If you’re new to the VoIP world and want to kick the tires to see what you’re missing, then today’s one minute setup is for you. You can use almost any desktop computer you already own to bring up the VirtualBox® edition of Incredible PBX® 2022.
If you’ve followed Nerd Vittles over the years, you already know that VirtualBox from Oracle® is one of our favorite platforms. Once VirtualBox is installed on your desktop computer, adding Incredible PBX is a snap. Download the latest Incredible PBX 2022 image from SourceForge, double-click on the downloaded image, check the initialize MAC address box, and boom. In less than a minute, your PBX is ready to use with the very latest Rocky 8 platform and Asterisk® 18 build plus all of the FreePBX® 15 GPL modules. There are no hidden fees or crippleware to hinder your use of Incredible PBX for as long as you like. If you set up an account with our Platinum provider, Skyetel, you can start making calls in minutes. Of course, the Incredible PBX feature set is included as well which brings you nearly three dozen applications for Asterisk® that will revolutionize your communications platform. Speech-to-text, voice recognition, and a Siri-like telephony interface are as close as your SIP phone.
Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox
Oracle’s virtual machine platform inherited from Sun is amazing. It’s not only free, but it’s pure GPL2 code. VirtualBox gives you a virtual machine platform that runs on top of any desktop operating system. In terms of limitations, we haven’t found any. We even tested this on an Atom-based Windows 7 machine with 2GB of RAM, and it worked without a hiccup. So step #1 today is to download one or more of the VirtualBox installers from VirtualBox.org or Oracle.com. Our recommendation is to put all of the 100MB installers on a 4GB thumb drive.1 Then you’ll have everything in one place whenever and wherever you happen to need it. Once you’ve downloaded the software, simply install it onto your favorite desktop machine. Accept all of the default settings, and you’ll be good to go. For more details, here’s a link to the Oracle VM VirtualBox User Manual.
NOTE: The Incredible PBX 2022 VM requires a VirtualBox 6.x platform. Adjust screen size in View -> Virtual Screen.
Installing the Incredible PBX 2022 Image
To begin, download the Incredible PBX 2022 image (3.5 GB) onto your desktop.
Next, double-click on the Incredible PBX .ova image on your desktop. Be sure to check the box to initialize the MAC address of the image if you’re using an older version of VirtualBox. Then click Import. Once the import is finished, you’ll see a new Incredible PBX 2022 virtual machine in the VM List of the VirtualBox Manager Window. Let’s make a couple of one-time adjustments to the Incredible PBX configuration to account for possible differences in sound and network cards on different host machines.
(1) Click once on the Incredible PBX virtual machine in the VM List. Then (2) click the Settings button. In System tab, verify Hardware Clock in UTC Time is checked. In the Audio tab, check the Enable Audio option and choose your sound card. In the Network tab for Adapter 1, check the Enable Network Adapter option. From the Attached to pull-down menu, choose Bridged Adapter. Then select your network card from the Name list. Then click OK. That’s all the configuration that is necessary for Incredible PBX 2022.
Running Incredible PBX 2022 in VirtualBox
Once you’ve imported and configured the Incredible PBX 2022 Virtual Machine, you’re ready to go. Highlight the Incredible PBX 2022 virtual machine in the VM List on the VirtualBox Manager Window and click the Start button. The standard Linux boot procedure will begin and, within a few seconds, you’ll get the familiar Linux login prompt. During the bootstrap procedure, you’ll see a couple of dialogue boxes pop up that explain the keystrokes to move back and forth between your host operating system desktop and your virtual machine. Remember, you still have full access to your desktop computer. Incredible PBX is merely running as a task in a VM window. Always gracefully halt Incredible PBX just as you would on any computer.
Here’s what you need to know. To work in the Incredible PBX virtual machine, just left-click your mouse while it is positioned inside the VM window. To return to your host operating system desktop, press the right Option key on Windows machines or the left Command key on any Mac. On Linux desktops, press the right Ctrl key. For other operating systems, read the dialogue boxes for instructions on moving around. To access the Linux CLI, login as root with the default password: password. Change your root password when you are prompted to do so. Then update your admin password for web access: ./admin-pw-change. Also update your admin password for web applications: ./apache-pw-change. You’ll need these admin passwords to access the web GUI to manage your PBX as well as to use the AsteriDex and Reminders web apps. The above password updates are automatically requested when you first activate the virtual machine. You can update all of your other passwords using the scripts provided in /root.
Setting the Date and Time with VirtualBox
On some platforms, VirtualBox has a nasty habit of mangling the date and time of your virtual machine. Verify that you have enabled the Hardware Clock in UTC Time option for your virtual machine as documented above. If pbxstatus still shows an incorrect time, manually set the date and time and then update the hardware clock. Here’s how assuming 08130709 is the month (August), day (13), and correct time (7:09 a.m.) of your server:
date 08130709 clock -w
Configuring Skyetel for Incredible PBX 2022
If you’d like to try out the Skyetel service at no charge, here’s the drill. Sign up for Skyetel service to take advantage of the Nerd Vittles specials. First, complete the Prequalification Form here. You then will be provided a link to the Skyetel site to complete your registration. Once you have registered on the Skyetel site and your account has been activated, open a support ticket and request the $10 credit for your account by referencing the Nerd Vittles special offer. Once you are satisfied with the service, fund your account as desired, and Skyetel will match your deposit of up to $250 simply by opening another ticket. That gets you up to $500 of half-price calling. Credit is limited to one per person, company, and address. Effective 10/1/2023, $25/month minimum spend required.
Skyetel does not use SIP registrations to make connections to your PBX. Instead, Skyetel utilizes Endpoint Groups to identify which servers can communicate with the Skyetel service. An Endpoint Group consists of a Name, an IP address, a UDP or TCP port for the connection, and a numerical Priority for the group. For incoming calls destined to your PBX, DIDs are associated with an Endpoint Group to route the calls to your PBX. For outgoing calls from your PBX, a matching Endpoint Group is required to authorize outbound calls through the Skyetel network. Thus, the first step in configuring the Skyetel side for use with your PBX is to set up an Endpoint Group. Here’s a typical setup for Incredible PBX 2022:
- Name: MyPBX
- Priority: 1
- IP Address: PBX-Public-IP-Address
- Port: 5061
- Protocol: UDP
- Description: my.incrediblepbx.com
To receive incoming PSTN calls, you’ll need at least one DID. On the Skyetel site, you acquire DIDs under the Phone Numbers tab. You have the option of Porting in Existing Numbers (free for the first 60 days after you sign up for service) or purchasing new ones under the Buy Phone Numbers menu option.
Once you have acquired one or more DIDs, navigate to the Local Numbers or Toll Free Numbers tab and specify the desired SIP Format and Endpoint Group for each DID. Add SMS/MMS and E911 support, if desired. Call Forwarding and Failover are also supported. That completes the VoIP setup on the Skyetel side. System Status is always available here.
If VirtualBox is sitting behind a router or firewall on a private LAN, you’ll need to forward ports UDP 5060, 5061, and 10000-20000 in your router to the private LAN address of your Incredible PBX server. Also edit your extensions in the GUI and set NAT=YES in the Advanced tab of every extension. In Settings -> Asterisk SIP Settings, click the Detect Network Settings button and then Submit your changes and reload the Asterisk dialplan when prompted.
Finally, login to the FreePBX web GUI as admin using the password you assigned when you set up the virtual machine. Navigate to Connectivity -> Trunks and edit the Skyetel-pjSIP trunk. Change the Disable Trunk setting from Yes to No. Then click Submit and reload your dialplan when prompted. That’s it.
Configuring VoIP.ms for Incredible PBX 2022
To sign up for VoIP.ms service, may we suggest you use our signup link so that Nerd Vittles gets a referral credit for your signup. Once your account is set up, you’ll need to set up a SIP SubAccount and, for Authentication Type, choose Static IP Authentication and enter your Incredible PBX 2020 server’s public IP address. For Transport, choose UDP. For Device Type, choose Asterisk, IP PBX, Gateway or VoIP Switch. Order a DID in their web panel, and then point the DID to the SubAccount you just created. Be sure to specify atlanta1.voip.ms as the POP from which to receive incoming calls. For more details about VoIP.ms, see this Nerd Vittles tutorial.
Configuring SendMail with Incredible PBX 2022
In order to receive voicemails by email delivery, outbound mail functionality from your server obviously is required. If you’ve deployed your server in your home, your Internet Service Provider probably blocks downstream mail servers such as Incredible PBX from sending mail. This is done to reduce SPAM. In this case, you will need to configure SendMail using either your ISP or Gmail as an SMTP Relay Host. We have built aninstall script to set up a SmartHost using Gmail. Simply run it and insert your Gmail username and password or App Password.
cd /root wget http://incrediblepbx.com/enable-gmail-smarthost-rocky8.tar.gz tar zxvf enable-gmail-smarthost-rocky8.tar.gz rm -f enable-gmail-smarthost-rocky8.tar.gz ./enable-gmail-smarthost-for-sendmail
Configuring a Softphone for Incredible PBX 2022
We’re in the home stretch now. You can connect virtually any kind of telephone to your new PBX. Plain Old Phones require an analog telephone adapter (ATA) which can be a separate board in your computer from a company such as Digium. Or it can be a standalone SIP device such as the Incredible PBX SIP phone. SIP phones can be connected directly so long as they have an IP address. These could be hardware devices or software devices such as the YateClient softphone. We’ll start with a free one today so you can begin making calls. You can find dozens of recommendations for hardware-based SIP phones both on Nerd Vittles and in the Incredible PBX Wiki when you’re ready to get serious about VoIP telephony.
We recommend YateClient for Windows which is free. Download it from here. Run YateClient once you’ve installed it and enter the credentials for the 701 extension on Incredible PBX. You can find them by navigating to Applicaations -> Extensions -> 701 in the FreePBX GUI.
Configuring Incredible PBX 2022 for VirtualBox
In order to take advantage of all the Incredible PBX applications, you’ll need to obtain IBM text-to-speech (TTS) and speech-to-text (STT) credentials as well as a (free) Application ID for Wolfram Alpha.
This Nerd Vittles tutorial will walk you through getting your IBM account set up and obtaining both your TTS and STT credentials. Be sure to write down BOTH sets of credentials which you’ll need in a minute. For home and SOHO use, IBM access and services are mostly FREE even though you must provide a credit card when signing up. The IBM signup process explains their pricing plans.
To use Wolfram Alpha, sign up for a free Wolfram Alpha API account. Just provide your email address and set up a password. It takes less than a minute. Log into your account and click on Get An App ID. Make up a name for your application and write down (and keep secret) your APP-ID code. That’s all there is to getting set up with Wolfram Alpha. If you want to explore costs for commercial use, there are links to let you get more information.
In addition to your Wolfram Alpha APPID, there are two sets of IBM credentials to plug into the Asterisk AGI scripts. Keep in mind that there are different usernames and passwords for the IBM Watson TTS and STT services. The TTS credentials will look like the following: $IBM_username and $IBM_password. The STT credentials look like this: $API_USERNAME and $API_PASSWORD. Don’t mix them up. 🙂
All of the scripts requiring credentials are located in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin so switch to that directory after logging into your server as root. Edit each of the following files and insert your TTS credentials in the variables already provided: nv-today2.php, ibmtts.php, and ibmtts2.php. Edit each of the following files and insert your STT credentials in the variables already provided: getquery.sh, getnumber.sh, and getnumber2.sh. Finally, edit 4747 and insert your Wolfram Alpha APPID.
Using AsteriDex with Incredible PBX
AsteriDex is a web-based dialer and address book application for Asterisk and Incredible PBX. It lets you store and manage phone numbers of all your friends and business associates in an easy-to-use SQLite3 database. You simply call up the application with your favorite web browser: http://pbx-ip-address/asteridex4/. When you click on a contact that you wish to call, AsteriDex first calls you at extension 701, and then AsteriDex connects you to your contact through another outbound call made using your default outbound trunk that supports numbers in the 1NXXNXXXXXX format.
Keeping FreePBX 15 Modules Current
We strongly recommend that you periodically update all of your FreePBX modules to eliminate bugs and to reduce security vulnerabilities. From the Linux CLI, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:
rm -f /tmp/* fwconsole ma upgradeall fwconsole reload /root/sig-fix /root/sig-fix
Taking Incredible PBX 2022 for a Test Drive
You can take Incredible PBX on a test drive by dialing D-E-M-O (3366) from any phone connected to your PBX.
With Allison’s Demo IVR, you can choose from the following options:
- 0. Chat with Operator — connects to extension 701
- 1. AsteriDex Voice Dialer – say "Delta Airlines" or "American Airlines" to connect
- 2. Conferencing – log in using 1234 as the conference PIN
- 3. Wolfram Alpha Almanac – say "What planes are flying overhead"
- 4. Lenny – The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare
- 5. Today’s News Headlines — courtesy of Yahoo! News
- 6. Weather by ZIP Code – enter any 5-digit ZIP code for today’s weather
- 7. Today in History — courtesy of OnThisDay.com
- 8. Chat with Nerd Uno — courtesy of SIP URI connection to 3CX iPhone Client
- 9. DISA Voice Dialer — say any 10-digit number to be connected
- *. Current Date and Time — courtesy of Incredible PBX
We Missed You During February
If you missed us last month, we missed you, too. We took a brief timeout to get some new eyeballs. Ah, the miracles of modern medicine. As the old song says, "I Can See Clearly Now." It’s been 35 years since I saw the world without the need for glasses. It’s good to be back.
Originally published: Monday, March 7, 2022
Need help with Asterisk? Visit the VoIP-info Forum.
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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.
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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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