12 January 2012

Installing Asterisk NOW and Configuring Soft Phones - Setup a simple VOIP system at home or office


WIth the new AsteriskNOW its very simply to setup an Asterisk PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and make calls over your network for free. You can also link up Asterisk server to make calls over the PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network).

Its really a great way to communicate across a large network using the best way of communication:P using your voice. Best of all Asterisk is 100% free and very well documented making custom installations on all platforms and hardware equipment a lot smoother.
This hub is made up of two main sections
1. Installing Asterisk NOW
2. Creating User Accounts
3. Setting up sip softphone (using x-lite) registering user with the server

Installing AsteriskNOW

The installation of AsteriskNOW is very simply as it comes in ISO format which means you can simply burn the image to a cd and install it to a free partition. The AsteriskNOW image comes with all PBX software and a default copy of windows. It also comes with a nice graphical interface to esaily restart or shutdown your Asterisk server.
You can create new parition's on Linux using Gparted or any other common partitioning software.
Once you have burnt the AsteriskNOW image to a CD. Simply insert the CD into your cd/dvd drive and reboot your computer , and ensure that you boot up options are setup with the cd/dvd rom drive as first priority.
As your computer boots up it will try and boot off the CD and the asterisknow installation screen will appear


Once you have completed your installation Asterisk will load the console screen as shown below.
Here you can check the ip address of your Asterisk server, in this case192.168.1.122
and as you can see you can access the Asterisk gui by typing that ip address into a web browser, I recommend using Mozilla firefox (version 2) as version 3 is currently unsupported.
Dont forget your password you setup from the installation as you will need that to log on to your Asterisk server and add registered users, voicemail and all that other stuff

Registering a User on Asterisk

Its simple to add users on AsteriskNOW simply log on through your browser e.ghttp://
you can also setup users manually using the sip.conf & extensions.conf files, but I will go through them later on in another hub or may update this one at a later stage.
Once logged into AsteriskNOW follow the steps
- Click Users on the left hand side
- Now click New
- Add your new user's extension ( here i added 2000)
- You can also add a password, voicemail password, caller ID and a few other things but the main thing you need is the extension (4 digits)
Once you have done click SAVE
Now click the Activate Changes in the right hand corner to easily apply your settings, otherwise you can go into the asterisk CLI, and type dialplan reload or just reload the entire asterisk server

Setting up Sip Softphone

Nows it time to setup your sip softphone (not a real hardware phone same settings apply) with the registered user details setup previously.
For this task I used a popular sip softphone (x-lite FREE) available athttp://www.counterpath.com/
Now with an asterisk user ready to be used, install and then open up x-lite
In X-lite
- Right click on the x-lite screen and click settings
- Now enter the Display name
- Username & Authorization name
- and point the Domain and proxy to the address of your server in this case
Apply the changes

Making the calls

Now once you pressed ok on X-lite it should initialize with the server and your user should be registered and ready to make calls to every other registered user on the network.
If you want to find out who else is logged on to the server and you are able to make calls to
type " show sip peers"
Now make calls to networked users to your hearts content, In the next hub i will go through adding hardware phones and putting in PSTN connectivity so you can call landlines and mobile phones. Also how to edit sip.conf and extensions.conf when your using a regular version of Asterisk and not AsteriskNOW.