Tech Friday: Asterisk/Trixbox quirks

A couple of interesting quirks have come up after about ten days of using Asterisk/Trixbox as our “home office” phone system.

1. The Grandstream Budgetone 101 and 102 SIP phones that we are using are not (apparently) FCC Type-B accepted. That means that they are not shielded to prevent television or other interference. So the phones make a hash of Channels 5 and 33 on our non-cable television….thereby rendering these phones essentially useless in a home environment. To be fair, they are a couple years old….maybe the new Grandstream phones are better shielded? So, the way we’re coping is to plug in the phone when we want to make a call. Saves power, that way, of course.

2. As described earlier, I’m using VoicePulse as our outbound call service, and it seems to work very well indeed. However, the IAX2 channels sometimes become unregistered with VP during the course of a day. When this happens, if you place a call via the VoicePulse trunk…you get a ring-no-answer…that sounds just like a conventional ring-no-answer..i.e. you can’t distinguish whether this is a problem with the VoicePulse registration, or if in fact the person really isn’t at home. As a precaution, in the morning, I’ve been making check calls to my cell phone….if the cell phone rings, then I know my outbound trunk is working. At the Asterisk command line, if I type IAX2 show channels, it should show two registered VoicePulse channels. Even if channel voicepulse1 is unregistered, I would have hoped that channel 2 would take the call, but there doesn’t appear any to be any logic that can deal with this issue. What I’d really like to see is some kind of real-time indication that the channels are not working, and/or some kind of fall-back or re-registering function.

3. I’ll be checking the power consumption of all the components, but I was pleased to see that the idle power consumption of the Dell server that I’m using goes at about 44 watts. This seems pretty reasonable for a server.

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