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5 Steps to Paradise: It’s Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8

Hard to believe it's been almost six months since we introduced The Incredible PBX, but that makes today even more special. With the release of Asterisk® 1.8, the PBX in a Flash Development Team headed up by Tom King burned the midnight oil to introduce the latest PBX in a Flash Purple Edition with Asterisk 1.8 in less than 24 hours.

News Flash: Incredible PBX 4.0 is now available with FreePBX 2.10 support!

Coming January 19: Incredible PBX 11 & Incredible Fax for Asterisk 11 and FreePBX 2.11

So we had all the tools necessary to reengineer, design and build the all-new Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8. What used to be a somewhat kludgey, dual-call, dual-provider Google Voice implementation to take advantage of Google's free PSTN calling in the U.S. and Canada with Asterisk 1.4 and 1.6 is now a zippy-quick, Gtalk-based calling platform that rivals the best SIP-to-SIP calls on the planet and provides virtually instantaneous PSTN connections to almost anybody, anywhere. Trust us! Except for the price which is now free, you'll never know you weren't connected via Ma Bell's overpriced long-distance lines and neither will the Little Mrs. And, yes, our recommended $50 Nortel SIP videophone is plug-and-play on extensions 701 and 702.

Just download the latest PBX in a Flash ISO, burn to then boot from the PIAF CD, choose the Purple Edition to load Asterisk 1.8 and FreePBX 2.8, and then install the new Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8. In about an hour, you'll have a turnkey PBX with a local phone number and free calling in the U.S. and Canada via your own Google Voice account plus dozens and dozens of terrific Asterisk applications to keep your head spinning for months.

Thanks to its Zero Internet Footprintβ„’ design, The Incredible PBX remains the most secure Asterisk-based PBX around. What this means is The Incredible PBXβ„’ has been engineered to sit safely behind a NAT-based, hardware firewall with minimal port exposure to your actual server. And you won't find a more full-featured Personal Branch Exchangeβ„’ at any price.

Did we mention that all of this telephone goodness is still absolutely FREE!

The Incredible PBX Inventory. For those that have never heard of The Incredible PBX, here's a feature list of components you get in addition to the base install of PBX in a Flash the latest CentOS 5.x, Asterisk 1.8, FreePBX 2.8, and Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin. Cepstral TTS, Hamachi VPN, and Mondo Backups are just one command away and may be installed using some of the PBX in a Flash-provided scripts.

Prerequisites. Here's what we recommend to get started properly:

Installing The Incredible PBX. The installation process is simple and straight-forward. Here are the 5 Easy Steps to Free Calling, and The Incredible PBX will be ready to receive and make free U.S./Canada calls immediately:

1. Install PBX in a Flash Purple Edition
2. Download & run The Incredible PBX 1.8 installer
3. Run passwd-master on your PIAF server
4. Map UDP 5222 on firewall to PIAF server
5. Configure a softphone or SIP telephone

Installing PBX in a Flash. Here's a quick tutorial to get PBX in a Flash installed. To use Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8, you must install the latest 32-bit version of PBX in a Flash.3 Unlike other Asterisk aggregations, PBX in a Flash utilizes a two-step install process. The ISO only installs the CentOS operating system. That hasn't changed. But, once CentOS is installed, the server reboots and downloads a payload file that includes Asterisk, FreePBX, and many other VoIP and Linux utilities including all of the new Google Voice components. Just choose the new Purple Payload to get the latest Asterisk 1.8 release and all of the Google Voice goodies!

You can download the 32-bit PIAF from SourceForge or one of our download mirrors. Burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot from the installation CD and press the Enter key to begin.

WARNING: This install will completely erase, repartition, and reformat EVERY DISK (including USB flash drives) connected to your system so disable any disk you wish to preserve! Press Ctrl-C to cancel the install.

On some systems you may get a notice that CentOS can't find the kickstart file. Just tab to OK and press Enter. Don't change the name or location of the kickstart file! This will get you going. Think of it as a CentOS 'feature'. πŸ™‚ If your system still won't boot, then you have an incompatible drive controller.

At the keyboard prompt, tab to OK and press Enter. At the time zone prompt, tab once, highlight your time zone, tab to OK and press Enter. At the password prompt, make up a VERY secure root password. Type it twice. Tab to OK, press Enter. Get a cup of coffee. Come back in about 5 minutes. When the system has installed CentOS, it will reboot. Remove the CD promptly. After the reboot, choose PIAF-Purple option. Have a 15-minute cup of coffee. After installation is complete, the machine will reboot a second time. You now have a PBX in a Flash base install. On a stand-alone machine, it takes about 30 minutes. On a virtual machine, it takes about half that time. Write down the IP address of your new PIAF server. You'll need it to configure your hardware-based firewall in a minute.

NOTE: For previous users of PBX in a Flash, be aware that this new version automatically runs update-programs and update-fixes for you. You still should set your FreePBX passwords by running passwd-master after The Incredible PBX installer finishes!

Configuring Google Voice. You'll need a dedicated Google Voice account to support The Incredible PBX. 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 why take the chance. 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 The Incredible PBX. 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. If you're living on another continent, see MisterQ's posting for some tips on getting set up.

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 Screening - OFF
  • Call Presentation - OFF
  • Caller ID (In) - Display Caller's Number
  • Caller ID (Out) - Don't Change Anything
  • Do Not Disturb - OFF

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.

Running The Incredible PBX Installer. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands to download and run The Incredible PBX installer:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incrediblepbx18.x
chmod +x incrediblepbx18.x

If you've installed the previous version of The Incredible PBX, you'll recall that there was a two-step install process after configuring another trunk with either SIPgate or IPkall. That's now a thing of the past. All you need to do after The Incredible PBX script completes is run passwd-master to set up your master password for FreePBX.

When The Incredible PBX install begins, you'll be prompted for the following:

Google Voice Account Name
Google Voice Password
Gmail Notification Address
FreePBX maint Password

The Google Voice Account Name is the Gmail address for your new dedicated account, e.g. joeschmo@gmail.com. Don't forget @gmail.com! The Google Voice Password is the password for this dedicated account. The Gmail Notification Address is the email address where you wish to receive alerts when incoming and outgoing Google Voice calls are placed using The Incredible PBX. And your FreePBX maint Password is the password you'll use to access FreePBX. You'll actually set it by running passwd-master after The Incredible PBX completes. We need this password to properly configure the CallerID Superfecta for you. By the way, none of this confidential information ever leaves your machine... just in case you were wondering. πŸ™„

Now have another 15-minute cup of coffee, and consider a modest donation to Nerd Vittles... for all of our hard work. πŸ˜‰ You'll find a link at the top of the page. While you're waiting (and so you don't forget), go ahead and configure your hardware-based firewall to support Google Voice. See the next section for what's required. Without completing this firewall configuration step, no calls will work! When the installer finishes, READ THE SCREEN just for grins.

Here's a short video demonstration of the original Incredible PBX installer process. It still works just about the same way except there's no longer a second step to get things working.

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!

Firewall Configuration. We hope you've taken our advice and installed a hardware-based firewall in front of The Incredible PBX. It's your phone bill. You'll need to make one adjustment on the firewall. Map UDP 5222 traffic to the internal IP address of The Incredible PBX. This is the port that Google Voice uses for phone calls and Google chat. You can decipher the IP address of your server by logging into the server as root and typing status.

Logging in to FreePBX. Using a web browser, you access the FreePBX GUI by pointing your browser to the IP address of your Incredible PBX. Click on the Admin tab and choose FreePBX. When prompted for a username, it's maint. When prompted for the password, it's whatever you set up as your maint password when you installed Incredible PBX. If you forget it, you can always reset it by logging into your server as root and running passwd-master.

Extension Password Discovery. If you're too lazy to look up your extension 701 password using the FreePBX GUI, you can log into your server as root and issue the following command to obtain the password for extension 701 which we'll need to configure your softphone or color videophone in the next step:

mysql -uroot -ppassw0rd -e"select id,data from asterisk.sip where id='701' and keyword='secret'"

The result will look something like the following where 701 is the extension and 18016 is the randomly-generated extension password exclusively for your Incredible PBX:

id         data
701      18016

Configuring a SIP Phone. There are hundreds of terrific SIP telephones and softphones for Asterisk-based systems. Once you get things humming along, you'll want a real SIP telephone such as the $50 Nortel color videophone we've recommended above. You'll also find lots of additional recommendations on Nerd Vittles and in the PBX in a Flash Forum. If you're like us, we want to make damn sure this stuff works before you shell out any money. So, for today, let's download a terrific (free) softphone to get you started. We recommend X-Lite because there are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. So download your favorite from this link. Install and run X-Lite on your Desktop. At the top of the phone, click on the Down Arrow and choose SIP Account Settings, Add. Enter the following information using your actual password for extension 701 and the actual IP address of your Incredible PBX server instead of Click OK when finished. Your softphone should now show: Available.

Incredible PBX Test Flight. The proof is in the pudding as they say. So let's try two simple tests. First, let's place an outbound call. Using the softphone, dial your 10-digit cellphone number. Google Voice should transparently connect you. Answer the call and make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. Second, from another phone, call the Google Voice number that you've dedicated to The Incredible PBX. Your softphone should begin ringing shortly. Answer the call, press 1 to accept the call, and then make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. Hang up. If everything is working, congratulations!

Here's a brief video demonstration showing how to set up a softphone to use with your Incredible PBX, and it also walks you through several of the dozens of Asterisk applications included in your system.

Solving One-Way Audio Problems. If you experience one-way audio on some of your phone calls, you may need to adjust the settings in /etc/asterisk/sip_custom.conf. Just uncomment the first two lines by removing the semicolons. Then replace with your public IP address, and replace with the subnet address of your private network. There are similar settings in gtalk.conf that can be activated although we've never had to use them. In fact, we've never had to use any of these settings. After making these changes, save the file(s) and restart Asterisk with the command: amportal restart.

Learn First. Explore Second. Even though the installation process has been completed, we strongly recommend you do some reading before you begin your VoIP adventure. VoIP PBX systems have become a favorite target of the hackers and crackers around the world and, unless you have an unlimited bank account, you need to take some time learning where the minefields are in today's VoIP world. Start by reading our Primer on Asterisk Security. We've secured all of your passwords except your root password and your passwd-master password, and we're assuming you've put very secure passwords on those accounts as if your phone bill depended upon it. It does! Also read our PBX in a Flash and VPN in a Flash knols. If you're still not asleep, there's loads of additional documentation on the PBX in a Flash documentation web site.

Adding Multiple Google Voice Trunks. Thanks to rentpbx on our forums, adding support for multiple Google Voice trunks is now a five-minute operation. Once you have your initial setup running smoothly, hop on over to the forums and check out this Incredible solution.

Choosing a VoIP Provider for Redundancy. Nothing beats free when it comes to long distance calls. But nothing lasts forever. And, in the VoIP World, redundancy is dirt cheap. So we strongly recommend you set up another account with Vitelity using our special link below. This gives your PBX a secondary way to communicate with every telephone in the world, and it also gets you a second real phone number for your new system... so that people can call you. Here's how it works. You pay Vitelity a deposit for phone service. They then will bill you $3.99 a month for your new phone number. This $3.99 also covers the cost of unlimited inbound calls (two at a time) delivered to your PBX for the month. For outbound calls, you pay by the minute and the cost is determined by where you're calling. If you're in the U.S., outbound calls to anywhere in the U.S. are a little over a penny a minute. If you change your mind about Vitelity and want a refund of the balance in your account, all you have to do is ask. The trunks for Vitelity already are preconfigured with The Incredible PBX. Just insert your credentials using FreePBX. Then add the Vitelity trunk as the third destination for your default outbound route. That's it. Congratulations! You now have a totally redundant phone system.

Using ENUMPlus. Another terrific money-saving tool is ENUM. Your system comes with ENUMPlus installed. The advantage of ENUM is that numbers registered with any of the ENUM services such as e164.org can be called via SIP for free. You can read all about it in this Nerd Vittles' article. To activate ENUMPlus, you'll need to register and obtain an API Key at enumplus.org. It's free! Sign up, log in, and click on the Account tab to get your API key. Once you have your key, copy it to your clipboard and open FreePBX with your browser. Then choose SetUp, ENUMPlus and paste in your API Key. Save your entry, and you're all set. After entering your key, all outbound calls will be checked for a free ENUM calling path first before using other outbound trunks.

Stealth AutoAttendant. When incoming calls arrive, the caller is greeted with a welcoming message from Allison which says something like "Thanks for calling. Please hold a moment while I locate someone to take your call." To the caller, it's merely a greeting. To those "in the know," it's actually an autoattendant (aka IVR system) that gives you the opportunity to press a button during the message to trigger the running of some application on your Incredible PBX. As configured, the only option that works is 0 which fires up the Nerd Vittles Apps IVR. It's quite easy to add additional features such as voicemail retrieval or DISA for outbound calling. Just edit the MainIVR option in FreePBX under Setup, IVR. Keep in mind that anyone (anywhere in the world) can choose these options. So be extremely careful not to expose your system to security vulnerabilities by making certain that any options you add have very secure passwords! It's your phone bill. πŸ˜‰

Configuring Email. You're going to want to be notified when updates are available for FreePBX, and you may also want notifications when new voicemails arrive. Everything already is set up for you except actually entering your email notification address. Using a web browser, open the FreePBX GUI by pointing your browser to the IP address of your Incredible PBX. Then click Administration and choose FreePBX. To set your email address for FreePBX updates, go to Setup, General Settings and scroll to the bottom of the screen. To configure emails to notify you of incoming voicemails, go to Setup, Extensions, 701 and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Then follow your nose. Be sure to reload FreePBX when prompted after saving your changes.

A Word About Security. Security matters to us, and it should matter to you. Not only is the safety of your system at stake but also your wallet and the safety of other folks' systems. Our only means of contacting you with security updates is through the RSS Feed that we maintain for the PBX in a Flash project. This feed is prominently displayed in the web GUI which you can access with any browser pointed to the IP address of your server. Check It Daily! Or add our RSS Feed to your favorite RSS Reader. We also recommend you follow @NerdUno on Twitter. We'll keep you entertained and provide immediate notification of security problems that we hear about. Be safe!

Enabling Google Voicemail. Some have requested a way to retain Google's voicemail system for unanswered calls in lieu of using Asterisk voicemail. The advantage is that Google offers a free transcription service for voicemail messages. To activate this, you'll need to edit the [googlein] context in extensions_custom.conf in /etc/asterisk. Just modify the last four lines in the context so that they look like this and then restart Asterisk: amportal restart

;exten => s,n(regcall),Answer
;exten => s,n,SendDTMF(1)
exten => s,n(regcall),Set(DIAL_OPTIONS=${DIAL_OPTIONS}aD(:1))
exten => s,n,Goto(from-trunk,gv-incoming,1)

Kicking the Tires. OK. That's enough tutorial for today. Let's play. Using your new softphone, begin your adventure by dialing these extensions:

  • D-E-M-O - Incredible PBX Demo (running on your PBX)
  • 1234*1061 - Nerd Vittles Demo via ISN FreeNum connection to NV
  • 17476009082*1089 - Nerd Vittles Demo via ISN to Google/Gizmo5
  • Z-I-P - Enter a five digit zip code for any U.S. weather report
  • 6-1-1 - Enter a 3-character airport code for any U.S. weather report
  • 5-1-1 - Get the latest news and sports headlines from Yahoo News
  • T-I-D-E - Get today's tides and lunar schedule for any U.S. port
  • F-A-X - Send a fax to an email address of your choice
  • 4-1-2 - 3-character phonebook lookup/dialer with AsteriDex
  • M-A-I-L - Record a message and deliver it to any email address
  • C-O-N-F - Set up a MeetMe Conference on the fly
  • 1-2-3 - Schedule regular/recurring reminder (PW: 12345678)
  • 2-2-2 - ODBC/Timeclock Lookup Demo (Empl No: 12345)
  • 2-2-3 - ODBC/AsteriDex Lookup Demo (Code: AME)
  • Dial *68 - Schedule a hotel-style wakeup call from any extension
  • 1061*1061 - PIAF Support Conference Bridge (Conf#: 1061)
  • 882*1061 - VoIP Users Conference every Friday at Noon (EST)

PBX in a Flash SQLite Registry. Last, but not least, we want to introduce you to the new PBX in a Flash Registry which uses SQLite, a zero-configuration SQL-compatible database engine. After logging into your server as root, just type show-registry for a listing of all of the applications, versions, and install dates of everything on your new server. Choosing the A option will generate registry.txt in the /root folder while the other options will let you review the applications by category on the screen. For example, the G option displays all of The Incredible PBX add-ons that have been installed. Here's the complete list of options:

  • A - Write the contents of the registry to registry.txt
  • B - PBX in a Flash install details
  • C - Extra programs install details
  • D - Update-fixes status and details
  • E - RPM install details
  • F - FreePBX modules install details
  • G - Incredible PBX install details
  • Q - Quit this program

And here's a sample from an install we just completed. We'll have more details and additional utilities for your use in coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Click above. Enter your name and phone number. Press Connect to begin the call.

Special Thanks. It's hard to know where to start in expressing our gratitude for all of the participants that made today's incredibly simple-to-use product possible. Please bear with us. To Mark Spencer, Malcolm Davenport, and the rest of the Asterisk development team, thanks for a much improved Asterisk. To Philippe Sultan and his co-developers, thank you for finally making Jabber jabber with Asterisk. To Leif Madsen, our special thanks for your early pioneering work with Gtalk and Jabber which got this ball rolling. To Philippe Lindheimer & Co., thanks for FreePBX 2.8 which really makes Asterisk shine. To Lefteris Zafiris, thank you for making Flite work with Asterisk 1.8 thereby preserving all of the Nerd Vittles text-to-speech applications. To Darren Sessions, thanks for whipping app_swift into shape and restoring Cepstral and commercial TTS applications to the land of the living with Asterisk 1.8. And to our pal, Tom King, we couldn't have done it without you. You rolled up your sleeves and really made Asterisk 1.8.0 sit up and bark. No one will quite understand what an endeavor that was until they try it themselves. You've made it look so easy. And, finally, to our dozens of beta testers, THANK YOU! We've implemented almost all of your suggestions.

Additional Goodies. Be sure to log into your server as root and look through the scripts added in the /root/nv folder. You'll find all sorts of goodies to keep you busy. The 32-bit install-cepstral script does just what it says. With Allison's Cepstral voice, you'll have the best TTS implementation for Asterisk available. ipscan is a little shell script that will tell you every working IP device on your LAN. trunks.sh tells you all of the Asterisk trunks configured on your system. purgeCIDcache.sh will clean out the CallerID cache in the Asterisk database. convert2gsm.sh shows you how to convert a .wav file to .gsm. munin.pbx will install Munin on your system while awstats.pbx installs AWstats. s3cmd.faq tells you how to quickly activate the Amazon S3 Cloud Computing service. All the other scripts and apps in /root/nv already have been installed for you so don't install them again.

If you've heeded our advice and purchased a PogoPlug, you can link to your home-grown cloud as well. Just add your credentials to /root/pogo-start.sh. Then run the script to enable the PogoPlug Cloud on your server. All of your cloud resources are instantly accessible in /mnt/pogoplug. It's perfect for off-site backups and is included as one of the backup options in the PBX in a Flash backup utilities.

Don't forget to List Yourself in Directory Assistance so everyone can find you by dialing 411. And add your new number to the Do Not Call Registry to block telemarketing calls. Or just call 888-382-1222 from your new number. Enjoy!

Originally published: Monday, November 1, 2010

VoIP Virtualization with Incredible PBX: OpenVZ and Cloud Solutions

Safely Interconnecting Asterisk Servers for Free Calling

Adding Skype to The Incredible PBX

Adding Incredible Backup... and Restore to The Incredible PBX

Adding Remotes, Preserving Security with The Incredible PBX

Remote Phone Meets Travelin' Man with The Incredible PBX

Continue reading Part II.

Continue reading Part III.

Continue reading Part IV.

Support Issues. With any application as sophisticated as this one, you're bound to have questions. Blog comments are a terrible place to handle 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 Forums. It's the best Asterisk tech support site in the business, and it's all free! We maintain a thread with the latest Patches and Bug Fixes for Incredible PBX. Please have a look. Unlike some forums, ours is extremely friendly and is supported by literally hundreds of Asterisk gurus and thousands of ordinary users just like you. So you won't have to wait long for an answer to your questions.

Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.

whos.amung.us If you're wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what's happening. It's a terrific resource both for us and for you.


Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors

FULL DISCLOSURE: ClearlyIP, Skyetel, Vitelity, DigitalOcean, Vultr, VoIP.ms, 3CX, Sangoma, TelecomsXchange and VitalPBX have provided financial support to Nerd Vittles and our open source projects through advertising, referral revenue, and/or merchandise. As an Amazon Associate and Best Buy Affiliate, we also earn from qualifying purchases. 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 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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The lynchpin of Incredible PBX 2020 and beyond is ClearlyIP components which bring management of FreePBX modules and SIP phone integration to a level never before available with any other Asterisk distribution. And now you can configure and reconfigure your new Incredible PBX phones from the convenience of the Incredible PBX GUI.

VitalPBX is perhaps the fastest-growing PBX offering based upon Asterisk with an installed presence in more than 100 countries worldwide. VitalPBX has generously provided a customized White Label version of Incredible PBX tailored for use with all Incredible PBX and VitalPBX custom applications. Follow this link for a free test drive!

Special Thanks to Vitelity. Vitelity is now Voyant Communications and has halted new registrations for the time being. Our special thanks to Vitelity for their unwavering financial support over many years and to the many Nerd Vittles readers who continue to enjoy the benefits of their service offerings. We will keep everyone posted on further developments.

Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

  1. For 64-bit systems with Asterisk 1.8, use the Cepstral install procedures outlined in this Nerd Vittles article. []
  2. If you use the recommended Acer Aspire Revo, be advised that it does NOT include a CD/DVD drive. You will need an external USB drive to load the software. Some of these work with CentOS, and some don't. Most HP and Sony drives work; however, we strongly recommend you purchase an external DVD drive from a merchant that will accept returns, e.g. Best Buy, WalMart, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples. You also can run The Incredible PBX on a virtual machine such as the free Proxmox server. Another less costly (but untested) option might be this Shuttle from NewEgg: $185 with free shipping. Use Promo Code: EMCYTZT220 []
  3. HINT: Version recommended, but ISOs also work just fine. []


  1. I just downloaded the ISO from http://nerd.bz/dDn8sq, booted, had it install CentOS, and now there is not option D for the Purple install, all that’s available is the previous A Gold, B Silver, C Bronze options – perhaps that link isn’t for the latest?

    [WM: Really sorry. That was an OLD link. Here’s the new one: http://nerd.bz/aFjX8J ]

  2. What if we have an established GV number and we don’t want to use a different one? Any suggestions?

    [WM: You can use any GV number you’d like. Just don’t use the same account as your primary account for Gmail and Gtalk, or you’ll never get the inbound calls on The Incredible PBX.]

  3. Quick Question….
    It looks like the only way to use the Incredible-PBX is if you have a google voice account. The process for us Canadians to get this seems a little drawn out and I personally don’t like being sneeky. Any advice on how to get all of the other features, without this one. Thanks

    [WM: You can always use FreePBX to disable Google Voice and rely instead on a Vitelity account to make and receive calls. It’s not free, but it is inexpensive and functionally equivalent. And all the Nerd Vittles apps work in exactly the same way.]

  4. FYI: At least for now, Gtalk calling appears to support multiple simultaneous (free) calls. You can test it by placing two calls at the same time using different extensions.

  5. Is it true that that the so called "direct" GV calling with GTalk only works with Asterisk 1.8 and hence the need to choose Purple?

    I’m so ready to give this baby a spin!!!

    [WM: Very true. You’ve gotta have Asterisk 1.8. But it’s worth it. No bugs that we can find.]

  6. Once again, Ward, you leave out the notices, warnings, etc. for those of us who already have an existing system that we want to keep intact. Is it feasible to do an upgrade from a previous Incredible PBX setup or do we have to go the route of the .iso?

    [WM: The article makes clear that this is an entirely new (but awesome) beast that requires installation from a PIAF or ISO that’s no older than yesterday. So… no, there’s no way to upgrade from a previous version of Incredible PBX. How could there be? Sorry.]

  7. Ward; can we setup several GV accounts on Asterisk 1.8?

    [WM: Did you read the other comments? πŸ˜‰ There’s no need to.]

  8. Yes I read the article, but I have three GV numbers. Two of them they ring directly at my kids room, and the third one rings at my home office. I don’t want them mixed up….

    [WM: Sorry. I was thinking outbound calling, and your concern is inbound. No way to do it with GTalk yet. Better stick with the original Incredible PBX if you need this functionality and don’t want to pay for DIDs.]

  9. Hi –

    I had the same question as Sergio.. I have multiple GV inbound numbers I need. I unfortunately already dumped the old system and installed the new IPBX.

    Is there a way to ALSO set up Google account forwarded to SIPGate numbers as previous?

    I assume you can still install a SIPgate number? So really GV is just forwarding to that, no?

    [WM: Haven’t had time to test this yet, but it should be fine.]

  10. Ward, first of all, many thanks to you and the rest of the PiaF team for your hard work. In terms of getting an IVR to work, don’t I simply need to use an ipkall account to handle incoming calls?

    At least outgoing calls will be far more instantaneous than on prior versions of Asterisk.

    [WM: That should do it. Good idea for the short term.]

  11. A couple of bug fixes have been released. If you installed Incredible PBX 1.8 before 2:15 pm EDT today, read the Quirks & Bugs section of the article (above) for the patches.

  12. Thanks Ward.. Awesome work on IPBX..

    So, to add to my question above.

    Would I be able to use the configure-gv.x, configure gv2.x etc to do so, or would I have to manually do everything?

    I essentially would like multiple incoming Google Voice accounts going to different IVRs, but want all outgoing calls through the new, easy Gtalk.

    Thanks for any help!

    Should I post this in the forum instead?

    WM: We haven’t tested this yet. But, yes, that is what you’d need to do. Just not sure it will work without some tweaking. Only one way to find out. Then please post results in the forum. Thanks.]

  13. Wow! I followed all of Ward’s steps to get a peek into the Paradise on very old no-name laptop. Fired up my softphone and my outbound call worked the first time – and worked fast.

    Thank You, WM and the rest of the eco-team members in the "Special Thanks" paragraph above.

    Then I called my dedicated GV number to test inbound. I was surprised with the need to confirm the incoming call by pressing 1, which did work.

    Then I read the "Quirks and Bugs" and there it was. I am going to try editing [googlein] context as suggested.

  14. If I only want to make outgoing calls, do I need to open the UDP Port 5222? I read somewhere it will work without open it specifically. Is this true?

    [WM: Have you tried it? Sounds right to me.]

  15. Hey Ward,

    Got this going without issue.. Very minor tweak to delete one line in one config file.

    I now have incoming call going to IVR, no need to press 1 to answer. All calls go out via Gtalk as setup in the new release. Direct ringing. No callback.

    I activated my forum account this morning, but no one approved it yet. Once they do I will post instructions on how to do this.

    Thanks for the help!

    [WM: Sorry. Just woke up. πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait for "the solution." Thanks.]

  16. Is it true that, unlike the previous version, Incrediblepbx18 doesn’t need or use the sipgate number for both incoming and outgoing calls? In other words, it only needs a dedicated GV number for both inbound and outbound calls.

    The reason I ask is because, during installation, I was not asked to enter the sipgate number.

    [PS: I will do a clean re-install this PM to incorporate the latest fixes.]

    [WM: No SIPgate or IPkall number is necessary with Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8, just a Google Voice DID.]

  17. A few of you may not have the current version of iptables. Do a directory listing of /tmp. If you see an iptables file, you have the problem. Here’s the fix:

    cd /tmp
    mv -f iptables /etc/sysconfig/iptables
    chmod 644 /etc/sysconfig/iptables
    service iptables restart

  18. Hey I when I ran the passwd-master command I was never prompted to enter my google voice and SIP info did I do something wrong?

    [WM: Nope. You’re fine. Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8 is not SIP-based and doesn’t require the setup used in the original version for Asterisk 1.4. Just be sure to run passwd-master after you’ve run the incrediblepbx18.x installer, and you’re good to go.]

  19. Anyone else suddenly having google voice issues. a couple days ago i installed the purple payload and was able to make outgoing calls with no issue. today i get a "cannot complete you call" message and it hangs up. I tried to call from gmail and got the same thing. just wondering if i borked something up or if the problem is a little more widespread.

    [WM: Maybe just a problem on one server or one part of the Internet. Works fine from Nerd Uno’s hacienda today.]

  20. Hello – sorry I am a newbie with VOIP here; only use dialing from a phone to Goggle Voice and chat on Skype before.

    So do I have the necessary hardware to install the set-up:

    – dedicated computer: I have an old P2 running W98. Is that too old?

    – Google Voice account: I have a few GV accounts and know how to open new ones so I think I am set.

    – Broadband internet: I have the cheapest DSL service from ATT.

    – Router: I have an ATT 2Wire modem/router; the article said a DLink router is needed. Do I need to buy a new one?

    – SIP phone: I have a DLink DPH-50U adapter [dlink.com] that I use to connect an old analog phone to Skype. Can I use this or I need to buy a different hardware?

    Sorry for my many questions! Any help will be most appreated – thank you in advance!

    [WM: Try it. With VoIP, you’ll know quickly if the hardware is inadequate. πŸ˜‰ ]

  21. Hi, Ward:
    I installed this new Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8. The gtalk function works very well. If I only make outgoing calls, it looks I don’t need to open the UDP port 5222.
    Thanks again for your work/effort.

  22. after I installed it is saying "pbx login" I type root, but i dont know what the password is!!!

    [WM: It’s the one you entered twice when you installed the software. πŸ™„ ]

  23. I have a Dell T110 with ProxMox- What is the best way to test PIAF Purple? I downloaded the latest ISO and did a KVM install, but the Internet configuration is tripping me up. I liked the Proxmox VZ install for PIAF that just worked. Any pointers?

    [WM: Better head to the forums on this one.]

  24. Incredible Tip of the Day: Tried a video voicemail with Asterisk yet? Just make a video call with your Nortel & leave a video voicemail message. To view the video voicemail, make a video call back into Incredible PBX to check your voicemail and VoilΓ ! Thanks, JeepJay.

  25. Incredible Tip of the Day: Want to remove the Stealth AutoAttendant or otherwise change the destination for inbound calls? It’s easy. In FreePBX, go to Setup, Day/Night Control, Code1 and adjust the call destinations for Day and Night calls.

  26. Does Teleyapper work with this version of Asterisk 1.8? Thanks

    [WM: If you mean version 5, we don’t know yet. We haven’t tried it. Try it and let us know. πŸ˜‰ ]

  27. Any way to set the outbound CID when dialing out via google voice?

    Also is the ongoing chat with mogorman@astjab.org the solution to the keepalive issue? If so can I change the address to one of our own spare google accounts?

    [WM: Outgoing CID is your Google Voice number. And, no, you can’t change it. Keepalive fixes are probably numerous. Our "jabber test" hack works fine.]

  28. New versions of PIAF Purple and Incredible PBX 1.8 were released tonight to further simplify the install. We’re looking for a test monkey, but we’re pretty sure that he or she could now do the install. Once PIAF Purple system is in place, The Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8 now loads in under 5 minutes.

  29. Incredible Tip of the Day: Turn your cellphone into an extension on Incredible PBX. From any phone on your PBX, dial *72, enter 501#, and then your cellphone number plus #. Now add 501 to Ring Group 777 in FreePBX. Done. All inbound calls will now ring your cellphone as well as the other extensions.

  30. Given I’ve done naught but install IPBX 1.8 since the release, I can reinstall and test monkey the PIAF Purple for you Ward, but will have to wait ’til home time UK (18:00GMT – 5.5 hours from now)…

    [WM: Go for it, Murray. Thanks.]

  31. I wanted to delete all pre configured extensions (701 etc) would it cause any problems. I will have new extension numbers and will update IVR. Thanks.

    [WM: Probably will cause all sorts of problems. Just add your new extensions and leave the existing ones alone… with very secure passwords, of course.]

  32. Wasn’t scientific about it (didn’t time my original, or this most recent install), but it felt a lot quicker with the newest payload. No problems at all during the install, now to get on and configure everything πŸ˜‰

    [WM: Latest install is much quicker, under 5 minutes. A lot of the underlying code for Incredible PBX is now included in the PIAF Purple build.]

  33. With the release of a newer version of Piaf Purple and Incredible PBX 1.8 on Nov 8, is it true that running update-programs then update-fixes on the older version (Nov 3) of Piaf Purple and IncrediblePBX will bring me up-to-date?

    [WM: Update-programs downloads the latest install apps to your machine. Update-fixes only fixes bugs. You’re as current as necessary if you have applied the fixes outlined at the end of this article.]

  34. Hi, Ward:
    This new Incredible PBX 1.8 works perfectly. With gtalk the ring time is as I am using wired telephone. The sound is very clear. Thank you for your good work. Hope Google will not stop the free service by the end of this year.
    I installed it using dhcp. Then I try to change it to static ip. The phone still registers but I cannot dial out. I restarted Linux but have no use. Do I need to change anything else in the iPBX? Thanks in advance.

  35. I’ve got everything setup…but now I can make outgoing calls only. When I try to dial into the gvoice number it takes me immediately to the "to access your account, please enter your 4 digit pin". What am I doing wrong???

    [WM: You’re dialing your own number. πŸ˜‰ ]

  36. I followed all of the instructions and got everything installed in a Virtualbox VM (on Ubuntu 10.0.4). Additionally set up port forwarding on the NAT to forward SSH(22), Webmin(9001), Jabber(5222) and SIP(5060 & 5061). I’m able to verify port forwarding via SSH and Webmin. I tried connecting using a SIP client from my iphone on the local network (server: = the Ubuntu machine IP address, userid=701 and password) but the client is not connecting. What logs can I monitor on the CentOS side to check for problems ? Thanks.

    [WM: /var/log/asterisk/full ]

  37. Now I understood why you deleted my post about IAX trunks. Anxious for Monday….:)

    Thanks for all these years of helping us, mere mortals.

  38. Awesome new install! i want to try it out and I read we can’t upgrade but have to do a fresh install. Is there a full backup utility I can run to bring my extensions, trunks, blacklist, setting,etc back? I did very lttle customizations outside the FreePBX GUI, but wanted to be sure there isn’t anything I missing. I see the backup in FreePBX but am not sure if it will cover all my customizations. If so, I will try that. Thanks!

    [WM: If you restore from a previous version, you’ll lose all the new stuff. For another option, check out the new article this coming Monday.]

  39. Having some problems here. Purple package fails to download (tried with pbxinalash-x64-17553 and pbxinaflash-17553, both isos have the same problem). It seems the installer is attempting to download from pbxinaflash.net, the package there is named purple_load.tar.gz.bad. Did something happen? is purple bad now? Thanks.

    [WM: Something probably did happen. Just don’t know what. Our installers try multiple sites. You might wish to do the same. πŸ˜‰ ]

  40. Hello Ward,
    I’m trying to install the incredible Pbx on a sheevaplug but it does not work.
    Have you tried to install PIAF on a sheevaplug or guruplug ?
    It’s a nice smart device isn’t it ?

    [WM: It’s very smart but has limited storage capacity which is probably the problem.]

  41. Installed perfect – set up Gvoice. Only issue I have is port forwarding protocol from a cisco router. Can someome confirm the command for me? is it ip nat inside source static udp 5222 5222 ?

    The first ip is my piaf box, the second would have to be google’s server, or is there a way to make it open to any IP?

  42. Just tried to get the incrediblepbx18.x again and got the 11/14 but shrunk less than 11/4 & 11/8 version.

    [WM: There have been some changes, all of which are documented either toward the end of the article or in the comments.]

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