If you didn’t already know, we’ve always liked free. No strings, no gotchas, no demoware, and no legal shenanigans. That’s why our introduction of Issabel 4 last summer was such a breath of fresh air. While there’s now an awesome free version of 3CX, the open source community has had a very long dry spell. So today we celebrate a decade of adding fun to phone systems with the introduction of Incredible PBX® 13 for Issabel 4. It now includes the LTS version of Asterisk®, Asterisk 13, as well as our next generation, preconfigured Travelin’ Man 3 firewall, additional text-to-speech engines (FLITE, GoogleTTS, and PicoTTS), voice recognition, turnkey trunks and extensions, Google Voice support with OAuth 2 or plain text passwords for free calling in the U.S. and Canada, SMS messaging, telephone reminders, turnkey fax support, AsteriDex phone book with both voice and speed dialing, Wolfram Alpha, sample ODBC apps, and a boatload of dialplan code and AGI scripts to help anyone wanting to learn how to develop custom applications with Asterisk®. This is one fantastic platform!

Installing Issabel 4 with Asterisk 13



Let’s start with the basics and get all of the Incredible PBX components loaded. Begin by downloading the January 2018 Issabel ISO from SourceForge. On the platform of your choice, install Issabel 4 specifying the Asterisk 13 option (shown above). Don’t add any components or configuration changes just yet. And be sure to use the January 2018 Issabel ISO for the base Issabel install. It includes support for Asterisk 13. We will update things from there as part of the Incredible PBX install.

Installing Incredible PBX 13 for Issabel 4



As with all Incredible PBX builds, running the Incredible PBX installer will erase ALL of your existing Issabel configuration.

Begin the Incredible PBX install by logging into your Issabel server as root from a desktop PC using SSH or Putty and execute the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/IncrediblePBX13-Issabel4.sh
chmod +x IncrediblePBX13-Issabel4.sh
./IncrediblePBX13-Issabel4.sh

The Travelin’ Man 3 firewall is installed and configured as part of the install. It whitelists certain IP addresses and blocks everyone else from even seeing your server on the Internet. For this reason, it is critically important that you perform the Incredible PBX install using SSH or Putty from a PC that you will use to manage your Issabel server. Otherwise, you risk locking yourself out of your own server. Whitelisted IP addresses include the Issabel server itself, the public and private IP addresses of your desktop PC, all non-routable, private LAN addresses, and the Nerd Vittles collection of recommended SIP hosting providers. You can add as many additional providers or users to the whitelist using the simple tools provided as part of the install and further documented below.

As part of the install process, you’ll be prompted during both passes to create a password for MySQL/MariaDB and an admin password for the Issabel web GUI. The MySQL password MUST be passw0rd (with a zero), or you will get a permanent mess. The admin password can be anything you like. Passwords can be updated by running /root/admin-pw-change. Many of the Incredible PBX apps depend upon this MySQL password so don’t change it. Your MySQL databases remain secure and can only be accessed on localhost or after a successful root login to your server from a whitelisted IP address.


Introducing the (new) Travelin’ Man 3 Firewall

Issabel 4 includes an IPtables firewall component. Do NOT activate it because Incredible PBX includes its own preconfigured IPtables firewall, better known as Travelin’ Man 3. With the Issabel 4 firewall, the administrator is responsible for setting all of the firewall rules. With Travelin’ Man 3, all the heavy lifting is done for you. The design is also markedly different. Issabel 4 opens ports which you define, but it gives worldwide access to those ports by any user. Travelin’ Man 3 employs a WhiteList rather than opening ports for everyone. If you’re on the WhiteList, you get access to the limited collection of ports assigned to that IP address. If you’re not on the WhiteList, you cannot even see the Issabel PBX from the Internet. For those without remote telephones or traveling employees, this provides total protection of your server with virtually no further firewall management.

If you have remote users of your PBX or if you wish to deploy softphones on mobile devices and rely upon WiFi facilities at random locations, Travelin’ Man 3 provides several utilities to assist. If the remote users have static IP addresses, then those IP addresses can be added to the WhiteList by running /root/add-ip. Better yet, a NeoRouter VPN is provided that lets remote users access Issabel using NeoRouter private LAN addresses that already are WhiteListed as part of the installation process. These require little to no configuration with static or dynamic IP addresses even when switching between WiFi networks. For those with dynamic IP addresses and no VPN, FQDNs can be assigned using a service such as dyn.com and a dynamic DNS client can be loaded on the smartphone to keep the current IP address synchronized with the FQDN. On the Incredible PBX side, these FQDNs can be added using /root/add-fqdn, and the IP addresses will be updated automatically every 10 minutes. The final option to provide remote users the 3-digit PortKnocker codes from knock.FAQ and let them automatically whitelist their own IP addresses by running the PortKnocker client from any smartphone or Linux server. When the Issabel server detects a successful knock sequence, the source IP of the knock sequence is whitelisted until the next reload of the firewall. If an administrator prefers to allow permanent additions to the WhiteList that survive a reboot or restart of the firewall, the administrator need only run the following command one time: iptables-knock activate. WhiteListed entries can be removed using the /root/del-acct utility. Further details on the new Travelin’ Man 3 design are available here.

We have modified the security methodology to access the AsteriDex and Reminders pages in the web GUI. We have added another layer of security by requiring Apache htaccess credentials before you can access these pages on your Issabel server. What this means is you will be prompted for Apache admin credentials when you attempt to access these pages. As the last step of the Incredible PBX installation procedure, you will be asked to specify your admin password again. This becomes your Apache admin password, and we recommend keeping it the same as your Issabel password so you don’t get confused. In this way, the username admin and the admin password will be used BOTH for Apache authentication AND Issabel GUI authentication. Should you ever need to change your Issabel admin password, run /root/admin-pw-change. You will need to execute the following command to change the Apache admin password: htpasswd -c /etc/pbx/wwwpasswd admin.


Setting Up a Softphone with Issabel 4

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. You can decipher your server’s IP address by running pbxstatus. If you wish to use one of the preconfigured extensions (701 and 702), you’ll find the randomized passwords in /root/passwords.FAQ. 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 (D-E-M-O) to try things out. With Telephone, you can use over two dozen soft phones simultaneously.

For everyone else, we recommend the YateClient softphone which is free. Download it from here. Run YateClient once you’ve installed it and enter the credentials for the Issabel extension. You’ll need the IP address of your server plus your extension number and password associated with either the 701 or 702 extension.

Incredible PBX Wholesale Providers Access

Nerd Vittles has negotiated a special offer that gives you instant access to 300+ wholesale carriers around the globe. In lieu of paying the $650 annual fee for the service, a 13% wholesale surcharge is assessed to cover operational costs of TelecomsXchange. In addition, TelecomsXchange has generously offered to contribute a portion of the surcharge to support the Incredible PBX open source project. See this Nerd Vittles tutorial for installation instructions and signup details.


Configuring Google Voice Trunks with Issabel

July 20 NEWS FLASH: Google now has discontinued support of their XMPP interface to Google Voice. The latest CentOS/SL versions of Incredible PBX 13-13 (including the Incredible PBX ISO) now incorporate NAF’s GVSIP interface to Google Voice. However, there is no current GVSIP offering that supports Issabel. A possible workaround is to bring up an Incredible PBX 13-13 server in the Cloud, add the GVSIP components to it from here, and then interconnect the cloud server to your Issabel server to add Google Voice functionality. The cost is about $1 a month, and this thread on the PIAF Forum then will show you how to interconnect the servers to add Google Voice functionality for Issabel. Just follow the FreePBX example in the thread. It’s easy.

Adding Speech Recognition Support to Incredible PBX

To support many of our applications, Incredible PBX has included Google’s speech recognition service. These applications include AsteriDex Voice Dialing by Name (411) and Wolfram Alpha for Asterisk (4747), all of which use Lefteris Zafiris’ terrific speech-recog AGI script. Unfortunately (for some), Google now has tightened up the terms of use for their free speech recognition service. Now you can only use it for "personal and development use." If you meet those criteria, keep reading. Here’s how to activate speech recognition on Incredible PBX. Don’t skip any steps!

If you like Siri, you’ll love Wolfram Alpha. To use Wolfram Alpha by phone, you first must obtain a free Wolfram Alpha APP-ID. Then issue the following command replacing APP-ID with your actual ID. Don’t change the yourID portion of the command:

sed -i "s|yourID|APP-ID|" /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/4747

Now you’re ready to try out the speech recognition apps. Dial 411 and say "American Airlines" to be connected to American.

To access Wolfram Alpha by phone, dial 4747 and enter your query, e.g. "What planes are overhead now?" Read the Nerd Vittles tutorial for additional examples and tips.

Configuring the Issabel Fax Server

Incredible PBX for Issabel includes turnkey fax support with Issabel. Once you have added a trunk that supports VoIP faxing (HINT: Google Voice trunks work great!), fax configuration with Issabel only takes a minute. Start by logging into the Issabel web interface as admin. First, navigate to PBX:PBX Configuration:Extensions:Fax and obtain your password for extension 329. Next, navigate to Fax:Virtual Fax:New Virtual Fax. Fill in the form as shown below using your actual email address and phone number for receiving faxes as well as your actual extension 329 secret. Then click SAVE. Assuming you typed your secret correctly, you will see a status notification showing virtual fax machine "Running and idle on ttyIAX1."



Assuming you already have set up a Google Voice trunk as outlined above, the next step is to modify the Inbound Route for this trunk to support fax detection. In that way, incoming fax calls will automatically be redirected to extension 329 and the received faxes will be emailed to you in PDF format. Set the email address in Fax:Fax Master. In addition, the faxes can be downloaded and managed from Fax:Virtual Fax:Fax Viewer. Modify your Inbound Route to match the #3 settings shown below. Then save/reload your changes.



To receive the incoming faxes by email, navigate to Fax:Fax Master and enter your email address. Then click SAVE.

The final step is to designate the IP addresses of those authorized to send faxes using Issabel. Navigate to Fax:Fax Clients and specify the public and private IP addresses (one per line) authorized to send faxes. Then click SAVE. Hylafax clients can be used remotely, or you can use the web utility included with Issabel: Fax:Virtual Fax:Send Fax.




The best way to test things out is to send yourself a test fax. FaxZERO lets you send 5 free faxes of up to 3 pages every day. Give it a whirl.

To send a fax out from your server from the Linux CLI using either a text document or PDF file, the syntax looks like the following:

sendfax -n -d 8005551212 smsmsg.txt

Sampling Other Incredible PBX Applications

As installed, Incredible PBX includes dozens of additional applications for Asterisk. Here’s how to sample some of them using a softphone connected to your Issabel PBX. A good place to start is Allison’s Demo IVR (dial D-E-M-O) using any phone connected to your PBX:

Nerd Vittles Demo IVR Options
1 – 411 -Call by Name (say "American Airlines")
2 – 2663 – MeetMe Conference
3 – 4747 – Wolfram Alpha
4 – 53669 – Lenny (The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare)
5 – 951 – Today’s News Headlines
6 – 947 – Weather Forecast (enter a 5-digit ZIP code)
7 – 86329 – Today in History
8 – 701 – Speak to a Real Person

For ODBC demos, dial 222 and enter 12345 for the employee number for a sample database application. Or dial 223 for a sample ODBC dialer using AsteriDex. Enter 263 (first three letters of American Airlines) to place the call. Sample dialplan code is stored in /etc/asterisk/odbc.conf. Dial L-E-N-N-Y (53669) to call or forward telemarketer calls to Lenny. Dial T-I-M-E (8463) for Time of Day. Dial *88HHMM to set an Alarm for HH:MM where HH is the hour of the day in military time. Dial C-O-N-F (2663) for MeetMe conference. Conference credentials are in /root/passwords.FAQ. Voice Dialer (411) works with any database entry in AsteriDex. Access AsteriDex with a browser at https://Issabel-IP-Address/asteridex4. Telephone Reminders can be scheduled by phone (123) or via the web: https://Issabel-IP-Address/reminders. Sample code for the FLITE, GoogleTTS, and PicoTTS engines is in 951 (Yahoo News) context of /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf. All of your FreePBX "old favorites" including blacklists, call transfers and forwarding, dictation, recordings and more are still available as well: PBX:PBX Config:Feature Codes.

We’ve added Allison’s Demo IVR to our own Issabel server running as a virtual machine with VirtualBox so you can judge the call quality and feature set for yourself. You can even send us an SMS message if you’d like to try out the SMS feature:

Continue Reading: Configuring Extensions, Trunks & Routes.

Don’t Miss: Incredible PBX Application User’s Guide covering the 31 Incredible PBX apps.

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018


Support Issues. With any application as sophisticated as this one, you’re bound to have questions. Blog comments are a difficult place to address support issues although we welcome general comments about our articles and software. If you have particular support issues, we encourage you to get actively involved in the PBX in a Flash Forum. It’s the best Asterisk tech support site in the business, and it’s all free! Please have a look and post your support questions there. Unlike some forums, the PIAF Forum is extremely friendly and is supported by literally hundreds of Asterisk gurus and thousands of users just like you. You won’t have to wait long for an answer to your question.




NEW YEAR’S TREAT: If you could use one or more free DIDs in the U.S. with unlimited inbound calls and unlimited simultaneous channels, then today’s your lucky day. TelecomsXChange and Bluebird Communications have a few hundred thousand DIDs to give away so you better hurry. You have your choice of DID locations including New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Iowa. The DIDs support Voice, Fax, Video, and even Text Messaging (by request). The only requirement at your end is a dedicated IP address for your VoIP server. Once you receive your welcome email with your number, be sure to whitelist the provider’s IP address in your firewall. For Incredible PBX servers, use add-ip to whitelist the UDP SIP port, 5060, using the IP address provided in your welcoming email.

Here’s the link to order your DIDs.

Your DID Trunk Setup in your favorite GUI should look like this:

Trunk Name: IPC
Peer Details:
type=friend
qualify=yes
host={IP address provided in welcome email}
context=from-trunk

Your Inbound Route should specify the 11-digit DID beginning with a 1. Enjoy!




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


 

Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors

FULL DISCLOSURE: RentPBX, Amazon, Vitelity, DigitalOcean, Vultr, Digium, Sangoma, 3CX, TelecomsXchange and others have provided financial support to Nerd Vittles and our open source projects through advertising, referral revenue, and/or merchandise. We’ve chosen these providers not the other way around. Our decisions are based upon their corporate reputation and the quality of their offerings and their pricing. Our recommendations regarding technology are reached without regard to financial compensation except in situations in which comparable products at comparable pricing are available from multiple sources. In this limited case, we support our sponsors because our sponsors support us.

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