Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog, Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Mobile IoT

Linux Containers: Article

Asterisk: Getting Connected

Part 2: A step-by-step guide

In December's column, we installed the Asterisk PBX and configured two IP phones as extensions. This month, we'll connect our PBX to the telephone network for incoming and outgoing calls and set up the Digital Receptionist to route our incoming calls.

Connecting Asterisk to the Telephone Network
Asterisk supports a myriad of ways to connect to the public telephone network. Asterisk provides standard technologies such as IAX (Inter-Asterisk-eXchange), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), and PRI (with appropriate hardware). We'll be connecting with IAX because it's simple and widely supported by VoIP providers.

Choosing a VoIP Provider
We'll be using VoIP services provided by Blue Networks, Inc., because it offers the best mix of pricing, support, and connectivity. Blue Networks also has online sign-up and a no-nonsense free trial.

Head over to www.sellVoIP.net/ and click on "Free Trial." Blue Networks will send your username and password to the e-mail address you supplied during sign-up.

Your VoIP experience can be affected by many variables. Network latency and reliability issues between your Asterisk server and your provider's gateway are the most critical factors. Luckily, Blue Networks has multiple gateways and finding one with the least latency is simple.

To determine which gateway to use, log into your [email protected] machine either from the console or with a secure shell. Once logged in, issue the following command:

[[email protected] ~]# ping -qc5 miaiax1.sellVoIP.net

After a few seconds, you should see ping results similar to:

PING miaiax1.sellVoIP.net (69.25.180.232) 56(84) bytes of data.

--- miaiax1.sellVoIP.net ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4004ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 38.139/39.095/40.131/0.744 ms, pipe 2

Make a note of the average ping time. In this case, it's 39.095 milliseconds. Run the same ping for seaiax1.sellVoIP.net and nyiax1.sellVoIP.net, then log out. We'll use the server with the lowest average ping time. In my case, miaiax1.sellVoIP.net was the fastest to respond.

Let's configure Asterisk to connect to the fastest gateway and make a couple of test calls.

In AMP, click on Setup, then Trunks. Click on "Add IAX2 Trunk." We'll use the account number "12345" and the secret "mysecret" in this example. Replace these with the account number and secret you got in the e-mail from Blue Networks.

In the "Outgoing Settings" section, we'll add the following:

In Dial Rules, add:

Replace 919 with your local area code. Asterisk will automatically dial this area code whenever a number dialed doesn't include one.

At the bottom of the page, add the following to the "Registration" section:

Remember to replace "12345" and "mysecret" with the IAX username and secret from your sign-up e-mail. When complete, click on "Submit Changes."

Next, click on "Outbound Routing." Select the default route of "0 9_outside." In the section "Trunk Sequence" select the IAX2 route we added above, then click "Submit Changes" and click on the red warning to make your changes take effect, see below.

You should now be able to make phone calls! Remember, since your trial account has a 10-cent balance, your phone call will be limited to a few minutes. Also, always dial 9 and then the number.

To get a phone number (called a DID for "Direct Inward Dial"), you'll have to sign into the SellVoIP Portal (www.sellVoIP.net/portal/) and add funds to your account. You'll then click on "Add DID" and select the DID from the list. At the time of this writing, there are several dozen toll-free numbers available, as well as numbers in various area codes throughout the country. If your area code isn't available, request it in a support ticket.

Once you have a DID, configuring Asterisk to use it is quite simple.

Click on Trunks then click on the SellVoIP trunk we just added for outbound calls. In the section "Incoming Settings" enter your IAX username. In User Details, add the following:

Let's also set our outbound caller ID to this DID. Do this by putting the 10-digit number in the "Outbound Caller ID" field.

Click "Submit Changes," then click the red banner to make those changes take effect.

Configuring the Digital Receptionist
What use is a fancy PBX without being able to route calls? The Asterisk Management Portal (AMP) lets us route inbound calls to the Digital Receptionist, directly to an extension, to a ring group, or a call queue. It will also let us specify different options for "after hours" calls.

We'll configure the Digital Receptionist to handle our incoming calls. Before we record any prompts or greetings, we should take a few minutes to sketch out our requirements and user experience.

Our example company, Spatula City, has a receptionist who should always be reachable by dialing "0." There are only two extensions, so it isn't necessary to configure a company directory. We want the caller to be able to reach our Sales and Customer Service departments through the menu. Our main menu should sound something like:

"Welcome to Spatula City! If you know your party's extension, please enter it now. For the sales department, press one. For customer service, press two. For the operator, press zero."

In AMP, click on Digital Receptionist. The Receptionist will need to know your extension to record menu items.

AMP gives us the option to record our prompt over the phone or upload it as a WAV file. Let's record the prompt through the telephone by picking it up and dialing *77 and reading the welcome message above. You can dial *99 to listen to the recording and *77 again to re-record.

Once the recording is complete, we need to name and describe it:

After clicking Continue, AMP needs to know how many options there are on the menu we just recorded. Enter "3" here.

Spatula City is a small operation. It has a bookkeeper in the back at extension 200. She's also the operator. There's one person dedicated to sales and customer service at extension 201. Our call routing is simple:

Finally, we have to tell Asterisk to use this Digital Receptionist for incoming calls. In AMP, click on Incoming Calls. Spatula City wants the Digital Receptionist to handle incoming calls all the time, even when the store is closed. The easiest way to do this is to set the Digital Receptionist to "Spatula City Main" for regular hours and force regular hours as shown below.

Testing the Receptionist
[email protected] can simulate an incoming call from any extension by dialing 7777. After dialing, you should hear the main menu presented by the Digital Receptionist.

More Stories By Stephen Misel

Stephen Misel has been developing Linux-based applications for over 10 years. He is the owner of Misel Consulting, LLC, a Voice-Over-IP consultancy.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
SYS-CON Italy News Desk 02/09/06 09:33:26 AM EST

In December's column, we installed the Asterisk PBX and configured two IP phones as extensions. This month, we'll connect our PBX to the telephone network for incoming and outgoing calls and set up the Digital Receptionist to route our incoming calls.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...