Will a netbook handle FreePBX?


I recently ordered an ATA (a HandyTone 502), with the intention to just use it with Google Voice/Gizmo5 and just use a laptop to do the dialing. A bit of Internet surfing later and now I’m interested in maybe setting up a FreePBX box.

My only spare computer right now is a 700MHz EeePC (1G Ram, 8G drive + 8G SD card). Would that be sufficient to run FreePBX satisfactorily?

Assuming it would be, am I understanding right that I would put the EeePC and the ATA inside of my router, put the EeePC in the DMZ and configure the ATA’s SIP settings to connect to the EeePC?

I’ve got a few years of Linux under my belt, but this is my first real trip into telephony land.

Michael Moore

Thanks for the speedy response.

I have an 8G SD card I can add to get more disk space.

I will happily stick the setup behind the firewall. For some reason I was under the impression that getting SIP to work through routers was difficult.

I should be able to handle the installation, but a ready made distro might save some time. I’ll take a look.

Thanks again,
Michael Moore

Getting SIP to work through a NAT router CAN be difficult - it’s a tradeoff, though. Usually you only have to fight with it the first time, and once you figure out what to do, you have no further problems with SIP audio. Whereas, the protection of being behind a firewall lasts for years. But, my attitude might be different if I knew anything at all about how to properly secure a Linux box using its native firewall.

If you do have any problems with one-way audio (the typical problem with SIP going through a NAT router) then see HOWTO: Resolving Audio Problems and try the suggestions there.

The only thing that might give me pause is the 8 GB drive - it should be enough, but that’s not going to leave you huge amounts of headroom. You’ll have to keep an eye on your drive space usage.

And personally, I would NOT put the FreePBX box in the DMZ. You want to be able to use your router’s firewall rules to open only the ports you need opened to the outside world. There are too many bad guys out there to leave your system fully exposed. But then again, I know next to nothing about the Linux firewall, so if you understand it and how to configure it, it’s up to you if you want to take that risk.

If you’re not sure what you are doing, it might be best to start with an “all in one” distribution that installs the CentOS operating system, Asterisk, and FreePBX. Such distributions include (in alphabetical order) AsteriskNOW, Elastix, and PBX in a Flash - visit their web sites to learn more about them. On the other hand, if you are something of a Linux geek, you might prefer to “roll your own” and install each of the pieces individually.

Above all, have fun! I think you’re going to enjoy setting up and working with FreePBX.