Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Mike Kavis, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Linux, Wireless

Linux: 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 Asterisk@Home machine either from the console or with a secure shell. Once logged in, issue the following command:

[root@asterisk1 ~]# 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
Asterisk@Home 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
SYS-CON Events announced today that Litmus Automation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Litmus Automation’s vision is to provide a solution for companies that are in a rush to embrace the disruptive Internet of Things technology and leverage it for real business challenges. Litmus Automation simplifies the complexity of connected devices applications with Loop, a secure and scalable cloud platform.
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, will provide some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacenter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, will discuss how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust I...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.