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Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8: Back from the Brink

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Blou_Aap. Artist unknown but terrific.Ever had one of those weeks? It was a wild ride these past 7 days with the introduction of Asterisk® 1.8.1 and some new Google Voice twists. And then there was our DNS provider Omnis.com that trashed name resolution for our primary domain, pbxinaflash.net, while claiming with a straight face that they didn't provide tech support for their own stupidity. Yikes! But where there's a will, there's always a way. And by Friday night, not only were all the issues sorted out but the Google Voice Gtalk interface in Asterisk 1.8 for free calling in the U.S. and Canada is now better than ever. Our special thanks to the Asterisk Dev Team and Tom King of the PIAF Dev Team for restoring peace in the valley. No more callback hoops for outbound calling. Free DIDs in most area codes. Instantaneous connections. Crystal clear calls. You can almost hear a pin drop. And Incredible PBX now brings you all this magic in a turnkey install that even a monkey could handle.

As if we needed another one, our other surprise last week was the Ebay appearance of a Nortel SIP Videophone labeled as a 1535, but it had no WiFi in either the hardware or in the particular software build. The merchant was as surprised as we were to discover the missing WiFi component and now has corrected the ad. But that won't make the WiFi reappear. For those of you still purchasing these phones (and they're worth it), read the fine print if WiFi or firmware upgrades matter to you. The Turkish models have neither. As anyone that tracks Ebay auctions will tell you, the law of supply and demand controls the price. These began in the $30 range and as recently as two weeks ago were selling for almost $80. They've now dropped back into the $50-$60 range. You're usually better off calling the merchant, and the more you buy, the better the price. Five Stars Telecom usually stocks the U.S. models. But ask to be sure.

So here's the drill today. Just download the brand new PBX in a Flash ISO with the newly patched Asterisk 1.8 Purple payload. Then burn the ISO to a CD and boot your server from the PIAF CD. Choose the Purple Edition after CentOS installs which will load Asterisk 1.8.1 with FreePBX 2.8. Finally, run through the 5-minute install of Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1.8.1. In less than an hour, you'll have a turnkey, secure 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. Not only can you start enjoying free phone service immediately, but you'll have a robust PBX platform that will keep your eyes popping for months learning about all the features that would have cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a decade ago. Did we mention that all of this telephone goodness is absolutely FREE!

Thanks to its Zero Internet Footprint™ design, The Incredible PBX also remains the most secure Asterisk-based PBX around. What this means is The Incredible PBX™ 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 Exchange™ at any price.

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 with CentOS 5.5, 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, we recommend the very latest 32-bit version of PBX in a Flash If you installed it last week, that's not new enough. The ISO hasn't changed, but the Purple payload is radically different since this morning! Unlike other Asterisk aggregations, PBX in a Flash utilizes a two-step install process. The ISO only installs the CentOS 5.5 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. To get the patched version of Asterisk 1.8.1, use today's new ISO. Choose the new Purple Payload, and our special Asterisk 1.8 patched release and all of the Google Voice goodies will be configured automatically. And you won't have to worry about the CDR crashing your new server either.

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 #1: 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.

WARNING #2: The PIAF Dev Team currently classifies PIAF-Purple and Asterisk 1.8 as E-X-P-E-R-I-M-E-N-T-A-L. Remember the Pioneers! If you have a low threshold for pain, if you depend upon your PBX to actually make and receive phone calls, or if you understand the WAF and prefer sleeping with both eyes closed, abort this install now and choose PIAF-Gold, PIAF-Silver, or PIAF-Bronze. Otherwise, enjoy the ride!

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'. 🙂 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
Google Voice 10-digit Phone Number
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 Google Voice Phone Number is the 10-digit DID for this dedicated account. We need this if we ever need to go back to the return call methodology for outbound calling. For now, it's not necessary. But who knows what the future holds. 🙄 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.

Now have another 5-minute cup of coffee, and consider a modest donation to Nerd Vittles... for all of our hard work. 😉 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. If not, make certain you are not logged into Google Chat on a Gmail account with these same credentials. 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. 😉

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!

This latest version of Incredible PBX locks down your server to private networks and existing, registered Asterisk devices. Should you need to enable additional IP addresses for other devices or providers at a later date, simply add the new IP addresses to /etc/firewall.whitelist and then rerun /root/firewall-whitelist.sh. For additional background, read this article.

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.

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 getting the final kinks out of Jabber with Asterisk. 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 turned Asterisk 1.8.1 into something special. No one will quite understand what an endeavor that was until they try it themselves. And, finally, to our legion 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, December 13, 2010

Quirks & Bugs. Well, there aren't any that we know of. But we'll keep a running list here so you can check back from time to time if you don't participate in the PBX in a Flash Forums.

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 ISO also works just fine. []


  1. OK, so … we’ll go through the song and dance again.

    Can we upgrade from the previous Incredible PBX build or do we have to go through the ISO installation?

    I’ll say it again: I thought that going with Incredible PBX would mean that I wouldn’t have to install from scratch with each new version, like the "other guys" do it.

    Are you no longer supporting this model?

    I know it seems like I post this comment each time you put a new version up, but that’s because you fail to mention whether or not the upgrade can be done or if we have to install from scratch.

    (Actually, I didn’t post a comment like this on the last new version because you explicitely said that we would have to do the install from scratch on that version.)

    [WM: Join the forums! The Do-It-Yourself Procedure has been posted on the forums for the last three days. 🙄 ]

  2. Saludos, todo esta trabajando bien con mi numero de El Paso Tx, Regards all is ok, working very well with my number from El Paso Tx, thanks to all team of PIAF, this is a little marvel and i dont know nothing to compare with this, Congratulations!!!

  3. I don’t know how to thank you for your on going effort in this push button magic! You are really wonderful in all that you do, bringing me joy for years, every time i visit your page i find my solution already there ripe and ready for the picking !

    Thank you so much for a nice and flawless Google voice fix and as always a beautiful pbx in a flash script !

  4. First, thanks for all your work on this!

    I keep on having a problem using PIAF with google voice. When I call using X-Lite or Zoiper through PIAF to a person on a cell or landline in the states the recipient of the call on the cell or landline hears himself twice or hears an echo whereas the person on softphone does not hear any echo. I am running PIAF on a powerful laptop over broadband. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  5. Sorry to hear about your hosting provider. I’m trying to get a friend to move from Omnis as well, after similarly ridiculous treatment. We’re looking at Web Faction, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m so psyched to install the new version. Great work, guys!

    [WM: Actually, omnis.com is only the registrar for our domains. But we’re still dependent upon them not to break DNS. 🙄 ]

  6. Got everything going again w/ GV using the latest ISO etc … Tkx so much! But I’m having problem w/ the VM, is said ‘an error has occured’ and failed to save even after several diff. installs, various msg length, between ext. or from outside, rebuild ext. 701/702 VM setup or even on new ext. w/o pre-setup VM.

    [WM: Take advantage of the PIAF Forums. It’s not only free, but there are hundreds of gurus willing to help.]

  7. Hello,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put together those tutorial. I am a total newbie and was able to follow through without a glitch.

    Everything went extremely smooth until the sip phone step … I have installed EKIGA on ubuntu 10.04 but i keep getting a "could not register (failed)" error.

    I have tried several other softphone clients to no avail …

    Does anybody has any ideas or suggestions?

  8. This is awesome!
    Is there an Aastra 6757i configuration file that will work with this? It’s mostly working with my old config after I changed the IP of the server, but vm doesn’t connect.

  9. For unanswered calls, if you’d prefer to use Google Voice voicemail (with transcription) rather than Asterisk voicemail, here’s a thread on the PIAF Forums that will show you how to make this simple change.

  10. Glad my post over in the forums spurred a bit of feature add for those of us who like google voice 😀

    Thank you for all the hard work on this Ward, your constant patience and excellent guides have been very informative and helpful both.

  11. Thank you so very much!

    Everything worked just as you described! It was plug and play! This is my first time with Linux, although I have been spending some time on pbxes.org.

    Google voice is working fine too!

    I have registered on the PBXinaflash forums and am still in the moderation queue and can’t post my questions.

    I have gone through your "Remote Phone Meets the Travelin’ Man" article and I have a requirement to allow dynamic IP users in my organization to connect to extensions, probably without the method you mention. Although you’d say its rather insecure but I saw that your implmentation has fail2ban (although you replied that it is not realtime) I still wish to allow any IP to connect to the IPPBX without the authentication.

    WIll post other queries when I am allowed on the forums!

    Thanks a lot once again!

  12. A major SIP security vulnerability was discovered in all versions of Asterisk today. You can read all about it here.

    We have developed a script which will quickly patch your system and eliminate the problem. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

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

    Please apply this patch immediately to protect your server!

  13. I followed these directions and everything seems fine except I have no 701 extension. Do I need to add that manually?

    [WM: If there’s no 701 extension then some download failed during the install. Start over for best results.]

  14. I got this working, and outbound works, but for incoming calls, my SIP station doesn’t get a call until the 4th ring to my dedicated GV number, and I only get MAYBE one ring before GV mail answers. I am using the above recommendation for allowing GV mail to work.

  15. I got this working, and outbound works, but for incoming calls, my SIP station doesn’t get a call until the 4th ring to my dedicated GV number, and I only get MAYBE one ring before GV mail answers. I am using the above recommendation for allowing GV mail to work.

    I have this same problem, and I guess it’s because Google Voice only allows so many rings before it kicks in it’s answering service.

    Does that sound right?

    [WM: Yep. That’s the drawback at the moment since you can’t alter the number of rings before Google’s voicemail kicks in.]

  16. is there a reason their is no longer an a2billing install script?

    [WM: It now uses a version of PHP that is not supported by either CentOS or PBX in a Flash.]

  17. Hi there. First and foremost, thank you for all your work!! This is amazing.

    During the asterisk compile process i’m getting these three error lines:
    iCBSearch.c: In function ‘iCBSearch’:
    iCBSearch.c:130: warning: operation on ‘pp’ may be undefined
    iCBSearch.c:325: warning: operation on ‘pp’ may be undefined

    I found some talk about this error from a few years ago via the google machine, but i’m not sure what to make of it or if it’s OK to ignore.

    The only place i found with a suggestion is here: https://issues.asterisk.org/view.php?id=12364

    where they said to uncheck ilbc in the menuselect format list…

    Let me know if there’s any additional info i can provide. And i should note that i’m new to the linux/sip scene so be gentle 🙂


    [WM: Head to the PIAF Forums. It’s too hard to diagnose issues like this on the blog.]

  18. Guys… I am testing the latest version in a virtualbox vm – can I move my freepbx configs from on Centos 5.x from a backup) over into Incredible PBX?

    Also – what VM engine do most of you use?

    [WM: #1: Probably not if you want to preserve the Incredible PBX functionality. #2: Proxmox or RentPBX.]

  19. I was installing PIAF w/purple. All worked fine, downloaded and patched everything from the Internet, but Asterisk wont start as it cannot find some folder (see 3 screen shots..) I tried this on 2 separate new computers.
    Any ideas?

    [WM: Be sure the clock is set correctly on your server before you begin. This will cause the Asterisk compile to fail. If that doesn’t fix it, then you’ve got network or DNS problems that are causing the downloads to abort. Just installed a new version without any problems.]

  20. All setup and working on latest build, however I cant gt my Cisco SPA501G to register from outside the building, only when on the LAN. Apart from that I have GV in and out with full audio working great!

  21. Looks like even passwd-master is not required on 17561.

    [WM: Right you are. New article will be out tomorrow. New IncrediblePBX.com web site is already "LIVE" 🙂 ]

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