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VirtualBox Wonder: It’s Incredible PBX 2027-D for Debian 11




If you’re new to the VoIP world and want to kick the tires to see what you’re missing, then today’s one minute setup is for you. You can purchase a $1 a month phone number in your choice of area codes from CallCentric. Setup instructions here. If you decide VoIP is not for you, you don’t have to buy anything else ever. And you can use almost any desktop computer you already own to bring up the VirtualBox® edition of Incredible PBX® with Debian 11. Apple’s new ARM-based Macs unfortunately do not support VirtualBox. Here’s a great alternative for you.

If you’ve followed Nerd Vittles over the years, you already know that VirtualBox from Oracle® is one of our favorite platforms. Once VirtualBox is installed on your desktop computer, adding Incredible PBX is a snap. Download the latest Incredible PBX 2027-D image for Debian 11, double-click on the downloaded image and boom. In less than a minute, your PBX is ready to use with the very latest components of Asterisk® 20 and FreePBX® 16. There are no hidden fees or crippleware to hinder your use of Incredible PBX for as long as you like. Of course, the Incredible PBX feature set is included as well which brings you nearly three dozen applications for Asterisk that will revolutionize your communications platform. Speech-to-text, voice recognition, and a Siri-like telephony interface are as close as your phone.

Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle’s virtual machine platform inherited from Sun is amazing. It’s not only free, but it’s pure GPL2 code. VirtualBox gives you a virtual machine platform that runs on top of many desktop operating systems including Linux, Windows, and Intel-based Macs. In terms of limitations, we haven’t found any. We even tested this on an Atom-based Windows 7 machine with 2GB of RAM, and it worked without a hiccup. So step #1 today is to download one or more of the VirtualBox 6.1 installers. Our recommendation is to put all of these 100MB installers on a USB thumb drive.1 Then you’ll have everything in one place whenever and wherever you happen to need it. Once you’ve downloaded the software, simply install it onto your favorite desktop machine. Accept all of the default settings, and you’ll be good to go. For more details, here’s a link to the Oracle VM VirtualBox User Manual.

NOTE: A VirtualBox 6.1 platform is required. Adjust screen size in View -> Virtual Screen.

Installing the Incredible PBX for Debian 11 Image

To begin, download the Incredible PBX 2027-D image with Debian 11 (3.7 GB) onto your desktop.

Next, double-click on the Incredible PBX .ova image on your desktop. Be sure to check the box to initialize the MAC address of the image if you’re using an older version of VirtualBox. Then click Import. Once the import is finished, you’ll see a new Incredible PBX 2027-D virtual machine in the VM List of the VirtualBox Manager Window. Let’s make a couple of one-time adjustments to the Incredible PBX configuration to account for possible differences in sound and network cards on different host machines.

(1) Click once on the Incredible PBX 2027-D virtual machine in the VM List. Then (2) click the Settings button. In System tab, check Hardware Clock in UTC Time. In the Audio tab, check the Enable Audio option and choose your sound card. In the Network tab for Adapter 1, check the Enable Network Adapter option. From the Attached to pull-down menu, choose Bridged Adapter. Then select your network card from the Name list. Then click OK. That’s all the configuration that is necessary for Incredible PBX.

Running Incredible PBX 2027-D in VirtualBox

Once you’ve imported and configured the Incredible PBX Virtual Machine, you’re ready to go. Highlight the Incredible PBX 2-27-D virtual machine in the VM List on the VirtualBox Manager Window and click the Start button. The standard Linux boot procedure will begin and, within a few seconds, you’ll get the familiar Linux login prompt. During the bootstrap procedure, you may see a couple of dialogue boxes pop up that explain the keystrokes to move back and forth between your host operating system desktop and your virtual machine. Remember, you still have full access to your desktop computer. Incredible PBX 2027-D is merely running as a task in a VM window. Always gracefully halt Incredible PBX just as you would on any computer.

Here’s what you need to know. To work in the Incredible PBX virtual machine, just left-click your mouse while it is positioned inside the VM window. To return to your host operating system desktop, press the right Option key on Windows machines or the left Command key on any Mac. On Linux desktops, press the right Ctrl key. For other operating systems, read the dialogue boxes for instructions on moving around. To access the Linux CLI, login as root with the default password: password.

Setting Your Incredible PBX Passwords

When the base install finishes and the VM restarts, log back in as root. Change your root password by issuing the command: passwd. Then update your admin password for web access: ./admin-pw-change. Also update your admin password for web applications: ./apache-pw-change. You’ll need these admin passwords to access the web GUI to manage your PBX as well as to use the AsteriDex and Reminders web apps.

Setting the Date and Time with VirtualBox

On some platforms, VirtualBox has a nasty habit of mangling the date and time of your virtual machine. Verify that you have enabled the Hardware Clock in UTC Time option for your virtual machine as documented above. If pbxstatus still shows an incorrect time, manually set the date and time and then update the hardware clock. Here’s how assuming 08130709 is the month (August), day (13), and correct time (7:09 a.m.) of your server:

date 08130709
clock -w

Configuring VoIP.ms for Incredible PBX

To sign up for VoIP.ms service, may we suggest you use our signup link so that Nerd Vittles gets a referral credit for your signup. Once your account is set up, you’ll need to set up a SIP SubAccount and, for Authentication Type, choose User/Password Authentication. Create a username and password for your subaccount. For Transport, choose UDP. For Device Type, choose Asterisk. Order a DID in their web panel, and then point the DID to the SubAccount you just created. Be sure to specify atlanta1.voip.ms as the POP from which to receive incoming calls.

Configuring Anveo Direct for Incredible PBX

To sign up for Anveo Direct service, sign up on their web site and then login. After adding funds to your account, purchase a DID under Inbound Service -> Order DID. Next, choose Configure Destination SIP Trunk. Give the Trunk a name. For the Primary SIP URI, enter $[E164]$@server-IP-address. For Call Options, select your new DID from the list. You also must whitelist your public IP address under Outbound Service -> Configure. Create a new Call Termination Trunk and name it to match your server. For Dialing Prefix, choose six alphanumeric characters beginning with a zero. In Authorized IP Addresses, enter the public IP address of your server. Set an appropriate rate cap. We like $0.01 per minute to be safe. Set a concurrent calls limit. We like 2. For the Call Routing Method, choose Least Cost unless you’re feeling extravagant. For Routes/Carriers, choose Standard Routes. Write down your Dialing Prefix and then click the Save button.

Before you can make outbound calls through Anveo Direct from your PBX, you first must configure the Dialing Prefix that you wrote down in the previous step. Log into the GUI as admin using a web browser and edit the Anveo-Out trunk in Connectivity -> Trunks. Click on the custom-Settings tab and replace anveo-pin with your actual Dialing Prefix. Click Submit and Apply Config to complete the setup.

By default, incoming Anveo Direct calls will be processed by the Default inbound route on your PBX. If you wish to redirect incoming Anveo Direct calls using DID-specific inbound routes, then you’ve got a bit more work to do. In addition to creating the inbound route using the 11-digit Anveo Direct DID, enter the following commands after logging into your server as root using SSH/Putty:

cd /etc/asterisk
echo "[from-anveo]" >> extensions_custom.conf
echo "exten => _.,1,Ringing" >> extensions_custom.conf
echo "exten => _.,n,Goto(from-trunk,\\${SIP_HEADER(X-anveo-e164)},1)" >> extensions_custom.conf
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Configuring a Desktop Softphone for Incredible PBX

We’re in the home stretch now. You can connect virtually any kind of telephone to your new PBX. Plain Old Phones require an analog telephone adapter (ATA) which can be a separate board in your computer from a company such as Digium. Or it can be a standalone SIP device such as ObiHai’s OBi100 or OBi110 (if you have a phone line from Ma Bell to hook up as well). SIP phones can be connected directly so long as they have an IP address. These could be hardware devices or software devices such as a softphone. We’ll start with a free one today so you can begin making calls. You can find dozens of recommendations for hardware-based SIP phones both on Nerd Vittles and the PIAF Forum when you’re ready to get serious about VoIP telephony.


The easiest way to get started is to download a free softphone onto your desktop. We recommend Zoiper 5 for personal use. You can download and install it from here. Once installed, you’ll first need to decipher your extension password for an extension you wish to use to connect to Zoiper. Log into your Linux CLI and switch to the root user as documented above. Then run: /root/show-passwords. Specify 701 and 705 as the starting and ending extensions. Make note of the 701 extension password. Run pbxstatus and make note of your LAN IP address, e.g. 179.xx.yy.zz. Next, start up Zoiper from your desktop and choose the free version. For the desired account enter: 701@179.xx.yy.zz:5061 where 179.xx.yy.zz is the local IP address of your virtual machine. For the password, enter the 701 extension password you deciphered above. Press ENTER twice to complete the connection. When the dialer appears, try out some of the free Incredible PBX applications below.

NOTE: You must use the Keypad option shown in the right window of Zoiper after your call is connected for any app that prompts for keyboard input.

Here are some numbers to try:

123 - Reminders
222 - Timeclock for Employees (try 12345)
223 - AsteriDex Lookup & Dialer (try 335 for Delta Airlines)
947 - Weather by ZIP Code (requires keyboard entry of ZIP code)
951 - Yahoo News
TODAY - Today in History
LENNY - The Telemarketer's Worst Nightmare

If you are a Mac user, another great no-frills softphone is Telephone. Just download and install it from the Mac App Store. For Android users, check out the terrific new VitalPBX Communicator. Works flawlessly with Incredible PBX.

Configuring a Softphone Extension on a Smartphone

Adding an Incredible PBX extension to your smartphone gets a little trickier. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android lover, all smartphones use batteries, and you don’t want to drain your battery by running a softphone as a foreground app all the time. Fortunately, you now have some choices in softphones engineered to work without draining your battery. While they all cost money, it’s not much money. We’ve written about all the choices, and you’ll find the links in our Softphone Provider Recommendations on the new Incredible PBX Wiki.

With PJsip extensions, you’re not limited to a single phone connection at a time, and we’ve preconfigured extension 701 to support ten simultaneous connections. The setup on the softphone side is simple. For the server, enter the actual IP address of your PBX in the following format: 22.33.44.55:5061. Then enter 701 for the username and enter the password assigned to the 701 extension on your PBX. When an incoming call arrives, all the phones registered to extension 701 will ring simultaneously. Simply answer the call on the phone that is most convenient. For extension 702, you can change the number of simultaneous connections by clicking the Advanced tab and setting the number in Max Contacts.

Configuring Incredible PBX for VirtualBox

In order to take advantage of all the Incredible PBX applications, you’ll need to obtain IBM text-to-speech (TTS) and speech-to-text (STT) credentials as well as a (free) Application ID for Wolfram Alpha.

This Nerd Vittles tutorial will walk you through getting your IBM account set up and obtaining both your TTS and STT credentials. Be sure to write down BOTH sets of credentials which you’ll need in a minute. For home and SOHO use, IBM access and services are mostly FREE even though you must provide a credit card when signing up. The IBM signup process explains their pricing plans.

To use Wolfram Alpha, sign up for a free Wolfram Alpha API account. Just provide your email address and set up a password. It takes less than a minute. Log into your account and click on Get An App ID. Make up a name for your application and write down (and keep secret) your APP-ID code. That’s all there is to getting set up with Wolfram Alpha. If you want to explore costs for commercial use, there are links to let you get more information.

In addition to your Wolfram Alpha APPID, there are two sets of IBM credentials to plug into the Asterisk AGI scripts. Keep in mind that there are different usernames and passwords for the IBM Watson TTS and STT services. The TTS credentials will look like the following: $IBM_username and $IBM_password. The STT credentials look like this: $API_USERNAME and $API_PASSWORD. Don’t mix them up. 🙂

All of the scripts requiring credentials are located in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin so switch to that directory after logging into your server as root. Edit each of the following files and insert your TTS credentials in the variables already provided: nv-today2.php, ibmtts.php, and ibmtts2.php. Edit each of the following files and insert your STT credentials in the variables already provided: getquery.sh, getnumber.sh, and getnumber2.sh. Finally, edit 4747 and insert your Wolfram Alpha APPID.

Using AsteriDex with Incredible PBX

AsteriDex is a web-based dialer and address book application for Asterisk and Incredible PBX. It lets you store and manage phone numbers of all your friends and business associates in an easy-to-use SQLite3 database. You simply call up the application with your favorite web browser: http://pbx-ip-address/asteridex4/. When you click on a contact that you wish to call, AsteriDex first calls you at extension 701, and then AsteriDex connects you to your contact through another outbound call made using your default outbound trunk that supports numbers in the 1NXXNXXXXXX format.

Keeping FreePBX 16 Modules Current

We strongly recommend that you periodically update all of your FreePBX modules to eliminate bugs and to reduce security vulnerabilities. From the Linux CLI, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

rm -f /tmp/*
fwconsole ma upgradeall
fwconsole reload
/root/sig-fix
systemctl restart apache2
/root/sig-fix

Taking Incredible PBX for a Test Drive

You can take Incredible PBX on a test drive by dialing D-E-M-O (3366) from any phone connected to your PBX.

With Allison’s Demo IVR, you can choose from the following options:

  • 0. Chat with Operator — connects to extension 701
  • 1. AsteriDex Voice Dialer – say "Delta Airlines" or "American Airlines" to connect
  • 2. Conferencing – log in using 1234 as the conference PIN
  • 3. Wolfram Alpha Almanac – say "What planes are flying overhead"
  • 4. Lenny – The Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare
  • 5. Today’s News Headlines — courtesy of Yahoo! News
  • 6. Weather by ZIP Code – enter any 5-digit ZIP code for today’s weather
  • 7. Today in History — courtesy of OnThisDay.com
  • 8. Chat with Nerd Uno — courtesy of SIP URI connection to 3CX iPhone Client
  • 9. DISA Voice Dialer — say any 10-digit number to be connected
  • *. Current Date and Time — courtesy of Incredible PBX

Originally published: Monday, September 4, 2023



Need help with Asterisk? Visit the VoIP-info Forum.


 

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The lynchpin of Incredible PBX 2020 and beyond is ClearlyIP components which bring management of FreePBX modules and SIP phone integration to a level never before available with any other Asterisk distribution. And now you can configure and reconfigure your new Incredible PBX phones from the convenience of the Incredible PBX GUI.

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.
 




 

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1 Comment

  1. Anybody else having trouble with the Clearly Devices module? When I try installing it, I get the following SQL error:

    An exception occurred while executing ‘ALTER TABLE clearlydevices_brand_common_codes ADD tzoffset VARCHAR(7) DEFAULT NULL, DROP offset, CHANGE type type VARCHAR ▶
    \n
    SQLSTATE[42000]: Syntax error or access violation: 1064 You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MariaDB server version f ▶

    [WM- Here’s the fix.]

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