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The Ambidextrous Laptop: A Perfect Fit for Asterisk and VoIP

Until we bought a 15-inch Windows laptop with 20 gigs of RAM and a 1 terabyte NVMe SSD for under $500, we never would have considered such a computer an ideal virtual machine platform. And, to our surprise, with Windows 11 and a 4-core Ryzen 3 processor, it not only ran VirtualBox flawlessly, but Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSLg) also performed admirably.

And then we tried out the UTM virtual machine platform on one of Apple’s new MacBook Air machines with an M1 processor and 16 gigs of RAM. Wow! How the world has changed. The MacBook Air 1TB offering buys you triple the performance of the Ryzen machine. But it’s more than triple the cost. So our message for today is don’t underestimate the benefits of running Asterisk® in a virtual machine environment where flawless backups are only the click of a button away. And, yes, it can travel with you without missing a beat. Add a free softphone such as Zoiper 5, and you have an instant mobile office. Of course, if your primary use is commercial, you’ll need to pay for Zoiper 5 Pro. The $50 price tag won’t break the bank.

What’s our favorite platform? You can probably guess. But, to be honest, the Ryzen-based Windows 11 machine is a steal and performs more than adequately as a virtual machine platform. And, if you’re more comfortable in the Windows ecosystem, it’s a smart choice. LibreOffice is available at no cost on both the Windows and Mac platforms as is Zoiper. So, functionally, as a travel companion and as a robust virtual machine host, you can’t lose.

While we’re on the mobile computing topic, we would be remiss in not addressing the topic of security. If you travel and are away from the protections of your home or office firewall, we will restate the obvious. You still need firewall protection for your computer. This is especially true if you’re also using the machine to host a PBX capable of making worldwide VoIP calls. While Windows and Mac platforms as well as Incredible PBX® all offer software-based firewalls, we still consider a hardware-based firewall a prudent addition. It’s your phone bill.

So here’s our tip of the week for a gadget to slip into your travel bag. Never leave home without it! It’s the GL.iNet Mini Travel Wireless Pocket Router currently available on Amazon for $32. You can plug it into your PC or a USB power source and set up a private WiFi network in minutes whether you’re in a hotel or any other location with public WiFi access. For those that always rely upon virtual private networks for communications as we do, this little router has OpenVPN support built in.

Full Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, Nerd Vittles earns commissions from qualifying Amazon purchases to keep the Nerd Vittles lights burning brightly. And, as has always been the case, Nerd Vittles eats its own dog food. Simply stated, we always use and test products before recommending them to others.

Originally published: Monday, April 10, 2023

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