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Asterisk on Debian: piece of cake!

Yesterday, my phone had a temporary fit, yet I had a bunch of important calls left to make. Since I have an account with a VoIP provider and a Swiss number associated with it, I decided to use it as a fallback. That worked.

The next thing I found out was that a meeting had been cancelled, and since I was in a VoIP-related mindset anyway, I did what I've been meaning to do for years: check out Asterisk.

An excellent article by Stefan Wintermeyer in the 01/2008 issue of the German Linux Magazin helped me understand the basics of the Asterisk configuration paradigms in a single read.

With 40 minutes left, I installed the Debian Asterisk packages on a test machine and by the time of my next meeting, I had the server register with two VoIP providers (one of them being the university) and routed outgoing calls accordingly: calls to university numbers went there, all others would be routed via Insphone. I also hooked up three softphones and routed incoming calls to them.

I shall post my configuration once I spent a little more time with it, configured e.g. voice mail and a simple voice- or DMTF-activated menu system to distinguish work from private calls, and cleaned it up. If you care before then, ask.

Asterisk is said to have a steep learning curve. Thanks to the article and the excellent work by the Debian maintainers, I climbed that curve to the point where I can make and receive phone calls in about an hour.


NP: Age Pryor: Shanks' Pony