Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello!!! We have a dial tone.

Disclaimer: Flying through Linux and OpenSource. You might experience Freedom along with plenty of awesomeness.

After doing some initial reading up on FreeSWITCH. The reviews were promising enough for me to proceed with the installation on the Debian server that I had earlier setup on PogoPlug.

The documentation on the was plentiful with beginners' guides and quick start manuals readily available and easy to follow. I couldn't install FreeSWITCH from the official debian repositories since they didn't host installation for ARM architecture. However, I was able to simply download the source and compile it on the server without any issues using the instructions that came included with the source code.
Once installed, there was really nothing to configure as I found that the out of the box setup was pretty decent. It came with 20 internal extensions - 1000 through 1019, a conference extension - 888, and a demo IVR menu extension - 5000.

I changed the default password and tested VoIP on the new PBX using QuteCom on my laptop and 3CX on my Android phone over WiFi within the home network. Initial results were very promising. I configured my router to allow SIP traffic through the firewall, again after reading up about it in the documentation. I was able to successfully test connectivity and voice from outside the network as well.

Now I got curious and decided to buy a VoIP gateway hardware that would allow me to connect my phone line in (FXO) and also my home phone device (FXS) and route calls from internal SIP to PSTN and vice versa. Luckily I got a very good deal on Linksys/Cisco SPA3102. After it arrived in the mail, I started the tedious task of connecting and configuring it.

I realized that I had exhausted all four of my Ethernet ports on my home DSL router. I had an old four port Linksys broadband router sitting in the attic. I turned off WiFi on it and bridged it to the home DSL router using an Ethernet cable. Now I had room for two more devices, one of which was going to be this new SPA3201 gateway server.

I began configuring the gateway. First, I tested receiving my home phone calls on my computer. Then I configured making outbound calls using my computer. So far so good.
Calling out using the phone handset was a piece of cake, however, receiving inbound calls on the phone was something else. After spending yet another couple hours on it, I was able to fix the configuration and receive inbound calls as well. I was able to test the IVR menu as well as make calls using my computer to test the scenario.

I'll be experimenting with the PBX setup and the dial-plans in the coming weeks to further explore its power. I had a lot of fun setting it up. Now to come up with ideas to put it to real world use.

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