Getting Started


So, I came across an article in this month’s (March 2011) Maximum PC on running an Asterisk PBX at home. That seems like a pretty sweet idea for a free or cheap house phone.

For the last two days I’ve been combing the internet for information on how to get a VOIP solution configured at home from beginning to end. I’ve found forums, how-to’s, FAQs, YouTube Videos, O’Reilly books, and more. Apparently there really is a million ways to get this going in a million environments. Analysis paralysis!

I’ve downloaded AsteriskNOW (1.7.1 32-bit) and installed it inside of VMWare on my laptop (I have a PC to install this on but I’m waiting on a new mobo battery). I chose the 1.6 FreePBX option during installation time.

The install and subsequent update, via yum, went fine. I can access the FreePBX web page on the AsteriskNOW PBX server. Everything seems to be working normally. However, I haven’t actually done anything with it yet but log in.

I purchased (Craig’s List) and updated (v8.12 SIP Image) two Cisco 7960G IP phones. Those seem to be working normally, however I haven’t done anything with them yet either. I used this PDF as a guide for updating my two phones:

So, it’s my understanding that FreePBX is a GUI interface for manipulating the Asterisk software and the Asterisk software is what does the heavy lifting PBX wise. Do I really need to read a 600 page O’Reilly book to make this work at home? Looking at the Asterisk and FreePBX website, I haven’t found a simple getting started guide. Most of the other stuff I’ve found on the web is for pretty sophisticated stuff or is targeted as someone who’s already in the VOIP biz.

Here’s what I’d like to do… First, I’d like to be able to make each of my IP phones capable of calling the other IP phone. I know that’s not real exciting but it would verify that my hardware and software is working. Second, I’d like to see what’s involved in getting a real phone number (Google Voice?) for one (using extensions) or both of the phones.

Any thing you could provide me with would be appreciated!


Rob Ramsey
CEH, A+, Net+, Security+, Linux+

We are just trying to set up a simple test bed to check out asterisk now and Freepbx
I cannot get to the the freepbx link.
We downloaded the image about a month ago.
Did the new security release have anything to do with why wee are having trouble with PBS and asterisk?

Maximum PC - Don’t hijack other users threads…Start your own

Any of the “getting started without tears” guides for PBX in a flash, Elastix or trixbox will get you started. All three distributions use FreePBX and the provisioning information will all be the same.

Basically you need to;

1 - Configure extensions
2 - Get SIP software loaded on the phones and provision them (setup tftp server on your Linux box and load the software and config files from there)
3 - Configure trunks (for incoming and outgoing calls)
4 - Configure an outbound route

What do you mean that the web interface “does not do anythiny” you can’t get to the config screens such as extensions, trunks, outbound routes etc???

Hello SkyKing,

I don’t see that I wrote anything negative about the FreePBX GUI. I haven’t actually done anything with it but look around as of yet. It’s my understanding that FreePBX is a frontend for Asterisk like SWAT is a frontend for Samba. Frontends are important, they make the impossible possible for most users.

On getting started…

So, I guess I expected the GUI to have something like:

MAC #1: _________________ NAME:__________________ Phone Number:__________________
MAC #2: _________________ NAME:__________________ Phone Number:__________________
MAC #3: _________________ NAME:__________________ Phone Number:__________________

Unix uses the /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers to map MAC address to IP addresses and host names. I figure the IP phones should get setup in a similar way.

I’m checking out the “Extension” -> “Add SIP Extension” part of the GUI now. I wonder how much of a home or small business’s setup could be done using a Wizard. If you’ve ever used a Cisco PIX firewall before, you know that using the VPN wizard is a life saver.




I created three topology drawings that show what environments I think most home and small business users would fall into. Having a wizard to get these three setups running would be great.

Implementation #1

Implementation #2

Implementation #3

I suppose this is a bit brash but accessibility makes for popularity.



You are not being brash, just making suggestions before you understand how things work.

Every manufacturer’s VoIP phone has different capabilities and provisioning process.

ARP is used by the IP stack and is not relevant to the discussion. SIP is a layer 3 protocol and has its own authentication mechanisms.

If you knew the history of the project you would know that the Endpoint Manager is a relatively new contribution to the project and automates the configuration of many different phones.

FreePBX is far more than just a configuration generator. It provides all of the features to turn Asterisk into a full featured PBX.

FreePBX is an enterprise class system, the “wizards” you suggest would not be of any assistance in a business install. The team has focused our resources and important tools for integrators such as the bulk extension import module.

WRT the Cisco ASA/PIX wizards I personally don’t like the config they write, it’s too convoluted and hard to modify. It only takes 10 or so lines of code to create an IPSEC VPN and I find it easier to do it at the command line level. Personally I think the PFM creates as many problems as it solves. It does however create many opportunities for those of us that know IOS bailing admins out of jams when they get over their heads.

The PFM is a bad analogy as FreePBX writes tens of thousands of lines of Asterisk dial plan and configuration files.

Welcome to the forum. I suggest you learn a little about us before rushing to judgement.

**** I cut and pasted the wrong message last time… Sorry for the marketing trash in the forum