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Build a $199 Turnkey (Green!) Asterisk 1.4 System in Less Than An Hour

It takes a lot to get our attention on the Asterisk® hardware front these days, but this one’s a genuine eyepopper in our book. For $199 (actually $223.89 including shipping and tax), WalMart delivers a brand new Everex Green gPC to your door with a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D Energy Efficient Processor, 512MB of DDR2 533MHz SDRAM, an 80GB, 7200 RPM PATA drive, DVD/CD-RW drive, 10/100 Ethernet adapter, 6 USB ports, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and one year warranty. While the machine ships with Linux preinstalled, we chose to spend 33 minutes installing the latest version of PBX in a Flash which provides CentOS 5, Asterisk 1.4, FreePBX 2.3, and the usual assortment of Linux tools: Apache, SendMail, PHP 5, phpMyAdmin, MySQL 5… and No Bugs! You can order the PC on line at this link, or you may get lucky and find one sitting in your neighborhood WalMart store. Just click on the Find in Store link on the link above. Tiger Direct and zareason.com also have the same unit, and currently it’s at the same price. For other locations, check this thread on the PBX in a Flash Forum. To say Everex can’t make these machines fast enough is really an understatement. All we can suggest is check the web sites daily. They get new shipments regularly, and they sell out just as fast. If you’re unfamiliar with the Everex brand, don’t worry. They’ve been in the PC business for decades, and their machines are built with industry-standard components. And, finally, for those of you that depend upon Asterisk systems for a living, why not build up a few of these babies as spares to have on hand. It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy!

Now that PBX in a Flash has been around for 9 whole weeks, we thought it might be helpful to walk you through the typical installation scenario that we use to bring up new systems. This gets you the latest code, all the patches, and a rock-solid system to begin your Asterisk adventure. What’s the difference in PBX in a Flash and other Asterisk 1.4 aggregations? Well, we’ll let you be the judge. Compare the Help message threads here and then here, and you’ll get the idea. So let’s get started.

Getting Started with PBX in a Flash. Just like all the other offerings, you need to begin by downloading the ISO image for PBX in a Flash (646.96 MB). As new locations for ISO downloads come on line, we will add them to the download list. Just click on the location nearest to you. Once you’ve got the image in hand, use your favorite tool to burn it to a bootable CD. Remember, your hard disk will first be erased by this install.

On the new Everex machine, insert the CD containing the pbxinaflash.iso and then reboot. After reading the initial prompts and warnings, press the Enter key to begin the installation. Or, if you want to first check the media for corruption, type linux mediacheck and then press the <Enter> key. When prompted, be sure to choose the option that erases all existing partitions and uses the default partition layout. Then choose your time zone and leave the UTC system clock option unchecked. Next choose a root password for your new system. Make it secure, and write it down. We plan to use this password for virtually everything on your new system. The install process begins. This includes MySQL, Apache, PHP, CUPS, Samba, WebMin, Subversion, SendMail, Yum, Bluetooth support, SSL, Perl, Python, the kernel development package, and much more. In about 15 minutes depending upon the speed of your PC, the install will pause to allow you to eject the CD. Click the Proceed button to continue after removing the CD. You must have an Internet connection now to complete the install so plug in a 10/100 cable if you haven’t done so already. After reboot, the system will start up with CentOS 5, then download and install Asterisk and FreePBX, and search for the necessary installation script and payload file on pbxinaflash.net. Just to repeat, If you don’t have Internet connectivity, then the installation cannot complete. When the installation finishes, reboot your system and log in as root. The IP address of your PBX in a Flash system will be displayed once you log in. If it’s blank, type service network restart after assuring that you have Internet connectivity and access to a DHCP server that hands out IP addresses. Typing ifconfig should display your IP address on the eth0 port. Write it down. We’ll need it in a minute.

Now that you’ve logged in as root, you should see the IP address displayed with the following command prompt: root@pbx:~/. If instead you see bash displayed as the command prompt and it’s not green, then the installation has not completed successfully. This is probably due to network problems but also could be caused by the time being set incorrectly on your server. You can’t compile Asterisk if the time on your computer is a date in the past! For this glitch you have to start over. If it’s a network issue, fix it and then reboot and watch for the eth0 connection to complete. Assuming it doesn’t fail the second time around, the installation will continue. Likewise, if you do not have DHCP on your network, the installation will fail because the PBX will not be given an IP address. Simply type netconfig, fill in the blanks and reboot. The install will recommence.

Required Steps to Complete the Install. There are three important things to do to complete the installation. First, from the command prompt, run genzaptelconf. This sets up your ZAP hardware as well as a timing source for conferencing. If you’re using additional hardware for your Asterisk system, we recomend removing the 56K modem when you install the cards. This will help avoid interrupt conflicts. Second, decide how to handle the IP address for your PBX in a Flash server. The default is DHCP, but you don’t want the IP address of your PBX changing. Phones and phone calls need to know how to find your PBX, and if your internal IP address changes because of DHCP, that’s a problem. You have two choices. Either set your router to always hand out the same DHCP address to your PBX in a Flash server by specifying its MAC address in the reserved IP address table of your router, or run netconfig at the command prompt and assign a permanent IP address to your server. If you experience problems with the process, see this message thread on the forum. The third configuration requirement probably accounts for more beginner problems with Asterisk systems than everything else combined. Read the next section carefully and do it now!

Getting Rid of One-Way Audio. There are some settings you’ll need to add to /etc/asterisk/sip_custom.conf if you want to have reliable, two-way communications with Asterisk: nano -w /etc/asterisk/sip_custom.conf. The entries depend upon whether your Internet connection has a fixed IP address or a DHCP address issued by your provider. In the latter case, you also need to configure your router to support Dynamic DNS (DDNS) using a service such as dyndns.org. If you have a fixed IP address, then enter settings like the following using your actual public IP address and your private IP subnet:

localnet=      (NOTE: The first 3 octets need to match your private IP addresses!)

If you have a public address that changes and you’re using DDNS, then the settings would look something like the following:

localnet=      (NOTE: The first 3 octets need to match your private IP addresses!)

Once you’ve made your entries, save the file: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter. Reload Asterisk: amportal restart. If you assigned a permanent IP address, reboot your server: shutdown -r now.

Getting Your Machine Up to Date. Tom King, one of our lead developers, has gone to great pains to make it easy for you to always have a current system. All you have to do is type a few commands, but you do have to type them. So do it now! After logging in as root, type update-scripts to get the latest PBX in a Flash scripts installed on your system. This doesn’t run them, it merely makes them available for you to run them. Once you complete this step, you can always review the latest scripting options by typing help-pbx. Now run update-fixes to apply the latest patches to your PBX in a Flash system. When it completes, you’re up to date. If you want the latest version of Asterisk, it’s easy! Just run update-source.

Activating Email Delivery of Voicemail Messages. We’ve previously shown how to configure systems to reliably deliver email messages whenever a voicemail arrives unless your ISP happens to block downstream SMTP mail servers. Here’s the link in case you need it. As it happens, you really don’t have to use a real fully-qualified domain name to get this working. So long as the entry (such as pbx.dyndns.org) is inserted in both the /etc/hosts file and /etc/asterisk/vm_general.inc with a matching servermail entry of vm@pbx.dyndns.org (as explained in the link above), your system will reliably send emails to you whenever you get a voicemail if you configure your extensions in freePBX to support this capability. You can, of course, put in real host entries if you prefer. For 90% of the systems around the world, if you just want your server to reliably e-mail you your voicemail messages, make line 3 of /etc/hosts look like this with a tab after and spaces between the domain names:     pbx.dyndns.org pbx.local pbx localhost.localdomain localhost

And then make line 6 of /etc/asterisk/vm_general.inc look like the following:


Now issue the following two commands to make the changes take effect:

service network restart
amportal restart

The command "setup-mail" can be used from the Linux prompt to set the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) of the mail that is sent out from your server. This may help mail to be delivered from the PBX. One of things mail servers do to reduce spam is to do a reverse lookup on where the mail has come from, checking that there is actually a mailserver at the other end. You can only do this if you have set up dynamic DNS or if you have pointed a hostname at your fixed IP address. Once you have done this, and assuming your ISP is cooperative, then you will receive your voicemails via email if you wish (this is set within FreePBX),and your PBX will email you when FreePBX needs an update. You set this feature in FreePBX General Settings.

If your hosting provider blocks downstream SMTP servers to reduce spam, here’s a link on the PBX in a Flash forum to get you squared away.

Setting Passwords and Other Stuff. While logged into your server as root, you can configure many of the ‘lesser’ passwords on your system (i.e. those passwords with less than root privileges) as well as phones, ZAP hardware, and other goodies. The only command you have to remember is help-pbx. Be aware that there are four different usernames and passwords that are enforced in the web interface to your PBX:

maint... to go everywhere
wwwadmin... for users needing FOP and MeetMe access
meetme... for users needing only MeetMe access
FreePBX... default username:password for admin access is admin:admin

There also is an Administration password you can set in the KennonSoft UI that displays when you point a browser to the IP address of your server. Do NOT use the same password here as it is not overly secure.

Configuring WebMin. WebMin is the Swiss Army Knife of Linux. It provides TOTAL access to your system through a web interface. Search Nerd Vittles for webmin if you want more information. Be very careful if you decide to enable it on the public Internet. You do this by opening port 9001 on your router and pointing it to the private IP address of your PBX in a Flash server. Before using WebMin, you need to set up a username and password for access. From the Linux prompt while logged in as root, type the following command where admin is the username you wish to set up and foo is the password you’ve chosen for the admininstrator account. HINT: Don’t use admin and foo as your username and password for WebMin unless you want your server trashed!

/usr/libexec/webmin/changepass.pl /etc/webmin root password

To access WebMin on your private network, go to where is the private IP address of your PBX in a Flash server. Then type the username and password you assigned above to gain entry. To stop WebMin: /etc/webmin/stop. To start WebMin: /etc/webmin/start. For complete documentation, go here.

Updating and Configuring FreePBX. FreePBX is installed as part of the PBX in a Flash implementation. This incredible, web-based tool provides a complete menu-driven user interface to Asterisk. The entire FreePBX project is a model of how open source development projects ought to work. And having Philippe Lindheimer’s as the Captain of the Ship is just icing on the cake. All it takes to get started with FreePBX is a few minutes of configuration, and you’ll have a functioning Asterisk PBX complete with voicemail, music on hold, call forwarding, and a powerful interactive voice response (IVR) system. There is excellent documentation for FreePBX which you should read at your earliest convenience. It will answer 99% of your questions about how to use and configure FreePBX. For the one percent that is not covered in the Guide, visit the FreePBX Forums which are frequented regularly by the FreePBX developers. Kindly post FreePBX questions on their forum rather than the PBX-in-a-Flash Forum. This helps everybody. Now let’s get started.

NOTE: PBX in a Flash comes with the IPtables firewall enabled on your system. If this causes problems with access to the FreePBX repository (for loading the FreePBX updates below), you can easily (and temporarily) turn off the firewall. Type help-pbx for assistance. Don’t forget to restart the firewall especially if your system has any Internet exposure!

Now move to a PC or Mac and, using your favorite web browser, go to the IP address you deciphered above for your new server. Be aware that FreePBX has a difficult time displaying properly with IE6 and IE7 and regularly blows up with older versions of Safari. Be safe. Use Firefox. From the PBX in a Flash Main Menu in your web browser, click on the Administration link and then click the FreePBX button. The username and password both default to admin. Click Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload, and then Refresh your browser screen. Now click the Module Administration option in the left frame once FreePBX loads. Now click Check for Updates online in the upper right panel. Next, click Download All which will select every module for download and install. The important step here is to move down the list and Deselect Speed Dials and PHPAGI from the download and install options. You may also want to deselect Zork. Once these apps have been deselected, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Process, then Confirm, then Return once the apps are downloaded and installed, then Apply, then Continue with Reload. Now repeat the process once more and do not deselect the two applications, then Process, Confirm, Return, Apply Config Changes, and Continue with Reload. Finally, scroll down the Modules listing until you get to the Maintenance section. Click on each of the following and choose Install: ConfigEdit, Sys Info, and phpMyAdmin. Then click Process, then Confirm, then Return once the apps are downloaded and installed, then Apply, then Continue with Reload. All three of these tools now are installed in the Maintenance section of the Tools tab of FreePBX. One final step, and you’re good to go. An update of FreePBX has been released. Click Check for Updates online. Then choose Download and Upgrade for the Core, FreePBX Framework, and System Dashboard modules. Then click Process, then Confirm, then Return once the apps are downloaded and installed, then Apply, then Continue with Reload. You now have an up-to-date version of FreePBX. You’ll need to repeat the drill every few weeks as new updates are released. This will assure that you have all of the latest and greatest software. To change your Admin password, click on the Setup tab in the left frame, then click Administrators, then Admin in the far right column, enter a new password, and click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, and Continue with reload. We’re going to be repeating this process a number of times in the next section so… when instructed to Save Your Changes, that means "click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, and Continue with reload."

Choosing Internet Telephony Hosting Providers for Your System. Before you can place calls to users outside your system or to receive incoming calls, you’ll need at least one provider (each) for your incoming phone number (DID) and incoming calls as well as a provider for your outbound calls (terminations). We have a list of some of our favorites here, and there are many, many others. Within a few weeks, we also will have some providers that will offer you some free minutes for trying their service with PBX in a Flash. You basically have two choices with most providers. You can either pay as you go or sign up for an all-you-can-eat plan. Most of the latter plans also have caps on minutes, and there are none of the latter plans for business service. In the U.S. market, the going rate for pay as you go service is about 1.5¢ per minute rounded to the tenth of a minute. The best deal on DIDs is from les.net. They charge $3.99 a month for a DID with unlimited, free incoming calls. We will have a free offer from les.net for PBX in a Flash users shortly. Another new provider with excellent service and per minute rates is Aretta Communications out of Atlanta. They also have agreed to co-host our ISO downloads for the U.S. East Coast. Thanks, Aretta! WARNING: Before you sign up for any all-you-can-eat plan, do some reading about the service providers. Some of them are real scam artists with backbilling and all sorts of unconscionable restrictions. You need to be careful. Our cardinal rule in the VoIP Wild West is never, ever entrust your entire PBX to a single hosting provider. As Forrest Gump would say, "Stuff happens!" And life’s too short to have dead telephones, even if it’s a rarity.

Setting Up FreePBX to Make Your First Call. There are four components in FreePBX that need to be configured before you can place a call or receive one from outside your PBX in a Flash system. So here’s FreePBX for Dummies in less than 50 words. You need to configure Trunks, Extensions, Outbound Routes, and Inbound Routes. Trunks are hosting provider specifications that get calls delivered to and transported from your PBX to the rest of the world. Extensions are internal numbers on your PBX that connect your PBX to telephone hardware or softphones. Inbound Routes specify what should be done with calls coming in on a Trunk. Outbound Routes specify what should be done with calls going out to a Trunk. Everything else is basically fluff.

Trunks. When you sign up with most of the better ITHP’s that support Asterisk, they will provide documentation on how to connect their service with your Asterisk system. If they have a trixbox tutorial, use that since it also used FreePBX as the web front end to Asterisk. Here’s an example from les.net. And here’s the Vitelity support page although you will need to set up an account before you can access it. We also have covered the setups for a number of providers in previous articles. Just search the Nerd Vittles site for the name of the provider you wish to use. You’ll also find many Trunk setups in the trixbox Trunk Forum. Once you find the setup for your provider, add it in FreePBX by going to Setup, Trunks, Add SIP Trunk. Our AxVoice setup (which is all entered in the Outgoing section with a label of axvoice) looks like this with a Registration String of yourusername:yourpassword@sip.axvoice.com:


And our Vitelity Outbound Trunk looks like the following (labeled vitel-outbound) with no registration string:


Extensions. Now let’s set up a couple of Extensions to get you started. A good rule of thumb for systems with less than 50 extensions is to reserve the IP addresses from 192.x.x.201 to 192.x.x.250 for your phones. Then you can create extension numbers in FreePBX to match those IP addresses. This makes it easy to identify which phone on your system goes with which IP address and makes it easy for end-users to access the phone’s GUI to add bells and whistles. To create extension 201 (don’t start with 200), click Setup, Extensions, Generic SIP Device, Submit. Then fill in the following blanks leaving the defaults in the other fields for the time being.

User Extension ... 201
Display Name ... Home
Outbound CID ... [your 10-digit phone number if you have one; otherwise, leave blank]
Emergency CID ... [your 10-digit phone number for 911 ID if you have one; otherwise, leave blank]
Device Options
secret ... 123884
dtmfmode ... rfc2833
Voicemail & Directory ... Enabled
voicemail password ... 123884
email address ... yourname@yourdomain.com [if you want voicemail messages emailed to you]
pager email address ... yourname@yourdomain.com [if you want to be paged when voicemail messages arrive]
email attachment ... yes [if you want the voicemail message included in the email message]
play CID ... yes [if you want the CallerID played when you retrieve a message]
play envelope ... yes [if you want the date/time of the message played before the message is read to you]
delete Vmail ... yes [if you want the voicemail message deleted after it's emailed to you]
vm options ... callback=from-internal [to enable automatic callbacks by pressing 3,2 after playing a voicemail message]
vm context ... default

Now create several more extensions using the template above: 202, 203, 204, and 205 would be a good start. Keep the passwords simple, but secure! You’ll need them whenever you configure your phone instruments.

Outbound Routes. The idea behind multiple outbound routes is to save money. Some providers are cheaper to some places than others. We’re going to skip that tutorial today. You can search the site for lots of information on choosing providers. Assuming you have only one or two for starters, let’s just set up a default outbound route for all your calls. Using your web browser, access FreePBX on your server and click Setup, Outbound Routes. Enter a route name of Everything. Enter the dial patterns for your outbound calls. In the U.S., you’d enter something like the following:


Click on the Trunk Sequence pull-down and choose your providers in the order you’d like them to be used for outbound calls.Click Submit Changes and then save your changes. Note that a second choice in trunk sequence only gets used if the calls fails to go through using your first choice. You’ll notice there’s already a 9_outside route which we don’t need. Click on it and then choose Delete Route 9_outside. Save your changes.

Inbound Routes. We’re also going to abbreviate the inbound routes tutorial just to get you going quickly today. The idea here is that you can have multiple DIDs (phone numbers) that get routed to different extensions or ring groups or departments. For today, we recommend you first build a Ring Group with all of the extension numbers you have created. Once you’ve done that, choose Inbound Routes, leave all of the settings at their default values and move to the Set Destination section and choose your Ring Group as the destination. Now click Submit and save your changes. That will set up a default incoming route for your calls. As you add bells and whistles to your system, you can move the Default Route down the list of priorities so that it only catches calls that aren’t processed with other inbound routing rules.

General Settings. Last, but not least, we need to enter an email address for you so that you are notified when new FreePBX updates are released. Scroll to the bottom of the General Settings screen after selecting it from the left panel. Plug in your email address, click Submit, and save your changes. Done!

Tom King now has put together a detailed tutorial complete with screenshots to get you started with PBX in a Flash. If you are installation-challenged, have a look at the pretty pictures.

Adding Plain Old Phones. Before your new PBX will be of much use, you’re going to need something to make and receive calls, i.e. a telephone. For today, you’ve got several choices: a POTS phone, a softphone, or a SIP phone. Option #1 and the best home solution is to use a Plain Old Telephone or your favorite cordless phone set (with 8-10 extensions) if you purchase a little device (the size of a pack if cigs) known as a Sipura SPA-1001. It’s under $60. Be sure you specify that you want an unlocked device, meaning it doesn’t force you to use a particular service provider. Once you get it, plug the SPA-1001 into your LAN, and then plug your phone instrument into the SPA-1001. Your router will hand out a private IP address for the SPA-1001 to talk on your network. You’ll need the IP address of the SPA-1001 in order to configure it to work with Asterisk. After you connect the device to your network and a phone to the device, pick up the phone and dial ****. At the voice prompt, dial 110#. The Sipura will tell you its DHCP-assigned IP address. Write it down and then access the configuration utility by pointing your web browser to that IP address.

Once the configuration utility displays in your web browser, click Admin Login and then Advanced in the upper right corner of the web page. When the page reloads, click the Line1 tab. Scroll down the screen to the Proxy field in the Proxy and Registration section of the form. Type in the private IP address of your Asterisk system which you wrote down previously. Be sure the Register field is set to Yes and then move to the Subscriber Information section of the form. Assuming your extensions were set up starting with 201, do the following. Enter House Phone as the Display Name. Enter 201 as the User ID. Enter 1234 as the Password, and set Use Auth ID to No. Click the Submit All Changes button and wait for your Sipura to reset. In the Line 1 Status section of the Info tab, your device should show that it’s Registered. You’re done. Pick up the phone and dial 1234# to test it out.

Downloading a Free Softphone. Unless you already have an IP phone, the easiest way to get started and make sure everything is working is to install an IP softphone. You can download a softphone for Windows, Mac, or Linux from CounterPath. Or download the pulver.Communicator or the snom 360 Softphone which is a replica of perhaps the best IP phone on the planet. Here’s another great SIP/IAX softphone for all platforms that’s great, too, and it requires no installation: Zoiper 2.0 (formerly IDEfisk). All are free! Just install and then configure with the IP address of your PBX in a Flash server. For username and password, use one of the extension numbers and passwords which you set up with freePBX. Once you make a few test calls, don’t waste any more time. Buy a decent SIP telephone. We think the best value in the marketplace with excellent build quality and feature set (but probably not the best sound quality) is the $79 GrandStream GXP-2000. It has support for four lines, speaks CallerID numbers, has a lighted display, and can be configured for autoanswer with a great speakerphone. Some other great choices are the Aastra 9133i and the Siemans Cordless Dect phone. Do some reading before you buy. The Voxilla forums are a good place to start.

A Word About Ports. For the techies out there that want "the rest of the story" to properly configure firewalls, here’s a list of the ports available and used by PBX in a Flash:

TCP 9080 - Duplicate HTTP
TCP 22 - SSH
TCP 9022 - Duplicate SSH
TCP 9001 - WebMin
UDP 10000-20000 - RTP
UDP 5004-5082 - SIP
UDP 4569 - IAX2
UDP 2727 - Media Gateway

A2Billing Installation. Our first example of how we plan to build up PBX in a Flash systems is the installation script for A2Billing. If you want A2Billing installed on your system, then log in as root and type install-a2billing. If you don’t want A2Billing, then you don’t download or run the script. When you return to the main web page for your server after installing A2Billing, you will have two new links for A2Billing customers and A2Billing admin. You will have to install the callback funtionality manually from the docs supplied in the install. A2Billing was created by Areski, who some of you may know was responsible for Web MeetMe, ConfigEdit, and the CDR reports included with FreePBX. A2Billing is sufficiently comprehensive that it warrants an article on its own, so we will save that for another day. Some of the projects we will be looking into are how to pass calls from FreePBX to A2Billing for least-cost routing, departmental billing services, building a calling card server, and a VoIP termination platform. Then you can change your name to Ma Bell and start selling minutes to all the people for whom you have installed PBX-in-a-Flash. If you can’t wait, visit asterisk2billing.org.

Where To Go From Here. Our new script repository is now up and running at pbxinaflash.org. Tom King, the ultimate scripting guru is managing that site. So check it often. And now that PBX in a Flash 1.1 is out the door, we’ve been chomping at the bit to get all of our Nerd Vittles Goodies ported over. If you want to try them for yourself, seven are ready today at this link, and each installs in under 15 seconds: AsteriDex, Yahoo News Headlines, Weather by Airport Code, Weather by Zip Code, Worldwide Weather Forecasts, Telephone Reminders, and MailCall for Asterisk. Complete documentation for each application also is provided at the link above. And, if you still have a DBT-120 Bluetooth adapter, you’ll be happy to learn that it works out-of-the-box with PBX in a Flash on your new Everex Green PC. Dust off our recent article on Proximity Detection, and you should be in business in under 10 minutes.

For Those on the Bleeding Edge. Well, you heard it here first. As you may know, the new Asterisk 1.6 beta was released late last week on the heels of the FreePBX 2.4 beta which has been reworked to support it. Do you need to pull your hair out for days or wait months for a turnkey build? Well, no. You can download the new PBX in a Flash 1.6 Install Script today. Just don’t expect any tech support or assistance from the PBX in a Flash development team. Your dialogue on this project needs to be directly with the Asterisk 1.6 development team. What we are providing is a turnkey solution for those that are eager to experiment. Enjoy!

FreePBX Training Almost Sold Out! We’re excited about the upcoming FreePBX Training Seminar, and today we want to remind the foot-draggers that you’ve almost missed the boat. And, yes, in addition to some fantastic training and the fine cuisine of Charleston, you’re going to be treated to some once-in-a-lifetime hardware deals on the very finest Asterisk-compatible hardware cards and servers for your business. So sign up today and join the fun. This will be the hands-down very best Asterisk and FreePBX training course that money can buy.

This is a DON’T MISS opportunity to learn everything you ever wanted to know about FreePBX, Asterisk, and Linux. The course will cover IVRs, ACDs, IRQs, E911, and the rest of the alphabet as well as routing, trunking, dialplan integration, remote office configuration, echo cancellation, TDM hardware, gateways, IP phones. It’s a very full, three-day course with a half day devoted to branding and selling Asterisk systems. The seminar is being held at one of Charleston’s premier hotels, the Embassy Suites Historic Charleston, with gorgeous suites, swimming pool and exercise room, free WiFi, free breakfasts, and free cocktails every evening. There also will be evening sessions to sit down one-on-one with the FreePBX and PBX in a Flash developers with ample assistance from the quintessential Asterisk development tools: beer and whiskey!

Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…


  1. Thanks Ward for all your wonderful articles and making asterisk and PBXiaF accessible. It’s truly incredible how far your money will go with PC hardware. This box has been flawlessly powering our phones for four days now. And Zaptel cards are no problem either (although they’ll set you back about as much or more than the cost of this PC). I’m going to get two more. One to power our firewall and a second as a hardware identical spare for Tom’s whole disk backup script.

    I regret that I won’t make it to the seminar. Philippe has packed alot into three days, and those that are attending are really going to get their money’s worth. Hope Philippe can put on another one in the not too distant future!

  2. I was just wondering about a general "free" licensing fee.

    The concept is very simple, those like me who are professionnal in the It and live from work, instead of selling the asterisk pbx and getting our pocket full, why not just add a 800$ licensing fee who will be entirely redistributed by dona^tion to asterisk/freepbx and nv?

    i know its a little hiijacking.. but why not talk seriously about this ?

    cheer liku

  3. Yes that’s a wonderful price. x86 hardware is dropping in price and starting to overlap the embedded space in terms of price and even power consumption. Easier to develop on, too.

    BTW the IP04 in similar configuration (no analog ports) is $320, and you get a “true” appliance form factor, fanless, and low power consumption, plus simple upgrade to analog ports (just plug in modules).

    The IP04 is a community-developed open hardware IP-PBX.



  4. I just did a quick check on the value to $$ ratio and it is still cheaper to buy the Walmart computer from http://www.atic.ca/index.php?page=LongDesc&sku=41483

    Now can someone help me find the cards for my system??? I would be interested in seeing where I can buy cards for VOIP at a service/price level equal to atic.ca



    [WM: It’s only cheaper if you don’t see the need for a processor, RAM, hard disk, DVD/CD drive, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. Looks to me like you get a box and a motherboard for $135. Everything else is extra. And then there’s the question of whether CentOS 5 includes the necessary drivers to support this system. YMMV!]

  5. Regarding David Rowe’s comment.
    The IP04 has me chomping at the bit, but we still need to get it FCC approved to make it business ready. It does not look like it would cost much when I googled this topic (on the order of a couple thousand). If there were enough interest, we could pitch in and get it done. Perhaps a distributer could be the lead and accept the collections.

  6. Would this computer support a Digium TDM PCI card for FXO support? I have an SPA3000, but would like to use the Digium card? Also, is there enough horsepower to use chan_skype?

    I am running Asterisk 1.4 on an NSLU2. I would like to try the PBX in a Flash.

    Regards, Richard

  7. In the ‘A2Billing Installation’ section, you should clarify that when you run the install-a2billing script, the user will be prompted for a password. This password is the mySQL password, not the maint password!

    I, along with others, entered in the wrong password and it creates quite a headache.

  8. The Everex gPC appears to have been retired, and replaced by the gPC2 (see link). The difference appears to be a SATA drive in the newer version.

    Will PBX-in-a-Flash (CentOS) work on SATA drives? Thanks!

  9. What about substituting a FLASH Drive/Memory Card in place of the harddrive? How much space is recommended for the install? For storage of messages?

  10. Well i want to try PBX in a flash in my home, I have couple of ATA (Linksys 3102, 2100, Minitar MVA11A and Zyxel 2302r) and do not want to invest more in interface cards. Can i use my existing hardware to use with PBX? Thanks

    [WM: Absolutely. Enjoy!]

  11. Hi Guys ..
    can any one setup a complete astresik system with all its options & features .. with a solid durable server ?
    We will pay .. we can arrange the visa also & all expenses as well as the setup charges ..
    we are in Saudi Arabia ..
    it will be about 200 Ext.
    any one interested, mail me

    Serious proffesional persons only pls

  12. Hi all, I have easily installed this but simply cannot get a SIP or IAX trunk to register with my provider, after trying numerous registration formats.
    I have other Proxmox virtual machines which I can port forward too no problem, is there a way to test the port forward is working in the PIAF Centos OS?

    [WM: Head to the forums. No way to solve this via blog comments.]

  13. The article is great, I just started experimenting with VOIP and PBX and this article has been the best tool that I’ve found in the web.

    I got a question about the ATA’s, I bought somes in E bay, I program them and they work great on my internal network, however when I took them to a different location they did not communicate at all with the server, oppose to X lite.

    Can you recommend an ATA that after is programed, it will look to connect with the server by itself? which means I don’t have to reprogram it or change its IP address every time the ATA moves from one location to another (Remember I am new on this)

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