Tech Friday – Installing the Asterisk PBX system

New phone system day.

I spent Friday and much of Saturday installing the latest and greatest Asterisk PBX system using TrixBox, a pre-configured version of Asterisk which comes with the underlying Linux operating system already in place. On a single downloadable CD, you get:

  • Cent-OS – The open source version of A Major commercial Linux Distribution
  • Apache web server
  • Asterisk – the open source PBX
  • freePBX – a web browser based interface for Asterisk configuration and management
  • mySQL – which is the back-end database used by freePBX
  • The SugarCRM – an open source Customer Relationship Manager which integrates with Asterisk

Rather than setting all this stuff up yourself, the TrixBox setup scripts do it automatically, which, in my case, would save hours if not days of futzing around. In addition, if you have existing Digium hardware (i.e. Zaptel) for connecting analog phones or connecting to a regular phone line the setup scripts will configure those cards as well.

So, you could consider the TrixBox implementation a superset of Asterisk.

But wait there’s more!

There is even a super-set of Trixbox, which installs Trixbox on a virtual machine within Windows. This is available from Nerd Vittles. There are also instructions on setting up a slew of extra applications at the Nerd Vittles site, like an extension number to read back the latest weather forecast.

Personally, I prefer setting up the Linux version. Right now my system is working happily on an older 450Mhz 256Kb RAM Dell Optiplex.

There are several set-up tutorials available. One good one is from Sureteq. Looking at these, it is clear that just by setting up a TrixBox, you aren’t out of the woods by any means. What these superb pre-configured systems do, however, is bypass hours of setting up the base system, and get you to the point where you can start working on your dial plan.

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