Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Home PBX Project - Redux

The FreePBX home PBX is working great.  I've got a half dozen extensions connected including X-Lite for PC's, Bria for the iPads/iPhone, an OBi202 WiFi analog phone "adapter" connected to our wireless phones and a Nortel LG-1535 for my office.  These Nortel desksets are inexpensive, but they're really nice.  I got this one on E-bay - it was packaged in a new box, but was set up for Turkish... (simple config option to get it to English.)

I've forwarded my home phone number to the new PBX and changed the outgoing Caller ID to match the home phone's number.  So, now the whole house is using the new service transparently (i.e. you just pick up the phone and dial, all the phones ring with either incoming number, CallerID works, etc.)  I'm using the AXVoice SIP International Home service so I get unlimited voice to the US and 40+ countries and when one phone is busy, I can just pick up another and dial.  It comes out to about $18 / month.

The PBX is currently running on an Intel Atom mini ITX board (a D945GCLF2) running a headless version of FreePBX / Asterisk / Centos. (I think you could get this configuration running on just about any old PC you have laying around. I first brought it up on an old Dell tower.)

This past weekend, thanks to Technical How To  and Asterisk: the Definitive Guide,  I got a "raw" Asterisk instance running on Ubuntu 12.10.  This doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Centos version, but it did give me a look at configuring Asterisk using it's own configuration files.  I brought up a simple 2 extension PBX connected to AXVoice just to demonstrate that it works.  It took a couple of hours, some digging in the Asterisk book and Google - and two config files.  In addition to being a great Asterisk technical reference, the book has some great background on telephony.

RPi CID on a tiny 3" screen

I'm still using my CID decoder running on the Raspberry Pi to produce a web page with the Caller ID, but I'm thinking I'll move this function to the PBX - where it belongs - and reuse the RPi for something else!

The idea behind this project was to A.) learn something about Asterisk; B.) get unlimited calling; C.) have some fun - and all of these objectives were met!   If you're at all interested in learning about telephony (or a home PBX) I'd highly recommend the exercise!

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