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The Asterisk Mother Lode: Introducing Incredible PBX 4.0 with FreePBX 2.10

We thought we’d start your summer off with a bang by introducing an all-new Incredible PBX™. So what’s new? 50 Asterisk® Apps. 9-Layer Security. 20 Preconfigured VoIP Provider Trunks. 1-Click Installers for Asterisk.everything. FreePBX® 2.10. Certified Asterisk support. And what’s the same? It’s all still FREE!

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

Coming February 11: Incredible PBX 10 & Incredible Fax for 64-bit Asterisk 1.8 and FreePBX 2.10

We heard you. Yes, we needed Incredible PBX™ support for FreePBX 2.10 with Asterisk 1.8. And today it’s finally here. Incredible PBX 4.0 brings all of the original Asterisk applications plus more than a dozen new turnkey applications released in 2012 and an all-new level of security to protect your phone bill. The installation process is so simple a monkey could do it. You still can add Incredible Fax 2.0™ to deliver free faxing with HylaFax™ and AvantFax® in a setup process that’s as simple as pressing the Enter key. When you’re finished, you’ll have one of the open source wonders of the world with free phone calls and faxing throughout the U.S. and Canada together with almost every Asterisk application ever developed. There’s more good news. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to get any of it installed and working reliably with Asterisk. Just run the simple install script, and presto.

July Update: Incredible in the Cloud. For those that would prefer to run Incredible PBX 4.0 in the Cloud, RentPBX now is offering a pre-built image with PIAF-Brown and FreePBX 2.10 that is ready to go using servers all around the world. On your first order, Incredible in the Cloud is just $15/month using coupon code PIAF2012. Sign up at this link.

August 15 Update: Incredible Pi. We needed a back-to-school project, and this year we’ve chosen to port most of the Incredible PBX feature set to the new $35 Raspberry Pi. Thanks to the pioneering work of Gernot, this was fairly straight-forward. We’re still aiming for an early September release but, if you’d like to get a head start, you can order your device and follow our progress on the PIAF Forum.

If you’re curious why we no longer are supporting Asterisk 10, read all about it in last week’s Nerd Vittles article. Suffice it to say, if Digium is unwilling to fully support the platform, then we think it is a dead-end product. Unfortunately, this further splinters Asterisk development. In addition to long-term support (LTS) releases, "certified" (SLA) releases, and "other" releases, we now have a new category for Digium-supported modules and "community modules." To us, this signals the death knell for modules which Digium is no longer willing to actively support. Consequently, we will no longer recommend Asterisk 10 for production use. And we continue to be nervous about what the future holds for Google Voice support in Asterisk 1.8 and Asterisk 11 as well. The good news is, if you read last week’s article, you already know we have a rock-solid alternative waiting in the wings. YATE rocks! And FreeSentral is no slouch either.

The Incredible PBX 4 Inventory. For those that have never heard of The Incredible PBX, here’s the current 4.0 feature set in addition to the base install of PBX in a Flash with the CentOS 6.2, Asterisk 1.8 or Certified Asterisk 1.8, FreePBX 2.10, and Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin. Cepstral TTS, Incredible Fax, Skype, NeoRouter and PPTP VPNs, and all sorts of backup solutions are still just one command away and may be installed using the scripts included with Incredible PBX 4 and PBX in a Flash. Type help-pbx and browse /root and /root/nv for dozens of one-click install scripts.

And then there’s the Incredible Freebie! As they say, "Never look a gift horse in the mouth." What began as a 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. The Incredible PBX Google Voice implementation provides virtually instantaneous PSTN connections to almost anybody, anywhere. Trust us! Except for the price which is still 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.

To get started, download the latest 32-bit PBX in a Flash ISO from SourceForge, burn to then boot from the PIAF2 CD, choose the PIAF-Purple option to load Asterisk 1.8 or PIAF-Brown to load Certified Asterisk, and pick FreePBX 2.10 when prompted. Once the PIAF2 install is completed, just run the new Incredible PBX 4.0 installer. In less than 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 over 50 terrific Asterisk applications to keep you busy exploring for months.

A Few Words About Security. Thanks to its Zero Internet Footprint™ design, Incredible PBX 4 is different. It 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 no Internet port exposure to your actual server. For those needing remote telephone support, Incredible PBX loads Travelin’ Man 2 and 3 for you so your IPtables Linux Firewall can be either self-managed by end-users or set up with predefined IP addresses and FQDNs for all of your remote sites. If you’ve read about Asterisk’s latest SIP vulnerability published just last week and occurring almost as often as you tie your shoes, then you’ll understand why WhiteList-based server security has become absolutely essential. WhiteList Security means only those devices with a registered IP address in your WhiteList can get to your server’s resources. To everyone else, your server doesn’t even exist. Their only way to connect to you is with a POTS telephone and your published phone number.

For those with multiple servers to interconnect, we’ve provided one-click installers for not one but two VPN solutions: NeoRouter and PPTP. Suffice it to say, Incredible PBX has Security in Spades™: customized IPtables Linux Firewall, Fail2Ban tweaked for Asterisk security monitoring, FreePBX Extension Lockdown by IP address, randomized FreePBX extension passwords, Travelin’ Man 2 and 3 WhiteList Security, multiple VPN solutions for encrypted server-to-server communications, plus a bottom-up design focused on flawless operation behind a hardware-based firewall. You won’t find a more secure Personal Branch Exchange™ at any price.

Here’s the Incredible PBX 9-Layer Security Model:

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

We’ve shifted gears on our recommended Atom platform for PIAF2 after excellent results with both the single-core and dual-core Atom kits manufactured by Foxconn (pictured on the left below). That’s the dLink Gaming Router on the right. Seems kinda silly to spend twice as much for a machine that you can build yourself in under 5 minutes. Basically you remove four screws, insert a Phillips screwdriver in one of the holes and gently pry the cover away from the box. Then you pop off the back by inserting a small flat-blade screwdriver, remove four more screws, slide in a solid-state drive (SSD) and a 4GB stick of notebook computer RAM, and you’re done in a couple minutes. Replace the screws and the cover, and you have a perfect PIAF2 platform with terrific performance and no moving parts for about $200. The link above will take you to the PIAF Forum thread for these machines. They go on sale almost weekly. See the right column of Nerd Vittles (just below our tweets) for this week’s special at Amazon. The dual-core Atom box typically is under $150. It could easily handle an office with 50+ employees sitting on a bookshelf with an Internet connection (wired or wireless!). No noise. Very little heat. Low power requirements. Perfect!

Installing Incredible PBX 4.0. The installation process is simple. Here are the 3 Easy Steps to Free Calling, and The Incredible PBX will be ready to receive and make free U.S./Canada calls immediately:

1. Install PIAF-Purple or PIAF-Brown with FreePBX 2.10 using 32-bit PIAF2 ISO
2. Run Incredible PBX 4 installer
3. Configure Google Voice and a softphone or SIP phone

Installing PBX in a Flash. Here’s a quick tutorial to get PBX in a Flash 2 installed. To use Incredible PBX 4, just install the latest 32-bit version of PBX in a Flash 2. Unlike other Asterisk aggregations, PBX in a Flash utilizes a two-step install process. The ISO only installs the CentOS 6.2 operating system. 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 PIAF-Purple or PIAF-Brown payload. You’ll then be prompted to choose your flavor of FreePBX. Choose FreePBX 2.10. Then set your time zone and set up a password for FreePBX access, and you’re all set. As part of the install, yum now will automatically update your operating system with the latest updates for CentOS 6.2.

You can download the 32-bit PIAF2 from SourceForge. Burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot from the installation CD and press the Enter key to begin. If you’ve chosen a machine without an optical drive such as the Atom boxes we recommend, then this Nerd Vittles article will show you how to make a bootable flash drive from the PIAF2 ISO.

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 AND remove any USB flash drives! Press Ctrl-C to cancel.

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 6.2, it will reboot. Remove the CD promptly. After the reboot, choose PIAF-Purple or PIAF-Brown. In less than a minute, you’ll be prompted for the FreePBX version you wish to install. Choose FreePBX 2.10 and fill in your choices for the remaining prompts. Then 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 30-60 minutes. On a virtual machine, it takes about half that time. Log into your server with your root password and write down the server’s IP address. You’ll need it to access FreePBX with your browser. While you’re logged in, issue the following command to make sure your IPtables firewall loads after your network is enabled:

echo "/etc/init.d/iptables restart" >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local

NOTE: For previous users of PBX in a Flash, be aware that this new version automatically runs update-programs, update-fixes, and passwd-master for you. So your system is relatively secure out of the box if you install it behind a hardware-based firewall as we recommend! See the Proxmox cautionary alert in the footnotes to this article!

Configuring Google Voice. If you plan to use Google Voice, you’ll need a dedicated Google Voice account to support Incredible PBX 4. If you want to use the inbound fax capabilities of Incredible Fax 2, then you’ll need an additional Google Voice line that can be routed to the FAX miscellaneous destination using FreePBX. 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 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 Incredible PBX 4. It’s free at least through 2013. 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 setup tips.

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 ScreeningOFF
  • Call PresentationOFF
  • Caller ID (In)Display Caller’s Number
  • Caller ID (Out)Don’t Change Anything
  • Do Not DisturbOFF
  • Call Options (Enable Recording)OFF
  • Global Spam FilteringON

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.

Incredible PBX 4.0 Installation. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands to run The Incredible PBX 4 installer:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incrediblepbx4.x
chmod +x incrediblepbx4.x

UPDATE: There are some new releases. Incredible PBX 10 supports 64-bit PIAF-Purple with Asterisk 1.8 and FreePBX 2.10. There also are prebuilt appliances for Amazon EC2 and VirtualBox. Incredible PBX 11 supports 32-bit PIAF-Green with Asterisk 11 and FreePBX 2.11. There also are prebuilt appliances for VirtualBox and VMware. Both Incredible PBX 10 and Incredible PBX 11 support Incredible Fax as well.

When The Incredible PBX install begins, you’ll be prompted for your FreePBX maint password. This is required to properly configure CallerID Superfecta for you. Your credentials never leave your server!

Now have another 15-minute cup of coffee. While you’re waiting just make sure that you’ve heeded our advice and installed your server behind a hardware-based firewall. No ports need to be opened on your firewall to support Incredible PBX. Leave it that way!

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!

FINAL STEPS. Once the Incredible PBX install completes, there are two optional steps for those that will have remote phones or users outside your firewall. Install both Travelin’ Man 2 and 3 for an ultra-secure system. Also be sure to run update-fixes before restarting your machine!

Logging in to FreePBX 2.10. Using a web browser, you access the FreePBX GUI by pointing your browser to the IP address of your Incredible PBX. Click on the Users tab. It will change to Admin. Now click the FreePBX button. 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 4. If you forget it, you can always reset it by logging into your server as root and running passwd-master.

Configuring Google Voice Trunks in FreePBX. All trunk configurations now are managed within FreePBX, including Google Voice. This makes it easy to customize your Incredible PBX to meet your specific needs. If you plan to use Google Voice, here’s how to quickly configure one or more Google Voice trunks within FreePBX. After logging into FreePBX with your browser, click the Other tab and choose Google Voice. To Add a new Google Voice account, just fill out the form:

Phone number is your 10-digit Google Voice number. Username is your Google Voice account name without @gmail.com. Password is your Google Voice password. NOTE: Don’t use 2-stage password protection in this Google Voice account! Be sure to check all three boxes: Add trunk, Add routes, and Agree to TOS. Then click Submit Changes and reload FreePBX. You can add additional Google Voice numbers by clicking Add GoogleVoice Account option in the right margin and repeating the drill.

While you’re still in FreePBX, choose Setup, Extensions, and click on the 701 extension. Write down your extension password which you’ll need to configure a phone in a minute.

IMPORTANT LAST STEP: Google Voice will not work unless you restart Asterisk from the Linux command line at this juncture. Using SSH, log into your server as root and issue the following command: amportal restart. You’ll note that Incredible PBX 4 now automatically enables the Asterisk Gtalk and Jabber modules for you once you create a Google Voice account.

Incredible Fax 2 Installation. If you want the added convenience of having your Incredible PBX double as a free fax machine, run install-incredfax2 after the Incredible PBX 4 install completes. Plug in your email address for delivery of incoming faxes and enter your home area code when prompted. For every other prompt, just press the Enter key. If you’d like to also add the optional OCR utility, just choose it when prompted. For complete documentation, see this Nerd Vittles article. Don’t forget that a REBOOT OF YOUR SERVER is requiredwhen the install is finished, or faxing won’t work! Then log in through the PIAF GUI using maint:password. Be sure to change your password!

Also be sure to set up a second, dedicated Google Voice number if you want support for inbound faxing. Once the Google Voice credentials are configured in FreePBX for the additional Google Voice line, simply add an Inbound Route for this DID to point to the fax destination. This comes preconfigured with Incredible PBX 4. Just plug in your 10-digit Google Voice number and other entries shown in the form below. Save your entries and reload FreePBX.

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 more than 50 Asterisk applications included in your system.

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. We’re assuming you’ve put very secure passwords on those accounts as if your phone bill depended upon it. It does! There’s loads of additional documentation on the PBX in a Flash documentation web site.

Solving One-Way Audio Problems. If you experience one-way audio on some of your phone calls, you may need to adjust your Asterisk SIP settings. These now can be tweaked within FreePBX by choosing Settings, Asterisk SIP Settings. Just plug in your public IP address and replace with the subnet address of your private network. Save settings and reload FreePBX.

Choosing VoIP Providers. 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 and uncheck the Disable Trunk checkbox. 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.

Incredible PBX includes preconfigured trunk setups for all of your favorite trunk providers. Just plug in your credentials and activate the trunks you need. In less than a minute, you’re done. Here’s the Incredible PBX Top 20 Trunk List with some reasons why these providers made our short list:

  • AxVoice ($14.99/mo. Business Plan; $16.58/mo. Unlimited Calls to 45 Countries)
  • CallCentric (Good International Calling Rates)
  • DIDforSale (20 channels per DID; unlimited DID calls for $8.99/mo.)
  • ENUM
  • FlowRoute (Good International Calling Rates)
  • FreeNum
  • Future-Nine (Supports CallerID Spoofing)
  • Google Voice (Free DIDs and free U.S./Canada calling)
  • IPkall (Free SIP/IAX DIDs)
  • Les.net (Supports CallerID Spoofing; very low rates)
  • LocalPhone (Dirt-cheap DIDs and calling rates worldwide; Free iNum DID)
  • Simon Telephonics (Free SIP-to-GoogleVoice Gateway)
  • SIPgate (Free residential DIDs sometimes)
  • Skype (Free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide)
  • Teliax (Unlimited inbound DID $5/mo.)
  • Vitelity (Our supporter and the Best in the Business!)
  • VoIPms (CallerID spoofing; Free iNum calling; Very low rates)
  • VoIPMyWay (Residential Unlimited: $15.50/mo. Business Unlimited: $40/mo.)
  • VoIPStreet (Free DID)

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 Settings, General Settings and scroll to the bottom of the screen. To configure emails to notify you of incoming voicemails, go to Applications, 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 Final Word About Security. In case you couldn’t tell, 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. Finally, visit the PIAF Forums regularly. You’ll be surprised what you can learn in 10 minutes of browsing. Be safe!

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
  • 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 – 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)
  • 3-3-3 – Look up a definition for any word or term
  • 9-4-9 – Weather forecast for any city in the world
  • 9-5-0 – Retrieve stock report by stock symbol
  • 9-5-1 – Latest Google News headlines
  • Dial *68 – Schedule a hotel-style wakeup call from any extension
  • 1-204-666-1001 – PIAF Support Conference Bridge (Conf#: 1091881)
  • 882*1061VoIP Users Conference every Friday at Noon (EST)

PBX in a Flash SQLite Registry. We want to introduce you to the 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 recently completed.

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. To Philippe Sultan and the rest of the Asterisk development team, thank you for making Jabber jabber with Asterisk. Wish you were still involved! To Leif Madsen, thanks for your pioneering work with Gtalk and Jabber which got this ball rolling. To Philippe Lindheimer, Tony Lewis, and the rest of the FreePBX development team, thanks for FreePBX 2.10 which really makes Asterisk shine. To Lefteris Zafiris, thank you for making Flite and all of the Google TTS and STT utilities work with Asterisk 1.8 thereby preserving all of the Nerd Vittles text-to-speech applications while allowing us to add dozens of new ones. To Darren Sessions, thanks for whipping app_swift into shape and restoring Cepstral and commercial TTS applications to the land of the living. The new all-in-one installer is awesome. To all of our pals in the PBX Open Source Software Alliance (POSSA) that develop and maintain some our favorite Asterisk apps, you’re unbelievable! To Andrew Nagy, thanks for all you do and especially for keeping Google Voice humming along in FreePBX. And to our pal, Tom King, we couldn’t have done it without you. You rolled up your sleeves and really made CentOS 6.2 and Asterisk 1.8 sit up and bark. No one will quite understand what an endeavor that is until they try it themselves. CentOS 6 implementations of Asterisk are few and far between, and Tom has made it look incredibly easy. It wasn’t! And, last but not least, to all of our pioneers and beta testers who spent their Independence Day and many other days testing this new release, THANK YOU!

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, July 9, 2012

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! In fact, there is a thread dedicated to support of Incredible PBX 4.0. Please have a look and post your support questions there. Unlike some forums, ours is extremely friendly and is supported by literally hundreds of Asterisk gurus and thousands of ordinary users just like you. You won’t have to wait long for an answer to your question.

Weather Alert. If you’re already using the Nerd Vittles Weather Applications including Weather by ZIP Code and Weather by Airport Code, you may have noticed that the National Weather Service "improved" things over the Fourth of July holiday. Consequently, neither app worked any longer. The fixes now have been posted on the PIAF Forum and can be downloaded at your convenience. Incredible PBX 4.0 already includes the updates.

Astricon 2012. Astricon 2012 will be in Atlanta at the Sheraton beginning October 23 through October 25. We hope to see many of you there. We called Atlanta home for over 25 years so we’d love to show you around. Be sure to tug on my sleeve and mention you’d like a free PIAF Thumb Drive. We’ll have a bunch of them to pass out to our loyal supporters. Nerd Vittles readers also can save 20% on your registration by using coupon code: AC12VIT.

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

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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.

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  1. First time posting & just wanted to thank you guys for opening my eyes. 8) I have been a Windows guys all my life. Just wanted to let you know I have been following along for the last 3 months & I have to be honest. I have barely slept. Thank you Ward & others for for inspiring me & others. I am still a Linux rookie but am getting pretty good & wish I started years ago. Just discovered you a few months ago & out of many re-installs, snapshots thru ESXi & now I have purchased a few atom PCs because of these projects. You have me seriously hooked & from what I have read in all the forums, many others too!

    Keep up the amazing work & please keep these amazing projects coming. If there is anything I can do to help please email & let me know. Just wanted to also add I purchased a voip key from Dell Voice for all those Canadians out there. $56 after tax & all the big cities free. That gets you voip key & number.

    Windows guy, converted… thanks to this bunch 😉

    Ps. I have several builds installed on several different machines. Just took a clonezilla of my previous build & had to test Incredible PBX 4 as soon as I seen the article. 🙂 Got it installed & working beautifully so far. Also installed Incredfax2 & google credentials all plugged in & testing well so far. Will have to do some more customizations now & set everything back up. Will let you know if I run into any issues.

  2. During the install process there is a warning that Incredible PBX will only work with FreePBX 2.9. Is this correct? I really would like to install FreePBX 2.10.

    [WM: You’re using the wrong installer. Follow along with the installation steps in the Incredible PBX 4.0 article to use FreePBX 2.10.]

  3. At the bottom of this page http://pbxinaflash.com/vm/ there are some notes about eliminating choppy sound on a virtual install by using a special kernel tuned for VMware. It was mentioned that this was for Asterisk 1.4….. does still work for 1.8.13 or is there another updated kernel for the newer version of asterisk?

    [WM: Special kernel no longer required with CentOS 6.]

  4. I have a current PIAF-Purple install with RentPBX already with FreePBX 2.10…never installed Incredible PBX 4. I have 6 active extensions on the system and it is in use by 1 location at this time. Any way to upgrade?

    [WM: You can run the Incredible PBX 4 installer, but you’d lose all of your existing extensions. Instead you would end up with extension 501 and 701-715 with all new passwords. If you don’t mind the minor reconfiguration, everything should be fine.]

  5. As per the instructions, FreePBX 2.10 is required for IncrediblePBX 4.0. However, I have noticed that there are still screenshots of FreePBX prior to 2.10. Does that indicate that older verions of FreePBX are unoffically workable with IncrediblePBX 4?

    [WM: Older versions of FreePBX won’t work with Incredible PBX 4.0. Sorry.]

  6. Thanks for the new PIAF image and all of your hard work. FreePBX 2.10 is using a really goofy web interface. Is there any way for me to revert to the old "theme"? I’m surprised that the GV plugin is still working. Anyway, thanks again! I will be donating again soon.

  7. I have some feedback about that atom computer. We had one at work. It was briefly used for some other light duty computing. Then it sat in our office for a while un-used. I decided to install PIAF on it because it just so happened you mentioned it in your article. However when I plugged the power in, the power supply LED started flashing as though it had a dead short. I took the computer apart and probed lots of the logic board looking for a dead short. I never did find a dead dead short, but I found that when I pulled up on the fan/heat sync assembly the board would try to boot farther. I went ahead and eliminated everything from that board, including the battery, speaker heat sync and everything. It still made the power supply go into protection. I noticed from the start that the logic board had warped toward the heat sync. The springs seemed to put too much pressure on the board so it warped and eventually touched the board somewhere and shorted it out. In my opinion, and my background is mostly in hardware… This is a design flaw. The case should have more screws to hold the logic board down to prevent this warping effect.

    [WM: Sorry. Sounds more like a defective unit rather than a design flaw. We’ve used a number of them for years with zero problems.]

  8. Got it up and running. Strange issue with Avaya 9650 SIP phone though(on any firmware), none of the call controls like hold, conference, transfer work. They all worked in 2.9 with 3.0, but not 2.10 with 4.0. I’m willing to work with someone on it, and logs are pretty fruitless, I’m afraid. just shows MOH going on for a split second. Softphone’s work fine.

  9. Don’t follow the posted instructions

    Download from sourceforge.net

    32 bit PIAF2 version which is CentOS 6.2

    Then choose PIAF 2.10 from the setup; Note that the setup tells you to please choose 2.9 (but that was for Incredible PBX 3)

    Then after setup you have to run:

    cd /root
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incrediblepbx4.x
    chmod +x incrediblepbx4.x

    If Asterisk is broken when you finish, run:


  10. First off I want to say, this is an AWESOME Resource for us just breaking into the PBX world.
    I’d also like to give a big thanks to Byron above, who’s advice to run update-programs and update-fixes saved me from freaking out too much when the base install kept throwing errors with asterisk erroring out and not restarting. That seemed to do the trick!
    I installed the incrediblepbx on my raspberry pi as well, and now have it installed at my parents house, so I’m only an extension away from free calls to them whenever I (or more often the case) they decide to call and talk!

  11. Two simple questions:
    1) Why Incredible PBX is better than FreePBX distro?
    2) Is it possible deploy a "private" cloud solution with Incredible PBX installed on a "central" server to which a number of "branch offices" – with max 10, 15 extension each – are connected by means a, single, commercial ADSL (tipically in Italy with max 200 kbps in upload)?
    In other words, the branch office’s extensions can register with the "Central" cloud IncrediblePBX server using the single commercial ADSL and than place internal calls (from one extension to the others within the same branch office) without using the ADSL connection?

    [WM: 1) Compare them for yourself. We’re biased. 😉 2) Take a look at our RentPBX writeup if you’re considering Cloud Computing. They’re the best in the business and offer an unbeatable deal for PBX in a Flash and Incredible PBX users.]

  12. recently i have installed piaf and incredible pbx4.* with skype2 on x86 platform. it is working wonderful.now i want to install a2billing
    how can i do this ?

  13. I believe they have dropped the a2billing script from Incredible PBX.

    I myself tried both purple and green Amazon AMI’s and neither one (incredible 10 or 11 came with the install-a2billing script)

    I rented a rentpbx a2billing cloud server and it had an outdated non-updatable PBIAF install with Asterisk 1.4.

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