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100 Great Halftime Projects For You & Your Asterisk IP PBX

Our Hero Over the past twelve months, we’ve covered lots of territory in building an Asterisk® PBX for home or small office use. While most of our projects have relied upon Asterisk@Home or TrixBox, many are easily accomplished using any Asterisk system running the Asterisk Management Portal (AMP) or freePBX. Today we offer our latest catalog of what’s available on the Nerd Vittles site and some great links to other Asterisk resources on the web. We’ll keep the list updated as we add new articles down the road so bookmark this new spot and check back from time to time. You can also follow our progress with a news reader. Both RSS2 and Atom feeds are available for Nerd Vittles. You’ll also find our feeds on Planet Asterisk and Planet Gadget. We try to bite off projects which can be accomplished in about 30 minutes. Your mileage may vary depending upon how many bells and whistles you choose to add to the basic project. If you have a pet project we haven’t covered, drop us a line or post a comment. Yes, we actually read ’em. Some articles include more than one project. Installing a basic TrixBox system can be completed in less than an hour. Taking into consideration that such an installation includes the full Linux operating system and complete Asterisk application plus the Apache web server, the SendMail and Asterisk mail servers, the PHP and phpMyAdmin applications, the MySQL data base management system, the SugarCRM contact management system, and the Asterisk Management Portal or freePBX, the feat is nothing short of amazing! And, if Linux isn’t your strong suit, not to worry! Check out the VMware edition of Asterisk@Home which self-installs as a Windows application on your Windows XP desktop in about 30 minutes.

With the exception of choosing a VoIP provider and telephones, all of these projects have at least one thing in common. None of them will cost you a dime. We do encourage you to support the development efforts of those that have made all of this possible by contributing even a dollar or two to the cause to help defray the costs of hardware to test all of this stuff, but that of course is left completely up to you.

Nerd Vittles User Map. Take a minute while you’re here and add yourself to our Frappr World Map compliments of Google. In making your entry, you can choose an icon: guy, gal, nerd, or geek. For those that don’t know the difference in the first two, you’re on your own. As for the last two, here’s the best definition we’ve found: "a nerd is very similar to a geek, but with more RAM and a faster modem." Our map will be a month old tomorrow and now is fairly representative of where our visitors are coming from… all 5,000 to 10,000 of you every day! If you have a favorite BBQ joint on the planet, add it to the map, too. We try to personally evaluate all BBQ recommendations! Thanks for visiting. — Ward Mundy

  • Installing a Free PBX in a Flash Server
  • Introducing PBX in a Flash: The Lean, Mean Asterisk Machine (Available Now!)

    Some Asterisk Stocking Stuffers from Santa

    Introducing Phone Genie 2.0 for Asterisk

    Introducing U-Rang II: Windows Desktop Screenpop Utility for Asterisk

    Click2Dial for Every (Asterisk)Man and Woman

    Great PBX in a Flash Setup Guide With Big Pictures

  • Installing the Free Asterisk@Home PBX
  • Introducing Asterisk@Home 2.8 and freePBX

    Asterisk@Home 2.7 Soup to Nuts Installation and Update Guide

    Installing the VMware-edition of Asterisk@Home 2.5 on a Windows PC

    The Big Picture: Chapter I, II, III, IV, and V

    Basic IP Configuration for Asterisk

    Using AMP to Configure Asterisk@Home

    Configuring Outbound Trunks for Asterisk@Home (or choose your VoIP provider below)

    Creating Asterisk@Home Extensions

    Configuring Asterisk@Home for Outgoing Calls

    Mastering Outbound Call Routing and Dial Plans with Asterisk@Home

    Configuring Asterisk@Home for Incoming Calls

    Configuring Ring Groups to Simultaneously Ring Multiple Phones

    Using Asterisk Call Queues to Manage Incoming Calls

    Email Forwarding of Voice Mail

    Setting Default Call Time

    Troubleshooting Asterisk@Home Systems

    Making System Backups with Asterisk@Home

    Backups and Redundancy with Asterisk

    Deploying Voice Over Wi-Fi with Asterisk

    Adding HTTPS Support (Secure HTTP) to Asterisk@Home

  • Customizing Asterisk@Home
  • Adding Music on Hold

    Using Streaming Audio for Music on Hold

    Adding a Custom Calling Directory

    Adding Extensions to Call Friends by Name

    Creating Voice Mail Addresses for the Internet

    Managing Incoming Calls with a Custom Dial Plan

    Advanced Dial Plan Tips and Tricks

    Adding Automatic Callbacks to the Asterisk Voice Mail System

    Adding Customized Recordings to Your Asterisk@Home System

    Turning On the Feature Codes With Asterisk@Home

    Setting Up An Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) System with Asterisk

    Introduction to AutoAttendants and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems

    Introducing the CallerID Trifecta for TrixBox 1.2.3 and freePBX 2.2.0

    Handling Callers Without CallerID and Other ‘Special’ Callers

    Managing Outbound Caller ID with Asterisk

    Implementing Prefix Dialing in Asterisk@Home Dialplans

    Getting Remote Dialtone with Asterisk@Home — 3 Great Solutions!

    Integrating Mobile Phones and Cellphones Into Your Asterisk Dialplan

    How To Make Unlimited Cellphone Calls for $5 Using Your Asterisk Dialplan

    Upgrading the Asterisk Management Portal to freePBX with Asterisk@Home

  • Asterisk Server Hardware
  • Platform Recommendations and Costs

    The Perfect Asterisk Server: Ice Cube HU 61 (about $500) … But Any Old Clunker Will Do!

    The CompUSA Special (under $400)

    The MicroCenter Special ($249)

    The Outpost.com Special (under $300)

    The Wal-Mart Special ($219.84 or cheaper … see inset above)

  • Additional Asterisk Hardware and Software
  • Configuring the Sipura SPA-3000 for Asterisk

    Telephone Instruments

    Wireless Phone Sets

    Best Remote Phone Solution for Asterisk: The IAXy Version 2

    Configuring the Xlite Softphone for Asterisk@Home

  • VoIP Provider Reviews and Configuration Tips for Asterisk@Home
  • Configuring AxVoice for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring BroadVoice for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring DialPad for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring FreeDigits for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring FWD for Free Outbound Toll-Free Calls with Asterisk@Home

    Configuring GoIAX for Free Outbound Toll-Free Calls with Asterisk@Home

    Configuring IPkall for Free Incoming Calls with Asterisk@Home

    Configuring StanaPhone for Free Incoming Calls with Asterisk@Home

    Configuring TelaSIP for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring VoipDiscount.com for Asterisk@Home

    Configuring Voxee for Asterisk@Home

    Other VoIP Providers for Asterisk@Home

  • Securing Asterisk
  • Basic Asterisk Security

    Securing Your Asterisk@Home System … a Must Read!

  • Additional Asterisk Applications
  • AMP’s Digital Receptionist

    AsteriDex II: Free Web-Based RoboDialer for Asterisk

    AsteriDex III: Free Web-Based RoboDialer for TrixBox

    U-Rang II: Windows Desktop Screenpop Utility for Asterisk

    The Stealth AutoAttendant

    Blacklisting: Keeping Telemarketers At Bay

    Get Your Email By Telephone: Introducing MailCall for Asterisk

    Get Your News By Telephone: Introducing NewsClips for Asterisk

    Introducing the CallerID Trifecta for TrixBox 1.2.3 and freePBX 2.2.0

    3 Perl Ditties to Automatically Restore Names to Inbound Caller ID

    Managing Outbound Caller ID with Asterisk

    One Ringy-Dingy (No Cost Dialup DISA-on-Demand)

    Phone Home (Web-Activated DISA)

    Email Forwarding of Voice Mail

    Faxing with Asterisk

    Flite Voice Synthesis System

    The Idolizer: Speed Dialer for American IdolĀ® Addicts

    Scheduling Wakeup Calls

    Customized Weather Reports

    Weather Forecasts Using Airport Codes, Part I

    Weather Forecasts Using Airport Codes, Part II

    TeleYapper: Asterisk Message Broadcasting System for AAH 1.5 and AAH 2.2

    TeleYapper 3.0: Asterisk Message Broadcasting System for AAH 2.5 and later (we hope)

    Follow-Me Phoning: Bluetooth Proximity Detection with Asterisk, Part I

    Follow-Me Phoning: Bluetooth Proximity Detection with Asterisk, Part II

    Follow-Me Phoning: Bluetooth Proximity Detection with Asterisk, Part III

    Follow-Me Cruising: Bluetooth Proximity Detection with a TomTom GPS

    Follow-Me Phoning: Bluetooth Proximity Detection with an iPhone

    Follow-Me Phoning: Implementing Bluetooth Proximity Detection on a Single Asterisk Server

    Telephone Reminder System for Asterisk

    Telephone Reminder System 3.0 for AAH 2.5 and later

  • Where To Turn When You Need Some HELP!
  • TrixBox Forums

    Whirlpool Forums

    Voxilla Forums

    Asterisk@Home Forums

    Digium®’s Asterisk Forums

    Asterisk@Home Handbook Wiki

    Asterisk Listserv Archives

    Asterisk IRC Logs

    Asterisk Guru Tutorials

    Asterisk VoIP News

    VoIP Now: Voice Over IP News

    VOIPSpeak Forums

    VoIPuser Forums

    DSL/BroadBand Reports

    Jeff Pulver Blog


    O’Reilly Emerging Telephony

    Binary Revolution (just for phun)

    Free Samples. Everybody loves free samples. Not sure about a VoIP provider? Well, here’s your chance to take TelaSIP for a free test drive. Just call our Charleston number (shown in the inset) and wait for the fast busy to hang up. There’s no charge for the call because you’re never "connected." Within 15 seconds you’ll get a return call allowing you to make a FREE 10-minute phone call to almost anywhere in the U.S. All you have to do is key in the password you’re provided when you answer the return call. Keep in mind a few things. You have to call from a phone with CallerID so that the system knows where to call you back. Both legs of the call (to you and to the person you call) use GSM compression so you’re seeing TelaSIP at its most efficient but not necessarily with the best voice quality. You can set it differently on your own system if you like.

    Nerd Vittles Demo Hot Line. You now can take a number of Nerd Vittles projects for a test drive… by phone! The current demos include NewsClips for Asterisk (latest news headlines in dozens of categories), MailCall for Asterisk with password 1111 (retrieve your email by phone), and Nerd Vittles Weather Forecasts by U.S. Airport Code. Just call our Stanaphone number (shown in the left margin) and take any or all of them for a spin. The sound quality may not be perfect due to performance limitations of our ancient Intel 386 demo machine. But the price is right.

    Hosting Provider Special. Just an FYI that the Nerd Vittles hosting provider, BlueHost, has raised the bar again on hosting services. For $6.95 a month, you can host up to 6 domains with 30GB of disk storage and 750GB of monthly bandwidth. Free domain registration is included for as long as you have an account. That almost doubles last month’s deal, and it really doesn’t get any better than that. Their hosting services are flawless! We oughta know. We’ve tried the best of them. If you haven’t tried a web hosting provider, there’s never been a better time. Just use our link. You get a terrific hosting service, and we get a little lunch money.

    Headline News for the Busy Executive (you) and the Lazy Loafers (us). Get your Headline News the easy way: Planet Asterisk, Planet Gadget, Planet Mac, and Planet Daily. Quick read, no fluff.

    Got a PDA or Web-Enabled Smartphone? Check out our new PDAweather.org site and get the latest weather updates and forecasts from the National Weather Service perfectly formatted for quick download and display on your favorite web-enabled PDA, cellphone, or Internet Tablet. And, of course, it’s all FREE!

    Who Is This Guy? Ward Mundy, the author of this Asterisk article series, is a retired attorney who spent more than 30 years providing legal and technology assistance to the federal courts in the United States.

    Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…


    1. I have nothing against ads on a website, but it’s so stupid to see ads about carpets from 3Suisses and cars from Vroom on an Asterisk web page … because they don’t have better ads for Belgium?!

      Note: Every time you say "look at the insert above about the computer from Walmart", I don’t see an add from Walmart … It’s 3Suisses! eMinimall is doing his job!

      [WM: Fred, you are absolutely right. I’ve bitched at Google until I’m blue in the face about this. The problem is that Google ads were designed before the blog era, and they serve up unrelated "stuff" (to put it charitably) for about the first three days when a new blog article appears. They, of course, blame their search engine, but it could be fixed if they wanted to. It hurts blog authors as well because new articles typically are read more often than older ones. eMiniMall does a better job because we pick most of those ads or at least the key word content. Thanks for your note. If enough folks complain (other than blog authors), I’ll bet Google will fix it one of these days.]

    2. The content on this site is worth a ton thats why I donated so hopefully WM can eventually get rid of all the ads and be supported by us users. I don’t mind the ads too much because your content is so awesome.

      Keep up the good work!

    3. Love the site. I have used a ton of great ideas from your site on my home system. One thing I have been beating my head about.. mysql lookups… I want to give paying customers priority in the call que / a way for the system to check if the persons account number is valid. So if they do the press 2 for support, I would like to have an ivr prompt that says " Please type in your customer number followed by a #" and if its vaild send them to lets say ext 2444 and if not, put them in the support que. I just have a few deadbeats that I would rather sit on hold rather than waste my time.
      Again, awesome site, I have been tweaking, and love all the ideas.

      Crackpot (Bryan)

    4. Ward,

      I was wondering if you or anyone of your readers have figured out or found a fix for the delay in the Festival speech engine that causes the 10 second delay? Could a fix be in 2.8?

      [WM: Here’s the solution.]

    5. the 101st thing to do is implement enumlookups in the dial plan to make even more free calls world wide, and the 102nd thing to do is list your phone numbers with e164.org so people can call you for free…

      [WM: Right you are! And here’s a HOW TO on getting it set up with Asterisk@Home. We’ll tackle this as well … after the move!]

    6. has anyone ever wondered how to change voice mail passwords from hardware phones without calling the techie? is ist possible? what is the key sequence?

    7. Ward. Love your clear useful concise straight-to-the-point down-to-earth accurate advice and guidance. I wish that even .5% of the explanations I read were as helpful as yours.

      I’d like to test my asterisk app. I just need to automate sending a lot of calls to measure performance and discover limitations. I tried winsip and sipsak. Couldn’t get anywhere. What can I say? Can you please write their documentation? Or offer any other advice? Thanks

    8. Maybe you can do a tutorial on configuring and running Argus to monitor an Asterisk system. The argus documentation is not very clear and I am at a loss. I have found your tutorials to be most helpful in the past

    9. You should add exgn.net / vitelity.net – same company- to your provider list – I have been with them for almost 6 months, great service, pay as you go, $1.95 DID’s and 800 DID’s with .01 cents per minute or unlimited inbound for $7.95 per month. And they tell you EXACTLY how to configure your Trixbox, with pictures etc.

    10. We’re trying to setup Asterisk for Video Visitation, Video Arraignment, TeleHealth services and Video Conferencing. Would you well qualified lads have insight into this? Which full-screen video client is appropriate? Asterisk Scripts/configuration settings et. cetera. By the way, very usefull content on this site! Great Work!

    11. I found this company iNPHONEX, it is like Vonage, unlimited for 24 dollars beautiful, it works with Trixbox, I am sending this link where they have the configuration you are not going to believe it
      They are better than Vonage you can use any device you want. I singned up with them drop my Vonage accounts , Please check them out your opinion on this company can make the difference for people wanting to use unlimited plans like Vonage with the Asterisk or Freepbx boxes. By the way your work is awesome, thanks.

    12. I am looking for help, even paid help, to implement this:

      I am going to try to explain myself the best I can. For starters, I am a newbie, rookie on Trixbox/Linux.

      I want all incoming callers to be asked "Who is calling" and get a recording with their names (please do not suggest any solution based on CallerID because we deal with international calls that do not provide anything usable) right after the caller punch a IVR option or the extension they want to reach. The recorded message needs to be played back into the "hunting" / ring group for the extension.

      Using something contributed by one of the moderators and from this amazing site, I am able to get the recording and play it back to the extension but I need the same functionality where calling out to a mobile number or any other number for that matter.

      It would be great, if the mechanism could notify the external user about the call and provide him with the option to accept or reject the call. If rejected, the voicemail of his extension should be taking the call. We do not want messages being left in outside voicemail systems.

      I know this is doable because solutions like SamrtNumber.com, among others, have it.

      I need to move out of that service but I need to have that same feature in Trixbox in order to "sell" the project to management.

      Any help will be appreciated.

      Pedro Hermida, Weston, FL

    13. I have been using tringotel business line for the past few months. No major complaints about call quality.

      Lots of great features and very easy to customize. But, there is no way to set up multiple voicemail boxes. This is unfortunate because I have a partner. You can use an answering machine with multiple boxes instead, but all of the great Voip voicemail features (including. .wav messages to email) are lost. Lingo and vonage might have the same weakness.

    14. I know that you are not eager to upgrade to Asterisk 1.4. The point you make is what is in Asterisk 1.4 which version 1.2 cannot do. Here are some things I need desperately. Can you guide me if these can be done with Asterisk v1.2:
      (1) Is there a way I could use the direct speech path feature of Asterisk 1.4 in version 1.2 whereby the RTP is bypassed from one SIP device to other. My Trixbox, in the USA, controls SIP devices all over the world. Each call ties up twice the bandwidth of a speech channel. Latency as a result of this trombone is additional.
      (2) I have a family Cell phone plan from AT&T. I want to use the chan_cellphone patch (add-on to v1.4) to connect my cell phone to Trixbox via Bluetooth. One of cell phones is always present near the Trixbox. I can use this to give unlimited minutes to rest of cell phones.

      [WM: As you point out, there are some great features in Asterisk 1.4. You need them now and we and others will soon. When freePBX takes the plunge, we plan to be there.]

    15. Ward,

      I hate to be a naysayer, but as Fonality keeps putting more a corporate spin on the face of Trixbox, I wonder if now is not a good time to look for a replacement platform.

      Have you looked at Elastix or Rapid by Xorcom? Both of these appliances support FreePBX, but without the constant reminder of the Fonality banner waving over the horizon?

    16. Hi there,

      Is it possible to boot Trixbox server over the network from, say an SME
      server, there by the Trixbox effectively becomes a disk less node?

      i.e. Trixbox server sources the boot files from the SME server, which
      then initiates the creation of a RAM disk to act as a swap file system,
      and then maps back to the SME server for the root file system wherein
      the configs, CDR and other data is stored.


    17. hello,
      I have been following up your website for sometime now and i believe its very informative.i have a question though…how can i connect to asterisk server through teminal or ssh..becuse i am doing project (student) and i will like to use such clients to connect remotely and modify my reserved asterisk server.

      [WM: ssh root@ using the IP address of your Asterisk server.]

    18. Thanks for the great help through these tutorials, open source or not, the industry salutes to pioneers such as yours for the pathway to customize asterisk big time, we are a company catering to voip,dialer and hosted solutions to over 170 live call centers in 7 countries but there are certain requirements where the team needs to throughput great guidance where nerdvittles has been a great help. When we charge 1 cent / min for VoIP + Dialer (unlimited seats ) + Hosted Server with 1 USD to start our services we have always been cost effective but the forum acts as a great help once it is about customized solutions for our end clients.

      Kartikey Sharma

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