Enbedded Asterisk hardware


#1

Hi there,

I have been searching in vain for a good hardware platform for a highly reliable Asterisk implementation for small businesses. Asterisk on a PC is NOT an option. Too unrealiable IMHO. Rack mount servers with redundant power supplies and RAID drives are too expensive and not really a good fit for this application IMHO. I’d much prefer something I can hang on the wall just like traditional small office PBX and Key systems with no fans to make noise and fail.

Asterisk on a Soekris board using compact flash and Astlinux is the sort of thing I am looking for. Unfortunately, I cannot find a good case that will also house a Digium TDM04B complete with the RJ11 cutouts. I also have concerns about the ability of the Soekris Net4801 board to keep up with 4 FXO and 8 to 12 SIP phones. Anyone know of something similar with a bit more horsepower and a good case that will work?


#2

Hi Mustardman,

I have a similiar post here:

forums.digium.com/viewtopic.php?t=395

I was thinking of using a barbone system but from your post this would not interest you as it has lots of moving parts (cpu fan/PSU/hard disk) that could fail.

I also have the same kind of requirements in terms of 4 fxo and upto 15 extensions.

Hope you find somthing, i would be interested in what you find.

Alec


#3

Just an update…as you suggested i dont think that a soekris net4801 will be suitable: see here:

voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk+hardware+Soekris

Are you dead against barbones?


#4

Want a small footprint linke the Mini-Mac…


#5

Something like a Shuttle PC is ok. It’s not so much the size I have a problem with, it’s reliability. A PC has fans and hard drives and it’s designed for maintenance. Changing fans every couple years, blowing the dust out, re-seating boards etc. is no big deal. Cases are designed to be on the floor or on a desk so they are easy to get at. A traditional small business phone system is designed to be hung on the wall and forgotten about for 10 years.

It is a VERY easy thing to use off the shelf hardware, load Asterisk@home or whatever, make it work beautifully, put the PC in some corner on the floor and say, I’m done. If your just tinkering or running a semi-serious business where you are also your own tech support then that is just fine. You can live with having a few problems every year or two. However, if your going to be selling this as a replacement for a traditional small business phone system then it better have the same reliability.

Yes, I did see that last addition about the soekris on the asterisk wiki board. That is just one person and he is using a PRI card and FreeBSD. Several others seem to think there is enough horsepower for a TDM04B and serveral extensions all going at the same time. It’s still up in the air a bit but the author of Astlinux seems to think there is more than enough horsepower.

A hardened barebones system is not completely out of the question. There are relatively simple and cheap things I can do to make it more reliable such as RAID 1, UPS, redundant power supply etc. and that goes a long ways. In some instances it might be ok but if your going to go in and sell someone on replacing something that hangs on the wall and has worked flawlessly for 10 years then you should be able to do the same. There are a few desktop motherboards out there that can take a Pentium M CPU. With a big enough heat sink I don’t think they need a fan so that is another incremental thing that could be done for reliability. Of course, the cost starts to creep up so… It would be nice to have something like a Soekris because they are very cheap and very reliable. My 2 main requirements.


#6

The soekris is very unreliable, they just melt after a while.

Look at a passive cooled via c3 or so.


#7

Some one has suggested a Dell 2400, not sure on there reliability?


#8

The Dell Dimension 2400 is about the LAST PC you should consider. Trust me on this one! You get what you pay for. They throw in whatever the cheapest hardware is they can get that day. If you want to use a Dell as a phone system you should not consider anything less than an Optiplex which is a whole different animal! If you look at the established Asterisk vendors online you will notice that a lot of them use Dell Optiplex. If someone is trying to sell you an Asterisk solution on a Dell Dimension, don’t walk away, RUN!

Dell poweredge servers are one way to go. I can basically build the same thing in components. I don’t need to buy a Dell. The high volume companies like SwitchVox like to use Dell poweredge servers.

That is fine for a bigger company that want’s to use some of the fancy abilities of Asterisk so they need the horsepower, can afford it, and they already have an IT department and familiarity with servers. I want something cheaper than servers and even more reliable. That is what embedded computers are.

An embedded computer product is a MUCH better fit for a small business Asterisk solution than a traditional PC or server IMHO. There is a reason that embedded computers and comodity PC’s are two separate types of businesses and markets.