Setting up a PBX in your house (part 2)

In part 1, we know a glimpse of what a PBX can do. Now, I am going to talk about a free, open-source PBX: Asterisk. Even though it’s free, it doesn’t mean that Asterisk is a dummy PBX. In fact, it is a very powerful one and can offer you hundreds of features. Here are some proofs:

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/012408-special-focus.html
http://www.networkworld.com/allstar/2007/112607-madera-open-source-voip.html

But before we continue, I would like to clear what I am going to do here:

Goal: Since my subscription with Bell Canada is the basic one, I don’t have a voice mail, caller id or call forwarder. Thus, I would like to connect my phone line to Asterisk. By doing this, I can have all what Asterisk has to offer for my phone. Voice mail is an example.

For this series to work, we need some basic components:

1 phone line (having two lines is optional)

1 PC (I am going with Linux (Fedora 8). Although Asterisk works in Windows, but it works very well in Linux.)

1 FXO Module/Gateway (you have to buy this equipment from here, or other store)

1 FXS Gateway (if you want to use your regular phone, then you have to buy this. If you want to use a softphone/IP Phone, then FXS module or gateway becomes optional)

1 IP Phone (optional)

If you are thinking to have a full-blown PBX, then I suggest you to download trixbox or AsteriskNOW instead of the regular Asterisk and follow this great tutorial. If you just want to have a basic PBX in your day-to-day PC, then this is the tutorial for you.

Download the latest version of it. On the top right corner of the website, download also the latest version of Zaptel, libpri, addons and asterisk-sounds.

Zaptel is a kernel, linux-specific, loadable module. It can be used to interface between the hardware and Asterisk. Since you want to connect your phone line to Asterisk through the FXO module, you must install Zaptel.

As with libpri, then you should install it if you want to use ISDN PRI. My opinion is just install it as well, just in case you need it in the future.

Alright, after you download all the packages, now move all the packages to /usr/src directory.

The procedure is that we want to install Zaptel and libpri first before Asterisk. The reason why we’re doing this is so that Asterisk will install some features that depend on Zaptel and libpri at the time of installation.

One last thing before installation, make sure that the following packages are installed in your computer (if you’re using Fedora 7 or 8, they are usually already included):

– kernel sources (for Zaptel compilation)
– kernel header
– bison
– openssl and openssl-dev/libssl-dev

Installation

– Intalling Zaptel
tar -xzvf zaptel-version
su -
cd zaptel-version
./configure
make clean
make
make install

– installing libpri
tar -xzvf libpri-version
su -
cd libpri-version
./configure
make clean
make
make install

– installing Asterisk
tar -xzvf asterisk-version
su -
cd asterisk-version
./configure
make clean
make
make install

Now as a superuser, you can run Asterisk by typing:
asterisk
asterisk -rvvvvvvv

You should now be in Asterisk Command Line Interface (CLI).

In the next article, I will show you how to configure Asterisk as well as to connect your phone line to Asterisk.

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