Setup and Configuration Questions

Hello All,

I found out about Asterisk and FreePBX by doing some searching on-line. I work for a cable company who offers voip services and was trying to find a soft-switch application, just to satisfy my own curiosity as to how things work and such. Anyway, I found Asterisk and FreePBX in the process and would now like to turn it into a fun geek project for myself and some friends.

I would like to find a way to do this as cheaply as possible, if not free because it is just me geeking around, not really for practical use.

Here are my goals.

  1. Have a single inbound number which links to an IVR
  2. Have a group of friends using Free SIP Softphones that will allow them to dial an extension from their computer and connect to other people on the PBX through the internet.
  3. Have some fun features, such as an option to leave random voicemail which will route to a random mailbox on the network.
  4. If possible, have an automated system to retrieve and play local weather conditions.
  5. I am planning, and I kid you not, the funniest and most clever use of an IVR ever! A choose your own adventure game… Why? Because I can, and it would be funny.
  6. Set up a hold system that randomly plays select MP3s and can be used as a “music channel” as well.
  7. Set up a “quote of the day” IVR option which would play a randomly selected MP3 or WAV file out of a group, and change it once a day.

There would be no outbound to the POTS because it wouldn’t serve a purpose in this case. I really just want to remotely connect friends, and have a way for all of us to call a common number to get into contact with one another, and have some fun.

How hard would it be to set up something like this and are some of the items, like the weather thing, even possible without manually updating the IVR every day?

Also what would be the best way to set up and configure the IVR to work? What SIP provider would be the best, or would it even be necessary to have one?

I already have an Ubuntu server that I plan on using to run the PBX, any compatibility issues there?

I also want to let you all know that I LOVE that you guys use Drupal for your site and I am thrilled with everything you have done to make PBX systems available to everyone.

Thanks in advance for whatever help you can provide. I have read some of the tutorials and walkthroughs out there but, am still confused about the ins and outs of everything…


Most of what you want can be done out of the box. What can’t can be coded with some learning and understanding of the products.
your items 1,2,4,6,7 are all possible. 3 and 5 you’ll need to do some work on.

As for cost if you have a decent computer then you are set.

Ubuntu is possible but realsize that everything is really setup for a CentOS system so you’ll need to do some adjustments as each has slightly different structures, nothing big but just some extra work to do. You’ll find many posts covering depending on the version you have running.

If all you want to do is dial each other then you don’t need a provider at all but if you want to call in from outside or make calls out then yes.

As for which provider is the best, I’d start by saying take a look at FreePBX SipStations to start it helps support us. If not then take a look at But what provider is good will depend on your ISP provider setup and location, how far away you are from the other provider, etc. What works good for somebody on the east cost might not work for somebody on the west coast or Europe. Many of the big ones work almost anywhere as they have a presence at multiple points on the internet but smaller ones do not.

Good luck.

fskrotzki, thanks for the response. I am really glad that this can be set up. i don’t mind digging and trying to code some stuff, although, coding is far from my forte. I figured the random voicemail thing would require some scripting of some sort. I didn’t realize my choose your own adventure thing would though. I figured the IVR system would be able to handle it as-is. But, there is a reason why these things are called “geek projects”. If it all worked out of the box, it wouldn’t be a project, would it?

Part of my reason for experimenting with this will be to learn the nature of SIP/Voip Based telephony and how the back end of the system works. As I mentioned, I work with a cable company as a lead technical support rep and deal with voip. However, I just deal with provisioning and things of that nature. I see the logs of what happens but, really don’t understand it all.

This will help me to learn a little bit more, just for my own knowledge, and to have fun doing it.

Are there multiple pricing plans for SipStations or is it just the $24.99? I’m not sure if I would need unlimited trunks, as I doubt that this will get the kind of traffic to need the ability to have say, 30 people call in at once. That is, if a trunk means what I think it means.

A single trunk is a standard phone connection, one caller on one phone number, and that is it. A multi-trunk setup means that the system can handle multiple inbound and outbound calls from the same number. Am I correct?

Thanks again for your input and suggestions. I actually need to upgrade my server to Ubuntu 9, which I haven’t done yet. So this will give me additional time to ask questions and research before installing everything.

There was a post going with questions and answers on SipStation but I can’t find it quickly to point you to it.

The only issue with item 3 is the randomness. Not something you’d want in a business setup, not hard to do just not done for those reasons.

for 5 using the IVR for that purpose is not hard, it’s connecting to the game that will be.

Oh, the game WOULD be the IVR…LOL. That is the point. To enter this room, press 1, to explore further, press 2. Caller presses 1. You enter the room, and an anvil falls on your head, you have died, goodbye…

I’ll see if I can find the SipStation post.

Again thanks for all the help.

There used to be a Zork game for the phone system. Past that I’ve not seen any others. have fun…

Found information for ZORK clone. Looks awesome! I think that is better than doing a choose your own adventure game. Instead, you have a full-fledged RPG on your phone!

I’m not sure if ZOIP would be a good option. Its development was ended in 2006 after the creator discovered that Activision still has an active license for Zork. It is buggy at best, so, I may work on my own project at some point.

I was able to find a weather plugin on the best of nerd vittles site. I currently upgraded my system to Ubuntu 9. I will need to make sure everything is in tact before beginning installation. Otherwise I will just wipe it and start from scratch.

I would be tempted to install trixbox, except I am not as familiar with CentOS and would like to run a web development server and a FTP server as well. I’m not sure how comfortable I would be switching OSes.

IPComms has a free DID with 2 ports/trunks. That should suffice for now, and if I need to upgrade, should my PBX get a ton of users for some reason, I will upgrade to SipStation as my first iinbound/outbound option. While my current option offers no outbound calling, it is a good test bed.

After trying to build from source for Ubuntu over the past hour or so, I decided to make life easy on myself and install trixbox. I’ll figure out how to host a website of my own later…