Fill in the form using the sample below. Be sure to choose the correct Time Zone for your voicemails. Uncheck Delete message after notification to retrieve voicemail messages by dialing *98 from an extension. (7) Click Save.

    IPBX Configuration:Contexts

    XiVO differs from some other Asterisk implementations in the way it manages the routing of calls. XiVO uses Contexts to define what constitute Internal calls (Default), External calls (Outcalls), and Incoming calls (Incalls). Think of these contexts as dialing rules. They define how the three categories of calls are managed internally by the XiVO PBX and determine which callers can do what with your PBX resources. XiVO uses dial strings and ranges of phone numbers to manage and constrain how various classes of calls are routed. The reason for these call specifications is pretty simple. You don’t want outside callers dialing into your PBX and making outbound calls using your PBX trunks on your nickel.

    Some basic settings to enable internal calls and allow creation of user accounts were configured when you set up your XiVO PBX by running the configuration script. However, before anyone can make or receive calls to/from outside the XiVO PBX, you’ll need some additional specifications.

    Edit the from-extern (Incalls) context and click Incoming Calls tab then the + icon. Add a range of DID numbers for incoming calls that will be allowed. These are the phone numbers assigned to SIP and IAX trunks that were acquired through commercial providers such as Vitelity. Click Save once you’ve entered your settings.

    Let’s also modify the Default context to support MeetMe conferencing for your server. Edit the default context and click Conference Rooms tab then + icon. For the extension range, enter 2663-2665. 2663 spells C-O-N-F by the way. Then click Save. If you have a DAHDI timing source on your server, you then can add conferences: IPBX Setting:Conference Rooms. If you don’t have a DAHDI timing source or you don’t know what any of this means, keep reading. There’s an easier way to set up a conference room for your users.

    Setting Up Trunks and Routes for Outbound and Incoming Calls

    Before you can make calls to phones outside your PBX or receive calls from outside your PBX, you’ll need one or more trunks. We’ve simplified the process of setting these up by providing step-by-step tutorials for the leading trunk providers. They are reproduced below for ease of reference:

    XIVO Trunk Implementation Tutorials

    Once you’ve added one or more trunks, you’ll need to tell XiVO how to route outgoing and incoming calls. Here are our step-by-step tutorials on setting up Outbound Calling Routes and Incoming Call Routes:

    XIVO Call Routing Tutorials

    Getting Started with SQLite3 on the XiVO Platform

    Here are a couple SQLite3 queries to get you started with syntax:

    sqlite3 /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/zipcodes.sqlite "select zip,city,state from zipcodes where zip=29401;"
    sqlite3 /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/asteridex.sqlite 'select name,out from user1 where name LIKE "%Airlines%";'
    

    A bonus script in /root will let you convert existing MySQL databases to SQLite3. For example, if you’re currently using AsteriDex on another Incredible PBX platform, it only takes a couple seconds to convert your MySQL database to SQLite3. The syntax to run the script looks like this:

    ./mysql2sqlite3.sh -u root -ppassw0rd yourdatabase | sqlite3 yourdatabase.sqlite
    

    Move the script to the server on which your existing MySQL databases are stored and run it there using the above syntax. Then copy the asteridex.sqlite file to your XiVO server and save it in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin.

    Getting Started with Incredible PBX Call Logs

    To retrieve SQLite3 call log data, here are a few examples to get you started:

    ALL: sqlite3 /var/log/asterisk/master.db "select * from cdr"
    DATE: sqlite3 /var/log/asterisk/master.db "select * from cdr where calldate >= '2016-05-22'"
    NPA: sqlite3 /var/log/asterisk/master.db "SELECT * from cdr WHERE clid LIKE '%<843%'"
    DEST: sqlite3 /var/log/asterisk/master.db "SELECT * from cdr WHERE dstchannel LIKE '%411%'"
    FLDS: sqlite3 /var/log/asterisk/master.db "PRAGMA table_info(cdr)"

    To retrieve the CDR log in CSV format suitable for spreadsheets, download:

    /var/log/asterisk/cdr-csv/Master.csv
    

    Managing Your Logs with XiVO

    XiVO is a busy place especially on a busy PBX. Call logs and traditional Asterisk and Linux logs grow like crazy. We have added the following entries to /etc/crontab to assure that you don’t inadvertently run out of disk space on your server. Modify them to meet your own requirements.

    10 1    * * *  root    rm -f /tmp/tts* > /dev/null 2>&1
    11 1    * * *  root    rm -f /var/log/asterisk/*.gz > /dev/null 2>&1
    11 2    * * *  root    rm -f /var/log/asterisk/*.1.gz > /dev/null 2>&1
    12 1    * * *  root    rm -f /var/log/*.gz > /dev/null 2>&1
    12 2    * * *  root    rm -f /var/log/*.1.gz > /dev/null 2>&1
    

    Activating Voice Recognition for XiVO

    Google has changed the licensing of their speech recognition engine about as many times as you change diapers on a newborn baby. Today’s rule restricts use to “personal and development use.” Assuming you qualify, the very first order of business is to enable speech recognition for your XiVO PBX. Once enabled, the Incredible PBX feature set grows exponentially. You’ll ultimately have access to the Voice Dialer for AsteriDex, Worldwide Weather Reports where you can say the name of a city and state or province to get a weather forecast for almost anywhere, Wolfram Alpha for a Siri-like encyclopedia for your PBX, and Lefteris Zafiris’ speech recognition software to build additional Asterisk apps limited only by your imagination. And, rumor has it, Google is about to announce new licensing terms, but we’re not there yet. To try out the Voice Dialer in today’s demo IVR, you’ll need to obtain a license key from Google. This Nerd Vittles tutorial will walk you through that process. Don’t forget to add your key to /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/speech-recog.agi on line 72.

    Adding DISA Support to Your XiVO PBX

    If you’re new to PBX lingo, DISA stands for Direct Inward System Access. As the name implies, it lets you make calls from outside your PBX using the call resources inside your PBX. This gives anybody with your DISA credentials the ability to make calls through your PBX on your nickel. It probably ranks up there as the most abused and one of the most loved features of the modern PBX.

    We use two-step authentication with DISA to make it harder for the bad guys. First, the outside phone number has to match the whitelist of numbers authorized to use your DISA service. And, second, you have to supply the DISA password for your server before you get dialtone to place an outbound call. Ultimately, of course, the monkey is on your back to create a very secure DISA password and to change it regularly. If all this sounds too scary, don’t install DISA on your PBX.

    1. To get started, edit /root/disa-xivo.txt. When the editor opens the dialplan code, move the cursor down to the following line:

    exten => 3472,n,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(number)}"="701"]?disago1)  ; Good guy
    

    2. Clone the line by pressing Ctrl-K and then Ctrl-U. Add copies of the line by pressing Ctrl-U again for each phone number you’d like to whitelist so that the caller can access DISA on your server. Now edit each line and replace 701 with the 10-digit number to be whitelisted.

    3. Move the cursor down to the following line and replace 12341234 with the 8-digit numeric password that callers will have to enter to access DISA on your server:

    exten => 3472,n,GotoIf($["${MYCODE}" = "12341234"]?disago2:bad,1)
    

    4. Save the dialplan changes by pressing Ctrl-X, then Y, then ENTER.

    5. Now copy the dialplan code into your XiVO setup, remove any previous copies of the code, and restart Asterisk:

    cd /root
    sed -i ':// BEGIN DISA:,:// END DISA:d' /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d/xivo-extrafeatures.conf
    cat disa-xivo.txt >> /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d/xivo-extrafeatures.conf
    /etc/init.d/asterisk reload
    

    6. The traditional way to access DISA is to add it as an undisclosed option in an IVR that is assigned to one of your inbound trunks (DIDs). For the demo IVR that we installed last week, edit the ivr-1.conf configuration file and change the “option 0” line so that it looks like this. Then SAVE your changes.

    exten => 0,1(ivrsel-0),Dial(Local/3472@default)
    

    7. Adjust the inbound calls route of one of your DIDs to point to the demo IVR by changing the destination to Customized with the following Command:

    Goto(ivr-1,s,1)
    

    Here’s how ours looks for the Nerd Vittles XiVO Demo IVR:



    8. Now you should be able to call your DID and choose option 0 to access DISA assuming you have whitelisted the number from which you are calling. When prompted, enter the DISA password you assigned and press #. You then should be able to dial a 10-digit number to make an outside call from within your PBX.

    SECURITY HINT: Whenever you implement a new IVR on your PBX, it’s always a good idea to call in from an outside number 13 TIMES and try every key from your phone to make sure there is no unanticipated hole in your setup. Be sure to also let the IVR timeout to see what result you get.

    Setting Up a Softphone or WebRTC to Connect to XiVO

    If you’re a Mac user, you’re lucky (and smart). Download and install Telephone from the Mac App Store. Start up the application and choose Telephone:Preference:Accounts. Click on the + icon to add a new account. To set up your softphone, you need 3 pieces of information: the IP address of your server (Domain), and your Username and Password. In the World of XiVO, you’ll find these under IPBX:Services:Lines. Just click on the Pencil icon beside the extension to which you want to connect. Now copy or cut-and-paste your Username and Password into the Accounts dialog of the Telephone app. Click Done when you’re finished, and your new softphone will come to life and should show Available. Dial the IVR (4871) to try things out. With Telephone, you can use over two dozen soft phones simultaneously on your desktop.

    Prefer to use WebRTC from your browser as a softphone? XiVO has you covered. Complete setup instructions available here.

    For everyone else, we recommend YateClient which is free. Download it from here. Run YateClient once you’ve installed it and enter the credentials for the XiVO Line. You’ll need the IP address of your server plus your Line username and password associated with the 701 extension. On the XiVO platform, do NOT use an actual extension number for your username with XiVO. Go to IPBX Settings:Lines to decipher the appropriate username and password for the desired extension. Click OK to save your entries.

    Taking the Sample Incredible PBX Apps for a Test Drive

    Once your softphone is registered, you can try out some of the Incredible PBX sample applications:

    • 4871 (IVR1) – Allison’s Demo IVR
    • 411 (Voice Dialing) – Call by Name (try “Delta Airlines”)
    • 2663 (CONF) – Conference Room with Music on Hold
    • 951 – Yahoo! News Headlines (TTS)
    • 947 (ZIP) – NWS Weather by ZIP Code
    • 53669 (LENNY) – The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare

    You can review the Dialplan code in the GUI by choosing IPBX Configuration:Configuration Files and clicking xivo-extrafeatures.conf. The sample IVR code is in ivr-1.conf. This Nerd Vittles tutorial will walk you through building your own IVRs for XiVO.

    Using PBX Status with XiVO

    For those that like to see how things are going from the Linux CLI, a modified version of pbxstatus is available for XiVO. From the Linux CLI, type: pbxstatus.

    Using FQDNs with the Travelin’ Man 3 Firewall

    If you plan to use FQDNs with your IPtables firewall or if your remote users will be using a Dynamic DNS provider to keep their IP addresses fresh, be sure to review Step #5 in the Travelin’ Man 3 tutorial which explains how to configure your firewall to automatically refresh IP addresses based upon changes in dynamic addresses. All of the necessary components already have been activated. Simply insert your FQDN entries using /root/add-fqdn and modify /root/ipchecker.

    PortKnocker for XiVO: Your Firewall Safety Net

    If you use a dynamic IP address for your local PC and that address changes, you may find yourself locked out of your own server unless you have heeded the advice in the preceding section. But there’s still hope. Incredible PBX for XiVO now includes the PortKnocker utility which lets you ping three predefined TCP ports in sequence to regain access to your server. You can read all about PortKnocker in this Nerd Vittles article. Unfortunately, PortKnocker doesn’t do you a bit of good if you haven’t deciphered what the three-port secret handshake is for your server. Before you forget, review /root/knock.FAQ and put the information in a safe place where you can retrieve it if the need should ever arise.

    Adding a PPTP VPN to XiVO

    Microsoft introduced the Point-to-Point-Tunneling-Protocol (PPTP) with Windows 95. Back then we knew it as Dial-Up Networking. Suffice it to say that, in those days, PPTP was anything but secure. Unfortunately, the bad name kinda stuck. For the most part, the security issues have been addressed with the possible exception of man-in-the-middle attacks which are incredibly difficult to pull off unless you are a service provider or have access to the wiring closets of your employer. You can read the long history of PPTP VPNs on Wikipedia for more background. If you’re traveling to China or other democracy-challenged destinations, you probably shouldn’t rely upon PPTP for network security. If these security considerations aren’t applicable in your situation, keep reading because PPTP VPNs are incredibly useful and extremely easy to deploy for an extra layer of VoIP and network security in most countries that have severe wiretapping penalties in place.

    PPTP VPNs also provide home-away-from-home transparency to home office network services. Simply stated, with a PPTP VPN, you get a private IP address on the XiVO PBX that lets you do almost anything you could have done sitting at a desk in the home office. PPTP VPNs probably won’t work on most OpenVZ platforms such as Wable and ImpactVPS. But they work great on virtual machines such as CloudAtCost and Digital Ocean. For a quick-and-dirty back door into your server, a PPTP VPN is hard to beat. Here’s how to set one up on your XiVO PBX using 128-bit encryption. Make up a very obscure username and password in the first two lines below:

    PPTPUSER=somebodyspecial
    PPTPPASS=someverysecurepassword
    apt-get -y update
    apt-get -y install pptpd
    sed -i 's|#ms-dns 10.0.0.1|ms-dns 8.8.8.8|' /etc/ppp/pptpd-options
    sed -i 's|#ms-dns 10.0.0.2|ms-dns 8.8.4.4|' /etc/ppp/pptpd-options
    echo "localip 172.16.16.100" >> /etc/pptpd.conf
    echo "remoteip 172.16.16.101-199" >> /etc/pptpd.conf
    echo "$PPTPUSER pptpd $PPTPPASS *" >> /etc/ppp/chap-secrets
    /etc/init.d/pptpd restart
    # show logged in PPTP users
    last | grep ppp
    

    Connect to your PPTP server from a Windows or Mac in the usual PPTP way. Once connected, you will be assigned an IP address in the range of 172.16.16.101-199. You then can access your XiVO PBX on the following IP address: 172.16.16.100.

    Everything You Need to Know About XiVO Backups

    Another feature of XiVO that separates the men from the boys is its documentation. In the case of backups, you’ll find everything you need to know here. All backups are stored on your XiVO server’s local drive in /var/backups/xivo. Be sure you have ample storage space available and, if you’re smart, you’ll copy both data.tgz and db.tgz from the local drive to a safe remote location periodically just in case disaster strikes. The documentation shows you how to quickly restore a backup should that ever become necessary.

    Upgrading XiVO to the Latest Release

    The XiVO development cycle is nothing short of miraculous. A new version is released every three weeks! The average time to close a bug has dropped from 315 days in 2009 to 28 days in 2012! You’ll probably want to keep your system current. 🙂

    Upgrading XiVO is even easier than restoring a backup. Upgrade documentation is available here. Because we’ve added the Travelin’ Man 3 firewall, we recommend stopping IPtables during an upgrade and then restarting it when you’re finished. Your phone system is disabled during the upgrade. When upgrading XiVO, remember to also upgrade all associated XiVO Clients. Be sure to verify that things are back to normal once the upgrade procedure is completed: xivo-service status.

    The commands to upgrade your XiVO PBX are as follows:

    /etc/init.d/netfilter-persistent stop
    xivo-upgrade
    iptables-restart
    

    Incredible PBX Application Quick Start Guide

    Here’s a quick refresher on some of the Incredible PBX applications that have been installed. There’s also a link for more information. This remains a work-in-progress so expect more applications in coming weeks.

    XiVO and Incredible PBX Dial Code Cheat Sheets

    Complete XiVO documentation is available here. But here are two cheat sheets in PDF format for XiVO Star Codes and Incredible PBX Dial Codes. See also the previous 7 Nerd Vittles XiVO tutorials, all of which are listed below. Enjoy!


    Taking Nerd Vittles’ XiVO IVR for a Test Drive

    There’s a Demo IVR running at www.pacificnx.com on their XenServer virtualization platform. Scott McCarthy, a leading outside XiVO developer and a principal at PacificNX, advises they have a $50 a month GOLD platform specifically tailored to XiVO for those needing 99.999% reliability, 24/7 support with nightly backups and enterprise level firewalls that have intelligence to stop attacks and look for viruses, spyware and more. That’s what you’ll be hearing when you call the Nerd Vittles Demo IVR:

    Nerd Vittles Demo IVR Options
    1 – Call by Name (say “Delta Airlines” or “American Airlines” to try it out)
    2 – MeetMe Conference
    3 – Wolfram Alpha (Coming Soon!)
    4 – Lenny (The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare)
    5 – Today’s News Headlines
    6 – Weather Forecast (enter a 5-digit ZIP code)
    7 – Today in History (Coming Soon!)
    8 – Speak to a Real Person (or maybe just Lenny if we’re out)

    Published: Monday, June 27, 2016





    Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


     
    Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


    ​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    As Easy As 1-2-3: Introducing Incredible PBX Telephone Reminders for XiVO

    UPDATE: The first release of Incredible PBX for XiVO is now available here. Please consider this article superseded by the new release which includes the Telephone and Web Reminders applications.

    We’re back in the saddle today after a terrific two-week break in Hawaii. Thanks for your patience while we recharged our batteries. Today we’re pleased to introduce Incredible PBX Telephone Reminders for the XiVO platform. It’s a 15-second installation on any XiVO server.

    How It Works. The original functionality of the application has been preserved. Dial 1-2-3 on a phone connected to your XiVO system and enter the password you assigned during installation. Then you can record a reminder message, specify the phone number to which the reminder should be delivered, schedule the date and time for delivery, and decide whether to enable recurring reminders of one of the flavors supported: single reminder, weekday reminder, daily reminder, monthly reminder, or annual reminder. There also a web interface to schedule reminders using the Festival TTS engine. Simply visit http://XiVO-ipaddress/reminders for access. If you were a pioneer and installed Telephone Reminders before the web component was available, just download the latest tarball below and run the installer again. As with all Nerd Vittles software, Telephone Reminders is pure (and free) GPL code with No Gotchas!

    Installing Telephone Reminders for XiVO. As mentioned, installation is as simple as downloading and running a script. Log into your XiVO server as root and issue the following commands to put everything in place:

    cd /root
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/reminders-xivo.tar.gz
    tar zxvf reminders-xivo.tar.gz
    ./reminders-xivo.sh
    

    Scheduling Reminders by Phone with XiVO. Once you complete the install, pick up any telephone connected to your XiVO server and dial 1-2-3. When prompted, enter the numeric password that you assigned during installation. If you ever want to change it, just download the latest version and run the installation script again. Doesn’t get any easier than that to stay current. Keep in mind that anyone with access to extension 123 on your XiVO server can schedule reminders, and the reminders can be sent to any telephone number in the world that is supported by your dialplan and trunks. So use a secure password! It’s your phone bill.

    Scheduling Reminders via the Web with XiVO. As noted, there’s also a web interface to Telephone Reminders. Make certain you have first installed the Incredible PBX Firewall WhiteList so that the bad guys don’t schedule costly phone calls on your dime! To access Telephone Web Reminders, point your browser to the IP address of your server using standard http, e.g. http://12.34.56.78/reminders. The web component uses the Festival TTS engine to transcribe your reminders for delivery by phone.

    Firewall Installation on XiVO Platform. If you didn’t install XiVO using one of our tutorials, please add the Travelin’ Man 3 IPtables Firewall now!

    apt-get -y install dnsutils
    echo "*/10 5-22 * * * root /root/ipchecker > /dev/null 2>&1" >> /etc/crontab
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/firewall-xivo.tar.gz
    tar zxvf firewall-xivo.tar.gz
    rm -f firewall-xivo.tar.gz
    ./tm3-xivo.sh
    

    Historical Overview and Tweaking. For the big picture of the Telephone Reminders project and to learn some of the additional settings you can configure, visit the Best of Nerd Vittles page. Enjoy!

    Published: Monday, June 20, 2016





    Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


     
    Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


    ​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    2016: The Year of the May Bromance with XiVO, Asterisk 13, and the GPL

    Remember that girl that you never much noticed in high school that happened to cross your path years later and there was that instant attraction. It’s one of our favorite country songs.




    What a month it has been. 30 days ago we’d never met. And then it happened. We were introduced to XiVO by a single post on the PIAF Forum. It’s difficult to choose a single adjective that describes how feature-rich XiVO is as a real-time Asterisk platform. Ten years of development coupled with some really talented Canadian developers puts XiVO in a league of its own. Pure GPL code. No gotchas. No hidden agenda. Incredible documentation. No snake oil salesmen trying to peddle add-ons for money. And, thanks to the endless patience of Sylvain Boily and Pascal Cadotte Michaud, two of the key XiVO developers, we’ve had quite a joy ride this month. Today we want to share what we’ve learned and provide everything you need step-by-step to hit the ground running with XiVO. In less than an hour, you’ll be sitting in front of your own XiVO server, and you can judge for yourself. All we can ask is “Where have you been all these years?” XiVO really is THAT GOOD!

    UPDATE: The first release of Incredible PBX for XiVO is now available here. Please consider this article superseded by the new release.

    Let’s Start with the Features. If you make frequent changes to your Asterisk platform, then you’ll really appreciate XiVO’s realtime implementation. Changes are loaded almost instantaneously. Contrast that with some other platforms with hundreds of users where simple changes require several minutes or more to reload the Asterisk dialplan. Here’s an example:



    Speaking of hundreds of users, consider the time required to generate accounts and phone configurations for hundreds of users. With XiVO, a simple spreadsheet can be used to build all the user accounts in seconds. And XiVO’s Endpoint Manager supports all of the major phone manufacturers and configures your phones in seconds. With other solutions, you’ve got a fee for the Endpoint Manager add-on itself and then another annual maintenance fee to assure that the software will continue to work. Contrast that with XIVO’s GPL alternative. Choosing Configuration:Provisioning:Plugins:Update generates templates for dozens of great SIP phones in seconds with just four button clicks. Adding your own new models is a breeze.



    We’ve already written about XiVO upgrades and backups, the twin-edged sword with most Asterisk implementations. Yes, you can go the proprietary route and stumble through dozens of menus and arcane commands to load upgrades and create backups. With XiVO, backups are automatic and the updates are fast and furious. Every morning a new backup arrives in /var/backups/xivo, and a new version of XiVO is released every three weeks. You can upgrade your server in under a minute with one simple command. Did we mention reported bugs are addressed in under 30 days!

    One of the real failures of the other GUI offerings is their lack of tools to perform most tasks in any way other than using the GUI. For developers and those that maintain numerous phone systems from afar, this becomes a nightmare. XiVO offers a better alternative. Yes, there’s an incredible GUI. But there’s also a robust collection of APIs that provide programmatic access to manage and query virtually every piece of the XiVO puzzle. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also real documentation and samples to show you how to use each piece.



    Have we got your attention yet? We haven’t even touched upon Call Centers and High Availability (HA) server deployments, but they’re included at zero cost. For today and just getting started, suffice it to say that XiVO covers all the bases with open source code. And all of these features already are incorporated into the product you’re about to install. So, if those two items have been on your Wish List and you’d prefer to avoid paying an arm and a leg for proprietary, commercial add-ons with recurring annual fees, today’s your lucky day. Break open the latest XiVO documentation, all 479 pages of it and enjoy!

    We’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can do with XiVO. Simply stated, anything you can do with the other GUI offerings, you can do better, quicker, and cheaper with XiVO. And, if there are features you need that aren’t there, all you have to do is ask. We’re porting applications to XiVO at the rate of about one new application a day. You can do the math on feature sets and measure where we’ll be when the summer is over.

    Getting Started with XiVO. Jump to the latest tutorial to install XiVO.

    Bookmark Getting Started with XiVO and you can follow our progress in coming months. Enjoy!

    For additional tips & tricks with XiVO, take a look at our previous articles:

    2016, The Year of (real) VoIP Choice: Meet XiVO, a UC Solution for Any Business
    The XiVO Adventure Continues: Adding Incredible PBX Goodies to Your Sandbox
    2016, Celebrating The Preakness: CallerID Superfecta Rides Again with XiVO
    Choosing Wisely: Mastering Asterisk IVR and AutoAttendant Design with XiVO

    Choosing a XiVO Hardware Platform

    XIVO Initial Setup Tutorial

    XiVO Initial Setup Tutorial: Getting Started with XiVO

    XIVO Trunk Implementation Tutorials

    XIVO Call Routing Tutorials


    Taking Nerd Vittles’ XiVO IVR for a Test Drive

    There’s a Demo IVR running at www.pacificnx.com on their XenServer virtualization platform. Scott McCarthy, a leading outside XiVO developer and a principal at PacificNX, tells us they soon will have a $20 a month platform specifically tailored to XiVO. And that’s what you’ll be hearing when you call the Nerd Vittles Demo IVR:

    Nerd Vittles Demo IVR Options
    1 – Call by Name (say “Delta Airlines” or “American Airlines” to try it out)
    2 – MeetMe Conference
    3 – Wolfram Alpha (Coming Soon!)
    4 – Lenny (The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare)
    5 – Today’s News Headlines
    6 – Weather Forecast (enter a 5-digit ZIP code)
    7 – Today in History (Coming Soon!)
    8 – Speak to a Real Person (or maybe just Lenny if we’re out)

    Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2016





    Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


     
    Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


    ​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    Choosing Wisely: Mastering Asterisk IVR and AutoAttendant Design with XiVO




    Today we want to talk a little about design choices and IVRs. First and foremost, we don’t want to leave anyone behind during our XiVO adventure. XiVO is a platform that adjectives really can’t describe. It’s that good and, frankly, we’re having a hard time believing it’s been around for almost a decade and nobody much talked about it. Leave it to the crazy Americans to only look at stuff from the U.S. of A. Funny thing is that the two major GUIs for Asterisk® now are both Canadian-based.


    One of our PIAF Forum readers posted a comment last week that said:

    The only downside I see is that XiVO does not have [a] GUI for building IVRs. To build [a] complex, nested IVR system, everything has to be thought about in great detail writing contexts and dial plans to suit your unique requirements. It would be nice if XiVO offered a GUI for building IVRs.

    This raises some issues about GUI design and development that are worth addressing. As with any GUI, the development cycle is lengthy and incredibly complex. This is especially true with XiVO where new versions are released every two weeks! In our second XiVO article, we showed how easy the upgrade procedure was. Those coming from other Asterisk platforms will appreciate this little shocker. XiVO doesn’t break stuff with their upgrades. Frankly, the only other company I can say that about is SONOS. If you don’t have their music platform, you’re missing a treat.

    Introducing new components into any “main product” can cause all sorts of problems with the pieces that used to work. If you don’t believe it, look at some of the “other forums” and look at the number of message threads complaining that the new X Widget broke the Y widget and now nothing works. While we can’t speak for everyone, I think it’s safe to say nobody that depends upon their phone system wants to see it go up in flames regularly because some developer had a great new idea that didn’t quite do what it was supposed to do.

    To their credit, the XiVO developers were smarter than that. They’ve not only built a mighty mousetrap, but they’ve done it in a way that supports outside integration of additional components without breaking the main product. There are numerous “hooks” that allow anyone with any skill set to add missing pieces. Some of these hooks are exclusively for programmers, but many were designed to let anybody integrate almost anything into the XiVO platform.

    So, when a user says “I wish XiVO had an IVR Builder in the GUI,” our first inclination was to chuckle and respond with “You just don’t appreciate how lucky you are not to have an IVR Builder in the GUI.” What the commenter didn’t appreciate is that you don’t need to pre-build components with XiVO before developing an IVR. With the “other” GUI, you first had to create Custom Destinations and Custom Contexts and Miscellaneous Applications and Miscellaneous Destinations and Custom Recordings in the GUI before you could take advantage of the IVR GUI to build much of anything. Think about that for a minute. Yes, there was an IVR builder but, before you could use it, you first had to transform every component to be incorporated into the IVR using a large number of subcomponents to translate all of your Asterisk pieces into the GUI’s special lingo. Think of them as GUI pigeonholes, and you had to decipher which Asterisk square pegs went in which GUI round holes. We can’t count the number of times we’ve begun the IVR creation process only to have to stop and create missing components because the IVR builder simply wouldn’t recognize a feature as being part of our Asterisk dialplan.

    Building IVRs and AutoAttendants with XiVO

    The anatomy of an IVR in Asterisk could not be more straight-forward. You have a prerecorded message that plays to the caller giving them choices from which to choose from a menu of selections. The caller presses one of the 12 keys on their phone, and the IVR goes off and does some task: calls an extension, plays a recording, runs an Asterisk application, makes an outside call, or kicks off another IVR with another recording and more choices. Some options in the IVR may not be mentioned, and this is commonly referred to as the Stealth AutoAttendant. None of this is rocket science.

    To build an IVR, you need these components: (1) a prerecorded message, (2) a list of the choices you want to provide to the caller with the corresponding destinations on the PBX to execute those choices, and (3) a template to follow to create the IVR dialplan code in XiVO.

    Trust us when we say the major problem with IVRs is not that they’re difficult to build in XiVO. The real issue with most IVRs is that the person that implemented the IVR spent all their time worrying about the mechanics of PBX implementation and didn’t put sufficient thought into the IVR layout and the caller’s experience when actually interacting with the IVR. If you haven’t heard Allison Smith speak about IVR design, put it on your Bucket List for the next AstriCon or do some reading. That’s a long-winded way of saying that filling in the blanks of an IVR template is just as easy as point-and-click or drag-and-drop except for the eye candy. Just be thankful the XiVO platform gives you the flexibility to do it yourself without having to create imaginary destination hooks and recording linkages before they can be used in the product’s IVR GUI because the developers didn’t have the foresight to think outside their own GUI’s box. Every Windows user can appreciate that problem.

    For today, we’re assuming you’ve done your homework and have already sketched out the options you want to incorporate into your IVR or IVRs. No GUI can help with that! So we’ll pick up from there and show you how easy it is to incorporate your IVR design into XiVO.

    1. Incorporating Your Prerecorded Messages into XiVO

    For openers, you obviously need a recording to greet callers and tell them what their choices are when using your IVR or AutoAttendant. You can build these recordings yourself on the XiVO platform or, for a more professional IVR, you can send the text off to Allison Smith and let her record the voice prompts for you. Digium makes it easy. Visit their web site, type in the text, and you’ll have your recording in a couple of days. No, they’re not free, but they’re not expensive either.

    Since we’re just getting started, let’s assume you want to create a recording prototype on your own to work out the kinks in your IVR first. Here’s how. We’re assuming you’ve already read the Nerd Vittles XiVO tutorial and put the Festival TTS platform in place. Next, log into your XiVO server as root. To keep things simple, let’s put the recordings in WAV format in the /var/lib/xivo/sounds/playback directory which is reserved for our custom recordings:

    cd /var/lib/xivo/sounds/playback
    

    To actually generate the sound file that Asterisk can play back, execute the command below after placing your text between the quotation marks and giving the sound file a name, e.g. ivr-number1.wav:

    echo "Text goes here" | /usr/bin/text2wave -F 8000 -o ivr-number1.wav
    

    Here’s an example:

    echo "Thank you for calling. Press 1 for Tom, 2 for Dick, or 3 for Harry. Press 0 to be connected to the operator." | /usr/bin/text2wave -F 8000 -o ivr-number1.wav
    

    2. Marrying IVR Choices to PBX Destinations

    Whether you’re deploying an IVR using FreePBX® or XiVO, you still have to translate your Plain English options into code that the GUI understands so that calls get routed successfully to the intended destinations.

    Let’s begin with the FreePBX Way. Our previous IVR tutorial showed how it was done:




    As you can see from the above routing procedure, there were interim steps for every single option in this IVR menu except #8. What you may not appreciate is that you first had to create both a Misc Destination AND a Custom Extension before these options could be used in FreePBX. Otherwise, the options simply didn’t appear in the IVR GUI’s pull-down pick lists.




    If you wished to incorporate a custom context that wasn’t assigned an extension number on your PBX, there was a different GUI procedure. For something as simple as retrieving the time of day, you had to get the custom context registered with FreePBX before the dialplan code could be used in the IVR. According to the FreePBX developers, this functionality was considered an “advanced feature and should only be used by knowledgeable users.”



    Our purpose in documenting all of this is to demonstrate that building IVRs even in a GUI is much more than point-and-click. It requires mastery of some fundamental Asterisk dialplan concepts not to mention the GUI’s own labyrinth of secret pigeonholes. Once you’ve had to master all of that, we believe it’s simpler to build IVRs using simple commands rather than jumping through all of the convoluted hoops required just to make your IVR GUI platform happy.

    Let’s compare this methodology to the XiVO way of doing things by way of example. Then you can decide for yourself which approach is more complex. Would you know all of these on your own? Probably not. But now you can see how simple it really is. There really are only two words you need to learn: Dial and Goto. 🙂

    Call an Extension: Dial(Local/701@default)
    Call a Ring Group: Dial(Local/801@default)
    Call a PSTN Number: Dial(Local/8005551212@default)
    Call a SIP URI: Dial(SIP/2233435945@rentpbx.mundy.org)
    Access DISA with permission: Dial(Local/3472@default)
    Join a Conference: Dial(Local/2663@default)
    Playback Yahoo News: Dial(Local/951@default)
    Playback Weather Forecast: Dial(Local/947@default)
    Identify IVR Option as Invalid and Repeat Menu: Goto(i,1)
    Hangup on Caller for Choosing Invalid Option: Goto(t,1)
    Execute Time of Day Custom Context: Goto(new-time,s,1)
    Send Caller to a Second IVR and Play Second Recording: Goto(ivr-2,s,3)
    

    Building XiVO IVRs from an IVR Template

    We can’t speak for everyone, but we’ve always told folks not to write a book about how to do something. Just give us an example that’s easy to follow and we’ll take it from there. So here you go.

    In the XiVO world, IVRs are nothing more than custom contexts. They have a name in [brackets], and they’re stored in config files saved in /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d. A config file can include multiple contexts or only one. For IVRs, we recommend you save each one in a single configuration file that houses a single context.

    We’re going to give you a template to follow in creating all of the IVRs you can dream up. All you need is a custom recording for each one and your list of choices and destinations for those choices. The examples above tell you everything you need to know to build awesome IVRs.

    After downloading the template, we recommend that you not edit it directly. Make a copy with a new file name and change the context name in the template to match your new file name. We also do one other little trick with all of our custom contexts. They always begin and end with comment lines like this using the context name:

    ;# // BEGIN ivr-template
    ;# // END ivr-template
    

    The reason for this is it makes it incredibly easy to remove the entire context with a single command:

    sed -i '\:// BEGIN ivr-template:,\:// END ivr-template:d' ivr-template.conf
    

    This doesn’t matter so much when you only have a single context in a single file. But it is immensely helpful when you’ve stored dozens of contexts within the same file. Some may prefer to store all of the related IVR contexts for their entire IVR tree in a single file. And then you’ll appreciate this tip when it’s time to make major changes in your IVR.

    Let’s begin by putting your template in place and then cloning it to ivr-number1:

    cd /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/ivr-template.tar.gz
    tar zxvf ivr-template.tar.gz
    rm -f ivr-template.tar.gz
    cp -p ivr-template.conf ivr-number1.conf
    sed -i 's|ivr-template|ivr-number1|' ivr-number1.conf
    

    The rest of today’s exercise can be performed in the XiVO GUI using its built-in editor. Open the GUI with your browser and navigate to Services -> iPBX -> Configuration files and then open ivr-number1.conf by clicking on the pencil icon beside it.

    Anatomy of the XiVO IVR Template

    First things first. Change the sound recording in line s,3 to match the recording you made above without the .wav extension: ivr-number1. Leave the directory path just as it is. So your line should now look like this:

    exten => s,3(skip),Set(IVR_MSG=/var/lib/xivo/sounds/playback/ivr-number1)
    

    Next, take a look at the structure of the file. You’ll note that there are options labeled exten => 0,1, through exten => 9,1,. These match the numeric keys on a telephone obviously. In the IVR world, it’s called a phone tree. All you need to change is what comes after the second comma on each line. This destination should be one of the XiVO commands we documented above telling XiVO how to process the call. For option 0, let’s assume you wanted to route the call to extension 701. Your 0 branch would look like this:

    exten => 0,1,Dial(Local/701@default)
    

    The remaining dial options should be obvious. If you want to designate a particular option to be invalid, make the option look like this:

    exten => 9,1,Goto(i,1)
    

    Another alternative is to remove the line entirely; however, we prefer the above approach because it makes it easy to change things down the road if you decide to use option 9 as a call destination.

    Two other options warrant a brief explanation. The i option tells XiVO how to process the call if the caller chooses an invalid option. The t option tells XiVO what to do if the 3-second timeout occurs without the caller pressing a key. You can modify these to meet your own requirements. As configured, an invalid option sends the caller back to the recording to start over. And the timeout option hangs up the call.




    Finally, phone trees can get quite complex. A GUI can’t fix that either. Pressing option 2 might trigger phone tree 2 while pressing 3 might trigger phone tree 3. Programmers could obviously rewrite the dialplan to handle all of these separate phone trees with their separate branches in one giant, convoluted chunk of dialplan code. But why? Just make each phone tree a separate IVR housed in its own file with its own context. And navigate between the IVRs using simple Goto commands such as Goto(ivr-number2,s,3). To return to the main IVR, do the same thing pointing to the line number to which the call should be redirected, e.g. Goto(ivr-number1,s,3). You obviously don’t need to answer each call but once so skip those lines in the IVR dialplan when choosing the line number to which to redirect processing.

    Routing Incoming Calls to Your IVR

    If you’ve already set up one or more DIDs on your PBX, then you probably routed those Incoming Calls to a user or ring group. Changing the routing to send the calls to your IVR is easy. Just edit the DID entry for the Incoming Calls you wish to redirect and set the Destination to Customized and the destination Command to the context of your IVR: Goto(ivr-number1,s,1). Save your change and you’re all set. Remember, XiVO is a real-time Asterisk server so all of your changes take effect immediately. There’s no rewriting of the entire Asterisk dialplan. Enjoy!

    Taking Nerd Vittles’ XiVO IVR for a Test Drive

    There’s a Demo IVR running at www.pacificnx.com on their XenServer virtualization platform. Scott McCarthy, a leading outside XiVO developer and a principal at PacificNX, tells us they soon will have a $20 a month platform specifically tailored to XiVO. And that’s what you’ll be hearing when you call the Nerd Vittles Demo IVR:

    Nerd Vittles Demo IVR Options
    1 – Call by Name (say “Delta Airlines” or “American Airlines” to try it out)
    2 – MeetMe Conference
    3 – Wolfram Alpha (Coming Soon!)
    4 – Lenny (The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare)
    5 – Today’s News Headlines
    6 – Weather Forecast (enter a 5-digit ZIP code)
    7 – Today in History (Coming Soon!)
    8 – Speak to a Real Person (or maybe just Lenny if we’re out)

    Published: Thursday, May 26, 2016

    UPDATE: The first release of Incredible PBX for XiVO is now available here. Please consider this article as a supplement to the new release.





    Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


     
    Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.


    ​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and soon Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…