Discussion:
[asterisk-users] How to configure Voice mail for multi users.
Mian M Asif
2008-03-19 15:13:14 UTC
Permalink
Hi All,
i want to configure voice mail on Asterisk 1.4 for multiple users. let
me explain you the scenario.

i have 10 users with the name of
1000,2000,3000,4000,5000,6000,.......and these user can call to each
other. Now i want to configure separate voice mail box for separate
user.

my extensions.conf ..... settings below..
[voicemail]
exten => _X.,1,Dial(SIP/${EXTEN})
exten => _X.,n,NoOp(Dial Status: ${DIALSTATUS})
exten => _X.,n,Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1)

exten => s-NOANSWER,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail)
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,Hangup()

exten => s-CONGESTION,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-CONGESTION,n,VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail)
exten => s-CONGESTION,n,Hangup()

exten => s-CANCEL,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-CANCEL,n,VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail)
exten => s-CANCEL,n,Hangup()

exten => s-BUSY,1,Background(salesrep)
exten => s-BUSY,n,VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail)
exten => s-BUSY,n,Hangup()

exten => s-CHANUNAVAIL,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-CHANUNAVAIL,n,VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail)
exten => s-CHANUNAVAIL,n,Hangup()

my voicemail.conf
[usersmail]
1000 => 1212, userm, ***@abc.com
2000 => 1212, userm, ***@abc.com

please help me how can i set calling number before send voice mail in
users voicemail box.
when i dial like VoiceMail(${EXTEN}@usersmail) voice mail not work and
when i heard code user, like this VoiceMail(***@usersmail) voicemail
work fine. but i want to set if user dial 2000 or 3000 or 4000 it
should be set automatically.

thanks for your cooperations.

regards,
Asif
Eric Wieling
2008-03-19 15:39:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mian M Asif
Hi All,
i want to configure voice mail on Asterisk 1.4 for multiple users. let
me explain you the scenario.
i have 10 users with the name of
1000,2000,3000,4000,5000,6000,.......and these user can call to each
other. Now i want to configure separate voice mail box for separate
user.
my extensions.conf ..... settings below..
[voicemail]
exten => _X.,1,Dial(SIP/${EXTEN})
exten => _X.,n,NoOp(Dial Status: ${DIALSTATUS})
exten => _X.,n,Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1)
exten => s-NOANSWER,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,Hangup()
As I'm sure you know, ${EXTEN} is the value of the currently executing
extension, in the example above your line would be parsed as:
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,VoiceMail(s-***@usersmail) You would have
seen this if you were watching the Asterisk console when a call failed
to go to Voicemail.

Find some other way. You could save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1), but there are many, many,
many other ways.
Bill Andersen
2008-03-19 16:43:21 UTC
Permalink
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...

I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.

My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.

I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.

1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...

a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.

b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.

c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?

2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?

3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?

4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!

Am I expecting too much?

Bill
John Novack
2008-03-19 17:20:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
For those of us who have spent many a year in telephony, I tend to agree
with you. Asterisk is NOT ready for prime time
Total cost of ownership for a supply house system ( Comdial, now
Vertical, with a Keyvoice DOS based VM ) or an NEC DX series with VM on
a CF card) in a small to medium sized office simply hangs on the wall
and works, for years and years, and has many more features than most
offices need or use. Last month I replaced a 20 year old system that
finally failed, I have other systems installed and working in excess of
10 years, and seldom have any service issues. Mostly are user
reeducation on mailboxes and the like when people leave and no one knows
a password.
Square Hybrid Key systems ( Shared Line Appearance ) have worked
flawlessly for 20 years, and a host of other features that Asterisk is
still struggling to get working. Many of these systems are more
affordable than Asterisk at either the wholesale or retail level as well.
The current fad is IP or VOIP and regrettably many businesses jump into
the deep end of that pool without the faintest idea of where they will land.
That said, there is also a place for Asterisk or a like system, and many
of the users on this list have them in place and doing the job, but the
system is not hang it on the wall and forget it. PC based systems in
general from a hardware perspective are NOT as reliable, nor is the
operating system or the application. They DO need to be restarted from
time to time. In fact in my experience the system should have an
automatic reboot once a week at a quiet time. Many versions of Asterisk
can get insane and be cured by a simple reboot that seems to give the
real Linux experts the heebiejeebies. A reboot should not be considered
blasphemy, though I have only seen one hang on the wall system that
needed that in 20 years, and that was strictly due to a timing issue
with short term power outages.
Too many select the equipment and system they know, rather than what is
right for the customer.
I am in a group of antique telephone equipment collectors that use
Asterisk as an interface to a world wide private network of switches,
with a great deal of success, but it is a real struggle to overcome
changes that have been made from version to version, sometimes
completely out of the realm of expressed policy, that may not break the
"average" users application but bites our Tandem application.

Just my opinion, worth what you paid for it!

John Novack
--
Dog is my co-pilot
Senad Jordanovic
2008-03-19 17:48:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Novack
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
For those of us who have spent many a year in telephony, I tend to agree
with you. Asterisk is NOT ready for prime time
Total cost of ownership for a supply house system ( Comdial, now
Vertical, with a Keyvoice DOS based VM ) or an NEC DX series with VM on
a CF card) in a small to medium sized office simply hangs on the wall
and works, for years and years, and has many more features than most
offices need or use. Last month I replaced a 20 year old system that
finally failed, I have other systems installed and working in excess of
10 years, and seldom have any service issues. Mostly are user
reeducation on mailboxes and the like when people leave and no one knows
a password.
Square Hybrid Key systems ( Shared Line Appearance ) have worked
flawlessly for 20 years, and a host of other features that Asterisk is
still struggling to get working. Many of these systems are more
affordable than Asterisk at either the wholesale or retail level as well.
The current fad is IP or VOIP and regrettably many businesses jump into
the deep end of that pool without the faintest idea of where they will land.
That said, there is also a place for Asterisk or a like system, and many
of the users on this list have them in place and doing the job, but the
system is not hang it on the wall and forget it. PC based systems in
general from a hardware perspective are NOT as reliable, nor is the
operating system or the application. They DO need to be restarted from
time to time. In fact in my experience the system should have an
automatic reboot once a week at a quiet time. Many versions of Asterisk
can get insane and be cured by a simple reboot that seems to give the
real Linux experts the heebiejeebies. A reboot should not be considered
blasphemy, though I have only seen one hang on the wall system that
needed that in 20 years, and that was strictly due to a timing issue
with short term power outages.
Too many select the equipment and system they know, rather than what is
right for the customer.
I am in a group of antique telephone equipment collectors that use
Asterisk as an interface to a world wide private network of switches,
with a great deal of success, but it is a real struggle to overcome
changes that have been made from version to version, sometimes
completely out of the realm of expressed policy, that may not break the
"average" users application but bites our Tandem application.
Just my opinion, worth what you paid for it!
John Novack
John

You have raised few valid points. Thanks.

However, I will say that it is not asterisk but people/company deploying
it. Generally speaking after deployment, and as long users are "using"
the system normally, no reboot is required.

And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go :)

That is my experience.


Regards,

Senad
Michael Collins
2008-03-19 18:50:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Senad Jordanovic
John
You have raised few valid points. Thanks.
However, I will say that it is not asterisk but people/company
deploying
Post by Senad Jordanovic
it. Generally speaking after deployment, and as long users are "using"
the system normally, no reboot is required.
And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go :)
Agreed. The simple fact of the matter is that most key systems and
hybrids that "hang on the wall and just work" are mostly or completely
solid state. I've been in the PBX/Key/Hybrid business since 1994 and my
experience is, I'm sure, similar to most phone system veterans: keep
your solid state stuff clean and cool and it pretty much never breaks;
the stuff that breaks almost always seems to involve moving parts and/or
the power supply. (Power => heat => eventual breakage.) Like John,
I've pulled out systems that have worked for 10-15 years and never
broke, they just got old.

One other salient point is that the operating system and resident
hardware are factors that must be taken into consideration when running
a computer-based phone system. Great software running on a great OS
running on crappy hardware will lead to problems. Crappy software
running on a great OS running on rock solid hardware will lead to
problems. (You get the idea.)

To get back to the OP's question about Asterisk being ready for
prime-time: it all depends. Your experience with the small systems
working great but the larger one having issues isn't uncommon. I would
suggest asking around on list to find out what kind of hardware is being
used by those who've had lots of success, especially if you're
connecting to the PSTN, because that adds yet another layer of
complexity.

BTW, if you're asking for my opinion, I'll give it: no, I personally
don't think Asterisk is ready for "prime-time" in a mission-critical
application. I don't use it for anything mission-critical. (For those
who feel I've just blasphemed, please direct my opinion to /dev/null.)

-MC
Post by Senad Jordanovic
That is my experience.
Regards,
Senad
Gordon Henderson
2008-03-19 18:54:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Senad Jordanovic
And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go :)
My gripe is that I think people try to put too much into a system, don't
have a "server build and operation" head, and are basically OK with
rebooting because maybe that's what they're used to... And maybe they just
don't have enough customers that whinge loudly enough when things stop
working :)

Personally I don't think an "appliance" ought to be running SQL. I don't
think it should have it's own billing platform either (Although make the
call logs available by all means!), nor should it have a built-in CRM
solution. Don't use agi, external scripts where dialplan will do, and so
on.

I can see why it's attractive to put all those in, but maybe I'm just an
old unix hacker at heart with the "make it do one thing well" type of
mentality...

(I did put Perl & FOP in my units recently, but only under protest and
after lots of requests from a reseller!)

As for prime-time? I think the answer is "yes, but..." You need reliable
hardware, customised software, not generic (Cuscom compiled Linux kernel,
distribution, asterisk, etc.), don't run anything that's not 100%
necessary, turn off motherboard hardware that's not being used, and so on.
Good build practices (anti-static mats, etc.) and soaktesting helps too -
I had a duff memory stick recently which was found with a few sweeps of
memtest86+ ...

I think you also need a "professional installation". I see lots of
asterisk inna box solutions being sold by mail-order, but I'm not really
convinced it's the way forward - maybe for a small techno type of company,
but your average SME just wants to "get a man in" to make it work IME ...

Based on that, I generally have systems that "just work", although none
might be as particularly busy as some out there - busiest right now is
handling about 100 calls an hour - purely VoIP, no BRI/PRI) next is about
80 an hour on 6 BRI ports.

I've yet to have a box stop working for reasons I didn't know about
(filling the ramdisk with log-files doesn't help!) I see far more problems
with phones than the boxes themselves, but maybe I've just been lucky!

Cheers,

Gordon
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-19 19:21:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gordon Henderson
Post by Senad Jordanovic
And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go :)
My gripe is that I think people try to put too much into a system, don't
have a "server build and operation" head, and are basically OK with
rebooting because maybe that's what they're used to... And maybe they just
don't have enough customers that whinge loudly enough when things stop
working :)
Personally I don't think an "appliance" ought to be running SQL. I don't
think it should have it's own billing platform either (Although make the
call logs available by all means!), nor should it have a built-in CRM
solution. Don't use agi, external scripts where dialplan will do, and so
on.
Right. And mysql is the thing that will cause Asterisk to crash?
Post by Gordon Henderson
As for prime-time? I think the answer is "yes, but..." You need reliable
hardware, customised software, not generic (Cuscom compiled Linux kernel,
distribution, asterisk, etc.),
Actually distros do a relatively good job with kernels. While there is a
room for improvments, there is also where to go badly downhill.

What customizations do you set to a custom kernel?

I've seen strange things being done by (most typically) Gentoo users.


If not every release of Asterisk is solid enough and you must use a
custom build just to get a stable (read: non-crashing) system, then I
would agree with the OP that Asterisk is not ready for prime-time. This
is because the support costs are too high.
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
Gordon Henderson
2008-03-19 20:22:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Post by Gordon Henderson
Post by Senad Jordanovic
And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go :)
My gripe is that I think people try to put too much into a system, don't
have a "server build and operation" head, and are basically OK with
rebooting because maybe that's what they're used to... And maybe they just
don't have enough customers that whinge loudly enough when things stop
working :)
Personally I don't think an "appliance" ought to be running SQL. I don't
think it should have it's own billing platform either (Although make the
call logs available by all means!), nor should it have a built-in CRM
solution. Don't use agi, external scripts where dialplan will do, and so
on.
Right. And mysql is the thing that will cause Asterisk to crash?
No. But my point was that "appliances" don't need it - my aim is to keep
them as light and simple as absolutely possible. The less it runs, the
less there is to go wrong. I don't need MySQL to support an appliance that
can handle 100+ extensions, changes to names, extensions, etc. at random,
plus all the usual web based "stuff" for manipulating call/hunt groups,
voicemail, simple queues, parking, etc. so for me it would be an
unneccessary burden to the system. (Not to mention an extra 16MB of
executables in the flash-card!)
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Post by Gordon Henderson
As for prime-time? I think the answer is "yes, but..." You need reliable
hardware, customised software, not generic (Cuscom compiled Linux kernel,
distribution, asterisk, etc.),
Actually distros do a relatively good job with kernels. While there is a
room for improvments, there is also where to go badly downhill.
What customizations do you set to a custom kernel?
I take a stock kernel from kernel.org and compile in only what it needs
for the hardware it's running on. I've been doing this since day 1 though
(As in Linux day 1 which for me was 1994 ish) - I know it's not for
everyone, but again, it's removing stuff that's not needed. The only
modules that get loaded are the ones I can't compile into the kernel.

If you want my .config for a VIA processor, drop me an email.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
I've seen strange things being done by (most typically) Gentoo users.
I'm purely Debian, but when building my "appliances" I build up a custom
initrd.gz file from a list of executables and libraries on my development
server... (The device runs purely from RAM, but boots off flash)
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
If not every release of Asterisk is solid enough and you must use a
custom build just to get a stable (read: non-crashing) system, then I
would agree with the OP that Asterisk is not ready for prime-time. This
is because the support costs are too high.
I have to say that I've never had issues with the releases of asterisk
I've used - 1.2.x, but I do compile them from scratch - you have to for
VIA processors as they lack some MMX instructions...

And oddly enough, I've found that some people (mainly corporate type
enterprises) get shirty if you don't charge them for support! (Then at the
other end of the scale, some SMEs get shirty when you do charge them )-:

Gordon
Bill Andersen
2008-03-19 21:38:23 UTC
Permalink
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)

Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?

Anyone? Just a user?

That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)

Bill
Erik Anderson
2008-03-19 21:56:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
/me raises hand.
Post by Bill Andersen
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Agreed - I'm sure you'll be much more happy with the stability of your
vanilla asterisk implementation (assuming you're running on a stable
OS and server-class hardware) as well as being much more comfortable
with what's going on behind the scenes.

-Erik
Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-19 22:17:47 UTC
Permalink
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!

Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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Steve Totaro
2008-03-19 22:27:46 UTC
Permalink
I am a user and a consultant.

I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.

Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.

Thanks,
Steve Totaro

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
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Al Baker
2008-03-19 22:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "


Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.

Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
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Steve Totaro
2008-03-19 22:57:32 UTC
Permalink
All I can say is what has worked best for me over the years trying
many different boxen. IBM X Series and HP DL 3XXs, have heard that
Supermicro is "Super", just have not the pleasure yet.

Dells have given me problems, not always, but enough to be bitten
once, and twice shy...

Thanks,
Steve Totaro
Post by Al Baker
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "
Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.
Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
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Steve Totaro
2008-03-19 23:00:20 UTC
Permalink
I would not consider a "Dell SC440 w/RAID 1" "Server Grade" you can
pick them up for $250 on sale.

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:57 PM, Steve Totaro
Post by Steve Totaro
All I can say is what has worked best for me over the years trying
many different boxen. IBM X Series and HP DL 3XXs, have heard that
Supermicro is "Super", just have not the pleasure yet.
Dells have given me problems, not always, but enough to be bitten
once, and twice shy...
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
Post by Al Baker
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "
Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.
Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
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Steve Totaro
2008-03-19 23:14:13 UTC
Permalink
If Jared Smith is following this thread, and I am sure he is or will,
WOW, what an opportunity to bring SwitchVox to the spotlight. (I
personally really like SwitchVox and had over a year before Digium
made the acquisition. I never had to reboot that box and it had ~40
extensions and a Digium T1 card.

Do a "try/buy" swap out and let it play out on the list. I think
Digium/SwitchVox will shine.

Just an idea but this thread is one of the hottest in a long while and
bringing up many questions about Asterisk and GUIs. I could not think
of a better place to sink or swim!

Thanks,
Steve Totaro

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:00 PM, Steve Totaro
Post by Steve Totaro
I would not consider a "Dell SC440 w/RAID 1" "Server Grade" you can
pick them up for $250 on sale.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:57 PM, Steve Totaro
Post by Steve Totaro
All I can say is what has worked best for me over the years trying
many different boxen. IBM X Series and HP DL 3XXs, have heard that
Supermicro is "Super", just have not the pleasure yet.
Dells have given me problems, not always, but enough to be bitten
once, and twice shy...
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
Post by Al Baker
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "
Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.
Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
_______________________________________________
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Jared Smith
2008-03-20 04:48:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Totaro
If Jared Smith is following this thread, and I am sure he is or will,
WOW, what an opportunity to bring SwitchVox to the spotlight.
You'd better believe I'm following the thread. :-) Even though I've
been at a trade show all day and I'm dead tired, I can't seem to go to
sleep without catching up on a few of the mailing lists and forums.
Post by Steve Totaro
(I personally really like SwitchVox and had over a year before Digium
made the acquisition. I never had to reboot that box and it had ~40
extensions and a Digium T1 card.
Do a "try/buy" swap out and let it play out on the list. I think
Digium/SwitchVox will shine.
Thanks for the glowing endorsement... Speaking for myself, I'm still
amazed at what the Switchvox team has done, and I'm excited to see what
new things we can create now that they're a part of Digium.
--
Jared Smith
Community Relations Manager
Digium, Inc.
Al Baker
2008-03-20 05:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Not sure if this is the best place to ask this or not...but since it was
mentioned..
Is "SwitchVox" a alternative to * ?
Were they a competitor to *, and DIGIUM bought them and so DIGIUM
has 2 Totally Different PBX software packages ?????
Sorry if I am asking a ? that everyone is totally clear on, but this IS
just a little confusing :)
Post by Steve Totaro
If Jared Smith is following this thread, and I am sure he is or will,
WOW, what an opportunity to bring SwitchVox to the spotlight. (I
personally really like SwitchVox and had over a year before Digium
made the acquisition. I never had to reboot that box and it had ~40
extensions and a Digium T1 card.
Do a "try/buy" swap out and let it play out on the list. I think
Digium/SwitchVox will shine.
Just an idea but this thread is one of the hottest in a long while and
bringing up many questions about Asterisk and GUIs. I could not think
of a better place to sink or swim!
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:00 PM, Steve Totaro
Post by Steve Totaro
I would not consider a "Dell SC440 w/RAID 1" "Server Grade" you can
pick them up for $250 on sale.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:57 PM, Steve Totaro
Post by Steve Totaro
All I can say is what has worked best for me over the years trying
many different boxen. IBM X Series and HP DL 3XXs, have heard that
Supermicro is "Super", just have not the pleasure yet.
Dells have given me problems, not always, but enough to be bitten
once, and twice shy...
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
Post by Al Baker
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "
Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.
Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
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Tilghman Lesher
2008-03-20 05:43:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Baker
Not sure if this is the best place to ask this or not...but since it was
mentioned..
Is "SwitchVox" a alternative to * ?
Were they a competitor to *, and DIGIUM bought them and so DIGIUM
has 2 Totally Different PBX software packages ?????
Switchvox is a commercial GUI frontend built on top of Asterisk.
--
Tilghman
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 07:43:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Baker
Not sure if this is the best place to ask this or not...but since it was
mentioned..
Is "SwitchVox" a alternative to * ?
Were they a competitor to *, and DIGIUM bought them and so DIGIUM
has 2 Totally Different PBX software packages ?????
Think of Asterisk not as a PBX but as a PBX toolkit. Various people in
this list build their PBX from this toolkit directly. Some of them do it
for their home or company. Others resell it.

Yet others use Asterisk as a part of a larger PBX. SwitchVox is one
example of such a PBX. FreePBX is another. Druid is a third one.
Digium also have hteir AsteriskNOW which is a very light-weight one.

All of those packages are not an alternative to Asterisk (the PBX
toolkit). They are an alternative to a home-grown PBX built on top of
Asterisk. There are various pros and cons to both sides and various good
and bad examples for both sides.
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
randulo
2008-03-20 08:26:37 UTC
Permalink
Excellent topic and points brought up by all!
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Think of Asterisk not as a PBX but as a PBX toolkit. Various people in
That's always been the way I saw asterisk. I wondered why people
sometimes try to interface it with legacy pbx hardware, but over the
years it became obvious that if you can get that working, it adds
features to a reliable workhorse people are happy with. My small
business has used asterisk built on hardware from the closet, a drive
here, a mobo there, half a gig, two FXO cards and one TDM400P, 12 SIP
or IAX providers, three phones and every SIP phone I can afford to
mess with. It works very reliably until I try to do something to the
dialplan I don't understand fully. Once I get that figured out and
leave it alone, the box runs half a year before I reboot it on
principle, or recently to replace the CPU fan.

Bottom line, definitely ready for prime time for small operations IMO
and a godsend! I'm currently playing with Digium's appliance and I
hope to retire the old PC when we move in a few months.
Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
2008-03-20 03:02:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Totaro
I would not consider a "Dell SC440 w/RAID 1" "Server Grade" you can
pick them up for $250 on sale.
Why not? Is the price not high enough, or is there some technical reason? I
ask because your only explanation as to why it's not server grade appears to
be the price.

I've got no idea what a SC440 is, can't be arsed to look it up, but your post
seems to indicate that expensive must mean good quality.

-A.
Al Baker
2008-03-20 05:11:44 UTC
Permalink
Who are you getting your HP DL3xxx from ?
Post by Steve Totaro
All I can say is what has worked best for me over the years trying
many different boxen. IBM X Series and HP DL 3XXs, have heard that
Supermicro is "Super", just have not the pleasure yet.
Dells have given me problems, not always, but enough to be bitten
once, and twice shy...
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
Post by Al Baker
Quote "I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. "
Would you share which "Server Grade" rack mounts you use ?
I have a project that could use quite a few and I am getting
"suggestions" to order DELL.
Thanks.
Post by Steve Totaro
I am a user and a consultant.
I stick with 1.2.X and use server grade (not Dell) rackmount units. I
offload everything except what is needed. Put the DB on a different
box, run fastagi, no GUI, vi to hand edit my confs. Very stable this
way. I try to recommend this to clients but often they find google
and do not listen to solid advice.
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000. It is when you start reaching into
higher trunks that you pay the big bucks, but a V3000 is on par price
wise with an Asterisk install on decent equipment and super easy to
configure. Rock solid too, VxWorks is nice.
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I'm just a user :) we do real estate appraisals, and I found the time
to roll my own (so to speak) pbx. We're on 1.4.4, TDM card with four
FXOs. Honestly, you'll find it's easy to toss some zaptel and asterisk
tarballs onto a system and compile them. You'll probably learn a lot
along the way, but I won't liken it to the deep end of a swimming pool
-- only halfway down!
Moj
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
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Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-19 23:18:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Totaro
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000.
Interesting :) When I (the tech guy) leave this office, they just
*could* be asking me what to do when it breaks? lol :)
Steve Totaro
2008-03-19 23:27:13 UTC
Permalink
Call your dealer as I am sure you would have a support contract.

Haven't really seen one "break" yet though. VxWorks is what runs
satellites and junk ;-)

Thanks,
Steve Totaro

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:18 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Steve Totaro
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000.
Interesting :) When I (the tech guy) leave this office, they just
*could* be asking me what to do when it breaks? lol :)
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Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-20 18:30:53 UTC
Permalink
No, I meant if I leave this office, what to do when the cpu fan or power
supply breaks on our current * box :) They might just be so worried
that they'd *want* something like the 3Com V3000 :)
Post by Steve Totaro
Call your dealer as I am sure you would have a support contract.
Haven't really seen one "break" yet though. VxWorks is what runs
satellites and junk ;-)
Thanks,
Steve Totaro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:18 PM, Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
Post by Steve Totaro
Anyways, as to the four FXO system, I would not think twice to steer
that customer to the 3Com V3000.
Interesting :) When I (the tech guy) leave this office, they just
*could* be asking me what to do when it breaks? lol :)
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Gordon Henderson
2008-03-19 22:22:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
I started off as "just a user", then a friend said: "Hey, I need something
quick", then ... and look where I ended up... (Reselling asterisk boxes
is not 100% of what I do though)

Gordon
John Faubion
2008-03-20 14:58:00 UTC
Permalink
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list for
Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you are simply
using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling your services or
an Asterisk based solution?
I actually work as a software engineer for a big telecom manufacturer to
remain unnamed. I use Asterisk at home and I built a system for my aunt's
real estate office mainly because she was quoted $83K+ over 5 years for a 12
station Toshiba key system. I now get calls to build more of them mainly for
real estate offices that have seen other systems I have built. I probably
should become a full blown reseller but I don't see me making enough money
to walk away from my daytime gig anytime soon. On second thought, I guess if
I were charging $83 large per customer maybe I could!

John
John Novack
2008-03-20 16:35:29 UTC
Permalink
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list for
Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling your services or an Asterisk based solution?
I actually work as a software engineer for a big telecom manufacturer to remain unnamed. I use Asterisk at home and I built a system for my aunt's real estate office mainly because she was quoted $83K+ over 5 years for a 12 station Toshiba key system.
What on earth does that system do? open the office, make coffee, sweep
the floors and ???

For such a small system there is no earthly reason for it to be 10
percent of that, even on a 5 year lease.
Unless there are contract reasons she shouldn't even consider a lease
either.

I know that EVERYTHING is big in Texas, but that is nothing more than
highway robbery.

An NEC DSX with CF voicemail and e-mail integration wholesales for well
under 3K, double that and add cabling . . .
Well, you get the idea.

John Novack
--
Dog is my co-pilot
John Faubion
2008-03-20 17:59:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Novack
For such a small system there is no earthly reason for it to
be 10 percent of that, even on a 5 year lease.
I know that EVERYTHING is big in Texas, but that is nothing
more than highway robbery.
I fully agreed, that's why we built her an Asterisk based system. Splitting
this up they wanted $724 per month for the hardware and maintenance. This
did include a "special" kind of lease where they could upgrade as necessary
even if it required them to change out the system to do the upgrade. I'm not
sure what that is worth but I'm fairly sure it shouldn't cost this much. The
monthly contract for the Integrated PRI was another $675 per month. My aunt
couldn't see how she was going to afford that so she called me for advice. I
originally steered her toward a key system until I realized she would
eventually need 35-40 stations. So we rolled our own asterisk based system.

John
shadowym
2008-03-21 01:26:57 UTC
Permalink
That probably includes 5 years of support but still expensive.
Post by John Faubion
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list for
Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you are simply
using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling your services or an
Asterisk based solution?
Post by John Faubion
I actually work as a software engineer for a big telecom manufacturer to
remain unnamed. I use Asterisk at home and I built a system for my aunt's
real estate office mainly because she was quoted $83K+ over 5 years for a 12
station Toshiba key system.
What on earth does that system do? open the office, make coffee, sweep
the floors and ???

For such a small system there is no earthly reason for it to be 10
percent of that, even on a 5 year lease.
Unless there are contract reasons she shouldn't even consider a lease
either.

I know that EVERYTHING is big in Texas, but that is nothing more than
highway robbery.

An NEC DSX with CF voicemail and e-mail integration wholesales for well
under 3K, double that and add cabling . . .
Well, you get the idea.

John Novack
--
Dog is my co-pilot
Steven Kurylo
2008-03-19 22:29:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
I'm "just a user" at work, I manage multiple asterisk installations,
including our call center.
Paul Hales
2008-03-20 00:56:53 UTC
Permalink
I think some people here (like myself) started off as Asterisk users,
then moved on to helping other people with their Asterisk systems.

Which makes sense - once your Asterisk box is running well, why not
share how nice your work is/was?

PaulH
Post by Bill Andersen
Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
Anyone? Just a user?
That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)
Bill
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Alex Balashov
2008-03-20 03:51:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Hales
I think some people here (like myself) started off as Asterisk users,
then moved on to helping other people with their Asterisk systems.
Which makes sense - once your Asterisk box is running well, why not
share how nice your work is/was?
I would second that. In fact, it seems very likely that almost everyone
on the list is an Asterisk user, and many users do consulting in this
area as well.

I both provide Asterisk-related services and use Asterisk myself. I
imagine this is a category to which much of the list belongs.
--
Alex Balashov
Evariste Systems
Web : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
Mobile : (+1) (706) 338-8599
Horwich IT Services (Godwin Stewart)
2008-03-20 10:58:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
/me raises hand.

This said, if I did acquire sufficient knowledge of the system to be able
to sell Asterisk-based solutions, I would probably do just that.
--
Godwin Stewart - Horwich IT services
Andreas Sikkema
2008-03-20 11:45:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?
I'm responsible (development, maintenance, support) for an
Asterisk based VoIP platform providing a replacement for
residential PSTN lines. So I'm technically just a user ;-)

I've literally got _thousands_ of users and Asterisk is rock
solid for us.
--
Andreas Sikkema
Doug Lytle
2008-03-20 12:20:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Sikkema
I've literally got _thousands_ of users and Asterisk is rock
solid for us.
I think most of the instabilities are from the use of queues and
mixmonitor/chanspy.

I don't use either and have no real issues. I still restart the
Asterisk service once a week though, but these scripts have been in
place since the pre-1.0 age.

Doug
--
Ben Franklin quote:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Bill Andersen
2008-03-19 20:38:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Senad Jordanovic
However, I will say that it is not asterisk but people/company
deploying it. Generally speaking after deployment, and as long
users are "using" the system normally, no reboot is required.
I'm thinking part of the problem IS the company deploying
the "commercial" product we purchased. I really like their GUI.
I'm an IT guy and I'd say out of the last 10 or so "issues" we
have had with the product, I'm the one that figured out why it
wasn't working correctly. They had to fix it, (their code), but
I would see the symptoms and say "Hey, could it be this?". I had one
email from their programmer that said "Good catch". Well, thanks
for the Kudos, but why the hell am I paying an annual fee to
"catch" your bugs!
Post by Senad Jordanovic
And yes, running the whole thing from standard PC based "desktop" will
eventually cause issues hence an solid state appliance is a way to go
We are on an server class machine and haven't really had any issues
I feel were related to hardware. Alghough, I agree good hardware is
the key to "hardware" stability.

Thanks for the comments.

Bill
Senad Jordanovic
2008-03-19 21:47:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Post by Senad Jordanovic
However, I will say that it is not asterisk but people/company
deploying it. Generally speaking after deployment, and as long
users are "using" the system normally, no reboot is required.
I'm thinking part of the problem IS the company deploying
the "commercial" product we purchased. I really like their GUI.
I'm an IT guy and I'd say out of the last 10 or so "issues" we
have had with the product, I'm the one that figured out why it
wasn't working correctly. They had to fix it, (their code), but
I would see the symptoms and say "Hey, could it be this?". I had one
email from their programmer that said "Good catch". Well, thanks
for the Kudos, but why the hell am I paying an annual fee to
"catch" your bugs!
Yeah.. unfortunately that happens. Customers do find bugs, but but as
always it is about how the software maker reacts to it :)

Also, a friend of mine once said "Software without a bug is dead
software" :)


Regards,

Senad
Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
2008-03-19 18:15:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
If you're continuously restarting Asterisk, there is something wrong with your
setup: hardware, software or both. I have many installs out there on
commodity hardware (either pure-voip or digital (PRI) only with Polycom
handsets) and none of them need to be restarted.

Now we're not using queues; straight extensions with voicemail, some paging
and followme, a little CTI (click to dial), and a 24h "page the poor shlub
wearing the pager this week" for emergency support. You know, pretty
standard systems; the kind of thing I'd think any small business would have.
None of these are PoE, have separate switches or special VLANs or anything
like that. Think of what a small 5-50 person office would have the money
for.

I hear this complaint from time to time, but I've never really sat down and
thought about what could be causing it. Which version(s) are you running?
Whose hardware, what linux distro, are you running FreePBX or
straight-from-sources Asterisk? I'll take you on your word that you're not
trolling. Let's dig in a little.

-A.
Bill Andersen
2008-03-19 21:05:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
If you're continuously restarting Asterisk, there is something wrong
with your setup: hardware, software or both. I have many installs
out there on commodity hardware (either pure-voip or digital (PRI)
only with Polycom handsets) and none of them need to be restarted.
That is good to hear. The more I read on this thread, the more I think
I may have just chosen the wrong "commercially available Asterisk".
I've thought about just building everything myself, but, as a full time
IT guy I simply can't find the time to learn the ins-and-outs of Asterisk.
Some day, I hope to!
Post by Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
Now we're not using queues; straight extensions with voicemail, some
paging and followme, a little CTI (click to dial), and a 24h "page
the poor shlub wearing the pager this week" for emergency support.
You know, pretty standard systems; the kind of thing I'd think any
small business would have.
None of these are PoE, have separate switches or special VLANs or
anything like that. Think of what a small 5-50 person office would
have the money for.
Exactly my type of setup. Nothing really fancy.
Post by Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
I hear this complaint from time to time, but I've never really sat down
and thought about what could be causing it. Which version(s) are you
running? Whose hardware, what linux distro, are you running FreePBX or
straight-from-sources Asterisk? I'll take you on your word that you're
not trolling. Let's dig in a little.
CentOS release 4.4 (Final)
Kernel 2.6.9-34.0.2.ELsmp (SMP)
Asterisk 1.4.16.2
Dell SC440 w/RAID 1
Digium TE120P

The GUI is a commercially available product, to remain un-named at this
point.

No Trolling... I'm not wanting to "knock" Asterisk. I just want to get
feedback from others actually using it in a production environment. I
don't know that we have lost any customers over "missed" calls (BUSY signals
during reboots), BUT I have lost some street cred from my Bosses! They
think
I'm an IT Guru... They keep asking why the heck I can't you make that phone
system work reliably now that it is "computer based" LOL :(

Thanks for the comments

Bill
Howard Leadmon
2008-03-20 00:08:18 UTC
Permalink
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the trixbox
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think they moved
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel, which I am
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel did.

So not sure what all is causing your issues, but guess it's possible some of
them could be kernel related. Threads like this over there talk about 2.6.9
kernel issues:

http://www.trixbox.org/forums/trixbox-forums/open-discussion/2-3-0-3


I am guessing this would apply to a general Asterisk install as well, my
apologies in advance if I am wrong on that one. Anyway I hadn't seen anyone
talk about issues with the 2.6.9 kernel, but with all the chatter on the other
forum, I figured it was at least worth a mention. Overall the CentOS stuff
seems great, and a fairly decent base to run Asterisk from. Also CentOS 4.x is
up to 4.6 I believe, so sure lots of updates and fixes over the older 4.4
release...



---
Howard
Post by Bill Andersen
CentOS release 4.4 (Final)
Kernel 2.6.9-34.0.2.ELsmp (SMP)
Asterisk 1.4.16.2
Dell SC440 w/RAID 1
Digium TE120P
The GUI is a commercially available product, to remain un-named at this
point.
No Trolling... I'm not wanting to "knock" Asterisk. I just want to get
feedback from others actually using it in a production environment. I
don't know that we have lost any customers over "missed" calls (BUSY signals
during reboots), BUT I have lost some street cred from my Bosses! They
think
I'm an IT Guru... They keep asking why the heck I can't you make that phone
system work reliably now that it is "computer based" LOL :(
Thanks for the comments
Bill
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Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 00:39:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Howard Leadmon
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the trixbox
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think they moved
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel, which I am
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel did.
So not sure what all is causing your issues, but guess it's possible some of
them could be kernel related. Threads like this over there talk about 2.6.9
http://www.trixbox.org/forums/trixbox-forums/open-discussion/2-3-0-3
I am guessing this would apply to a general Asterisk install as well, my
apologies in advance if I am wrong on that one. Anyway I hadn't seen anyone
talk about issues with the 2.6.9 kernel, but with all the chatter on the other
forum, I figured it was at least worth a mention. Overall the CentOS stuff
seems great, and a fairly decent base to run Asterisk from. Also CentOS 4.x is
up to 4.6 I believe, so sure lots of updates and fixes over the older 4.4
release...
Note that Trixbox (<= 2.2) uses kernel from CentOS 4.3 . Generally it
seems that CentOS-based distributions tend to pick some initial kernel
and stick with it, even though CentOS provides newer ones with bug
fixes.
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
Grygoriy Dobrovolskyy
2008-03-20 01:00:25 UTC
Permalink
Nice topic, all this hardware/software gave me a migrene at start, after
that it was pretty much stable (1 reboot/30 days) As for me the crappyest
thing in computer is a power supply, you can get the motherboard with less
heat, good ram ect, but power supply will allways have a fan..... i found
the solution for small installs, buy a 120v/220v =12v transformer and a
carpc power supply, 60-250W like this one
http://www.cartft.com/catalog/il/903 (not an advertisement), that was it for
me two years with 120w power supply.
Post by Howard Leadmon
Post by Howard Leadmon
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the
trixbox
Post by Howard Leadmon
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think they
moved
Post by Howard Leadmon
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel, which
I am
Post by Howard Leadmon
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel did.
So not sure what all is causing your issues, but guess it's possible
some of
Post by Howard Leadmon
them could be kernel related. Threads like this over there talk about
2.6.9
Post by Howard Leadmon
http://www.trixbox.org/forums/trixbox-forums/open-discussion/2-3-0-3
I am guessing this would apply to a general Asterisk install as well,
my
Post by Howard Leadmon
apologies in advance if I am wrong on that one. Anyway I hadn't seen
anyone
Post by Howard Leadmon
talk about issues with the 2.6.9 kernel, but with all the chatter on the
other
Post by Howard Leadmon
forum, I figured it was at least worth a mention. Overall the CentOS
stuff
Post by Howard Leadmon
seems great, and a fairly decent base to run Asterisk from. Also CentOS
4.x is
Post by Howard Leadmon
up to 4.6 I believe, so sure lots of updates and fixes over the older
4.4
Post by Howard Leadmon
release...
Note that Trixbox (<= 2.2) uses kernel from CentOS 4.3 . Generally it
seems that CentOS-based distributions tend to pick some initial kernel
and stick with it, even though CentOS provides newer ones with bug
fixes.
--
Tzafrir Cohen
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Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
2008-03-20 03:15:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
CentOS release 4.4 (Final)
Kernel 2.6.9-34.0.2.ELsmp (SMP)
Asterisk 1.4.16.2
Dell SC440 w/RAID 1
Digium TE120P
The GUI is a commercially available product, to remain un-named at this
point.
Ok, and what specifically are the types of problems you are encountering?
choppy audio, dropped calls, "stuck" calls, kernel panics, asterisk
crashes...?

-A
Robert Lister
2008-03-19 18:33:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
It depends. As they say, "Your Mileage May Vary"

You have gone with a pre-built asterisk based solution rather than rolling
your own with 'plain' asterisk system. So without knowing your particular
environment, it's obviously difficult to comment.

By the sound of it, your experience of asterisk has been based on one
particular integrator's build of it.

One or two versions of asterisk out there were lemons and were best avoided.

And then there are some modules which are less stable than others. I have
found that most of the core asterisk stuff to be reasonably stable and well
behaved, but there are a few modules that either have problems, or have had
problems in the past, which have now been fixed. chan_agent was a good
example of something that worked on a small scale but certain bits of it
were just broken.

Other problems may be down to operating system, memory, hardware
or driver issues.

Here, I am using exclusively SIP devices, SIP media gateways (rather than PC
hardware) with asterisk voicemail module and seems pretty stable. (We had to
reboot the box 9 weeks ago for a kernel security update.)

pink*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 9 weeks, 4 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 22 seconds

We have about 77 SIP devices and these are a mixture of hard
and soft phones, with four media gateways. Spread over 9 sites.

There are a few ongoing intermittent issues, but haven't had any
spontaneous crashes so far.
Post by Bill Andersen
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
We did evaluate a number of other systems before we decided to go down the
route of just plain asterisk and rolling our own, as nothing quite did what
we wanted.

You could look at OpenSER but I'm not convinced you'd find that an easy
thing to work with, when you describe what you want to achieve.

SipX was also pretty good, but these are SIP only servers rather than
asterisk's multi-protocol ability (You also have to provide SIP media
gateways rather than talk directly to a card in the back of the machine)

http://www.sipfoundry.org/sipX

SIPx is the open source release of Pingtel's SIPEchange product, which I
also evaluated. it seemed like a pretty good 'set and forget' solution, and
they are also now selling an integrated SIPx appliance:
http://www.patton.com/products/pe_products.asp?category=348&tab=fb&

Which we looked at and was pretty good. Up to 30 users and included
automatic handset provisioning, nice GUI for setting things up etc. This is
great where you have an environment where running a server is not possible.

(our asterisk server is hosted in a nice data air conditioned centre with
redundant disks, power, UPS, network.. everything, but no everybody can run
an environment for ultra reliable servers, so an "Asterisk Appliance" might
be a way forward and requires no server housing capability and very little
knowledge of the operating system etc.

It is very difficult to stop thinking 'old PBX', and start thinking "What is
it we're trying to achieve?" If what you want is a PBX, go and buy one. It
was a tricky journey from the old PBX system to asterisk VoIP, as there were
certain expectations of the old system, and maintaining lots of
functionality with the new handsets/asterisk.

The system that replaced our PBX doesn't have anything like as many call
features as the old PBX did, but then again, most of these features were
almost never used. But what we did gain was much more flexibility, choice of
handsets/clients, connection to various VoIP networks, the possibility of
remote workers, redundancy in the new system, and integration possibilities
with existing systems that were completely impossible on the old PBX system.
(Or were only possible for lots of money!)

Handsets are finally evolving now, trying to put in features that were
present on old PBXs with 'traditional' paradigms like key and lamps etc,
which users want on VoIP systems, but I believe that will ultimately lead to
more proprietary systems and will ultimately fail in favour of Soft Phones,
which are much better able to add new features rather than be constrained by
a physical handset with buttons and memory limitations etc.

In my experience, you can buy a very expensive handset or a reasonably
priced soft phone that can do exactly the same features. People are
reluctant to give up their physical handsets on desks just yet though.

There is something to be said about keeping things simple. We decided not to
go for the option of putting, say, BRI cards in the back of asterisk server
and using it as a media gateway, but use separate off-the-shelf media
gateway boxes to do this instead, so from the asterisk server, everything is
SIP, and the media gateways are doing the awkward ISDN/Analogue <-> IP
conversion. That way, any SIP server (including Asterisk) can interact with
these gateways. Reading this list, some of the PCI cards and drivers are
better/more stable than others.

The benefit you get with Asterisk/VoIP is that you are not locked in to one
particular vendor, architecture or approach, and can be very cost effective
for the equivalent commercial products you would have to buy to get the same
functionality in the traditional PBX world.

The trade-off having an open system and flexibility, is that there are so
many possible configurations/handsets etc. that it can be a challenge to get
it all working. If you want somebody to have done all the work for you and
not to have to worry about it, then maybe go for a packaged, proprietary
solution.

If lock-in is not an issue for you, then you could just buy a lucent PBX
system or Cisco call manager, for example.

Another approach might be to go for a managed VoIP service provider, and
just connect your handsets to their service rather than run your own
servers. this way, you get the benefit of VoIP without having to run your
own VoIP service.
Drew Gibson
2008-03-19 18:44:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
I don't think you are expecting too much.

We have:-

130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre

Debian on Dell server

***@asterisk:~# uptime
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00

(Power was removed to switch to new UPS)

asterisk*CLI> show version
Asterisk 1.2.24 built by root @ asterisk on a i686 running Linux on
2007-09-08 17:17:07 UTC
asterisk*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 63 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds

(Asterisk was restarted after queue config changes)


We had a single power supply and single drive fail in one incident in
Feb 2007 (one drive of RAID 1). System stayed up but was taken down for
15 minutes to swap the drive. PS was hot-swapped when it arrived later.


regards,

Drew
--
Drew Gibson

Systems Administrator
OANDA Corporation
www.oanda.com
Senad Jordanovic
2008-03-19 19:00:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Drew Gibson
130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre
Debian on Dell server
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
here is one more running multi tenant Hosted PBXes:

saul ~ # uptime
18:59:11 up 263 days, 23:50, 1 user, load average: 0.96, 0.49, 0.35
saul ~ #


Senad
Ron Arts
2008-03-19 19:39:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Senad Jordanovic
Post by Drew Gibson
130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre
Debian on Dell server
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
saul ~ # uptime
18:59:11 up 263 days, 23:50, 1 user, load average: 0.96, 0.49, 0.35
saul ~ #
Senad
I can do that too:

[***@voip root]# uptime
20:14:40 up 533 days, 2:36, 1 user, load average: 0.11, 0.16, 0.17

but it's meaningless. Machine uptime doesn't say *anything* about user
experience of course.

I have installed many systems ranging from 3 to 3000 endpoints
using asterisk. These systems handled up 180 simultaneous calls
for years while using in-machine E1 cards.

I have encountered many, many problems with asterisk, libpri, bri-stuff,
zaptel, hardware and my own stupidity.

My EUR .02 (sorry, dollars are worth even less ;):

It's not asterisk that needs to be ready for prime time.
It's you. Asterisk is a moving target that is being developed by
programmers. Every version fixes problems, but introduces new ones.

So you need to be prepared to dive in, try to create a stable
distribution for yourself, and thoroughly inspect the changes that
go into each new version, to see if they will bite you.
Same holds for cards, hardware and everything you change yourself.

Asterisk can be ready for primetime. But only if you make it
your main source of income.

Ron
Post by Senad Jordanovic
_______________________________________________
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asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-19 19:35:48 UTC
Permalink
An off-the-shelf 5+ year old MSI MS-6378X-L motherboard, 1.6GHz AMD, 512
RAM, 10 extensions, no more than three concurrent calls:

[***@pbx ~]$ uptime
11:31:45 up 103 days, 1:00, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

But:
[***@pbx ~]$ sudo asterisk -rx 'core show uptime'
System uptime: 9 hours, 32 minutes, 25 seconds

I reboot every evening :) Drew, what's the uptime on your asterisk
process on that box that's been up for 193 days?
Post by Drew Gibson
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
I don't think you are expecting too much.
We have:-
130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre
Debian on Dell server
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
(Power was removed to switch to new UPS)
asterisk*CLI> show version
2007-09-08 17:17:07 UTC
asterisk*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 63 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds
(Asterisk was restarted after queue config changes)
We had a single power supply and single drive fail in one incident in
Feb 2007 (one drive of RAID 1). System stayed up but was taken down for
15 minutes to swap the drive. PS was hot-swapped when it arrived later.
regards,
Drew
Drew Gibson
2008-03-19 21:13:15 UTC
Permalink
The box has been up since we upgraded the UPS, time before was for the
disk failure in Feb 2007.

Asterisk has now been up for 5 hours, 44 minutes (yes, by Murphy's Law,
I'm troubleshooting a problem but"restart when convenient" does not
impact real uptime) but yesterday it had been up for 63+ days (last
restart was for queue config changes)

This is stock code on stock OS on stock hardware. We don't tweak it,
poke at it, fiddle with it, update it unless necessary. We do OS and
Asterisk updates on planned maintenance days infrequently)

KISS and don't fsck with it!

regards,

Drew
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
An off-the-shelf 5+ year old MSI MS-6378X-L motherboard, 1.6GHz AMD, 512
11:31:45 up 103 days, 1:00, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
System uptime: 9 hours, 32 minutes, 25 seconds
I reboot every evening :) Drew, what's the uptime on your asterisk
process on that box that's been up for 193 days?
Post by Drew Gibson
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
I don't think you are expecting too much.
We have:-
130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre
Debian on Dell server
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
(Power was removed to switch to new UPS)
asterisk*CLI> show version
2007-09-08 17:17:07 UTC
asterisk*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 63 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds
(Asterisk was restarted after queue config changes)
We had a single power supply and single drive fail in one incident in
Feb 2007 (one drive of RAID 1). System stayed up but was taken down for
15 minutes to swap the drive. PS was hot-swapped when it arrived later.
regards,
Drew
--
Drew Gibson

Systems Administrator
OANDA Corporation
www.oanda.com
RE Kushner List Account
2008-03-19 21:39:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Drew Gibson
The box has been up since we upgraded the UPS, time before was for the
disk failure in Feb 2007.
Asterisk has now been up for 5 hours, 44 minutes (yes, by Murphy's Law,
I'm troubleshooting a problem but"restart when convenient" does not
impact real uptime) but yesterday it had been up for 63+ days (last
restart was for queue config changes)
This is stock code on stock OS on stock hardware. We don't tweak it,
poke at it, fiddle with it, update it unless necessary. We do OS and
Asterisk updates on planned maintenance days infrequently)
KISS and don't fsck with it!
I have an Asterisk box running CVS-HEAD-08/21/04 with a T400P that
currently has 17 weeks, 11 hours, 27 minutes, 51 seconds of uptime on a
server that hasn't been rebooted in nearly a year.

This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, there are several thousand
wrong number calls a day besides the traffic I send through it.

-Ron
Al Baker
2008-03-19 22:22:47 UTC
Permalink
Quote"

This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, "

Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
Post by RE Kushner List Account
Post by Drew Gibson
The box has been up since we upgraded the UPS, time before was for the
disk failure in Feb 2007.
Asterisk has now been up for 5 hours, 44 minutes (yes, by Murphy's Law,
I'm troubleshooting a problem but"restart when convenient" does not
impact real uptime) but yesterday it had been up for 63+ days (last
restart was for queue config changes)
This is stock code on stock OS on stock hardware. We don't tweak it,
poke at it, fiddle with it, update it unless necessary. We do OS and
Asterisk updates on planned maintenance days infrequently)
KISS and don't fsck with it!
I have an Asterisk box running CVS-HEAD-08/21/04 with a T400P that
currently has 17 weeks, 11 hours, 27 minutes, 51 seconds of uptime on a
server that hasn't been rebooted in nearly a year.
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, there are several thousand
wrong number calls a day besides the traffic I send through it.
-Ron
_______________________________________________
-- Bandwidth and Colocation Provided by http://www.api-digital.com --
asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-19 23:32:18 UTC
Permalink
He could mean SIP or IAX
Post by Al Baker
Quote"
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, "
Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
Post by RE Kushner List Account
Post by Drew Gibson
The box has been up since we upgraded the UPS, time before was for the
disk failure in Feb 2007.
Asterisk has now been up for 5 hours, 44 minutes (yes, by Murphy's Law,
I'm troubleshooting a problem but"restart when convenient" does not
impact real uptime) but yesterday it had been up for 63+ days (last
restart was for queue config changes)
This is stock code on stock OS on stock hardware. We don't tweak it,
poke at it, fiddle with it, update it unless necessary. We do OS and
Asterisk updates on planned maintenance days infrequently)
KISS and don't fsck with it!
I have an Asterisk box running CVS-HEAD-08/21/04 with a T400P that
currently has 17 weeks, 11 hours, 27 minutes, 51 seconds of uptime on a
server that hasn't been rebooted in nearly a year.
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, there are several thousand
wrong number calls a day besides the traffic I send through it.
-Ron
_______________________________________________
-- Bandwidth and Colocation Provided by http://www.api-digital.com --
asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
_______________________________________________
-- Bandwidth and Colocation Provided by http://www.api-digital.com --
asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
Chris Bagnall
2008-03-19 23:58:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Baker
Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into
that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
We have a box with 5,000 DDIs coming into 2 PRIs. The number of DDIs isn't particularly important - it's the number of concurrent calls that affect things, and on these numbers it's surprising if they get more than a couple of calls a day.

Dialplan's pretty simple too - DDIs are in minimum 100 number blocks and get pushed out to remote asterisk servers, so for each remote server, it's only 1 line:
exten => [number]XXX,1,Dial(IAX2/someserver/${EXTEN})

Regards,

Chris
--
C.M. Bagnall, Director, Minotaur I.T. Limited
For full contact details visit http://www.minotaur.it
This email is made from 100% recycled electrons
RE Kushner List Account
2008-03-20 19:01:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Baker
Quote"
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, "
Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
I said DID numbers, they point to a PRI trunk group to a T400P, then the
calls go IAX2 to other boxes for processing based on NPA/NXX.

IE: exten=>_906586XXXX,1,Dial,IAX2/un:***@asterisk50/${EXTEN}@ninezerosix

And if anything comes in for something not configured this catches it

exten => _NXXXXXXXXX,1,Dial,sip/sipdebug/s

If you figure standard telco usage patters, 92 channels @ 25:1 ratio, I
have quite a bit of headroom.

-Ron
Steve Totaro
2008-03-20 19:26:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by RE Kushner List Account
Post by Al Baker
Quote"
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, "
Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
I said DID numbers, they point to a PRI trunk group to a T400P, then the
calls go IAX2 to other boxes for processing based on NPA/NXX.
And if anything comes in for something not configured this catches it
exten => _NXXXXXXXXX,1,Dial,sip/sipdebug/s
have quite a bit of headroom.
-Ron
You don't run into choppy audio with IAX that way? I see that alot
and the simple solution is to switch to SIP, almost always solves the
problem right away.

Thanks,
Steve Totaro
RE Kushner List Account
2008-03-20 19:56:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Totaro
Post by RE Kushner List Account
Post by Al Baker
Quote"
This code is pre-Asterisk 1.0... It processes quite a few calls daily, I
have about 1,800 DID numbers pointed at it, "
Are you SURE on that figure. Since you cold have at MOST 4 T1's coming into that box, 1,800 DIDs pointing to it sems like
one hell of a congestion problem and a Dialplan thicker than War and Peace
I said DID numbers, they point to a PRI trunk group to a T400P, then the
calls go IAX2 to other boxes for processing based on NPA/NXX.
And if anything comes in for something not configured this catches it
exten => _NXXXXXXXXX,1,Dial,sip/sipdebug/s
have quite a bit of headroom.
-Ron
You don't run into choppy audio with IAX that way? I see that alot
and the simple solution is to switch to SIP, almost always solves the
problem right away.
Not really, but both ends have zaptel hardware. I'm really surprised
IAX2 connects and functions to these 1.4 and 1.6 beta servers from a Pre
1.0 machine.

-Ron
Al Baker
2008-03-19 22:34:34 UTC
Permalink
For true "TELCO" reliability, get a TELCO based service such as "CENTREX".
* is cool and I like it and it brings some really cool stuff to the
table, but, it is NOT
"Carrier Grade" TELCO.
Anyone who tries to sell it to that way is just not being truthful. On
the other hand there
is a lot of stuff as a VENDOR you can't make "CENTREX" do for you to
re-sell it.
But to put * in the same class as Rockwell ACD unit or a 5ESS Central
Office switch for
reliability . Nope, just not the kind of critter.
But, sometime "good enough is good enough".

"You pays your money, you makes your choice"
Post by Drew Gibson
The box has been up since we upgraded the UPS, time before was for the
disk failure in Feb 2007.
Asterisk has now been up for 5 hours, 44 minutes (yes, by Murphy's Law,
I'm troubleshooting a problem but"restart when convenient" does not
impact real uptime) but yesterday it had been up for 63+ days (last
restart was for queue config changes)
This is stock code on stock OS on stock hardware. We don't tweak it,
poke at it, fiddle with it, update it unless necessary. We do OS and
Asterisk updates on planned maintenance days infrequently)
KISS and don't fsck with it!
regards,
Drew
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
An off-the-shelf 5+ year old MSI MS-6378X-L motherboard, 1.6GHz AMD, 512
11:31:45 up 103 days, 1:00, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
System uptime: 9 hours, 32 minutes, 25 seconds
I reboot every evening :) Drew, what's the uptime on your asterisk
process on that box that's been up for 193 days?
Post by Drew Gibson
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
I don't think you are expecting too much.
We have:-
130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre
Debian on Dell server
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
(Power was removed to switch to new UPS)
asterisk*CLI> show version
2007-09-08 17:17:07 UTC
asterisk*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 63 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds
(Asterisk was restarted after queue config changes)
We had a single power supply and single drive fail in one incident in
Feb 2007 (one drive of RAID 1). System stayed up but was taken down for
15 minutes to swap the drive. PS was hot-swapped when it arrived later.
regards,
Drew
John Faubion
2008-03-20 14:31:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I reboot every evening :) Drew, what's the uptime on your
asterisk process on that box that's been up for 193 days?
I too restart the asterisk process every night as part of the cron process.
Many people here seem to be under the impression that restarting the
application every day is a bad thing. Having worked with carrier grade
systems for 20+ years, I can tell you that even these systems restart the
application during the days slow period. Granted these are usually two
separate systems for redundancy but the typical method is to:

1) Unsync the two systems
2) Run system testing on the inactive side
3) Restart the inactive side
4) Resync the data between the systems
5) Switch the active and inactive processors
6) Repeat steps 1-4 on the newly inactive side

Now don't think that smaller PBX or key systems are all that different. I
know that the Meridian systems go through a similar process each day. On the
SL1 systems there is a garbage daemon that runs every day. This daemon
restarts the application to clean up RAM allocation. The Norstar key systems
do this as well although the reset only takes about 2 seconds. Since
everything is stored in flash memory, it is a quick way to make sure any
glitches in RAM are cleaned up.

Interestingly, the restart of Asterisk on my system only takes 3-4 seconds.
Actual call processing is probably only affected for less that 2 seconds.
Done during our night time activities no one ever notices. I've had some
argue that a restart shouldn't be done because of the possibility that the
system might not come back up. While this is potentially true, it will be
because a file was changed without restarting or reloading asterisk. Yes
this can happen though the likelihood is very small. At least it should be
on a production system.

One other thing to point out, if you are the type to constantly "upgrade" to
the latest and greatest, you can expect to have issues. Once you get the
system on a stable setup, the only reason for "upgrading" is if the new
version fixes some problem that you have. Again some argue that security
vulnerabilities would require the upgrade but that isn't always the case. If
your system is a closed network, for example, your connection to the outside
world is strictly analog and your network isn't shared with your computers,
none of the security concerns would every matter. Now think back to that key
system you revered for just working, did it have any outside connections
that a hacker could exploit? Not likely. I have one system that we installed
nearly a year ago. The only time it has been down was due construction
workers cutting the main power feed to the building, between the building
and the generator. It took them 10 hours to fix it and the UPS lasted over 4
hours. That was 200 days ago however asterisk was restarted about 8 minutes
after midnight.

As they say, your mileage may vary, but I don't think restarting asterisk is
a bad thing.

John
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 14:59:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Faubion
Post by Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
I reboot every evening :) Drew, what's the uptime on your
asterisk process on that box that's been up for 193 days?
I too restart the asterisk process every night as part of the cron process.
Many people here seem to be under the impression that restarting the
application every day is a bad thing.
It is a bad thing when people consider it a magic bullet.

It "cures" slow resource leaks. But faster resource drains will still
be able to crash Asterisk. Strange races will still happen once in a
million.

And people have actually suggested recently in this list a scheduled
reboot as a cure for deadlock issues.

And what happens if at the time of the shutdown there was a
Anselm Martin Hoffmeister
2008-03-20 18:33:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
And what happens if at the time of the shutdown there was a
_______________________________________________
-- Bandwidth and Colocation Provided by http://www.api-digital.com --
ROTFL

Trafrir, you made my day.

(BTW: I think that is why "restart when convenient" exists)

Anselm
Andrew Kohlsmith (lists)
2008-03-20 18:43:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anselm Martin Hoffmeister
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
And what happens if at the time of the shutdown there was a
ROTFL
Trafrir, you made my day.
Oh god, I didn't realize that wasn't a typo until you wrote that...

Very well done, Tzafir. Professionally executed.

-A.
Tom Moore
2008-03-19 22:33:44 UTC
Permalink
I think what Bill is concerned about is if Asterisk is good enough for his
operation.
When you talk about Asterisk there are a number of ways to set it up.
Some ways of setting it up involve a gui interface, some are pure text files
and some are databased in how they handle the config data.
As far as managing a voice system four to five hours of maintenance time for
a 30 station system is entirely too much on a weekly basis.

Asterisk most certainly can be a solution that can work for your situation.
If deployed right it can handle on a single server much more than what you
are asking it to do.

Tom









-----Original Message-----
From: asterisk-users-***@lists.digium.com
[mailto:asterisk-users-***@lists.digium.com] On Behalf Of Drew Gibson
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 2:45 PM
To: Asterisk Users Mailing List - Non-Commercial Discussion
Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] Is Asterisk ready for Prime-Time?
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
I don't think you are expecting too much.

We have:-

130 physical extensions including 24x7 inbound call centre

Debian on Dell server

***@asterisk:~# uptime
13:15:31 up 192 days, 23:49, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00

(Power was removed to switch to new UPS)

asterisk*CLI> show version
Asterisk 1.2.24 built by root @ asterisk on a i686 running Linux on
2007-09-08 17:17:07 UTC
asterisk*CLI> show uptime
System uptime: 63 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds

(Asterisk was restarted after queue config changes)


We had a single power supply and single drive fail in one incident in
Feb 2007 (one drive of RAID 1). System stayed up but was taken down for
15 minutes to swap the drive. PS was hot-swapped when it arrived later.


regards,

Drew
--
Drew Gibson

Systems Administrator
OANDA Corporation
www.oanda.com


_______________________________________________
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Steven Kurylo
2008-03-19 20:41:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
I don't think you'll ever find the reliability of those old solid state
systems. They have very few features and little to go wrong. I don't
judge my asterisk installations against those systems. I judge asterisk
against comparable systems, like a cisco voip systems or a Nortel BCM.

While I can't say asterisk is more stable than they are, I can say the
support is much better. With closed systems I never quite know whats
going on and get told to reboot regularly to fix problems (the days of a
BCM taking 20 minutes to reboot during business hours of a call
center...). Or sometimes told the latest version will fix my problems,
assuming I pay for it. With asterisk I can tackle the issues myself and
get a continually improving product with no extra charges. The power of
open source.
Paul Hales
2008-03-20 00:15:44 UTC
Permalink
Our office PABX is a via low heat pc, with an ISDN10 and 15 IP handsets.

It gets regularly used and abused by us linux idiots in the office, and
runs like a charm. We test software on it, write silly dialplans and
generally treat it badly.

It could not be described as 'server grade' by any reasonable person.

PaulH
Post by Bill Andersen
This is not a troll. I've used my real email because I want this
taken seriously. I'm not trying to make anyone mad, I just want
some real discussion on this issue. Please bare with me...
I'm a USER of Asterisk. We purchased 3 commercially available
"Asterisk Based" PBXs a little over a year ago. (I won't mention
which one at this point - I don't want to bad mouth them - yet!)
Two of the systems are very small (5 SIP lines/6 Polycom phones).
The third is on a PRI with 30 Polycom phones.
My smaller sites work pretty good. I've only had to restart
Asterisk every month or so. However, my 30 station system
is a continuous headache. I average a restart at least once a
week. Sometimes a couple of times in the week. I'm always being
called to "fix" something that just stopped working.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A "Well, don't just complain, tell us
your setup and we can help you get it working". This list HAS
helped me figure out some of the issues. THANK YOU! But the
purpose of this post is more of a fact finding mission.
1) Was choosing Asterisk for our company the wrong decision...
a) IF... I expect a phone system to just work. Once it is
configured, a phone system should just work with
very little attention. My previous system was a
Comdial with external voice mail on a DOS based PC.
I LITERALLY WENT OVER 4 YEARS WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE
POWER TO THE COMDIAL CONTROL OR RE-BOOT THE VOICE MAIL PC.
b) IF... I really only need a phone system that allows an operator
to answer each call and transfer them to the appropriate
person. I need voice mail, but very little auto attendant
features (mostly after hours). All the bells and whistles
that Asterisk offers are cool, but don't bring that much to
the table for our purpose.
c) IF... Stability is more of an issue than high end features?
2) Are there any users out there that really DO have an Asterisk
system that just works like clockwork? I'm saying, once setup,
run for a year (or more) without any issues?
3) If SO, Should I simply consider a different vendor?
4) If NOT, and if my expectations are that a system SHOULD just
run and run without any problems. Is Asterisk simply not my
solution. Is Asterisk not REALLY ready for production. Because
in my mind (as a user of phone services), "dealing" with the
phone system, even on a MONTHLY basis, means that the system
is NOT really production ready... Before we installed an
Asterisk based PBX, I spent maybe 4 hours per YEAR with phone
issues (setting up a new station?). Since we moved to an
Asterisk based PBX, I spend 4 hours (or more) every WEEK!
Am I expecting too much?
Bill
_______________________________________________
-- Bandwidth and Colocation Provided by http://www.api-digital.com --
asterisk-users mailing list
http://lists.digium.com/mailman/listinfo/asterisk-users
Alex Balashov
2008-03-20 04:59:08 UTC
Permalink
Very interesting thread!

My general sense, being both a person of heavy UNIX systems programming
and modest telco background, and as an Asterisk enthusiast, is that
Asterisk itself is quite production-worthy as such. Experience suggests
that what is controversial about it from a business standpoint, in terms
of total cost of ownership, support, and dependability, are many things
rather ancillary to it that contribute to the overall experience of an
Asterisk-based system as a product. Some of these pitfalls have already
been pointed out with regard to the shortcomings of consumer-grade PC
hardware, hard drives, power supplies, etc.

In other words, it seems to me that you can't just throw up an Asterisk
box as such and have it perform to your expectations. My experience
with the few Asterisk based IP PBX appliances that claim to be thusly
turn-key has been very poor, although, in their defense, it's been a
while and I'm sure those platforms have come a long way. But overall,
the domain of expertise required to make Asterisk work well in an
environment demanding of high availability is of a scope considerably
beyond Asterisk itself, and amounts to a fairly broad nexus of network
engineering, *nix systems administration, and so on. Most generalised
-- and, to some extent, highly specialised -- IT savvy is required, as
can be true with anything open-source and not packaged as part of some
immaculate, embedded black box culturally or technically.

Asterisk works well if deployed in a manner that brings quite an array
of skills to the table in a rather comprehensive way. In and of itself,
it assures little. This conclusion is supported by the differences in
my effort expended to support and (re)engineer third-party Asterisk
installations of varying quality and sophistication. And of course,
what I am saying here applies to most other things as well. It is
possible to set up Apache or MySQL or Linux itself naively, "from the
heart," as well, as many do, or to do it in a nuanced, refined manner
that is attentive to the specificity of tight production requirements
and capitalises upon considerable expertise.

All Asterisk setups in which I have been involved have generally
involved a from-scratch custom compile of Asterisk, zaptel (if
necessary), and very frequently - especially if the latter is required -
a hand-compiled kernel as well. I do not use Trixbox, any Asterisk
administration front-ends, IP PBX appliances, and so on. I can't really
comment on their respective merits, but even if I could, I feel strongly
compelled to point out that this would be more of a referendum on
particular vendors or integrators who have packaged Asterisk a certain
way than about Asterisk in principle, which is something several people
have already said. If all of the nuances of a hand-maintained Asterisk
configuration are observed, I think it's a pretty solid product in any
event, but it does increase total cost of ownership for my clients as
they have to find someone like myself or other Asterisk consultants on
this list with the knowledge and experience to do that sort of thing.
It's the same sort of dilemma that arises between investing a lot of
faith in a stock CentOS or Fedora install by someone who "kind of knows
a bit about Linux" vs. hiring a really knowledgeable Linux sysadmin,
where the limitations of the distribution don't really matter because
they're going to know what to do with it on a highly detailed level.
The latter obviously gets vastly superior results, but costs a lot more
money and time.

At the risk of inflaming a lot of passions, including those of
hard-working developers, I must say that where Asterisk may be
production-worthy, the entire constellation of things (like Zaptel) of
which its PSTN hardware interface capabilities comprise is absolutely
not, if my experience is at all telling. Of course, that's not all
Zaptel's or Digium's fault; much of it is just the buggy, flaky, and
very inconsistent nature of PC hardware, the kernel, ${insert true
culprit here}.

Nevertheless, my only truly solid experiences with Asterisk have come in
situations where it is used as a purely SIP agent. FXO interface
hardware, PRI cards (Sangoma, Digium, Rhino, etc.) all have bugs,
strange interop problems I've never seen before with big iron TDM
switches or newer telco softswitches that generate those circuits,
bizarre apparent interpretations of certain ISDN messages, and can cause
system instability, lockups, etc. (Whether they are the true cause of it
or whether that's just a consequence of their interoperation with the PC
is unknown to me, and somewhat beside the point.)

They've come a long way, I think. When I first used Digium T1 cards,
little, basic things like B channels not being hung up properly were
still a major and frequent theme. For low-capacity installs involving
at most one or two PRIs, I think one may be all right at this point.
But I still think it's experimental and avant garde from a production
standpoint; I find myself frequently stressing to my clients how much
better off they'd be just getting SIP termination and origination
elsewhere and breathe easier. Sangoma seems quite all right. Rhino is
OK, although as far as their multiport FXO interfaces go, it suffices to
say there is a difference between making it work and making it work
well. Their free support does go a long way toward that end. Your
mileage may vary. Caveat emptor.

In general, though, almost any installation with any TDM trunking of
nontrivial volume is something in which I've ended up deploying
dedicated ISDN VoIP gateways, most recently Cisco AS5300s and 5400s. In
general, this is what I would advise to anyone thinking about
terminating more than a handful of PRIs, let alone DS3s worth of
traffic. Get proven, reliable hardware (even if it is expensive) from
vendors for whom TDM and carrier-grade telephony is a core competency.
I've seen far too many people try to take the cheap way out with a bunch
of Asterisk-oriented TDM hardware and not get quite what they were
expecting. Don't do it. There's something gravely perturbing about
running T1s into a PC anyway, although I know it's been done in certain
esoteric commercial telephony applications for eons.

Other, similar considerations apply. In a nontrivial SMB environment,
it is critically important to take the time to properly implement QoS.
If your network sucks, so will your Asterisk experience. Build VLANs
and segregate your voice traffic. Don't use cheap routers and base
commodity unmanaged switches. If you're doing VoIP out over the
Internet or interoffice, make sure you understand that you need a real
Internet connection to a provider that is well-peered to have any hope
of delivering this type of service, and even then, you're at the mercy
of best-effort phenomena. Sure, you have to have enough bandwidth, but
that by itself is almost worthless; there needs to be good, consistent
latency, no/very low packet loss, and your users need a way of reaching
you over non-congested backbones, ideally ones that are voice affirming
in that they implement end-to-end QoS on their IP transit network.

In the end, it boils down to the same thing, really. Asterisk by itself
is just an element of the question. What you surround it with -- and
how -- is just as important in the final analysis. Get good PC
hardware. Administer the operating environment well. If you want to be
providing VoIP services, take the time to research and colocate in a
great data center with excellent upstream connectivity and fabulous
QoS--to the extent that this is even possible. If you are doing
extensive PSTN connectivity, make sure you get real hardware for it -
don't think you're going to get away with a bunch of PCs. Don't try to
use Asterisk where it doesn't belong; it is not a transit element for
carrier service, but rather an endpoint. It's a PBX, a
feature/voicemail/IVR destination, etc. It is not a switch, a proxy, or
anything else. That's what softswitches, OpenSER, media gateways, etc.
are for, so build your voice service platform on that.

If you're using it as an SMB PBX, make sure you've thought through your
phone question. Don't get cheap phones, as the SIP interop issues and
overall quality hit is simply not worth it. Think about how you're
going to do mass-provisioning and other ways the phones relate to
Asterisk (i.e. NAT).

It's pretty stable, except perhaps at the margins of some of its broad
features (I've run into a few bugs with queues, but they weren't
show-stoppers). What you get out of it is, much as with the sewer
system or with anything open-source that isn't commercially prebuilt and
packaged on proprietary, embedded hardware with all sorts of ASICs and
VLSI and solid-state goodness, mainly a question of what you put into
it. Do the right things - and for the right reasons - and Asterisk is
utterly awesome. Do things willy-nilly, and you'll get willy-nilly results.
--
Alex Balashov
Evariste Systems
Web : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
Mobile : (+1) (706) 338-8599
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 08:17:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Balashov
At the risk of inflaming a lot of passions, including those of
hard-working developers, I must say that where Asterisk may be
production-worthy, the entire constellation of things (like Zaptel) of
which its PSTN hardware interface capabilities comprise is absolutely
not, if my experience is at all telling. Of course, that's not all
Zaptel's or Digium's fault; much of it is just the buggy, flaky, and
very inconsistent nature of PC hardware, the kernel, ${insert true
culprit here}.
Nevertheless, my only truly solid experiences with Asterisk have come in
situations where it is used as a purely SIP agent. FXO interface
hardware, PRI cards (Sangoma, Digium, Rhino, etc.) all have bugs,
strange interop problems I've never seen before with big iron TDM
switches or newer telco softswitches that generate those circuits,
bizarre apparent interpretations of certain ISDN messages, and can cause
system instability, lockups, etc. (Whether they are the true cause of it
or whether that's just a consequence of their interoperation with the PC
is unknown to me, and somewhat beside the point.)
They've come a long way, I think. When I first used Digium T1 cards,
little, basic things like B channels not being hung up properly were
still a major and frequent theme. For low-capacity installs involving
at most one or two PRIs, I think one may be all right at this point.
But I still think it's experimental and avant garde from a production
standpoint; I find myself frequently stressing to my clients how much
better off they'd be just getting SIP termination and origination
elsewhere and breathe easier. Sangoma seems quite all right. Rhino is
OK, although as far as their multiport FXO interfaces go, it suffices to
say there is a difference between making it work and making it work
well. Their free support does go a long way toward that end. Your
mileage may vary. Caveat emptor.
Yeah, right. And we have no SIP compatibility issues at all. It is also
funny that you reflect the quality of old PRI card of one company and
yet ignore all the past mishaps of SIP devices.

I have stared long enough in both PRI traces and SIP traces. Both
protocols are complex. I've seen very strange things happening with SIP.
Also in this list. With Zaptel at least you have full ontrol of the
device

(disclaimer: I work for a Zaptel hardware vendor)
Post by Alex Balashov
In general, though, almost any installation with any TDM trunking of
nontrivial volume is something in which I've ended up deploying
dedicated ISDN VoIP gateways, most recently Cisco AS5300s and 5400s. In
general, this is what I would advise to anyone thinking about
terminating more than a handful of PRIs, let alone DS3s worth of
traffic. Get proven, reliable hardware (even if it is expensive) from
vendors for whom TDM and carrier-grade telephony is a core competency.
I've seen far too many people try to take the cheap way out with a bunch
of Asterisk-oriented TDM hardware and not get quite what they were
expecting. Don't do it. There's something gravely perturbing about
running T1s into a PC anyway, although I know it's been done in certain
esoteric commercial telephony applications for eons.
Now please be specific about what is wrong with running a T1 into a PC.

I heard some people run Gigabit-ethernet into a standard PC. But maybe
that also takes a dedicated cisco gateway.

Pre.S.: while writing this I wanted to link to Jim Dixon's article "The
History of the Zapata Telephony Project as it relates to the Asterisk
PBX". But it seems to have vanished off the face of the internet.
Anybody has a copy?
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
Alex Balashov
2008-03-20 10:45:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Yeah, right. And we have no SIP compatibility issues at all. It is also
funny that you reflect the quality of old PRI card of one company and
yet ignore all the past mishaps of SIP devices.
Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that. There are plenty of SIP interop
problems with Asterisk as well. I was actually just debugging a really
recondite one yesterday with MetaSwitch.

But nothing quite so dramatically abysmal as the TDM stuff. Of course,
that could just be my particularly unfortunate experiences or
shortcomings; I make no claim as to the universality of what I am saying.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
I have stared long enough in both PRI traces and SIP traces. Both
protocols are complex. I've seen very strange things happening with SIP.
Agreed, most certainly.

In fact, it's funny how often I've heard that SIP is a "simple"
protocol. "Oh, you know, it's like HTTP, basically." Um, no, simple it
is not.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Now please be specific about what is wrong with running a T1 into a PC.
I don't have a lot of specific objections, as I am not a hardware
expert. I was just commenting on what seems to work well and what doesn't.

If I had to speculate, there are backplane/bus throughput and timing
differences between dedicated, embedded TDM hardware chassis with T1
interfaces and PC motherboards with offboard cards. One surely must be
more imprecise, inconsistent and replete with compatibility problems
than the other.

I could be very wrong.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
I heard some people run Gigabit-ethernet into a standard PC. But maybe
that also takes a dedicated cisco gateway.
Ethernet is a data animal, not a synchronous voice animal.

But then, a goat is not a synchronous voice animal either.
--
Alex Balashov
Evariste Systems
Web : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
Mobile : (+1) (706) 338-8599
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 11:23:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Balashov
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Yeah, right. And we have no SIP compatibility issues at all. It is also
funny that you reflect the quality of old PRI card of one company and
yet ignore all the past mishaps of SIP devices.
Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that. There are plenty of SIP interop
problems with Asterisk as well. I was actually just debugging a really
recondite one yesterday with MetaSwitch.
But nothing quite so dramatically abysmal as the TDM stuff. Of course,
that could just be my particularly unfortunate experiences or
shortcomings; I make no claim as to the universality of what I am saying.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
I have stared long enough in both PRI traces and SIP traces. Both
protocols are complex. I've seen very strange things happening with SIP.
Agreed, most certainly.
In fact, it's funny how often I've heard that SIP is a "simple"
protocol. "Oh, you know, it's like HTTP, basically." Um, no, simple it
is not.
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
Now please be specific about what is wrong with running a T1 into a PC.
I don't have a lot of specific objections, as I am not a hardware
expert. I was just commenting on what seems to work well and what doesn't.
If I had to speculate, there are backplane/bus throughput and timing
differences between dedicated, embedded TDM hardware chassis with T1
interfaces and PC motherboards with offboard cards. One surely must be
more imprecise, inconsistent and replete with compatibility problems
than the other.
I could be very wrong.
PC hardware is produced in mass quantities. Hence you get hardware that
is much more powerful. PCs today have hardware that has basically all
the required CPU to handle quite some traffic.

PCI (and even USB...) has been shown to be good enough to pass T1-s.
Even with the unoptimized high interrupt rate of Zaptel. There's plenty
of room for improvements in Zaptel. But people live with it right now
because the CPUs we have are powerful enough.
Post by Alex Balashov
Post by Tzafrir Cohen
I heard some people run Gigabit-ethernet into a standard PC. But maybe
that also takes a dedicated cisco gateway.
Ethernet is a data animal, not a synchronous voice animal.
But then, a goat is not a synchronous voice animal either.
One main application is getting that synchronous voice over to voip. For
that applicaiton we can easily afford adding a few delays.

Now what happens when you actualyl want synchronous voice? Faxes?
Modems? You could choose to of-load all of that to the dedicated
gateway. But why?
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
Norman Franke
2008-03-19 19:41:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Andersen
Am I expecting too much?
Perhaps.

I think the hardware on which we run Asterisk can be much more
reliable than the software, which is often the case. We have a bunch
of HP servers with RAID and have never lost anything. A HD may fail,
but the RAID keeps it going until we pop a new drive in there. A
server class PC with redundant power supplies and RAID is really quit
inexpensive now. If you are running on a $1000 box, you can't expect
the reliability of dedicated telco hardware.

As for Asterisk, reliability has been a concern. Concurrency issues
keep cropping up (read bugs.digium.com), especially with the SIP
stack. This is particularly the case with buggy clients (soft phones,
and under high volume of calls.) However, in fairness, writing
heavily threaded code in C is very hard to get right. I think testing
could surely be better, perhaps come code reviews and more guidelines
for writing threaded code.

We had an old hardware system and it wasn't without some issues. We
needed to support around 30 call takers and another 50 hard phones.
It took us a while in the 90s to get everything working acceptably.
Our transition time with Asterisk has actually been shorter. Since we
have a highly customized operation, going with a Avaya or Cisco
solution would have cost in excess of $500K. With Asterisk, we spent
maybe $50K on hardware (including a Cisco gateway, two Asterisk
servers and some Polycom phones.) This cost is trivial compared to
how much we pend on our yearly phone bill.

The great benefit to Asterisk for us was that everything is open
source software and thus we can customize it. We wrote a custom app
that plugs into Asterisk that handles all of our custom business
rules and provides far more capabilities than our old (and very
expensive) hardware solution. Since we already had a custom developed
desktop application, we could plug in a SIP stack and further
customize things to be just what we wanted.

I remember talking to a rep from a large reseller and listing our
requirements, and he was amazed we could do all we were going on 90s
technologies, since their new (and even more expensive) stuff
couldn't without lots of "consulting". We had just two developers
over 6 months go from zero to a full call center solution.

On the other hand, if I were to support a small office with 20 people
and simple voice mail for mission-critical telecommunications, I'd
likely get a hardware solution. They are reliable and not that
expensive. Asterisk, for now, and in my opinion, is always going to
require more interaction that other hardware solutions. But, it's
cheaper and more flexible. You may not care about cheap and flexible,
and if not, maybe it's not what you want.

I've not tested products like CallWeaver or others. People claim some
of these are more reliable, but Asterisk seems more popular.

Norman Franke
Answering Service for Directors, Inc.
www.myasd.com
Tim Nelson
2008-03-19 21:45:26 UTC
Permalink
I highly recommend "Asterisk Hacking" as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Asterisk-Hacking-Ben-Jackson/dp/1597491519

Tim Nelson
Systems/Network Support
Rockbochs Inc.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Andersen" <***@mwdental.com>
To: "Asterisk Users Mailing List - Non-Commercial Discussion" <asterisk-***@lists.digium.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:38:23 PM (GMT-0600) America/Chicago
Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] Is Asterisk ready for Prime-Time?

Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I started to
reply to most of them, but it is getting a little out of hand.
Again, thank you. It actually makes me think the problem is not
so much with "Asterisk" as it is with implementation. (My Vendor)

Although this is a "users" list, I think it is more of a list
for Asterisk "resellers". I'd be interested in how many of you
are simply using Asterisk as your phone system and NOT selling
your services or an Asterisk based solution?

Anyone? Just a user?

That being said. As "just" a user of Asterisk, it is clear that
if I want to continue with Asterisk, it looks like I really need
to "learn" the ins-and-outs of Asterisk and ditch my pre-packaged
solution. Off to Amazon for to find TFOT (I want the hard copy :)

Bill



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Mian M Asif
2008-03-20 10:06:29 UTC
Permalink
Hi eric,
can you please tell me how can i save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1),

thanks for you help,

regards,
Asif


Message: 14
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 10:39:22 -0500
From: Eric Wieling <***@fnords.org>
Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] How to configure Voice mail for multi
users.
To: Asterisk Users Mailing List - Non-Commercial Discussion
<asterisk-***@lists.digium.com>
Message-ID: <***@fnords.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Post by Mian M Asif
Hi All,
i want to configure voice mail on Asterisk 1.4 for multiple users. let
me explain you the scenario.
i have 10 users with the name of
1000,2000,3000,4000,5000,6000,.......and these user can call to each
other. Now i want to configure separate voice mail box for separate
user.
my extensions.conf ..... settings below..
[voicemail]
exten => _X.,1,Dial(SIP/${EXTEN})
exten => _X.,n,NoOp(Dial Status: ${DIALSTATUS})
exten => _X.,n,Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1)
exten => s-NOANSWER,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,Hangup()
As I'm sure you know, ${EXTEN} is the value of the currently executing
extension, in the example above your line would be parsed as:
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,VoiceMail(s-***@usersmail) You would have
seen this if you were watching the Asterisk console when a call failed
to go to Voicemail.

Find some other way. You could save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1), but there are many, many,
many other ways.
Mojo with Horan & Company, LLC
2008-03-20 18:45:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mian M Asif
Hi eric,
can you please tell me how can i save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1),
exten => s,n,Set(OLD_EXTEN=${EXTEN})

Then later, just use ${OLD_EXTEN}
Anthony Messina
2008-03-21 00:54:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mian M Asif
Hi eric,
can you please tell me how can i save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1),
thanks for you help,
regards,
Asif
Message: 14
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 10:39:22 -0500
Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] How to configure Voice mail for multi
users.
To: Asterisk Users Mailing List - Non-Commercial Discussion
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Post by Mian M Asif
Hi All,
i want to configure voice mail on Asterisk 1.4 for multiple users. let
me explain you the scenario.
i have 10 users with the name of
1000,2000,3000,4000,5000,6000,.......and these user can call to each
other. Now i want to configure separate voice mail box for separate
user.
my extensions.conf ..... settings below..
[voicemail]
exten => _X.,1,Dial(SIP/${EXTEN})
exten => _X.,n,NoOp(Dial Status: ${DIALSTATUS})
exten => _X.,n,Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1)
exten => s-NOANSWER,1,Background(vm-nobodyavail)
exten => s-NOANSWER,n,Hangup()
As I'm sure you know, ${EXTEN} is the value of the currently executing
seen this if you were watching the Asterisk console when a call failed
to go to Voicemail.
Find some other way. You could save the value of EXTEN in a different
variable before the Goto(s-${DIALSTATUS},1), but there are many, many,
many other ways.
the variable setting i'm not helpful with, but how about:

[context]
exten => 2200,n,Dial(${DEVICE},20,kKotTwW)
exten => 2200,n,Goto(vm,${EXTEN},1)

[vm]
exten => _X.,1,Exec(${IF($["${DIALSTATUS}"
= "BUSY"]?VoiceMail(${EXTEN},b):VoiceMail(${EXTEN},u))})
exten => _X.,n,Playback(vm-goodbye)
exten => _X.,n,Hangup()

the only part that gets repeated for each exten are the two lines in [context]
--
Anthony - http://messinet.com - http://messinet.com/~amessina/gallery
8F89 5E72 8DF0 BCF0 10BE 9967 92DC 35DC B001 4A4E
Michael Graves
2008-03-20 13:03:04 UTC
Permalink
Appologies for top-posting. This is the most interesting thread in a
long time. Alex, yours is the most well considered opinion I've seen in
a long while. I exactlt reflects my own, moerw limited experience.
Thank you for chiming in.

Two weeks ago on the VOIP Users Conference weekly call we had as our
guest Pika Technologies who are a Canadian company that make T-1/E-1
and FXO/FXS cards for Asterisk. One of their statements was the fact
that they don't rely on Zaptel for their driver. They have their own
driver which is unrelated to Zaptel.

Does anyone here have any experience with this? Is it markedly better,
or just more obscure and so harder to support?

Michael
Post by Alex Balashov
Very interesting thread!
My general sense, being both a person of heavy UNIX systems programming
and modest telco background, and as an Asterisk enthusiast, is that
Asterisk itself is quite production-worthy as such. Experience suggests
that what is controversial about it from a business standpoint, in terms
of total cost of ownership, support, and dependability, are many things
rather ancillary to it that contribute to the overall experience of an
Asterisk-based system as a product. Some of these pitfalls have already
been pointed out with regard to the shortcomings of consumer-grade PC
hardware, hard drives, power supplies, etc.
In other words, it seems to me that you can't just throw up an Asterisk
box as such and have it perform to your expectations. My experience
with the few Asterisk based IP PBX appliances that claim to be thusly
turn-key has been very poor, although, in their defense, it's been a
while and I'm sure those platforms have come a long way. But overall,
the domain of expertise required to make Asterisk work well in an
environment demanding of high availability is of a scope considerably
beyond Asterisk itself, and amounts to a fairly broad nexus of network
engineering, *nix systems administration, and so on. Most generalised
-- and, to some extent, highly specialised -- IT savvy is required, as
can be true with anything open-source and not packaged as part of some
immaculate, embedded black box culturally or technically.
Asterisk works well if deployed in a manner that brings quite an array
of skills to the table in a rather comprehensive way. In and of itself,
it assures little. This conclusion is supported by the differences in
my effort expended to support and (re)engineer third-party Asterisk
installations of varying quality and sophistication. And of course,
what I am saying here applies to most other things as well. It is
possible to set up Apache or MySQL or Linux itself naively, "from the
heart," as well, as many do, or to do it in a nuanced, refined manner
that is attentive to the specificity of tight production requirements
and capitalises upon considerable expertise.
All Asterisk setups in which I have been involved have generally
involved a from-scratch custom compile of Asterisk, zaptel (if
necessary), and very frequently - especially if the latter is required -
a hand-compiled kernel as well. I do not use Trixbox, any Asterisk
administration front-ends, IP PBX appliances, and so on. I can't really
comment on their respective merits, but even if I could, I feel strongly
compelled to point out that this would be more of a referendum on
particular vendors or integrators who have packaged Asterisk a certain
way than about Asterisk in principle, which is something several people
have already said. If all of the nuances of a hand-maintained Asterisk
configuration are observed, I think it's a pretty solid product in any
event, but it does increase total cost of ownership for my clients as
they have to find someone like myself or other Asterisk consultants on
this list with the knowledge and experience to do that sort of thing.
It's the same sort of dilemma that arises between investing a lot of
faith in a stock CentOS or Fedora install by someone who "kind of knows
a bit about Linux" vs. hiring a really knowledgeable Linux sysadmin,
where the limitations of the distribution don't really matter because
they're going to know what to do with it on a highly detailed level.
The latter obviously gets vastly superior results, but costs a lot more
money and time.
At the risk of inflaming a lot of passions, including those of
hard-working developers, I must say that where Asterisk may be
production-worthy, the entire constellation of things (like Zaptel) of
which its PSTN hardware interface capabilities comprise is absolutely
not, if my experience is at all telling. Of course, that's not all
Zaptel's or Digium's fault; much of it is just the buggy, flaky, and
very inconsistent nature of PC hardware, the kernel, ${insert true
culprit here}.
Nevertheless, my only truly solid experiences with Asterisk have come in
situations where it is used as a purely SIP agent. FXO interface
hardware, PRI cards (Sangoma, Digium, Rhino, etc.) all have bugs,
strange interop problems I've never seen before with big iron TDM
switches or newer telco softswitches that generate those circuits,
bizarre apparent interpretations of certain ISDN messages, and can cause
system instability, lockups, etc. (Whether they are the true cause of it
or whether that's just a consequence of their interoperation with the PC
is unknown to me, and somewhat beside the point.)
They've come a long way, I think. When I first used Digium T1 cards,
little, basic things like B channels not being hung up properly were
still a major and frequent theme. For low-capacity installs involving
at most one or two PRIs, I think one may be all right at this point.
But I still think it's experimental and avant garde from a production
standpoint; I find myself frequently stressing to my clients how much
better off they'd be just getting SIP termination and origination
elsewhere and breathe easier. Sangoma seems quite all right. Rhino is
OK, although as far as their multiport FXO interfaces go, it suffices to
say there is a difference between making it work and making it work
well. Their free support does go a long way toward that end. Your
mileage may vary. Caveat emptor.
In general, though, almost any installation with any TDM trunking of
nontrivial volume is something in which I've ended up deploying
dedicated ISDN VoIP gateways, most recently Cisco AS5300s and 5400s. In
general, this is what I would advise to anyone thinking about
terminating more than a handful of PRIs, let alone DS3s worth of
traffic. Get proven, reliable hardware (even if it is expensive) from
vendors for whom TDM and carrier-grade telephony is a core competency.
I've seen far too many people try to take the cheap way out with a bunch
of Asterisk-oriented TDM hardware and not get quite what they were
expecting. Don't do it. There's something gravely perturbing about
running T1s into a PC anyway, although I know it's been done in certain
esoteric commercial telephony applications for eons.
Other, similar considerations apply. In a nontrivial SMB environment,
it is critically important to take the time to properly implement QoS.
If your network sucks, so will your Asterisk experience. Build VLANs
and segregate your voice traffic. Don't use cheap routers and base
commodity unmanaged switches. If you're doing VoIP out over the
Internet or interoffice, make sure you understand that you need a real
Internet connection to a provider that is well-peered to have any hope
of delivering this type of service, and even then, you're at the mercy
of best-effort phenomena. Sure, you have to have enough bandwidth, but
that by itself is almost worthless; there needs to be good, consistent
latency, no/very low packet loss, and your users need a way of reaching
you over non-congested backbones, ideally ones that are voice affirming
in that they implement end-to-end QoS on their IP transit network.
In the end, it boils down to the same thing, really. Asterisk by itself
is just an element of the question. What you surround it with -- and
how -- is just as important in the final analysis. Get good PC
hardware. Administer the operating environment well. If you want to be
providing VoIP services, take the time to research and colocate in a
great data center with excellent upstream connectivity and fabulous
QoS--to the extent that this is even possible. If you are doing
extensive PSTN connectivity, make sure you get real hardware for it -
don't think you're going to get away with a bunch of PCs. Don't try to
use Asterisk where it doesn't belong; it is not a transit element for
carrier service, but rather an endpoint. It's a PBX, a
feature/voicemail/IVR destination, etc. It is not a switch, a proxy, or
anything else. That's what softswitches, OpenSER, media gateways, etc.
are for, so build your voice service platform on that.
If you're using it as an SMB PBX, make sure you've thought through your
phone question. Don't get cheap phones, as the SIP interop issues and
overall quality hit is simply not worth it. Think about how you're
going to do mass-provisioning and other ways the phones relate to
Asterisk (i.e. NAT).
It's pretty stable, except perhaps at the margins of some of its broad
features (I've run into a few bugs with queues, but they weren't
show-stoppers). What you get out of it is, much as with the sewer
system or with anything open-source that isn't commercially prebuilt and
packaged on proprietary, embedded hardware with all sorts of ASICs and
VLSI and solid-state goodness, mainly a question of what you put into
it. Do the right things - and for the right reasons - and Asterisk is
utterly awesome. Do things willy-nilly, and you'll get willy-nilly results.
--
Alex Balashov
Evariste Systems
Web : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
Mobile : (+1) (706) 338-8599
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asterisk-users mailing list
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Michael Graves
mgraves<at>mstvp.com
http://blog.mgraves.org
o713-861-4005
c713-201-1262
sip:***@pixelpower.onsip.com
skype mjgraves
***@fwd.pulver.com
Norman Franke
2008-03-20 15:10:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Howard Leadmon
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the
trixbox
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having
interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think
they moved
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel,
which I am
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel
did.
I've also found that I can't get ztdummy working on anything less
than 2.6.23.11. Previous versions seem to have a broken RTC.

Norman Franke
Answering Service for Directors, Inc.
www.myasd.com
Tzafrir Cohen
2008-03-20 15:49:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Norman Franke
Post by Howard Leadmon
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the
trixbox
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having
interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think
they moved
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel,
which I am
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel
did.
I've also found that I can't get ztdummy working on anything less
than 2.6.23.11. Previous versions seem to have a broken RTC.
RTC? on kernel 2.6.23? It should not be used in kernel >= 2.6.22 if
CONFIG_HIGH_RES_TIMERS is enabled.

Also note that on kernel 2.6.9 you have HZ=1000 and thus ztdummy works
quite differently. This is not the same issue as interrupts of PCI
devices.

(not to mention that hotplug on CentOS 4 is strange. And earlier
CentOS4 versions had a plain broken USB stack).
--
Tzafrir Cohen
icq#16849755 jabber:***@xorcom.com
+972-50-7952406 mailto:***@xorcom.com
http://www.xorcom.com iax:***@local.xorcom.com/tzafrir
Gordon Henderson
2008-03-21 00:06:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louwrens Benadé
Post by Howard Leadmon
Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the trixbox
forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having interrupt
issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think they moved
forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel, which I
am
told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel did.
I've also found that I can't get ztdummy working on anything less than
2.6.23.11. Previous versions seem to have a broken RTC.
It works fine...

# uname -a
Linux dsx 2.6.18DSX1-CN #8 PREEMPT Fri May 18 16:13:30 BST 2007 i686 GNU/Linux

# lsmod
Module Size Used by
zttranscode 6408 0
ztdummy 2632 0
zaptel 182788 4 zttranscode,ztdummy

# zttest -v
Opened pseudo zap interface, measuring accuracy...

8192 samples in 8192 sample intervals 100.000000%
8192 samples in 8184 sample intervals 99.902344%
8192 samples in 8192 sample intervals 100.000000%
8192 samples in 8184 sample intervals 99.902344%
8192 samples in 8192 sample intervals 100.000000%
8192 samples in 8192 sample intervals 100.000000%
8192 samples in 8184 sample intervals 99.902344%
8192 samples in 8192 sample intervals 100.000000%
8192 samples in 8184 sample intervals 99.902344%
--- Results after 9 passes ---
Best: 100.000000 -- Worst: 99.902344 -- Average: 99.956597


This is running on a 1GHz VIA C3 processor - no RTC, custom compiled
kernel and zaptel compiled from source...

Gordon
Louwrens Benadé
2008-03-20 15:43:27 UTC
Permalink
I was running Trixbox 2.2 up until about 2 months ago, and had persistent
interrupt issues. I upgraded to 2.4, with the updated kernel, and it’s been
complete smooth sailing ever since.



_____

From: asterisk-users-***@lists.digium.com
[mailto:asterisk-users-***@lists.digium.com] On Behalf Of Norman Franke
Sent: 20 March 2008 05:10 PM
To: asterisk-***@lists.digium.com
Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] Is Asterisk ready for Prime-Time?



On Mar 20, 2008, at 12:59 AM, asterisk-users-***@lists.digium.com wrote:





Sure some others on here may disagree, but I am also over on the trixbox

forums, and have often seen talk about the 2.6.9 kernel having interrupt

issues, and such that cause asterisk issues. One reason I think they moved

forward into the CentOS 5.x stuff, so they got the 2.6.18 kernel, which I am

told works much better, and doesn't have the issues the old kernel did.



I've also found that I can't get ztdummy working on anything less than
2.6.23.11. Previous versions seem to have a broken RTC.



Norman Franke

Answering Service for Directors, Inc.

www.myasd.com
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