Just starting out?

Seven pointers here from a novice user who has been working with * as strictly a hobby for almost 6 months now.

  1. FreeBSD is a stable platform on which to run *. Don’t let the Linux bandwagon tell you any different. The problem is that almost all the docs are centered around Linux. So if you want an easy path to an * server, then choose Linux. If you have the time and desire, FreeBSD will work fine.

  2. Most of the mailing lists, forums, and chatrooms are filled with techie types who will only occassionally take the time to explain something or assist a novice user with a problem. The * community is a little better than most at this but still I must warn you, don’t get offended if no one responds to your problem right away or at all. Try the regular users forum instead. There’s more activity in that forum and your chances of getting a resolution are better. Go to the #asterisk chatroom on Freenode. There are many helpful and friendly users there. You can try the #freebsd chatroom but be warned…there are many rude and snobby techies in this room who will either ignore you or ridicule you for being so crassed as to ask them a question about *. Expect a lot of ‘RTFM’ or ‘get lost’ replies from this bunch.

  3. Use the port method to install *. You can get cute and try to jump ahead to the next version but unless you really know what you’re doing it won’t work out. And zaptel will work with FreeBSD. Most of the linux people I chatted with tried to convince me otherwise.

  4. Cheap hardware and a cheap machine is a good way to start out and learn *. You don’t need to go out and spend the rent on a new computer and a $500 Digium card. My initial builds of * all took place on P166 and P220 machines with 96MB or less of RAM. The results weren’t always spectacular but it gave me chance to dive into * first before I spent any money.

  5. If you really want to learn * you will need to buy at least one IP phone. Softphones will suffice but they will not give you the real experience you’re after. And you should also buy at least one cheap ($15) FXO card to plug into your POTS line at home. You’re paying for this line anyway, why not use it for your * experience. But don’t buy any of this right off the bat unless you’ve got money to burn. You don’t need any of this to learn *. It does enrich your experience and can come at a later time.

  6. Subscribe to the free services like FWDNET but just be sure you have someone else out there who also subscibes to the same service or you won’t be able to really test, let alone do much conversation with your * server. You can always find someone in the chat rooms who can help you with this but it’s not the same as having someone you’re familiar with to carry on a decent conversation and really test the * server. Once you’ve mastered this, subscribe to a commercial PSTN provider. This will cost but it’s worth it to take the next step into *.

  7. Finally, you will eventually need a high speed machine without much else in it to really get * going. I tried to use my FXO card in a machine with three other PCI cards and the results were sporadic and unpredictable. You will also need a faster, leaner machine to run * in such a manner as to not embarrass you when you roll it out at the office. I tried a slower machine at home and thought it was great. But when some of the guys at the office told me to bring it in and give it a whirl, I found out just how slow it really was. A slow machine will work great with one, maybe two users. Beyond that you’re going to need some soup under the hood. Now you can start parting with your hard earned cash.


Thanks! I’m just getting started, and I’m thrilled to hear that I can run * on FreeBSD. I’m looking to replace a Nortel PBX and an IPC Turret system at work, so I have my work cut out for me, but knowing that at least I can stick with freebsd makes the task seem a little less daunting.

Thanks Max, i am a FreeBSD lover and its great to hear that people like you exist (HELPFUL), well my concern is i want to learn to install * on freebsd 6.1/6.2 and terminate calls only. See i have a overseas voip provider with some minutes and i have a digium card, a good and fast server, a PSTN/ISDN E1 line (32 Channel) . What i require is how to accept calls from the viop and just terminating it off to local fone lines, and resrtict all local calls comming in.

And a software to count minutes/time for billing.

if someone can help me with this please???