ETel: Asterisk, VoIP, and other Great Hacks

Next up, first of many Asterisk sessions called Asterisk, VoIP, and Other Great Hacks hosted by Jim Van Meggelen who is here to show off what can be done, used to work in telco but gave it all up to live the dream – doesn’t pay the bills as well

Hack 1

First one up for neat hacks is auto provisioning done by Stephen Uhler, i.e. let’s get rid of the internal telecoms teams who are only there because of the issues with admin. choice of weapon? Polycom IP500/IP501, acceptable quality but too hard to configure. usual issues:

  • static vs realtime
  • extension assignment
  • user authhentication
  • file layout/structure
  • naming of the phones

quick run through how he used asterisk to set this up, LDAP, FTP, DHCP etc, run through of conf files used, he’s giving us a “How To” basically

Had a bit of trouble finding a FTP server that did what he wanted, couldn’t so found one that he could hack, makes sense…

One issue is he can’t get the corporate LDAP to include his entries, normal big corp IT attitude..

Hack 2

Now we move on to Chris ? who is going to talk about Astlinux

Allows you to explore using linux with telephony, emphasis on VMware, also allows high availability, talking about hertbeats etc, open source version of Serviceguard? ( I do miss those days – not !)

Important point for Orange – for < $500 you can have a HA asterisk install, expect to see lots of these springing up this year

res_conv allows conversion to G.729, not sure why, seems like a nice way to create your new voice prompts for Asterisk allowing personalisation, good move, get yourself a mic and someone with a sexy voice – I could do this and hack up a version of the Orange IVR

Interesting part about converting between codecs – GSM and G.729 etc as in lossy to lossy but the claim is that G.729 is better quality than GSM, wonder how W-AMR fits into this would ask but don’t know enough to make sure my question isn’t totally dumb

Hack 3

The geeks are happy, there is real code on screen ! The guy on stage has written a voice enabled version of Zork for corporate PBX using Asterisk, introduced well as this is simply cool, not useful, but a good(?) demo, immediately hits problems with the Cisco ip phone not registering to Asterisk (see hack 1 as pointed out by the guy to my left)

The demo refuses to open the mailbox, lots of laughing, but in the end it works, sort of and everyone is enjoying themselves – wildfire anyone?

A joke about a gambling game to get you up a queue “That’s awesome coos the geek to my left”

Lots of applause, the crowd is warming up…..i feel bonding….offers of open sourcing hacks to help out…..they are getting in deep now….

Hack 4

Ralf Muehlen – Click2dial, see a number in a webpage, click on it and dial, as in Link your browser to your phone without soldering, ingredients:

  • Firefox
  • greasemonkey
  • web enabled voip app

code on screen again, plain HTML, load a greasemonkey script, also on screen

hardest thing is getting it to recognise what is a telephone number, country codes, different lengths etc – a bit of demo effect

Hack 5

Ted ? author of some books, Jim gets his PC up with Skype to call the guy but he is offline so that’s the end of that hack!

Jim opens up the floor to anyone who wants to intoduce a hack – guy gets up to pimp his BOF – a dynamic menu system for asterisk – no clue here for me – too much detail, i’m lost

we move on to a discussion about what is required to run asterisk for 300 people, how long is a piece of string kind of question and answer

and now it’s lunch time


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