Trixbox is a pre-configured Asterisk PBX which allows you to create a comprehensive home or business phone system which multiple extensions, and multiple lines. The single TrixBox installation CD creates a Linux server with a web server, database backend, the Asterisk PBX, the Sugar CRM server application, and a set of web-based management tools to manage everything. While all the bits and pieces are available separately, Trixbox automates much of the setup.
Currently, my setup includes two IP phones that look like conventional desk phones. These plug into my local area network. Each has an IP assigned to it. Each is a small web server in itself, as they can be configured using a web browser. I’ve assigned extension 200 to my phone, and 201 to the second desk in the office (John).
When the two IP phones connect to the network and register with the Trixbox, they behave much like regular phone extensions in a corporate office. I can call from one to the other by dialing the three-digit extension. I can put a caller on hold, or I can “park” a call. I can set up a conference call.
Both extensions have voice mail. If an extension receives voice mail, then it flashes its lights to show that there is a message waiting. You can also have the Trixbox automatically forward voice mail to eMail, with the voice message as an attachment. After leaving myself a message from the 201 extension, I received the following message in my Outlook Inbox:
Just wanted to let you know you were just left a 0:09 long message (number 1) in mailbox 200 from John, on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 06:12:07 PM so you might want to check it when you get a chance. Thanks!
The voice message was attached as a .WAV file. The names of Larry and John are automatically taken from the assigned names within the Asterisk configuration. I’m assuming you can customize this further…by digging into the configuration.
My outbound telephone connection provider Voicepulse provides a service which completes calls from my PBX to virtually any phone number in the world. Voicepulse accepts calls via the internet and then transfers them to the regular phone system. (see diagram). Voicepulse provides capacity for up to four simultaneous calls. Additional capacity can be added by buying additional “trunks”, which then would allow you to make higher numbers of simultaneous calls. What’s interesting about this is how scalable it is…you don’t need to run wires, or wait for the phone company to come to install additional lines.
Of course, I’m running this with very low volume; since I have a two phones, I can have a maximum of two simultaneous calls. Eventually there will be issues as far as internet bandwidth, and processor capacity. Right now I’m running my Trixbox on an old Dell Optiplex, with a 450Mhz processor.