New to Asterisk and New to the forum

Hi All, I am a network engineer who is new to Asterisk and new to the forum. First, is this the right area for a newbie? and second I have decided to try and setup asterisk on a server… where do I start? what should I download? what other hardware do I need…
My hardware:
I have a dedicated T1 for Internet access, through a router, which I have connected a 24 port cisco switch. I have about 10 of my friends connected who I plan to use as test users, I will also add the server I plan to download Asterisk on (IBM xseries) with VM Ware. Also, I can ethier windows or linux on the box, which is recommended.

Can I have test users with a broadband connection register to my IP-PBX, over the internet? What is required (VPN, SIP Proxy server IP, etc)…

thanks for the help…

I highly suggest you buy or download the book linked below. As for distributions Redhat Enterprise Linux or one of the clones (I use CentOS) is widely used but certainly not the only one. Digium uses Redhat for development and Asterisk Business Edition is certified on RHEL, Fedora and rPath (there own distro) but no others. Asterisk doesnt run on Windows.

VMware is a really bad idea, first you cannot use any nalog or digital cards in the server so you must use only VOIP (which may be okay for you). Second and MOST importantly call quality is typically very poor on VMware. You would be far better off with a $1000 or less desktop computer for less than 20 to 30 users tha running VMware for less than 2 or 3. VMware is an awesome product but absolutly sucks for some applications and Asterisk would be one of them.

Finally yes you can have your users connect to your box. You either need to spend some time with your NAT setup for SIP (see the wiki for more info), use IAX (if your using softphones this is the best way to go), or use a VPN connection (if using SIP this is probably the better way to go for security).

For a super fast way of getting started you may want to start with trixbox ( which installs everything for you and you are ready to go in about 10 minutes. If you decide you want to manage everything from config files then just ignore the GUI that they provide and wipe out the config files. Its still the easiest way to get a system up and running.

Digium has AsteriskNow but it isn’t as complete as trixbox is.

I appreciate all the help. I will attempt to complete the install after reading through the docs. I’ll let you know how it goes.

For the number of people you will have on your switch one of those >$400 HP mini towers (celron 3.X Gnz with a half gig of ram and an 80 gig SATA disk will more then do you. I would keep away form VMware as mentiioned.

I tend to be kind of anal, so I run a very stripped down version of CentOS. I use V4.4 and start with the “single disk server” which has no GUI (not X based) and then I start in xinit.d and remove any service that is not essential for asterisk. No sense in wsting horsepower on stuff that will only be targets for hackers (that is services you will not use).

Once I have a lean and mean machine, I install the latest version of asterisk. I shoudl warn you that I am having some issues with the (1.4.17) latest version building against ssl. I am pretty sure they have a bug in the configure script.

At any rate, in your setup I would go with a net based phone co. No sense in copper. It is more expensive and harder to implament from every direction. Check out For a one time $7 set up and $2 a month plus 2.9 cents a minute, you get a number in pretty much any place in the US that will accept 25 incoming calls, and unlimited outgoing calls. They also have 2.9 cents a minute to like 30 other countries. I really like these guys a lot.

If you use IP phones on the inside or soft phones, you don’t need any FXS hardware. The cost of the box is the only outlay, and the costs from JN if you had a few analog lines (at what, $50 a month per line or more) will save you a ton of $$ right from the start. Remember the 2.9 cents a minute is based on use, and you wil be surprised at how underutalized most lines really are. I have offices that had 4-6 copper lines and they are now paying less then what they used to pay for just one copper line.

At any rate, it will only cost you a few bucks to try it and if it sucks you are not out much and if it works out as well for you as it has for me, you can save a mint.

Best of luck.


I agree with Mattthew, I run a lean server as it should be.

Trixbox is fine for an initial learning period but it has way too many unnecessary bells and whistles that add a ton of complexity to an already complex application.