The Asterisk phone systems are Linux-based VOIP PBX systems. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, and this refers to a division of the phone line within a building, be it a business or home. PBX systems are commonly used in businesses. Several phone lines come into the building and then are distributed to several individual extensions spread throughout the company. A few lines out of the building connecting to the phone lines are also part of the system, allowing outgoing calls. You typically have to dial a number, such as 9, to get one of these outside lines. Some people find that setting up a PBX at home is convenient, but not work the thousands of dollars necessary. With Asterisk, this type of system can be set up for relatively little cost.
There are some pieces of hardware that you will need to set up an Asterisk phone system in your home. One is a Linux server with an extra PCI slot. While the program can run on Windows based servers, it does not run well. Linux is a must if you want everything to run efficiently, as the Asterisk system was designed to be run on Linux. Most people find that a dedicated server works best for this application, especially if they are going to use a Windows based system. The system will need 40 GB of available disk space.
Besides a server, you will also need a Digium Wildcard TDM400P. This is the card that allows you to connect your phones and your phone line to the Asterisk server and the VOIP PBX system. The card has four ports, so you will need to decide how many lines you need. The ports can be configured to be incoming or outgoing, depending on your needs. Incoming ports take the phone line coming from outside of your home and connect it to the system, allowing you to receive calls. Outgoing ports allow you to connect your regular phone to the system, so you can receive calls. If you need more than four ports, you will need to buy an extra card.
Once you have the hardware, you are ready to set up your operating system and install the Asterisk phone system software. The best way to do this and avoid the need for Asterisk consulting as you install the product is to download the ISO of Asterisk@Home. This will begin to install automatically and will reformat your disk if needed, so installing it on a machine that does not have important information on it first is a good idea. There are other ways to set up the system, but they are quite confusing.
Setting up the System
After you have installed the software, you can use the new Web server to view the Asterisk Management Portal. This portal has an interface where you can set up your system. The interface is fairly straightforward and has documentation to help with any questions that you might have.
Once you have the basic setup entered, you will need to add your extensions. This is simple to do on the “Ring Group” screen. Simply add the number of extensions you intend for your home to have. This is also the page where you will configure your voicemail box. To record your voicemail messages, call the chosen extension from a phone inside your system and record the message.
The final step to completely configuring your system is configuring the rules for incoming calls. You can choose whether you want to have the calls go to the phones or an operator, where the caller can choose an extension. Once you have made these choices, you are ready to start using your new VOIP PBX system!
Once installed, Asterisk phone systems work much like a regular PBX system. You simply pick up the phone, dial the extension for an outside line, and make your call! Soon you will forget that you are using a high-tech VOIP PBX Toronto system at all as your new phone setup becomes part of your daily life.