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The Incredible PBX: Adding Remotes, Preserving Security

Unlike most Asterisk®-based PBXs which are insecure as installed and leave it to you to implement sufficient safeguards to preserve the integrity of your system, the Incredible PBX is delivered with rock-solid, air-tight security already in place. Because it is designed to operate behind a hardware- based firewall, what you'll be doing when you want to add functionality with the Incredible PBX is loosening security rather than tightening it. The trick, of course, is to do it in a way that doesn't compromise the overall integrity of your system. As delivered, the Incredible PBX relies upon four layers of network security: a hardware-based firewall of your choice1, a preconfigured IPtables software-based Linux firewall, preconfigured Fail2Ban to monitor your logs for suspicious activity and to block specific IP addresses when abuse is detected, and random passwords for all extensions and DISA connections.

If you installed the Incredible PBX using SIPgate as the intermediate provider with Google Voice, then your hardware-based firewall should have no ports opened and forwarded to your server. If you used IPkall, then only UDP 4569 has been opened and forwarded to your server. And the Incredible PBX IPtables setup for IAX restricts access to just a few IP addresses to support IPkall.

There are obviously situations in which you will want or need additional connectivity. The most likely one involves activation of SIP telephones at remote locations, such as a branch office, or Grandma's house or a relative in college. The other obvious use is with cellphones and PDAs that support SIP clients such as Android phones, iPhones, and iPads.2

What we'd recommend you not do is open the SIP floodgate to your PBX by providing unrestricted inbound SIP access, but we'll show you how if you really want or need this functionality. As desirable as this can be, it is accompanied by an array of security issues that really are not worth the risks unless you know what you're doing and you're willing to stay on top of security updates and keep your system patched.

Let's first tackle how to provide limited inbound SIP functionality without selling the farm. If the remote site has a fixed IP address, the procedure to allow remote access to your server is fairly straight-forward: just map the SIP ports on the hardware-based firewall to your server (UDP 5000:5082 and UDP 10000:20000) and then restrict SIP access using IPtables to the remote IP address as well as the subnet of your private LAN. You can decipher your private subnet by running status. If your server's IP address is 192.168.0.123, then your private subnet would be 192.168.0.0. The IPtables firewall settings are stored in /etc/sysconfig/iptables. Edit that file and find the line that looks like this:

-A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 5000:5082 -j ACCEPT

Delete or comment out this entry with a leading # and insert new entries that look like the following using the public IP address(es) you wish to add plus the private subnet:

-A INPUT -p udp -m udp -s 141.146.20.10 --dport 5000:5082 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p udp -m udp -s 141.146.20.11 --dport 5000:5082 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p udp -m udp -s 192.168.0.0/255.255.0.0 --dport 5000:5082 -j ACCEPT


After making the changes, save the file: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter. Then restart IPtables: service iptables restart.

Unfortunately, in many situations, the remote phone or cellphone uses an Internet connection with a dynamic IP address. So we don't know the actual IP address that will be assigned. There are a number of solutions to this problem, and we'll rank them in our order of preference. First, spend the $200 and install another Incredible PBX at the remote site. Then the two servers can be linked with IAX connections between the servers making connectivity between the systems totally transparent. Second, install VPN routers at both sites and use a private IP address to establish connectivity with the host system. In this situation, you will have the equivalent of a fixed IP address for the remote device which makes it the equivalent of the fixed IP address solution above. Third, install OpenVPN on your host system and purchase a SIP phone or cellphone that supports VPN connectivity. Most of the high-end SNOM SIP phones have this functionality as do Android phones, iPhones, and iPads. With this setup you also have the equivalent of a fixed IP address, even though it's on a virtual private network. Fourth, talk to the Internet service provider at your remote site and obtain the range of IP addresses that DHCP hands out to those using their services... or just make an educated guess.3

BEFORE Activating Full SIP Connectivity. OK. We hear you. You travel for a living, and the IP address of your cellphone changes hourly, all day, every day of the year. Then, yes, you are a candidate for a full-fledged Asterisk server with unlimited SIP access. Before covering how, let's review what responsibilities go with running such a server. Bear in mind that one compromised SIP password or otherwise vulnerable application on your server (including Asterisk, FreePBX, SSH, and hundreds of others), and you may very well be the proud owner of a whopping phone bill. And we're not talking hundreds of dollars. It could very well be tens of thousands of dollars. And it doesn't take weeks or months. It could be a few hours.

Baker's Dozen SIP Security Checklist

1. Keep Asterisk Current & Patched
2. Keep FreePBX Current & Patched
3. Make Frequent Backups
4. Visit PBX in a Flash Forums Regularly
5. Subscribe to PBX in a Flash RSS Feed
6. Secure Alphanumeric Extension Passwords
7. Secure DISA, VMail, Root, FreePBX Passwords
8. Lock Down Extensions with Deny/Permit
9. Turn Off Recurring Payments with Providers
10. Restrict Trunks to 1-2 Simultaneous Calls
11. Tighten Dialplan by Removing Wildcards
12. Eliminate Intl & Toll Calls With Providers
13. Check FreePBX Call Logs Daily for Abuse

Baker's Dozen SIP Security Checklist. Before opening the floodgates, let's review what you need to do. First, you'll need to run the very latest version of Asterisk... all the time. This means you need to monitor asterisk.org, and keep your system up to date by running update-scripts, update-source, and update-fixes regularly. The default version of Asterisk on current PBX in a Flash and Incredible PBX builds is extremely reliable, but it contains SIP and IAX vulnerabilities which should not be exposed directly to the Internet! Second, you need to run the latest version of FreePBX and apply all patches as they are released. Third, you need to make frequent backups appreciating that sometimes the Asterisk and FreePBX developers get things horribly wrong, and stuff that used to work no longer does. Believe it or not, they're human! Fourth, you need to visit the PBX in a Flash Forums daily and keep abreast of security alerts and bug reports on CentOS, Asterisk, and FreePBX. Fifth, you need to subscribe to the PBX in a Flash RSS Feed which provides regular security alerts when there are reported problems. Sixth, you need to really secure your extension passwords with very long, complex alphanumeric passwords. Ditto for your root and FreePBX passwords! Seventh, for DISA and voicemail, these passwords need to be numeric, complex, and extra long. Eighth, you need to lock down as many of your extensions as possible with deny/permit settings to restrict the IP addresses of those extensions. If you only have one or two remote SIP extensions with dynamic IP addresses, then all of the rest should have deny/permit entries! Ninth, turn off recurring payments with all of your telephony providers and keep minimal funds available in all of your accounts. This means you'll have to monitor these accounts to make sure they are not deactivated for lack of funds. Tenth, restrict all of your trunks to one or at most two simultaneous calls to reduce your call exposure in the event someone breaks into your system. Eleventh, tighten up your Trunk Dial Rules and eliminate any entries that would permit calls to anywhere in the world! If you don't regularly make international calls, there's absolutely no reason to have such entries in your dialplan. If you still have Ma Bell PSTN lines, this is even more important. In fact, consider eliminating long distance access to all of these trunks. Twelfth, where possible, configure your provider accounts to eliminate international and toll calls of all varieties. Finally, check your FreePBX call log every day to make certain no one is making calls on your nickel.

If you are unwilling or unable to perform these Baker's Dozen steps while continuing to monitor the sites provided and recheck your setup regularly (at least every week), don't activate unrestricted SIP access to your server.

Other Options. Consider using an intermediate provider such as voip.ms to provide SIP URI access to your server. Keep in mind that having a registered connection between your server and a VoIP provider alleviates the need to punch a hole in your firewall. So the idea here is to sign up for an inexpensive voip.ms account and set up the trunk connection with your server as either an IAX or SIP account with an always-on connection. Then voip.ms gives you the option of activating a SIP URI as part of a subaccount setup. Just create an internal extension on their server, and this will generate a SIP URI, e.g. 123456666@sip.us4.voip.ms where 12345 is your voip.ms account number and 6666 is the internal extension you created. This lets you connect directly with your server through the SIP URI from anywhere once you map this subaccount to an extension or IVR on your server. The charge for SIP URI calls is only $.001 per minute. The last step is to use this SIP URI in your remote SIP phone to connect back to your server. You can take advantage of the full range of Asterisk functions once these calls reach your server including IVRs and DISA. The approach is not only simple to implement, but it's also safe and economical.

There are some other alternatives as well. Use something like Google Voice or Ooma to redirect calls to your cellphone when you're traveling. Or buy an Ooma for Grandma or a MagicJack for Joe College. These options also are safe, secure, and quite inexpensive.

Just Released: Remote Phone Meets Travelin' Man

Activating Inbound SIP on Your Server. If you still are hell-bent on opening SIP access to your server, the Incredible PBX already is preconfigured to support it. Just map the SIP ports on your hardware- based firewall to your server (UDP 5000:5082 and UDP 10000:20000). Once activated, anyone can reach you through the following SIP URI using the actual public IP address of your server: mothership@12.34.56.78. You also can adjust the e164 trunk in FreePBX to route inbound calls to any destination desired. Then register your phone number on e164.org and others can call you at no cost using your traditional phone number. Enjoy!


The Incredible PBX: Basic Installation Guide

Adding Skype to The Incredible PBX

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

Adding Multiple Google Voice Trunks to The Incredible PBX

Remote Phone Meets Travelin' Man with The Incredible PBX

Continue reading Basic Installation Guide, Part II.

Continue reading Basic Installation Guide, Part III.

Continue reading Basic Installation Guide, 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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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. We, of course, continue to recommend a dLink Router/Firewall. Low Cost: $35 WBR-2310  Better: DIR-825  Best: DGL-4500 []
  2. We recommend the free SipAgent client for Android devices and the commercial Acrobits Softphone for iPods and iPads. []
  3. Adding an entry like the following would dramatically reduce the likelihood of a SIP attack: -A INPUT -p udp -m udp -s 141.146.0.0/255.255.0.0 --dport 5000:5082 -j ACCEPT []

The Incredible PBX: Adding Multiple Google Voice Trunks

About the only drawback to Google Voice's free U.S. and Canada calling with the Incredible PBX has been the fact that you could only make one outbound call at a time... at least on Google's nickel. So today we'll fix that, and you can enjoy simultaneous outbound calls using as many Google Voice trunks as you have signed up for. If you're in the U.S., you're eligible and no invitation is required. Just head over to the Google Voice site to register.

Today's Incredible PBX enhancement also will permit you to set up multiple inbound DIDs for different area codes across the country which may save your out-of-town friends and relatives a little change when they want to contact you. And to think we had $200 a month phone bills in our college days just to call the hometown honey. The wonders of modern technology!

Prerequisites. Here's what you'll need to get started today. First, you need a functioning Incredible PBX. So start by installing Incredible PBX. Second, you'll need a second Google Voice account. And finally, you'll need an additional SIPgate One number.

Installation Assumptions. We'll walk you through the steps to get a second account activated with the Incredible PBX. If you need more than two, just repeat the steps below and substitute a new number for 2 in every step. As with baking cookies, if you skip a step, the cookies taste like crap. 🙂 For security reasons, we're using an additional SIPgate One account for the second setup. This avoids having to open up SIP access in your firewall which would require additional locking down of IPtables to specific SIP IP addresses.

Setting Up New SIPgate and Google Voice Accounts. As was true with the initial Incredible PBX setup, the first steps in activating a second line are to create and configure your SIPgate account and then tie that number into your new Google Voice account. For ease of reference, we've repeated below the pertinent portions of the original Nerd Vittles article.

Configuring SIPgate. If you live in the U.S. and have a cellphone, we'd recommend the SIPgate option since no adjustment of your hardware-based firewall is required. Otherwise, skip to the IPkall setup below. Step #1 is to request a SIPgate invite at this link. You'll need to enter your U.S. cellphone number to receive the SMS message with your invitation code. Don't worry. You can erase your cellphone number from your account once it is set up and working properly. Once you receive the invite code, enter it and choose the option to set up a residential account. Next, choose a phone number and write it down. The area code really doesn't matter because Google Voice is the only one that will be calling this number after we get things set up. For now, leave your cellphone number in place so that you can receive your confirmation call from Google Voice in the next step. After that, you'll want to revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers. Finally, click on the Settings link and write down your SIP ID and SIP Password. You'll need these in a few minutes to complete the configuration of The Incredible PBX. Now place a call to your new SIPgate number and make certain that your cellphone rings before proceeding.

Configuring Google Voice. Once you've signed up for a new Google Voice account, choose a telephone number and plug in your new SIPgate number as the destination for your Google Voice calls and choose Office as the Phone Type.

Google Voice will place a test call to your number which SIPgate will forward to your cellphone. Enter the two-digit code that's displayed when you're prompted to do so.

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.

Once you've confirmed your Google Voice number, revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers including your cell number. Be sure you've written down your SIPid and SIPpassword while you're there!

FreePBX Overview. Don't be intimidated by the FreePBX setup instructions which follow. All we're really doing is cloning the original pieces of information that made Google Voice work in the initial Incredible PBX setup. For most of the items, we'll just tack a 2 onto the names previously used. Nothing prevents your adding 3, 4, and 5 accounts down the road if you have additional Google Voice and SIPgate accounts to support each iteration.

To begin, use a web browser to open FreePBX on your Incredible PBX. Using the actual private IP address of your server, go to the following link: http://192.168.0.33/admin.

Adding Parking Lot Slots. As originally configured, the Incredible PBX provides 5 parking lot slots for use on your PBX. These are numbers that let you temporarily "park" calls so that they can be picked up on another extension. One of those slots (75) is used by the Incredible PBX to place outbound Google Voice calls. If you want the ability to place simultaneous outbound Google Voice calls using multiple trunks, then we need additional parking lot slots for each simultaneous call. We recommend bumping up the number of parking lot slots from 5 to 9. Then you can use 75-79 for up to 5 simultaneous outbound calls with Google Voice. Here's how. In FreePBX, choose Setup, Parking Lot, Number of Slots: 9. Your entries should look like this screen shot:

When you've made the change, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Creating Additional Custom Destinations. You'll recall that Google Voice actually places two calls when you make an outbound call. First, Google Voice calls you back. Then Google Voice places a call to your desired destination. The callback to you is handled transparently in Incredible PBX using pygooglevoice and Asterisk®'s parking lot feature. To handle multiple simultaneous calls, you'll need additional custom destinations. Here's how. In FreePBX, choose Tools, Custom Destinations, Add Custom Destination. Then make your new entries for custom-park2 look like this:

When you've made the entries and carefully checked them, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Creating Additional Inbound Routes. Now we need an additional Inbound Route to handle the second incoming call generated by Google Voice. Here's how. In FreePBX, choose Setup, Inbound Routes, Add Incoming Route, gv-ringback2. Make the entries shown in the screenshot below substituting your 10-digit SIPgate/IPkall and Google Voice numbers in the appropriate fields. Be sure to choose Custom GV-Park2 as the Custom Destination for this Inbound Route. Check your entries carefully, a typo here will kill completion of the calls!

When you've made the entries and carefully checked them, click Submit, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Creating Additional Custom Trunks. With every telephony provider, Asterisk needs a Trunk. In the case of Google Voice, we need a Custom Trunk for each Google Voice number to be used on your Incredible PBX. Think of a trunk as the bucket where Asterisk dumps an outbound call for processing. Two calls require two buckets. Three calls, three buckets. And so on. Well, that's almost true. Some providers can handle multiple calls, but Google Voice doesn't. So we need to make two changes in your trunk setup. First, we'll adjust the original Custom Trunk for Google Voice and limit it to one simultaneous call at a time. Then, we'll add a new Custom Trunk to support the second Google Voice account. Here's how.

In FreePBX, choose Setup, Trunks. In the right column, you'll see a list of all your existing trunks. Click on the second entry that looks like this: local/$OUTNUM$@ (custom). Be sure the Custom Dial String looks like what is shown below. If not, choose another trunk until you find the right one. Then make an entry of 1 in the Maximum Channels field:

When you've made the entry and carefully checked it, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Now we're ready to Add the additional Custom Trunk. In FreePBX, choose Setup, Trunks, Add Custom Trunk. Make your entries look like what's shown below:

When you've made the Maximum Channels and Custom Dial String entries shown above and carefully checked them, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Creating Additional Outbound Routes. FreePBX uses Outbound Routes to do just what the name implies: to route outbound calls to their destination. Outbound Routes are processed in the order in which they appear in the FreePBX Outbound Routes listing. We need to make three changes in the Outbound Routes processing to support a second Google Voice call path. First, we want to modify the existing Default Outbound Route to accommodate the second Google Voice account. Second, we want to add a new Outbound Route for the second Google Voice account so that calls can be placed directly with this route using a different dialing prefix. You'll recall that Google Voice calls in the Incredible PBX can optionally be dialed using the 48 prefix followed by a 10-digit number. The 48 spells GV on the phone key pad. So we'll add a new Outbound Route with a 482 (GV2) prefix which will tell Asterisk to route these calls out using the second Google Voice account. These prefixes can be anything you desire incidentally. Third, we'll need to move this new route UP the routes list so that it appears above and gets processed before the Default route. Here's how.

In FreePBX, choose Setup, Outbound Routes, Default. In the blank Trunk Sequence pulldown, choose the following entry: local/$OUTNUM#@custom-gv2. Now click the Add button. This should leave you with 3 outbound routes numbered 0, 1, and 2. Be sure your entries match the following:

When you've made the entry and carefully checked it, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Now we're ready to add a new Outbound Route to support a custom dialing prefix for the second Google Voice account. In FreePBX, choose Setup, Outbound Routes. In the Add Route form, make the following entries:

When you've made the entries, click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Finally, look at the listing of Routes in the Right Margin. Using the arrow beside GoogleVoice2, move it up until it is just beneath the GoogleVoice entry. Then click Apply Config Changes, Continue with Reload.

Adding Additional SIPgate Trunks. If you set up your Incredible PBX originally using IPkall, then there already will be a sipgate trunk that can be used for this second line. Otherwise, you'll need to create a new sipgate2 trunk and clone the setup from the original sipgate trunk. Within FreePBX, goto Setup, Trunks and either Add a new SIP trunk or edit the existing sipgate trunk if it isn't already in use. If this is a newly added trunk, enter sipgate2 as the Trunk Name. The PEER Details under Outgoing Settings should be added so they look like this (substituting your actual SIPid and SIPpassword that were obtained from the SIPgate registration page:

type=peer
username=SIPid
fromuser=SIPid
secret=SIPpassword
context=from-trunk
host=sipgate.com
fromdomain=sipgate.com
insecure=very
caninvite=no
canreinvite=no
nat=yes
disallow=all
allow=ulaw&alaw

Blank out any data that's entered in the Incoming Settings section of the form. Then enter a Registration String with your actual SIPid, SIPpassword, and 10-digit SIPgate phone number:

SIPid:SIPpassword@sipgate.com/SIPphonenumber

Check your entries carefully for typos. Then click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload.

Now is a good time to check and be sure the new SIPgate trunk registered with SIPgate. In FreePBX, choose Tools, Asterisk Info, SIP Info. Your newly created SIPgate trunk should display as Registered. If it says Request Sent, then you've got a typo in your credentials.

That takes care of all the FreePBX settings needed to support a second Google Voice number. Now we just need to add a chunk of dialplan code to Asterisk and restart Asterisk. Then you'll be ready to go. All of this is handled by a simple Nerd Vittles script so... not to worry! It's easy.

Adding Dialplan Code for Additional Trunks. Log into your server as root, and issue the following commands to download and run the dialplan configuration script. For future reference, be advised that there are configuration scripts for gv2, gv3, gv4, and gv5 with corresponding names.

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/configure-gv2
chmod +x configure-gv2
./configure-gv2

When prompted, enter your 10-digit Google Voice phone number, your Google Voice email address, your Google Voice password, and your 10-digit SIPgate RingBack number. Check your work and then press the Enter key to adjust your dialplan and reload Asterisk. You now have a 2-line Incredible PBX. Enjoy!

The Incredible PBX: Basic Installation Guide

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 Basic Installation Guide, Part II.

Continue reading Basic Installation Guide, Part III.

Continue reading Basic Installation Guide, 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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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...

Incredible PBX Now Does Incredible Backups… and Restores

Along with many of you, we have wrestled with getting reliable backups of our Asterisk®-based PBXs since the Asterisk@Home days. Flawless backups, of course, are worthless unless there's an accompanying flawless restore to get you back in business. Therein lies the rub. The number of minefields we've discovered along Restoration Way is legendary. A quick list includes incompatible hardware, changing device drivers, incompatible file storage systems, and on and on.

Update: Just released Incredible Backup 2 for PIAF2 systems.

What's really disturbing about all of this is that lack of adequate backups is the single component, in our opinion, that has kept open source PBXs from being a true match for commercial systems. People can't live without their phone systems... even if they're old and out of date. So, regardless of age, there has to be a way to bring your system back from the dead, or it's of little use in a production environment.

When we set out to create The Incredible PBX, one of our primary design goals was to come up with a system architecture that would let you use this new system for a decade. Yes, a decade! Not six months, not next year, but ten years from now your Incredible PBX would still be humming along. One way was to totally insulate the system from the Internet. Another key ingredient was rock-solid dependability. Remember that black phone in your grandma's house. It wasn't designed for replacement every six months. Nor was its underlying phone system. As the old adage goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

In order to reach these design goals, we not only needed a backup system but also a way to separate your critical data from the underlying hardware. Why? Because the hardware continues to change every six months. What this backup solution is not is a full disk backup. Every full system backup solution we've tried simply isn't reliable unless the hardware on the new system is virtually identical to the hardware on the old one, a most unlikely scenario two or more years down the road.

How It Works. The Incredible Backup and Restore works like this. You built a working Incredible PBX from a base PBX in a Flash install so we start there. To restore a system, you'll first reinstall PBX in a Flash on your new server. The actual version doesn't really matter so long as it works. And newer versions with the latest CentOS releases support newer hardware. This avoids most of the hardware pitfalls that usually accompany a failed restore process.

The next slippery slope was incompatible versions of FreePBX between your original system and your current server. We can always update Asterisk from source after the restore, but FreePBX was problematic because the structure of the MySQL database tables associated with different versions of FreePBX changes frequently. And your backup MySQL data might very well be in MySQL tables that don't match your original PBX in a Flash build. So Incredible Restore provides the option of first restoring the version of FreePBX that existed at the time you made your last backup.

Then there's the problem of incompatible network and email implementations. Incredible Restore provides options to let you choose whether to restore your old network and email settings. If your newly built PBX in a Flash server has functioning network and email connectivity, don't restore the old settings. Simple as that.

What we really care about is getting your data back including a functioning PBX. There's got to be a catch, right? For a pure VoIP PBX, everything should be fine. The gotcha is that there are hundreds of add-on cards to support all sorts of proprietary hardware as well as to access Ma Bell's PSTN network. You're on your own there. Just be sure you have copies of the software pieces needed to make your special hardware function again once we've completed the restore to your new server. The same goes for custom software such as Cepstral TTS and Amazon S3. The components necessary to reinstall these add-ons should still be in your /root directory after the restore so it's not really a big deal to put Humpty back together again. Our tutorial links are just above.

Before we get to the installation, we want to put in a plug for PogoPlug. Not only is this the best thing since sliced bread, but it doesn't cost much more. You add this $99 (if you hurry) device to your LAN at home, at your office, or at a friend's house. Then connect one to four USB hard drives, and you have your own Cloud Computing Solution that also happens to be absolutely perfect for Incredible Backups and Restores. In fact, the setup software can be installed as part of the restore process. And the software already is included with every Incredible PBX. Just insert your login credentials, and the PogoPlug disk drives (regardless of location) are transparently added in the /mnt/pogoplug directory tree.

It's GPL2! Last but not least, we've released both Incredible Backup and Incredible Restore as GPL2 open source modules. That means you not only can learn some bash scripting in your spare time but you also can embellish the scripts in any way you like to support your favorite add-ons. All we'd ask is that you upload a copy with your enhancements so that we can share your good deeds with the rest of the Asterisk community and incorporate your good ideas into the next release. Keep an eye on the comments to this article and the PIAF Forum for the most recent additions. Better yet, subscribe to the RSS Feed for Comments at the top of this page, and they'll be delivered to your door as they occur.

Overview. Here's the quick step-by-step to get things working:

1. Download the software onto Incredible PBX
2. Install your PogoPlug (optional)
3. Create a directory for backups
4. Enter directory location in IncredibleBackup script
5. Run IncredibleBackup to make backup
6. Purchase Machine #2 OR create new Proxmox KVM
7. Install latest PBX in a Flash
8. Run update-scripts and update-fixes
9. Download the software onto Machine #2
10. Create a directory to house backups AND
11. Copy backup tarballs to directory OR
12. Use PogoPlug and skip #10 and #11
13. Enter directory location in IncredibleRestore script
14. Run IncredibleRestore to restore backup

Using Incredible Backup. Installation couldn't be easier. On your Incredible PBX server, log in as root and issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incredible.tar.gz
tar zxvf incredible.tar.gz

Once you decompress the tarball, you'll be left with two files: incrediblebackup and incrediblerestore. With both scripts, you'll need to edit them and insert the location of your backup directory. Before doing that, you need a dedicated backup directory which is not in the /root or /var/www directory trees. We don't need to tell you what a dumb idea it is to store your backups on the same machine you're backing up... so we won't. As noted, our recommendation is to use a PogoPlug and preferably at a location different from the site of your server. Whatever directory you choose, it needs to be accessible from your server. SAMBA also is available on PBX in a Flash systems to access other drives in your LAN, but it needs to be activated. Incredible PBX systems are totally insulated from the Internet by a hardware-based firewall so you're safe using SAMBA provided you trust other users on your LAN. Once the directory exists, edit the scripts and insert the location in backuploc: nano -w incrediblebackup. Save your change: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter. Repeat process for incrediblerestore. To create an Incredible Backup, execute this command: /root/incrediblebackup. All of the backups are stored in compressed tarballs with a current time stamp, e.g. 1273067177.tgz. You can decipher the actual time of the backup with a command like this: date -d "@1273067177" --> Wed May 5 09:46:17 EDT 2010

REMINDERS: If you're using a PogoPlug, don't forget to run pogo-start.sh before running incrediblebackup.

If you wish to run incrediblebackup as a cron job, remember to comment out the following line in the script with a leading #:

read -p "To proceed at your own risk and agree to license, press Enter. Otherwise Ctrl-C."

Don't forget to also activate your PogoPlug as a cron job before the time that incrediblebackup is scheduled to run!

What To Back Up? As we mentioned previously, backups are the easy part. It's the restore process that causes premature aging. The best time to plan your restore strategy is before you need it! Always assume the worst case, i.e. that nothing is recoverable from your primary server. Then ask yourself whether the backup is capturing and saving in a safe location everything you'll need to put Humpty back together again. Currently, Incredible Backup captures the following files and directory trees:

/var/www/html /var/lib/asterisk /var/lib/mysql /root /etc/asterisk /tftpboot
/etc/pbx /etc/wanpipe /etc/sudoers /etc/odbc.ini /etc/odbcinst.ini
/var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/custom
/var/spool/asterisk /etc/amportal.conf /etc/wanpipe
/etc/hosts /etc/resolv.conf /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg* /etc/sysconfig/iptables /etc/sysconfig/network /etc/mail
/usr/local/bin /usr/local/sbin /usr/src and portions of /usr/sbin

Keep in mind that an Incredible Restore always begins with a functioning PBX in a Flash server. And you will have the option of restoring all Incredible PBX applications. With the exception of these applications, ask yourself whether the backup list above captures everything you've added to your server and is sufficient to meet your needs. With most Incredible PBX implementations, it should adequately restore an existing Incredible PBX together with your FreePBX customizations. But the beauty of open source software is that you can and should customize it to meet your specific needs. You can add any additional directories... so long as you do it and save the backup to some off-site location before your server dies. 😉

The other important question to ask yourself is what is your Incredible PBX as presently configured worth to you. If the answer is more than $200, perhaps the time is ripe to purchase a second system for emergencies and test your restore strategy in advance.

Using Incredible Restore. Let's get the cautionary notes out of the way up front. First, by using this software, you have agreed to assume all risks including the risk of losing all your data. Second, don't experiment with restores to your primary system. Third, in the most emphatic way we can, we encourage you to test a restore before D-Day arrives... but not on your live system! If it means borrowing a friend's old clunker for the afternoon, then by all means do so. If you can afford a second system, that's even better. If you have a virtual platform at the office, borrow a little space for the weekend and try a restore. Proxmox works and so does VMware and most other virtual platforms. We don't mean to be all doom and gloom about this, but unfortunately backups are all about doom and gloom. Now's the time to find out something didn't work quite right, not when you really, really need it.

The first step in using Incredible Restore is to install PBX in a Flash on the new server. We recommend you also run update-scripts and update-fixes once the PIAF install is complete. As with Incredible Backup, the next step in using Incredible Restore is to log into your new server and download the application:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incredible.tar.gz
tar zxvf incredible.tar.gz

Unless you're using a backup tarball from external location supported by SAMBA or PogoPlug, Step #3 is to create a directory on your new server and copy the backup tarball to that directory. Step #4 is to configure the incrediblerestore script with the directory location of the backup tarball to be restored. Once you've saved the location, run the script: /root/incrediblerestore. You'll be given the following options to tailor how the restoration process should proceed:

1. Whether to enable PogoPlug functionality on the server
2. Whether to restore FreePBX application from the backup
3. Whether to restore Incredible PBX apps to new server
4. Whether to restore Network Settings from the backup
5. Whether to restore SendMail Setup from the backup
6. Whether to restore Asterisk binaries and source code
7. Whether to disable outbound SIP/IAX connectivity

1. Enabling PogoPlug. If you're using a PogoPlug for your backups, you'll be prompted whether to install the PogoPlug software as first option when you run the IncredibleRestore script. Choosing Y will load the necessary software. Then it's a simple matter of entering your login credentials in pogo-start.sh and running pogo-start.sh to activate the PogoPlug. Then just rerun the IncredibleRestore script to continue.

2. Restoring FreePBX Application. Unless you are absolutely certain that the version of FreePBX in your backup matches the version on your new server, choosing Y for this option is highly recommended. Otherwise, the structure of the FreePBX MySQL tables may differ and cause all sorts of difficult to diagnose problems.

3. Restoring Incredible PBX Applications. If your backup was made on an Incredible PBX server, then the Incredible PBX apps should be restored to your new server. We've made this optional only to accommodate those who may wish to tailor the scripts to support other Asterisk distributions.

4. Restoring Network Configuration. If you're recovering from a catastrophic failure and want to make certain that a static IP address is preserved when you restore your backup, then you obviously would want to restore your network configuration. If you're building a duplicate system to be kept off line or if you're moving your server to a virtual machine platform, then you probably do NOT want to restore the network configuration from your primary machine. A good rule of thumb probably goes like this. If network connectivity already is working on your new server, don't restore the network setup from your backup.

5. Restoring SendMail Setup. The only situation in which you would want to restore the SendMail setup from your primary server is if you have specially tailored SendMail on the primary server in order to send email. This typically would happen where an Internet service provider blocks outbound SMTP traffic, e.g. Comcast residential Internet service.

6. Restoring Asterisk Binaries and Source. This functionality is EXPERIMENTAL AND BARELY TESTED!! It only works (at all) with Asterisk implementations still using Zaptel, not DAHDI. Unless your primary server was running a version of Asterisk that differs from the default PBX in a Flash build, the correct answer to this prompt is N. Never use this option if you are restoring from a catastrophic failure. Instead, run update-source and update-fixes on the newly restored server. It's safer! We'll keep you posted on future developments.

7. Disabling Outbound SIP/IAX Connectivity. This option allows you to disable outbound SIP and IAX traffic on the new server. Typically, you would use this if the server on which the backup was made is still on line. The reason is to avoid having two identical servers compete for connections to SIP and IAX providers. If this option is chosen and you subsequently take your primary server off line, then you will need to enable SIP and IAX connectivity on the newly restored server before it can take over primary duties. To do this, log into your new server as root and issue the following commands:

cd /etc/sysconfig
cp iptables.sip iptables
service iptables restart

To again disable SIP and IAX outbound traffic, issue the following commands:

cd /etc/sysconfig
cp iptables.nosip iptables
service iptables restart

Feedback and Suggestions Encouraged. Incredible Backup and Incredible Restore are still very much works in progress. A number of folks on the PBX in a Flash Forums have assisted us in getting version 1.0 out the door today, but don't bet the farm on this software until you have carefully tested it using a redundant server! We will continue to improve/enhance the functionality for weeks and perhaps months to come. And, until the kinks are all worked out, we would strongly encourage you to download the latest and greatest version each time you make a backup or undertake to restore a backup to a new system. During this development period, we also would encourage you to make suggestions and to offer enhancements. After all, that's what open source is all about. Enjoy!



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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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...

The Incredible PBX: Adding a Free Skype Gateway to Asterisk

Last week we got The Incredible PBX all set up with free worldwide SIP calls, free U.S./Canada PSTN calls using Google Voice with SIPgate or IPkall, and rock-solid Asterisk® security using our new Zero Internet Footprint™ design. Because of licensing restrictions, we couldn't include Skype out of the box. If you're an individual and not a business, today we'll walk you through adding free Skype calling worldwide to your Incredible PBX. With today's addition, the Incredible PBX now provides free calling to nearly a billion phones around the world via Skype, SIP, ENUM, FreeNUM, and U.S./Canada PSTN connections. Yowza!

If you use the recommended hardware, today's setup procedure takes less than 10 minutes! Once it's complete, inbound and outbound Skype calling is totally transparent on your Incredible PBX. To reach a Skype number, just dial * plus the user's Skype name from any phone with an alphanumeric keypad. To place a Skype Out call (fees apply), dial 8 plus the user's area code and number. When your 500 million friends on Skype contact you using your Skype name, all of your Incredible PBX phones will ring just like any other inbound call. What's the difference in today's solution and Digium®'s commercial Skype for Asterisk product? For openers, our solution is $66 cheaper. It's free! And, if you're an individual, you won't need Skype's commercial Business Control Panel to make calls. Functionally, the results with your Incredible PBX Skype implementation are identical.1

To make the Skype Magic work, you'll need three pieces of software in addition to The Incredible PBX obviously: Sun's 6u12 Java SE Development Kit, Skype's Static Edition for Linux plus an existing Skype account, and Greg Dorfuss' SipToSis product which manages the Skype Gateway to Asterisk.

As far as hardware is concerned, we're assuming you're using our recommended $200 Acer Aspire Revo to host your Incredible PBX. With other hardware, your mileage may vary because CentOS 5.4 may or may not support your audio card and graphics mode with your video card. Both are required to get Skype working properly under X-Windows. If you have problems with some other type of hardware, take a look at the tips in our previous article on Setting Up a Skype Gateway to Asterisk as well as the comments. Better yet, visit your neighborhood Best Buy and purchase an Aspire Revo for a hassle-free install.


Installing JDK. Using your favorite browser, go to Sun's 6u12 Java SE Development Kit website, choose Linux for the platform, and agree to the license. Click Continue. Download jdk-6u12-linux-i586-rpm.bin and copy it to the /root directory of your Incredible PBX. Next, make the file executable (chmod +x jdk-6u12-linux-i586-rpm.bin). Then run it: ./jdk-6u12-linux-i586-rpm.bin. Scroll down the wordy license agreement AGAIN and type yes. Java 1.6 then will be installed on your system. Check to be sure Java was properly installed with this command: rpm -q jdk.

Installing Skype and SipToSis. Now we're ready to load the remaining components. While still logged into your Incredible PBX as root, download and run the skype-setup script2:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/skype-setup
chmod +x skype-setup
./skype-setup

Activating Your Skype Gateway. Now we're ready to place your Skype gateway in production. You'll need to perform these steps from the console on your Incredible PBX since we have to run Skype in graphics mode. This may look complicated. It's really not. It's just a bit tedious to figure out the sequence of steps, but we've done that part for you.

WARNING: Be sure that you use a dedicated Skype account on this server! Do not run the same Skype account on any other server or desktop, or it fails!

1. Start up X-Windows: xinit3

2. Start up Skype. While still logged into your server as root, issue the following commands:

cd /root/skype/skype_static-2.0.0.72
./skype

Now log in to Skype with your Skype name and password. Be sure to set Skype to autologin whenever it is started. Then, in the Skype configuration option, set Skype to always run minimized. Save your settings.

Place a Skype Test Call4 to echo123 to be sure your audio settings are set correctly. Again, with the Aspire Revo, this won't be a problem assuming you have plugged in a microphone and speakers. These can be disconnected after you're sure things are working properly. HINT: Intel Atom-based motherboards are a piece o' cake!

Once you've got Skype working and all of the Skype settings configured above, shut down Skype.

3. Restart Skype in Background Mode: ./skype &

Be sure to write down the PID for Skype in case you need to kill the job if something goes wrong. 🙂 If you forget the PID, you can obtain it with this command: pgrep skype. You can kill Skype with the following command using your actual PID instead of 12345: kill 12345.

4. Start up SipToSis: Press Enter if the command prompt doesn't reappear. Then...

cd /siptosis
./SipToSis_linux

A message from Skype will pop up asking if you want to authorize external use of Skype: yes. Important: Be sure to select the Checkbox to save this setting for future connections!

5. Testing Skype. Go to a softphone (X-Lite recommended!) connected to an extension on your Incredible PBX and dial *echo123. You should be connected to the Skype Call Testing Service. Try *nerdvittles for the Nerd Vittles Demo.

Assuming you have a little money in your Skype Out account, go to any extension connected to your Asterisk server and dial 8 + your home phone number. This will place the outbound call through SkypeOut at 2¢ a minute.

Reboot your server when you're sure everything is working properly.

GUI Tips. Here are a few navigation tips for managing your Asterisk console on your Incredible PBX:

1. Ctrl-Alt-F2 gets you a new login prompt for your server

2. Ctrl-Alt-F7 gets you back to the SipToSis/Skype session. You can kill SipToSis by holding down Ctrl-C for several seconds. To decipher your SipToSis PID: pgrep -f SipToSis. To kill SipToSis: kill pid# (that you wrote down). To kill Skype: kill pid# (that you wrote down). To restart Skype: skype & and to restart SipToSis, just issue the command again: ./SipToSis_linux

3. Ctrl-Alt-F9
gets you to the Asterisk CLI.

Automating the Skype Gateway Startup. Once everything is working reliably, reboot your server again, log in as root, and issue the command: /root/skype-start. Place a test call again using a softphone on your Incredible PBX. If everything works fine, you now can add the skype-start command to your server's startup script, and you're all set.

echo "/root/skype-start" >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local

Setting Up Speed Dials for Skype Friends. One of the wrinkles with Skype is that Skype uses names for its users rather than numbers. If you don't have a SIP URI-capable softphone, there's still an easy way to place calls to your Skype friends using FreePBX. Just add a Speed Dial number to your FreePBX dialplan. Choose Extension, then select the Custom type, provide an Extension Number which is the Speed Dial number (this could actually spell your friend's name using a TouchTone phone), enter a Display Name for your friend, and add an optional SIP Alias. Then insert the following in the dial field replacing joeschmo with your friend's actual Skype name. Save your entries and reload the dialplan when prompted.

SIP/joeschmo@127.0.0.1:5070

Security Warning. Do NOT expose UDP port 5070 to the Internet by opening a port on your hardware firewall. You do not need UDP 5070 exposed to the Internet to implement today's gateway solution for inbound or outbound Skype calling from your server!

Enjoy!

Update: As of May 1, you now can set your Google Voice number as your Skype CallerID number. Previously, Google Voice blocked the verification SMS messages, but no longer. Thanks, @zsafwan.

Adding Multiple Google Voice Trunks to The Incredible PBX



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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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. Skype and this suggested implementation are intended for individual use. Your use is, of course, governed by the Skype Terms of Service. []
  2. Here are the actual commands in the skype-setup script if you'd prefer to execute them one at a time:

    cd /root
    mkdir skype
    cd skype
    wget http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-static
    tar jxvf skype_static*
    yum install xorg-x11-server-Xvfb
    yum install qt4
    yum install xterm
    yum install libXScrnSaver.i386
    wget http://pbxinaflash.net/source/skype/siptosis.tgz
    cd /root
    wget http://incrediblepbx.com/skype-start
    chmod +x skype-start
    cp skype-start skype/.
    cd /
    tar zxvf /root/skype/siptosis.tgz
    cd /root


    []

  3. Starting xinit won't be a problem on the Aspire Revo. But, if xinit won't start on your particular machine, you may need to create /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Here's a generic config file that should work fine for our purposes:

    Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "X.org Configured"
    Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
    EndSection

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Card0"
    Driver "vesa"
    EndSection

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device "Card0"
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 16
    Modes "800x600"
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 16
    Modes "800x600"
    EndSubSection
    EndSection

    []

  4. If the test call fails with a bad audio message, go into Options, Sound Devices and reconfigure your Audio settings until you can place the test call successfully. Otherwise, none of the rest will work! []

Orgasmatron 5.2: The Secure Swiss Army Knife for Asterisk

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks watching the overwhelmingly positive response to our release of Orgasmatron 5.1. With this version, we introduced a new Asterisk® security model that took into account the ever-increasing security risks posed by exposing web and telephony servers to direct Internet access. The bottom line is this. If your telecom requirements still can be accomplished by placing a server securely behind a $35 hardware-based Internet firewall with no Internet exposure, then it makes absolutely no sense to dangle such a tempting target in front of the world’s most nefarious creeps.

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

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

Our experience suggests that the only trade off with this new approach is the inability to receive anonymous SIP calls… a small price to pay considering the potential financial and computer risks involved. You still can place outbound VoIP calls as well as placing and receiving calls using any of the phone numbers registered on your new PBX in a Flash server. And, thanks to Google Voice, SIPgate, and IPkall, all inbound calls are free, and all outbound calls to numbers in the U.S. and Canada are free as well.

If a SIP URI and your own Freenum/ISN number are simply features you can’t live without, sign up for a voip.ms IAX account, and you’ll get a SIP URI for free. Inbound SIP URI and Freenum/ISN calls will set you back $1 for every 1,000 minutes billed in 6 second increments.

Or you can sign up for a free IP Freedom CallCentric account and configure a new SIP trunk in FreePBX by following these directions. Once configured, your new server SIP URI will be 1777xxxxxxx@in.callcentric.com where xxxxxxx is your assigned 7-digit CallCentric number.

Keep in mind that a new security vulnerability has been found with either Asterisk or FreePBX almost monthly. The chart below tells you why. With virtually limitless attack surfaces because of the number of interrelated components in CentOS, Asterisk, and FreePBX comes enormous and recurring potential for remote compromise of these systems. Rather than play this cat-and-mouse security game with the underworld, the Orgasmatron design changes the paradigm. It lets you use any (secure or insecure) version of Asterisk and FreePBX without worrying about any outside attacks. Do passwords on your new server matter? Not really… unless there is someone inside your firewall that you don’t trust. 🙄 Are we going to secure them anyway? Absolutely. But instead of the constant worry over new security vulnerabilities, Orgasmatron 5.2 lets you enjoy exploring the world of Asterisk and VoIP telephony with an incredibly rich feature set that you won’t find anywhere else, period! We’ll resist making any other device analogies, but the idea here is to protect the good guy (you!) while keeping the bad guys out. No penetration. No worries. Simple as that.

In our former life working for a living, we actually procured and managed multimillion dollar PBXs as part of our "other duties as assigned." Without qualification, we can tell you that the feature set that Orgasmatron 5.2 brings to the table for free runs circles around anything you could buy (then or now) in the commercial marketplace. And, at one time or another, we purchased every Nortel feature good money could buy. There’s one other difference. Orgasmatron 5.2 runs swimmingly on a $200 Atom-based PC that you can purchase at any Best Buy as well as hundreds of other stores including Amazon, NewEgg, and Buy.com. We paid more than $200 to provision an additional extension on our Nortel switch! You, of course, can add as many extensions as you like. De nada.

So, why a new version of Orgasmatron in only a few weeks? Well, it’s not security-related. In fact, there is nothing wrong with continuing on with Orgasmatron 5.1. Unfortunately, it relied exclusively upon SIPgate to make free Google Voice calls in the U.S. and Canada. And SIPgate required an invite using an SMS message from a U.S.-based cellphone. That pretty well knocked out all of our friends living outside the United States. Today’s version fixes that by letting anyone sign up for a free IPkall phone number in Washington state. All you need is a valid email address. The setup process is a bit more complex because IPkall doesn’t support registered connections to their servers. But we’ll walk you through the additional steps and, once completed, your server will be just as secure as the SIPgate approach we set up with Orgasmatron 5.1. And few, if any, Linux skills are required to set up or manage Orgasmatron 5.2. As we’ve noted previously, if you can handle slice and bake cookies, you’ve got the necessary skillset! Be aware this is about a one-hour project, and you need to track through the article carefully, or the entire house of cards comes down.

New Asterisk Security Model. Orgasmatron 5.2 maintains our design goal of running an absolutely secure Asterisk PBX from behind a hardware-based firewall with either NO INBOUND PORTS exposed to the Internet with SIPgate or an IP-address-restricted IAX port for IPkall. Don’t defeat this security mechanism by exposing additional ports on your PBX in a Flash server to Internet access. And choose your NAT-based firewall/router carefully. All of these devices are not created equally. Not only do some perform better than others, but certain models are notoriously bad at handling NAT-based routing tasks, a critical requirement in the Asterisk VoIP environment. In almost every case of problems with one-way audio, the real culprit can be traced back to a crappy router. For $35, you really can’t go wrong with the dLink WBR-2310. If you want traffic shaping functionality as well, take a look at dLink’s Gaming Router, our personal favorite.

As long as your router, Google Voice, SIPgate, and IPkall passwords are secure, you can sleep like a baby. We use an intermediate SIP provider for Google Voice to set up free outbound Google Voice calls in the U.S. and Canada because Google Voice actually places two calls to connect you to your destination. First, you get a call back. And then the party you’re calling is connected. The SIPgate or IPkall trunk is used by Google Voice to call you back so the inbound call is always free. We handle the interconnection magic with Asterisk transparently so your calls appear to be processed as if you were using a standard telephone to dial out. Just refrain from using extension 75 in Asterisk for personal conferencing!

The choice is yours. You can use SIPgate with no incoming ports exposed to your server from the Internet. Or you can use IPkall and map UDP port 4569 (IAX2) on your hardware-based firewall to the internal IP address of your new PBX in a Flash server. Even with the IPkall setup, we’ve locked down IPtables (our Linux firewall) to restrict IAX access to several specific IP addresses so your server remains absolutely secure. We’ve also included support for FonicaTec’s IAX offering for those that want a backup IAX provider. We’ll have much more to say about IPtables in coming weeks.

If you’ve already installed Orgasmatron 5.1 and it’s working for you, do you need to upgrade? NO. With the exception of the new IAX support for IPkall, the code in Orgasmatron 5.2 is identical.

We, of course, continue to recommend that you sign up with Vitelity so you have an alternate communications vehicle in the event of a problem with your free service. Vitelity also can provide 911 emergency service for your home or home office. You can save a little money while supporting the PBX in a Flash project by using the links at the end of this article.

Swiss Army Knife Inventory. There’s no need for a Swiss Army Knife if you don’t know what all the blades are for. So, for those that are wondering what’s included in the Orgasmatron 5.2 build, here’s a feature list of the components you get in addition to the base PBX in a Flash build with CentOS 5.4, Asterisk 1.4, FreePBX 2.6, and Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin. Please note that A2Billing, Cepstral TTS, Hamachi VPN, and Mondo Backups are optional and may be installed using the scripts that are provided.

Prerequisites. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Rock-solid NAT router/firewall. Recommend: $35 dLink WBR-2310
  • $200 PC on which to run PBX in a Flash or a Proxmox Virtual Machine
  • Free Google Voice account (HINT: Under $2 on eBay)
  • Free SIPgateOne residential account (Use cell to get SMS invite) OR
  • Free IPkall IAX account

Learn First. Install Second. Even though the installation process is now a No-Brainer, you are well-advised to do some reading before you begin. 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. Then 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.

Today’s Drill. The installation process is straight-forward, but a little different than the Orgasmo 5.1 scenario because of the need to accommodate IPkall. Just don’t skip any steps. In a nutshell, here are the 6 Steps to Free Calling and an incredibly versatile, preconfigured Asterisk PBX:

1. Install the latest version of PBX in a Flash
2. Run the Orgasmatron 5.2 Installer
3. Configure a softphone or SIP telephone
4. Configure Providers for Orgasmatron 5.2
5. Enter your Google Voice and SIPgate/IPkall credentials
6. Change existing passwords to secure your system

Installing PBX in a Flash. Here’s a quick tutorial to get PBX in a Flash installed. We recommend you install the latest PIAF 1.6 beta on a new Atom-based PC. This beta is virtually identical to version 1.4 except it uses CentOS 5.4 instead of CentOS 5.2. This means it works better with newer hardware including Atom-based computers and newer network cards. Unlike other Asterisk aggregations, PBX in a Flash utilizes a two-step install process. The ISO only installs the CentOS operating system. Once installed, the server reboots and downloads a payload file that includes Asterisk, FreePBX, and many other VoIP and Linux utilities. We use the identical payload for versions 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6 of PBX in a Flash. The beta label simply means we haven’t had time to sufficiently test CentOS. But this is not a Microsoft-style beta so fear not!

Download the 32-bit, PIAF 1.6 version from SourceForge, Vitelity, Cybernetic Networks, or AdHoc Electronics. The MD5 checksum for the file is e8a3fc96702d8aa9ecbd2a8afb934d36. Burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot from the installation CD and type ksalt to begin.

WARNING: This install will completely erase, repartition, and reformat ALL disks on your system! Press Ctrl-C to cancel the install.

On some systems you may get a notice that CentOS can’t find the kickstart file. Just tab to OK and press Enter. Don’t change the name or location of the kickstart file! This will get you going. Think of it as a CentOS ‘feature’. 🙂

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 A option. Have a 10-minute cup of coffee. After installation is complete, the machine will reboot a second time. Log in as root with your new password and execute the following commands:

update-scripts
update-fixes

When prompted, change the ARI password to something really obscure. You’re never going to use it! 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.

NOTE: So long as your system is safely sitting behind a hardware-based firewall, we do NOT recommend running update-source on the Orgasmatron builds because of parking lot issues in the latest releases of Asterisk.

Running the Orgasmatron 5.2 Installer. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands to run the Orgasmatron 5.2 installer:

cd /root
wget http://pbxinaflash.net/orgasmo52.x
chmod +x orgasmo52.x
./orgasmo52.x

Have another 15-minute cup of coffee. It’s a great time to consider a modest donation to the Nerd Vittles project. You’ll find a link at the top of the page. When the installer finishes, READ THE SCREEN!

Now run passwd-master1. Set your FreePBX passwords to something very secure but different from your Linux root password.

Next, type status2 and press Enter. Write down the IP address of your new server.

If you’re using IPkall, now’s the time to log in to your hardware-based firewall/router and map UDP port 45693 to the private IP address that you just wrote down. This tells your firewall to pass all IAX2 traffic from the Internet directly to your new server. Don’t worry. We have severely restricted which IP addresses can actually send IAX data through the PBX in a Flash IPtables firewall which is an integral part of this build. And, remember, no hardware firewall adjustments are necessary if you’re using SIPgate instead of IPkall.

For good measure, we recommend you reboot your server at this point. The command to type is simple: reboot4

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, and you’ll find lots of recommendations on Nerd Vittles. 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 82812661 as the password for extension 701 and the actual IP address of your PBX in a Flash server instead of 192.168.0.251. Click OK when finished. Your softphone should now show: Available.

Don’t Forget! After you change your extension passwords later in this tutorial, you will need to update the password entry in X-Lite, or you will no longer be able to place calls! In fact, you will get locked out of your server for 90 minutes after three failed password attempts. So put this on a sticky note so you don’t forget, or you’ll regret it in about 15 minutes.

Either a free SIPgate One residential phone number or an IPkall number is a key component in today’s project. And there’s really no reason you can’t use both if they’re available in your location. Do NOT use special characters in your provider passwords, or nothing will work! Continue reading whichever section below applies to you.

Configuring SIPgate. If you live in the U.S. and have a cellphone, we’d recommend the SIPgate option since no adjustment of your hardware-based firewall is required. Otherwise, skip to the IPkall setup below. Step #1 is to request a SIPgate invite at this link. You’ll need to enter your U.S. cellphone number to receive the SMS message with your invitation code. Don’t worry. You can erase your cellphone number from your account once it is set up. Once you receive the invite code, enter it and choose the option to set up a residential account. Next, choose a phone number and write it down. The area code really doesn’t matter because Google Voice is the only one that will be calling this number after we get things set up. For now, leave your cellphone number in place so that you can receive your confirmation call from Google Voice in the next step. After that, you’ll want to revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers. Finally, click on the Settings link and write down your SIP ID and SIP Password. You’ll need these in a few minutes to configure PBX in a Flash. Now place a call to your new SIPgate number and make certain that your cellphone rings before proceeding.

Configuring IPkall. If you’ve opted to use IPkall, here’s the drill. First, you’ll need to register for a free IPkall number. This is actually a two-step process. Set it up as a SIP connection when you first register. Then we’ll change it to IAX once your new phone number is provided. So your initial IPkall request should look like this:

We recommend area code 425 for your requested number because IPkall appears to have lots of them. If they don’t have an available number, your request apparently goes in the bit bucket. You’ll know because IPkall typically turns these requests around in a few minutes. Don’t worry about the mothership entry. We’ll change it shortly. The other issue here is your public IP address. If you have a dedicated IP address, no worries. Just plug in the IP address for SIP Proxy. If it’s dynamic, then you’ll need to set up a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) with a provider such as dyndns.com. Once you’ve got it set up, enter your credentials in the Dynamic DNS tab of your hardware-based firewall to assure that your dynamic IP address is always synchronized with your FQDN. Then enter the FQDN for your SIP Proxy address in the IPkall form. Be sure to make up a VERY secure password. Now send it off and wait for the return email with your new phone number.

When you receive your new phone number, you’ll need to revisit the IPkall site and log in with your phone number and the password you chose above. Make the changes shown below using your actual IPkall phone number instead of 4259876543:

It’s worth stressing that these settings are extremely important so check your work carefully. Be sure the IAX option is selected. Be sure there are no typos in your two phone number entries. And be sure your FQDN or public IP address is correct. Then save your new settings.

We’re going to be making some entries in FreePBX which is the web-GUI that manages PBX in a Flash. For now, we simply need to enter your new IPkall phone number so that incoming calls to your IPkall number will actually ring on your softphone. Later, we’ll make some further adjustments once we get Google Voice humming along.

Using a web browser from your desktop, log in to FreePBX 2.6 at the following link substituting your server’s private IP address for ipaddress: http://ipaddress/admin. You’ll be prompted for a user name (maint) and password (the one you just created with passwd-master).

When FreePBX loads, choose Setup, Trunks, ipkall (iax). In the USER Context field, enter your 10-digit IPkall phone number. Click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload to save your settings.

TIP: Be aware that IPkall cancels an assigned phone number after 30 consecutive days of inactivity. If you will be using your number infrequently, it’s a good idea to schedule a Weekly Reminder to call the number with a prerecorded message. This will assure that your number stays functional.

Now let’s test your new phone number. Call your IPkall number from a cellphone or some other phone. Your softphone should ring. Answer the call, and be sure you have voice in both directions! Do not proceed without success here, or the rest of the adventure is a waste of your time.

Configuring Google Voice. Google Voice still is by invitation only so the first thing you’ll need is an invite. If you’re in a hurry, then stroll over to eBay where you’ll find lots of them for under $2. Once you have your invite in hand, click on the email link to set up your account. After you’ve chosen a telephone number, plug in your new SIPgate or IPkall number as the destination for your Google Voice calls and choose Office as the Phone Type. Trust us.

Google then will place a call to your number and ask you to enter a confirmation code that’s been provided. When your cellphone (SIPgate) or softphone (IPkall) rings, answer it and punch in the number. Wait for confirmation. Then hang up.

As we mentioned earlier, there’s no reason you can’t set up both SIPgate and IPkall forwarding numbers in Google Voice. Just repeat the drill with the other provider’s number if you wish to activate both numbers for use with Google Voice. They’re not both going to ring simultaneously as you will see in a minute.

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

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.

Finally, place a test call to your new Google Voice number and be sure your cellphone or softphone rings. Don’t move forward until you’ve been able to successfully place a call to your phone by dialing your Google Voice number. Once this is working, revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers including your cell number.

Adding Your Credentials to PBX in a Flash. We’re ready to insert your Google Voice credentials and SIPgate/IPkall number into PBX in a Flash. You’ll need four pieces of information: your 10-digit Google Voice phone number, your Google Voice account name (which is the email address you used to set up your GV account), your GV password (no spaces!), and your 11-digit SIPgate or IPkall RingBack DID (beginning with a 1). Don’t get the 10-digit GV number mixed up with the 11-digit SIPgate/IPkall RingBack DID, or nothing will work. 🙂

Log back into your server as root and issue the following command: ./configure-gv. Check your entries carefully. If you make a typo in entering any of your data, press Ctrl-C to cancel the script and then run it again!!

Configuring FreePBX. Now shift back to your Desktop and, using a web browser, log in to FreePBX 2.6 at the following link substituting your actual IP address for ipaddress: http://ipaddress/admin. You’ll be prompted for a user name (maint) and password (the one you just created with passwd-master). Depending upon which intermediate provider you’re using, do the following:

SIPgate Setup. When FreePBX loads, choose Setup, Trunks, sipgate. In Peer Details, replace both instances of sipID with your actual SipGate SIP ID. In Peer Details, replace sipPassword with your actual SipGate SIP Password. In Register String, replace sipID with your SipGate SIP ID, replace sipPassword with your SipGate SIP Password, and replace 3333333333 with your 10-digit SipGate Phone Number. When finished, the Register String should look something like the following:

7004484f0:B8TTW3@sipgate.com/4155201234

Click Submit, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload to save your changes.

SIPgate and IPkall Setup. While still in FreePBX with your browser, click Setup, Inbound Routes, gv-ringback. In DID Number, replace 3333333333 with your 10-digit SIPGate or IPkall Phone Number. In CallerID Number, replace 7777777777 with your 10-digit Google Voice Number.

Click Submit, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload to save your changes.

Securing FreePBX. You’re almost done. While still in FreePBX, choose each of the 16 preconfigured extensions on your new server and change the extension AND voicemail passwords. Here’s the drill: Setup, Extensions, 501, Submit. After changing secret and Voicemail Password, repeat with the next extension number instead of 501. Then Apply Config Changes, Continue when you’ve finished with all of them.

Now change the default DISA password: Setup, DISA, DISAmain, PIN, Submit Changes, Apply Config Changes, Continue.

Don’t forget to adjust your X-Lite password to match the password entry you made for extension 701!

Orgasmatron Test Flight. The proof is in the pudding as they say. So let’s try two simple tests. First, from another phone, call your Google Voice number. Your softphone should begin ringing shortly. Answer the call and make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. Hang up. Now let’s place an outbound call. Using the softphone, dial your cellphone number. Google Voice should transparently connect you. Answer the call and make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. If everything is working, congratulations!

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 173.15.238.123 with your public IP address, and replace 192.168.0.0 with the subnet address of your private network. Save the file and restart Asterisk with the command: amportal restart.

Choosing a VoIP Provider. For this week, we’ll point you to some things to play with on your new server. Then, in the subsequent articles below, we’ll cover in detail how to customize every application that’s been loaded. Nothing beats free when it comes to long distance calls. But nothing lasts forever. So we’d 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 VoIP world is new territory for some of you. Unlike the Ma Bell days, there’s really no reason not to have multiple VoIP providers especially for outbound calls. Depending upon where you are calling, calls may be cheaper using different providers for calls to different locations. So we recommend having at least two providers. Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum to get some ideas on choosing alternative providers.

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 – Nerd Vittles Orgasmatron 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 – PBX in a Flash Support Conference Bridge
  • 882*1061VoIP Users Conference every Friday at Noon (EST)


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


Homework. Your homework for this week is to do some exploring. FreePBX is a treasure trove of functionality, and the Orgasmatron build adds a bunch of additional options. See if you can find all of them. For starters, you’ll want to activate CallerID Lookups in FreePBX. Choose Setup, CID Superfecta, Default and enter the maint password you created with passwd-master. Then choose Tools, Module Administration, CallerID Lookup, Enable, Process and Save the Settings. Then edit each of the Inbound Routes and choose CallerID Superfecta as the CID Lookup Source. Save your changes. Finally, choose Setup, CallerID Lookup Sources, CallerID Superfecta and be sure your maint password created with passwd-master is correct here, too. If not, update it. For additional tips, visit the forums.

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. s3cmd.faq tells you how to quickly activate the Amazon S3 Cloud Computing service. And, if you’ve heeded our advice and purchased a PogoPlug, you can link to your home-grown cloud. 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 also perfect for off-site backups!

Also check out Tweet2Dial which lets you use Twitter to make Google Voice calls, send free SMS messages, and manage your new Asterisk server. 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. Finally, try out the included Stealth AutoAttendant by dialing your own number and pressing 0 while the greeting is played. This will reroute your call to the demo applications option in the IVR.

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 for Orgasmatron 5.1 and 5.2. 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.

Coming Attractions. In our next episode, we’ll walk you through the process of adding a second, third, fourth, and fifth Google Voice line to your server so that you’ll never run out of free calling on your server. Enjoy!



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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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. passwd-master is the PIAF utility for setting a master password for FreePBX access with the maint user account. []
  2. status is the PIAF utility program that displays the current status of most major applications running on your server. []
  3. Mapping a port on your firewall to a private IP address unblocks certain Internet packets and allows them to pass through your firewall directly to an IP device "inside" your firewall for further processing. []
  4. reboot is the Linux command for restarting your server. It’s functionally equivalent to shutdown -r now. []

It’s Orgasmatron 5.1: The Ultimate Asterisk Kitchen Sink

For those that want a turnkey Asterisk® VoIP PBX with every bell and whistle, today is your very lucky day. This tutorial will walk you through every step. In less than an hour, you'll have your very own, fully functional Asterisk PBX. No Linux skills are required for this setup. There's no charge for any outbound call made to any number in the U.S. or Canada. And inbound calls are free as well.

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

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

New Asterisk Security Model. Orgasmatron 5.1 has an all-new design which is intended to let you run an absolutely secure Asterisk PBX in your home from behind a secure firewall with NO INBOUND PORTS exposed to the Internet. So long as your router, Google Voice, and SIPgate passwords are secure, you can sleep like a baby. Today's Magic uses SIPgate as an intermediate SIP provider for Google Voice to set up free outbound Google Voice calls in the U.S. and Canada. Remember that Google Voice actually places two calls to connect you to your destination. First, you get a call back. And then the party you're calling is connected. The SIPgate trunk is used by Google Voice to call you back so the inbound SIPgate call is free. We handle all of the interconnection magic with Asterisk transparently so your calls appear to be processed as if you were using a standard telephone to dial out. Just remember not to use extension 75 in Asterisk for your personal conferences!

Because we register your SIP connection with SIPgate permanently, there is no need to open the SIP or IAX Internet ports on your router. In short, your SIP connection with SIPgate works just as if you were using a browser behind a firewall. The return port will automatically be mapped by your NAT-based router. Hence, no security worries! We, of course, do recommend that you sign up with Vitelity so you have an alternate communications vehicle in the event of a problem with your free service. Vitelity also can provide 911 emergency service for your home or home office. You can save a little money while supporting the PBX in a Flash project by using the links at the end of this article.

Kitchen Sink Inventory. No kitchen is complete without an inventory. So, for those that are wondering what's included in the Orgasmatron 5.1 build, here's a feature list of the components you get in addition to the base PBX in a Flash build with Asterisk 1.4, FreePBX 2.6, and Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin. A2Billing, Cepstral, Hamachi VPN, and Mondo Backups are optional and may be installed using the scripts that are provided.

Prerequisites. Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Rock-solid NAT router/firewall. Recommend: $35 dLink WBR-2310
  • $200 PC on which to run PBX in a Flash or a Proxmox Virtual Machine
  • Free Google Voice account (HINT: Under $2 on eBay)
  • Free SIPgateOne residential account (Use cell to get SMS invite)

Learn First. Install Second. Even though the installation process is now a No-Brainer, you are well-advised to do some reading before you begin. 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 precautions to protect your phone bill. Start by reading our Primer on Asterisk Security. Then 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.

Today's Drill. The installation process is straight-forward. Just don't skip any steps. In a nutshell, here are the 6 Steps to Free Calling and an incredibly versatile, preconfigured Asterisk PBX:

1. Configure SIPgate and Google Voice for Orgasmatron 5.1
2. Install the latest version of PBX in a Flash
3. Run the Orgasmatron 5.1 Installer
4. Enter your Google Voice and SIPgate credentials
5. Change existing passwords to secure your system
6. Configure a softphone or SIP telephone

Configuring SIPgate. A free SIPgate One residential phone number is a key component in today's project. This allows you to receive free incoming calls on your SIPgate number. Step #1 is to request an invite at this link. You'll need to enter your U.S. cellphone number to receive the SMS message with your invitation code. Don't worry. You can erase your cellphone number from your account once it is set up. Once you receive the invite code, enter it and choose the option to set up a residential account. Next, choose a phone number and write it down. The area code really doesn't matter because Google Voice is the only one that will be calling this number after we get things set up. For now, leave your cellphone number in place so that you can receive your confirmation call from Google Voice in the next step. After that, you'll want to revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers. Finally, click on the Settings link and write down your SIP ID and SIP Password. You'll need these in a few minutes to configure PBX in a Flash. Now place a call to your new SIPgate number and make certain that your cellphone rings before proceeding.

Configuring Google Voice. Google Voice still is by invitation only so the first thing you'll need is an invite. If you're in a hurry, then stroll over to eBay where you'll find lots of them for under $2. Once you have your invite in hand, click on the email link to set up your account. After you've chosen a telephone number, plug in your new SIPgate number as the destination for your Google Voice calls and choose Office as the Phone Type. Trust us.

Google then will place a call to your SIPgate number and ask you to enter a confirmation code that's been provided. When your cellphone rings, answer it and punch in the number. Wait for confirmation. Then hang up.

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.

Now place a test call to your new Google Voice number and be sure your cellphone rings. Don't move forward until you've been able to successfully place a call to your cellphone by dialing your Google Voice number. Once this is working, revisit SIPgate and remove all parallel calling numbers including your cell number.

Installing PBX in a Flash. Now for the fun part. Here's a quick tutorial to get PBX in a Flash installed. We recommend you install the latest PIAF 1.6 beta which is virtually identical to version 1.4 except it uses CentOS 5.4 instead of CentOS 5.2. This means it works better with newer hardware including Atom-based computers and newer network cards. Download the 32-bit, PIAF 1.6 version from here, here, or here. The MD5 checksum for the file is e8a3fc96702d8aa9ecbd2a8afb934d36. Burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot your system from the installation CD and type ksalt to begin.

WARNING: This install will completely erase, repartition, and reformat ALL disks on your system! Press Ctrl-C to cancel the install.

On some systems you may get a notice that CentOS can't find the kickstart file. Just tab to OK and press Enter. Don't change the name or location of the kickstart file! This will get you going. Think of it as a CentOS 'feature'. 🙂

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 A option. Have a 10-minute cup of coffee. After installation is complete, the machine will reboot a second time. Log in as root with your new password and execute the following commands:

update-scripts
update-fixes

When prompted, change the ARI password to something really obscure. You're never going to use it! 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.

Running the Orgasmatron 5.1 Installer. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands to run the Orgasmatron 5.1 installer:

cd /root
wget http://pbxinaflash.net/orgasmo51.x
chmod +x orgasmo51.x
./orgasmo51.x

Have another 15-minute cup of coffee. It's a great time to consider a modest donation to the Nerd Vittles project. You'll find a link at the top of the page. When the installer finishes, READ THE SCREEN!

Adding Your Credentials to PBX in a Flash. Now we're ready to insert your Google Voice credentials and SIPgate number into PBX in a Flash. You'll need four pieces of information: your 10-digit Google Voice phone number, your Google Voice account name (which is the email address you used to set up your GV account), your GV password (no spaces!), and your 11-digit SIPgate RingBack DID (beginning with a 1). Don't get the 10-digit GV number mixed up with the 11-digit SIPgate RingBack DID, or nothing will work. 🙂

While logged into your server as root, issue the following command: ./configure-gv. Check your entries carefully. If you make a typo in entering any of your data, press Ctrl-C to cancel the script and then run it again!!

Next, run passwd-master and set your FreePBX passwords to something equally secure but different from your Linux root password.

Finally, type status and press Enter. Write down the IP address of your new server. You'll need it in the next step.

Configuring FreePBX. Using a web browser, log in to FreePBX 2.6 at the following link substituting your actual IP address for ipaddress: http://ipaddress/admin. You'll be prompted for a user name (maint) and password (the one you just created with passwd-master).

When FreePBX loads, choose Setup, Trunks, sipgate. In Peer Details, replace both instances of sipID with your actual SipGate SIP ID. In Peer Details, replace sipPassword with your actual SipGate SIP Password. In Register String, replace sipID with your SipGate SIP ID, replace sipPassword with your SipGate SIP Password, and replace 3333333333 with your 10-digit SipGate Phone Number. When finished, the Register String should look something like the following:

7004484f0:B8TTW3@sipgate.com/4155201234

Click Submit Changes, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload to save your settings.

Now click Setup, Inbound Routes, gv-ringback. In DID Number, replace 3333333333 with your 10-digit SIPGate Phone Number. In CallerID Number, replace 7777777777 with your 10-digit Google Voice Number.

Click Submit, Apply Configuration Changes, Continue with Reload to save your changes.

Securing FreePBX. You're almost done. While still in FreePBX, choose each of the 16 preconfigured extensions on your new server and change the extension AND voicemail passwords. Here's the drill: Setup, Extensions, 501, Submit. After changing secret and Voicemail Password, repeat with the next extension number instead of 501. Then Apply Config Changes, Continue when you've finished with all of them.

Now change the default DISA password: Setup, DISA, DISAmain, PIN, Submit Changes, Apply Config Changes, Continue.

Whew! We recommend you reboot your server at this juncture just to be sure everything gets initialized correctly. Then all we need is a phone and you're all set.

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, and you'll find lots of recommendations on Nerd Vittles. 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 PBX in a Flash server instead of 192.168.0.251. Click OK when finished.

Orgasmatron Test Flight. The proof is in the pudding as they say. So let's try two simple tests. First, from another phone, call your Google Voice number. Your softphone should begin ringing shortly. Answer the call and make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. Hang up. Now let's place an outbound call. Using the softphone, dial your cellphone number. Google Voice should transparently connect you. Answer the call and make sure you can send and receive voice on both phones. If everything is working, congratulations!

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 173.15.238.123 with your public IP address, and replace 192.168.0.0 with the subnet address of your private network. Save the file and restart Asterisk with the command: amportal restart.

Choosing a VoIP Provider. For this week, we'll point you to some things to play with on your new server. Then, in the subsequent articles below, we'll cover in detail how to customize every application that's been loaded. Nothing beats free when it comes to long distance calls. But nothing lasts forever. So we'd 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 VoIP world is new territory for some of you. Unlike the Ma Bell days, there's really no reason not to have multiple VoIP providers especially for outbound calls. Depending upon where you are calling, calls may be cheaper using different providers for calls to different locations. So we recommend having at least two providers. Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum to get some ideas on choosing alternative providers.

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 - Nerd Vittles Orgasmatron 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 - PBX in a Flash Support Conference Bridge
  • 882*1061 - VoIP Users Conference every Friday at Noon (EST)


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


Homework. Your homework for this week is to do some exploring. FreePBX is a treasure trove of functionality, and the Orgasmatron build adds a bunch of additional options. See if you can find all of them. For starters, you'll want to activate CID Superfecta in FreePBX. For tips, start here in the forums. Then 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. And, be sure to check out Tweet2Dial which lets you use Twitter to make Google Voice calls, send free SMS messages, and manage your new Asterisk server. Finally, don't forget to List Yourself in Directory Assistance so everyone can find you by dialing 411. And be sure to 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!

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 for Orgasmatron 5.1. 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.

Upgrading Previous Orgasmatron V Installs. The question we hear over and over is "How do I upgrade from an existing Orgasmatron V install or from an existing Asterisk system?" The short answer is you can't. But there is some good news. For those with existing Orgasmatron V installs, we think we can fix your system so that it makes calls reliably. First, be sure your sipgate and gv-incoming settings match what is shown above in this article. Second, be sure you have configured a sipgate trunk with your proper sipgate credentials. Finally, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:
cd /root
wget http://pygooglevoice.googlecode.com/files/pygooglevoice-0.5.tar.gz
tar zxvf pygooglevoice-0.5*
cd pygooglevoice-0.5
python setup.py install
cd /etc/asterisk
sed -i 's|\${RINGBACK}|\${RINGBACK} 3|' extensions_custom.conf
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Early Adopter WARNING. Current downloads are bug-free as best we can tell. But, for those that installed Orgasmatron 5.1 before 2:20 PM (EST) on Saturday, 2/27/2010, a couple of issues have arisen that need to be addressed. Please visit the following link to Orgasmatron 5.1 patches and apply those applicable to your particular situation. Without these patches, a security vulnerability may exist if you expose your server to web access from the Internet and a number of dialplan errors will cause unexpected behavior. It takes less than a minute to apply all of the patches! I'm reminded of the old Wild West adage: "You can always tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back."


Originally published: February 25, 2010


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...

Introducing the Orgasmatron V, Google Voice Edition

It's been an interesting couple of weeks watching many of our readers flock to Google Voice in order to make free calls in the U.S. and Canada. The only problem with our Google Voice solution was the skill set required to get everything humming along as it should. For those new to the Asterisk® world, it only made sense to create a special installer that would build an Instant PBX.

Check Out the Latest! The Incredible PBX

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

In putting this together, we couldn't help noticing the dilemma posed on the new FreePBX web site: "Looking for Phone Service? We can't quite give you the phone service for the same price (free) as the PBX..." Well, maybe they can't, but we certainly can thanks to our friends at Google Voice. So today we're pleased to introduce the first Truly Free™ Asterisk PBX. If you've mastered slice-and-bake cookies, you'll have no trouble with today's recipe.

Welcome to the Orgasmatron V Installer, the wonderscript that lets you create a turnkey Asterisk system with free U.S. and Canada calling through Google Voice in less than 15 minutes! When you're finished you'll have a PBX in a Flash system with every bell and whistle on the planet. Not only is the PBX absolutely free but so are all of your outbound and incoming calls throughout the United States and Canada. All you'll need is an Internet connection and any garden variety PC that's less than 3 years old. Or you can splurge and buy yourself a new Atom-based PC or NetBook and have a state-of-the-art PBX that may last you close to a decade. While you'll still need to change a few passwords and plug in some phones, the Orgasmatron V build reduces the Asterisk learning curve to almost zero. Out of the box, email works. Faxing works. ENUM works. And free calling in the U.S. and Canada works. Just plug in your Google Voice credentials, and you can start placing calls to every phone in the U.S. and Canada for free in just a few minutes.

For those that are wondering what's included in the Orgasmatron V build, here's a feature list of the components you get in addition to the base PBX in a Flash build with Asterisk 1.4, FreePBX 2.5, and Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin:

Getting Started. Even though the installation process is now a No-Brainer, you are well-advised to do some reading before you begin. 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 precautions to protect your phone bill. Start by reading our Primer on Asterisk Security. Then 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.

Prerequisites. You obviously still need a free Google Voice account. If you don't have one, you can request an invite here. At last report, it's only taking a few days from application to invite which is really great news. Don't use a space in your Google Voice password! Once you have a Google Voice account and phone number (Google has reserved several million of them so... not to worry!), then you'll need a DID that provides unlimited, free incoming calls. We'll use it as your Google Voice RingBack DID and will explain all of this after we get your PBX up and running. We'd recommend a free IPkall or SIPgate DID, but we'll get to that.

Installation. Here's a quick tutorial to get you going. First, install the 32-bit, Asterisk 1.4 version of PBX in a Flash. Boot your system from the installation CD and type ksalt to begin. As your machine reboots, remove the CD and choose option A to load the most stable payload. When the install completes, reboot your system once again and login as root with the password you chose when you built your system. Now issue the following commands to bring your system current and protect your system passwords: update-scripts, update-fixes, passwd-master. 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.

Now you're ready to run the Orgasmatron V Installer. While still logged into your new server as root, issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://pbxinaflash.net/orgasmatron/orgasmatron-gv.x
chmod +x orgasmatron-gv.x
./orgasmatron-gv.x
reboot

Stick around while the install script is running. Parts of it are interactive. For now, choose the Flite option when you're prompted twice for your text-to-speech preferences. That way you'll have a working system when you're finished. Once the Orgasmatron V installer script is finished, type status and write down the IP address of your server. You'll need it in the next step to log into FreePBX.

If you'd prefer to pick and choose the apps to install, use this fully-interactive installer instead:

cd /root
wget http://pbxinaflash.net/orgasmatron/orgasmatron-interactive.x
chmod +x orgasmatron-interactive.x
./orgasmatron-interactive.x
reboot

Using a web browser, open FreePBX on your new server with a command like this (substituting the IP address you wrote down above). When prompted for your account name, type maint and use the password you assigned when running passwd-master above:

http://192.168.0.123/admin/

You're NOT done yet!

These next three steps are important. They get all of the FreePBX modules installed and then restore the FreePBX backup set that's at the heart of the Orgasmatron build. Just follow along here. If you're using the new OpenVZ template for PBX in a Flash, start at step 3 and then complete step 1 and 2. Otherwise...

1. Choose Module Admin, Check for Updates online, Upgrade All, Process, Confirm, Return, Apply Config Changes, Continue.

2. Choose Module Admin, Check for Updates online, Download All, Process, Confirm, Return, Apply Config Changes, Continue.

3. Click on the Tools tab and choose Backup & Restore, Restore, RightNow, and select the .tar.gz file that is displayed. Then choose Restore Entire Backup Set, OK, Apply Config Changes, and Continue.

Securing Your System. You're almost done. We always like to reboot the server just to make sure nothing got lost in the shuffle. When the reboot is finished, log into FreePBX with a browser again. Before you do anything else, choose each of the 16 preconfigured extensions on your new server and change the extension AND voicemail passwords. Here's the drill: Setup, Extensions, 501, Submit after changing secret and Voicemail Password. Repeat with the next extension number instead of 501. Then Apply Config Changes, Continue when you've finished with all of them.

Now let's change the default DISA password: Setup, DISA, DISAmain, PIN, Submit Changes, Apply Config Changes, Continue. Whew! Your system now is relatively secure. Follow the steps in the tutorials we recommended, and you're ready to experiment. Plug in a couple of SIP phones or softphones and configure them using the available extensions (701-715) together with the secrets for those extensions. Place a test call between the extensions to make sure you have a working PBX. Now we're ready to add the pieces so that people from outside your system can call you and so that you can call them as well.

Setting Up An IPkall RingBack DID. Step #1 is obtaining a free DID which will be used to handle RingBack calls from Google Voice. If you're new to Google Voice, here's a quick primer. Whenever you place an outbound call through Google Voice, GV actually places two calls. It returns your call to a number you designate as your RingBack number, and then GV places the call to the destination number you've chosen. We will transparently merge the two calls together behind the scenes so the caller will think it's a "normal" long distance call. But, before Google Voice calling will work with Asterisk, you'll need another DID (in addition to your new Google Voice number) to transparently handle these RingBack calls into Asterisk.

Shown above is the IPkall request form to sign up for a free DID. Make your form look like the one above but change 3 pieces of information: (1) the SIP Proxy which is the public IP address of your Asterisk server or its fully-qualified domain name, (2) a working Email Address which will be used to confirm your request for a free DID, and (3) a password to protect your DID at IPkall. Leave the other entries the way they're shown, especially the SIP Phone Number, gv-ringback, which is preconfigured to route incoming SIP calls on your new PBX to any phones connected to extensions 701-715. Once you have confirmed your request by email, you will be assigned a phone number. Assuming you've already connected a phone to your new PBX on one of the above extensions, it should ring when you call your new IPkall number. Don't proceed until you get this working because it must be functional before you can complete the set up of your Google Voice account.

Setting Up A SIPgate RingBack DID. If you elect to use a SIPgate DID, the process is a bit more complicated. Once you've registered for a free DID on their site, you'll get an email with your credentials. You then will need to create a new trunk using FreePBX with the following entries replacing SIP-ID and SIP-Password with your actual credentials. Use sipgate for the Trunk Name and fill in the following in the Outgoing Settings section of the form:

type=peer
username=SIP-ID
fromuser=SIP-ID
secret=SIP-Password
context=from-trunk
host=sipgate.com
fromdomain=sipgate.com
insecure=very
caninvite=no
canreinvite=no
nat=no
disallow=all
allow=ulaw&alaw

Leave the Incoming Settings blank, and enter the following Registration String using your actual credentials:

SIP-ID:SIP-Password@sipgate.com/10-digitSIPgateNumber

Save your entries and then create an Inbound Route called sipgate. Enter your 10-digit SIPgate number in the DID Number field and choose Ring Group: 700 as the Destination for the inbound calls to this number. Reload your Asterisk dialplan when prompted to do so. Connect a phone to an extension on your PBX and be sure the phone rings when you call your new SIPgate DID number before proceeding.

Google Voice Setup. Once you get your RingBack DID set up on your Asterisk system, we need to configure your new Google Voice account. Log into your GV account and click Settings, Phones, Add Another Phone. Add the area code and phone number of your RingBack DID. Be sure a phone is connected to one of the existing extensions (701-715) on your PBX since you have to go through Google's confirmation drill to successfully register the number with GV. After the DID is confirmed, be sure there's a check mark beside this Google Voice destination so that incoming calls to your GV number will be routed to your Asterisk server.

While you're still in the Google Voice Setup, click on the General tab. Uncheck Enable Call Screening. Turn Call Presentation Off. And set CallerID to Display Caller's Number. Remember NOT to include a space in your Google Voice password! Finally, uncheck Do Not Disturb. Now click the Save Changes button.

Adding Your GV Credentials to PBX in a Flash. Now we're ready to insert your Google Voice credentials into PBX in a Flash. You'll need four pieces of information: your 10-digit Google Voice phone number, your Google Voice account name (which is the email address you used to set up your GV account), your GV password (no spaces!), and your 11-digit RingBack DID (beginning with a 1) from either IPkall or SIPgate. Don't get the 10-digit GV number mixed up with the 11-digit RingBack DID, or nothing will work. 🙂 Now log back into your server as root and issue the following commands. Check your entries carefully. If you make a typo in entering any of your data, press Ctrl-C to cancel the script and then run it again!!

cd /root
wget http://pbxinaflash.net/orgasmatron/configure-gv
chmod +x configure-gv
./configure-gv

Updating pyGoogleVoice. Since this article was initially released, Google has made some changes in the way Google Voice processes incoming calls. To address this, you'll need to update the version of pyGoogleVoice installed with this build. While still logged into your server as root, issue the following commands:
cd /root
wget http://pygooglevoice.googlecode.com/files/pygooglevoice-0.5.tar.gz
tar zxvf pygooglevoice-0.5*
cd pygooglevoice-0.5
python setup.py install

Modifying Your RingBack Inbound Route. The last step in the setup process is to reroute your gv-ringback incoming route so that it points to a custom context to process your Google Voice ringback calls transparently. Log back into FreePBX with a web browser and choose Setup, Inbound Routes, gv-ringback. Change the Destination for these calls to Custom Destinations: Custom GV-Park. If you're using SIPgate instead of IPkall, be sure to change the other settings to look like this:

Description: gv-ringback
DIDNumber: *Your 10-digit-SIPgate-Number*
CallerId: *Your 10-digit-Google-Voice-Number*

Save your changes by clicking the Submit button and then reload your dialplan when prompted.

Choosing a VoIP Provider. For this week, we'll point you to some things to play with on your new server. Then, in the subsequent articles below, we'll cover in detail how to customize every application that's been loaded. Nothing beats free when it comes to long distance calls. But nothing lasts forever. So we'd 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 VoIP world is new territory for some of you. Unlike the Ma Bell days, there's really no reason not to have multiple VoIP providers especially for outbound calls. Depending upon where you are calling, calls may be cheaper using different providers for calls to different locations. So we recommend having at least two providers. Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum to get some ideas on choosing alternative providers.

Kicking the Tires. OK. That's enough tutorial for today. Let's play. After you've connected a phone to your new system, begin your adventure by dialing these 10 numbers:

  • D-E-M-O - Check out the Nerd Vittles Orgasmatron Demo
  • 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 a regular or recurring phone reminder
  • Dial *68 - Schedule a hotel-style wakeup call on any extension

Google Voice Speed Dials. For frequently called numbers, you can add speed dials by inserting entries in the [from-internal-custom] context of extensions_custom.conf in the /etc/asterisk folder that look like the example below where 333 is the speed dial number and 6781234567 is the area code and number to call. Be sure to reload your Asterisk dialplan to activate them.

exten => 333,1,Dial(local/6781234567@custom-gv,300)

Congratulations! You now have what we hope will be flawless and free U.S. calling on your Asterisk system using Google Voice. No gimmicks, no strings, no cost. Enjoy!

Finally, one additional word of caution. Both Google Voice and this call design are set up for a single call at a time. There are no safeguards to prevent multiple calls, but that may violate the Google Voice terms of service.

Homework. Your homework for this week is to do some exploring. FreePBX is a treasure trove of functionality, and the Orgasmatron build adds a bunch of additional options. See if you can find all of them. Then 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. Enjoy!

Continue reading Part II.

Continue reading Part III.

Continue reading Part IV.


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.



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


 

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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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...

Asterisk on Steroids: The Orgasmatron Installer, Part IV

If you haven't installed our two dozen turnkey Asterisk® applications in under 5 minutes, it's not too late! We recently introduced our Orgasmatron Installer for PBX in a Flash. And today we wrap up the tutorials with Part IV in this series. Faxing and email work out of the box. More than a dozen extensions and a number of hosting provider trunks are preconfigured. Delivery of CallerID names with numbers is available from over a dozen providers of your choice. ODBC database connectivity is now painless. And the Flite text-to-speech engine is preconfigured with Cepstral TTS only a few keystrokes away. Also included are FreePBX 2.5, Apache, SendMail, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, IPtables Linux firewall, Fail2Ban, and WebMin. Here's the complete list of what 5 minutes of your time brings to this one-of-a-kind Asterisk server platform:

In Part II of this series, we walked you through securing your system and configuring a few of the major applications: AsteriDex, CallerID Superfecta, CallWho, Cepstral, and Emailing with SendMail. In Part III, we covered faxing with nvFax, FONmail, FreePBX backups, the Gizmo5 FreePBX module, setup of Hamachi VPNs, interconnecting Asterisk servers with IAX, setting up on-the-fly conferences, ODBC database implementation, and telephone reminders using a phone or web browser. Today, we'll cover the remaining applications in the Orgasmatron build: Hotel-Style Wakeup Calls, Mondo Full System Backups, Yahoo Newsclips, SIP URI support, TeleYapper, Tide Reports with xTide, Weather Reports by telephone, and how to use the Zaptel updater.

Hotel-Style Wakeup Calls. This application was specifically designed for FreePBX and does just what the name implies. From any phone connected to your PBX, dial *68 and follow the prompts using 4-digit numbers for the desired wake up call times. Then wait for your wakeup call. Doesn’t get much easier than that. There are a number of configuration options which can be set by logging into FreePBX and choosing Admin, Tools, Wakeup Calls. Operator mode lets you specify extensions which can set up wakeup calls for any extension. You also can define the ring time, number of retries, and the time to wait between retries. For the complete tutorial, see this Nerd Vittles article.

Mondo Full System Backups. One of the age-old limitations of Asterisk@Home and now trixbox was the inability to make a full disk backup of your PBX so that it could be restored after a catastrophic event, man-made or otherwise. Tom King solved all of that with his implementation of Mondo Rescue for PBX in a Flash systems. There are numerous options for storing the backups. We prefer using a USB flash drive and rotating between two of them. With falling prices of flash drives, you now can purchase 8GB and 16GB models for peanuts. To enable the backup system, insert a USB flash drive on your PBX. Log into your server as root and type dmesg. Scan through the contents of the display until you find the device name for your USB flash drive. The listing should look something like this:

usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
Vendor: Kingston Model: DataTraveler 2.0 Rev: PMAP
Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 00
SCSI device sdc: 15874048 512-byte hdwr sectors (8128 MB)
sdc: Write Protect is off
sdc: Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
sdc: assuming drive cache: write through
SCSI device sdc: 15874048 512-byte hdwr sectors (8128 MB)
sdc: Write Protect is off
sdc: Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
sdc: assuming drive cache: write through
sdc: sdc1
sd 8:0:0:0: Attached scsi removable disk sdc
sd 8:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
usb-storage: device scan complete

In the listing above, it would tell you that your device is named sdc1. In Mondo parlance, this device name would be /dev/sdc1. Your mileage may vary obviously depending upon the type server you are using. Don't guess! Otherwise, you may end up inadvertently formatting (aka erasing) your primary hard disk since this is the first step in the Mondo backup process.

Once you are positive that you have the correct device name for your flash drive, edit /etc/asterisk/disk-backup.conf. Change line 11 to the following: CONFIGURED="1". Then change line 50 to the device name for your flash drive: USBDEVICENAME="/dev/sdc1". Save your changes. Now run a test backup to be sure everything is working properly: /etc/cron.weekly/disk-backup.cron.

You can review the contents of your flash drive by making a script with the following commands. Be sure to make the script executable and use the actual device name for your flash drive:

#!/bin/bash
mount -t vfat /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usbmondo
df /mnt/usbmondo
echo " "
ls -all -h /mnt/usbmondo
umount /mnt/usbmondo

Be aware that Mondo backups may not properly restore on some of the new Atom-based netbooks. A patch has been released by the Mondo development team which we currently are testing. This newer version also supports creation of bootable flash drives as part of the backup process. Stay tuned.

Yahoo Newsclips for Asterisk. This was one of the first Nerd Vittles text-to-speech (TTS) applications for Asterisk, and it remains one of the most popular. To use it, dial 511 from any phone on your Asterisk system. The default setup gives a choice of numerous Yahoo news and sports feeds which will be read to you over the telephone. For detailed setup instructions, see the original Nerd Vittles article. The application, by default, uses the Flite text-to-speech engine. If you have purchased Cepstral, you can easily reconfigure Newsclips for Asterisk to use Cepstral as the TTS engine. Just edit nv-news.php in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin and change the $ttspick entry in line 16 from 0 to 1.

Asterisk SIP URI Support. Direct SIP-to-SIP communications is one of the most exciting emerging trends in Internet telephony. Within 10 years, Gartner predicts that 50% of all phone traffic will be pure IP from end to end. You can start using it with your new server to make free phone calls today. All that's really needed is a SIP URI for your server. SIP URI's work just like email addresses except they tell phone systems where to deliver calls over the Internet. The Orgasmatron build preconfigures a number of SIP URI's for you including mothership, e164, and fax. This means that anyone can contact you by "dialing" your SIP URI using either the IP address of your server or a fully-qualified domain name that points to that IP address. A typical SIP URI would look like this: mothership@192.77.210.14. This tells the calling system to route the call to the mothership context on the Asterisk server living at 192.77.210.14. You also can contact the demo applications on your server by dialing nv-demo@192.77.210.24.

The next logical step with SIP URI's is to interconnect your server with a traditional POTS phone number using your SIP URI. You can sign up for a free incoming phone number at ipkall.com. For your account type, choose SIP. For your SIP phone number, enter: mothership. For your SIP proxy, enter the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) or IP address of your server, e.g. mypbx.dyndns.org. Choose a password and enter your real email address, and ipkall.com will beam you a Washington state phone number within a day or so. Just use it at least once a month, and you've got free inbound calls using a real telephone number forever. You can do much the same thing with Gizmo by signing up for an account using the FreePBX web interface included in the Orgasmatron build. You can't beat the price! For more detail on SIP proxies, see this Nerd Vittles article. To add your new number to directory assistance listings in the United States, just go to listyourself.net and sign up.

The other great use for SIP-to-SIP communications is to register yourself in the ENUM system so that other Asterisk and FreeSwitch systems can translate your plain old telephone number into a SIP URI and place the call SIP-to-SIP without any communications charges. To sign up for the service, go to both 164.org and enumplus.org. It only takes a minute. ENUM is implemented for default outbound calls by default on Orgasmatron builds. This means your server will attempt to place the call for free through ENUM before using your other outbound trunks for which you have to pay a fee to a provider.

TeleYapper. This application is an automated message broadcasting service commonly known as a call blasting or phone blasting system. It is licensed for non-commercial use including the following: to send prerecorded phone messages for neighborhood association announcements, school closings, tornado alerts, little league practices, fund raisers, municipal government reminders, and for just about any other non-commercial purpose. TeleYapper is simple to use. Dial extension M-S-G (674) on your Asterisk system and enter your password. You'll be prompted to record a message. Next you enter the group number for delivery of your TeleYapper message. The system will tell you how many recipients are in the group you have chosen. You then can begin the phone blasting session, or you can choose to resend messages to failed calls on a previous try to the same group. TeleYapper keeps track of which calls were successfully delivered and which were not so that follow-up calls can be placed. For detailed instructions on how to add entries to your TeleYapper database, see this Best of Nerd Vittles article.

Tide Reports with xTide. As the name implies, the xTide for Asterisk TTS application lets you retrieve tide and lunar information about any U.S. port by dialing 8433 (T-I-D-E) from any phone connected to your Asterisk system.

The default port setting for xTide for Asterisk is Pawleys Island, South Carolina. You can change this to meet your needs. There are three steps to reconfiguring the desired port city. First, identify a port city supported by xTide. Second, test the port city you have chosen using the tide application. Third, configure xTide for Asterisk for your desired port city. To identify whether a particular port city is supported by xTide, visit this link and search for the city you wish to use. Once you have verified that your desired location is supported, test it manually with the tide application that was installed as part of xTide for Asterisk. Log into your server as root and issue the command: tide -l "portcity", e.g. tide -l "boston".

Once you have verified that you get a tide report for your chosen city, simply reconfigure xTide for Asterisk to support that destination. While still logged in as root, edit /etc/asterisk/xtide.conf and change the contents to your new city. Be careful NOT to add any blank lines to the config file!

SITE="pawleys"
SITENAME="Pawlees Island, South Carolina"

You'll note that the spelling of the SITENAME was modified slightly to assist the TTS application. Complete details for configuring xTide for Asterisk as well as instructions for changing to Cepstral TTS support are included in the Best of Nerd Vittles article.

Weather Reports by Phone. Three separate TTS weather applications are included in the Orgasmatron build. You can retrieve weather forecasts by zip code and airport code as well as by international city. Dial Z-I-P and enter a 5-digit zip code. Or dial 6-1-1 and enter a three-character U.S. airport code. Or dial 6-1-2 and choose the international city preconfigured in your system. By default, the Worldwide Weather Forecasts for Asterisk application comes preconfigured to support 10 cities around the world. Here's the list:

0 - Tokyo
1 - Washington
2 - Berlin
3 - Florence
4 - Gough Island
5 - London
6 - Moscow
7 - Sydney
8 - Toronto
9 - Zurich

For details on changing the city codes as well as tips in using the other weather applications, see the Best of Nerd Vittles articles.

Miscellaneous Scripts. For your convenience, a script is included to update your zaptel setup whenever you add a card to your system or install a new Linux kernel. You'll find the script in the /root/nv folder on your server: zaptel-update.sh. There's also a script to install A2Billing: install-a2billing. There's also a detailed FAQ to walk you through configuring the Amazon S3 cloud computing service to work with PBX in a Flash as an off-site storage facility: s3cmd.faq. For configuration tips on configuring S3, see this Nerd Vittles article.

CallerID Superfecta 2.1. It's only been 10 days since the new FreePBX-based CallerID Superfecta was released. But wait until you see this new version. The original release of this application included 3 data sources. This one has 15 including the first Canadian source! There are too many new features to mention all of them here, but here's the short list:

1. Added Local Caching to MySQL
2. Retention of Valid Caller ID Name if Provided by Trunk
3. "Automatic" Support for sources requiring authentication
4. Post CID retrieval processing for source scripts
5. Altered whocalled behavior to return textual CallerID info
6. Support for sources with CID and SPAM rankings
7. Enhanced script error reporting in debug interface
8. "Report Back" capability to populate Data sources

You'll have to install this yourself unless you downloaded the Orgasmatron Installer (v1.4) after 5 pm EDT yesterday, May 24. The install instructions are included in the release notes, and it only takes a few seconds. Here's a link to the writeup on the new module on the PBX in a Flash Forum.

Unrelated But Still Interesting. If you're fascinated by all discoveries relating to words beginning with the letters o-r-g-a-s-m, be sure to check out Mary Roach's recent Ted Talk. Enjoy. 🙂

Read Part I and download the software.

Read Part II.

Read Part III.



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


Twitter Magic. If you haven't noticed the right margin of Nerd Vittles lately, we've added a new link to our Twitter feed. If you explore a little, you'll discover that the user interface now brings you instant access to every Twitter feed from the convenience of the Nerd Vittles desktop. Enjoy!


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.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

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...