Asterisk 1.4 – the Professional’s Guide

Asterisk 1.4 – the Professional’s Guide
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Written by four Asterisk Professionals, this book brings their years of experience together in an easy-to-understand guide to working with Asterisk in small, medium and larger Commercial environments
  • Packed with hints, tips, and best practice – learn to avoid the pitfalls that can hinder an Asterisk implementation
  • Focused chapters provide thorough, comprehensive, and self-contained instructions on how to deploy Asterisk across different commercial scenarios
  • Read the book's foreword by Mark Spencer, Chairman and CTO of Digium

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 284 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : August 2009
ISBN : 1847194389
ISBN 13 : 9781847194381
Author(s) : Colman Carpenter, David Duffett, Ian Plain, Nik Middleton
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Networking and Servers, Linux Servers, Networking & Telephony, Open Source


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Dialplan
Chapter 2: Network Considerations when Implementing Asterisk
Chapter 3: Call Routing with Asterisk
Chapter 4: Call Centers—Queues and Recording
Chapter 5: Asterisk and Speech Technology
Chapter 6: Call Accounting and Billing
Chapter 7: Resilience and Stability
Chapter 8: Localization and Practical Security
Chapter 9: Interfacing with Traditional Analog and Digital Telephony
Chapter 10: Integrating Asterisk with Wireless Technologies
Chapter 11: Graphical User Interfaces
Appendix A: Selling Your Solution
Appendix B: Sample Email Content
Appendix C: Sample Appointment Sheet
  • Chapter 1: The Dialplan
    • Dialplan location
    • Extensions and contexts
      • Pattern matching
      • Why use contexts?
      • Call barring made simple
      • Time and day call routing
    • Variables
      • Inheritance of channel variables through the dialplan
        • Using the AstDB
    • Dialplan features and additions
      • func_devstate
        • What can we use the DEVSTATE() function for?
      • Using multiple broadband lines
        • Configuration overview
      • System() application
    • Summary
  • Chapter 2: Network Considerations when Implementing Asterisk
    • Centralized and distributed installations
      • Centralized installations
      • Distributed solutions
      • Latency and jitter
      • Jitterbuffer
      • Echo
    • Do your homework
      • SLAs are for everyone
      • Achieving the goal
      • Backups
      • To share or not to share
      • Ensuring quality
      • When things go wrong
        • Red
        • Amber
        • Green
      • Increasing resilience
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Call Routing with Asterisk
    • Routing methods
    • Where to start
    • Internal calls
    • Local calls
    • National calls
    • International calls
    • Alternative options
      • ENUM
      • DUNDi
    • Types of routing
    • Routing techniques
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Call Centers—Queues and Recording
    • Asterisk queues
      • Queue gotchas
        • A practical queue
        • Using queues to cascade calls
    • Call recording—the issues
      • Show-stoppers
    • VoIP recording approaches
    • Impact of VoIP on recording systems
      • Hardware convergence
    • Distributed call centers
      • Home working
    • VoIP recording challenges
      • Routing
      • Bandwidth
      • Encryption
      • Solutions
    • Asterisk call center solutions
      • How VICIDIAL works
        • Handling inbound calls
        • Installation
        • Timing sources
        • Scalability
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Asterisk and Speech Technology
    • Why speech-enable?
    • Types of speech technologies
      • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)
        • Isolated Word Recognition
        • Connected Word Recognition
        • Natural Language Recognition
      • Text-to-Speech (TTS)
      • Speaker Verification and Identification (SVI)
        • MRCP
    • Implementation considerations
      • ASR and Asterisk
        • Installing LumenVox speech recognition with Asterisk
        • Checking that things are working
        • Grammar files
        • Implementation advice for ASR
      • TTS with Asterisk
        • Implementation advice for TTS
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Call Accounting and Billing
    • Call Data Records (CDRs)
      • CDR frontends
    • Call accounting
    • Providing termination billing
      • Every little helps
      • Selecting a billing platform
      • Introducing A2Billing
        • Reasons to consider A2Billing
        • A2Billing requirements
        • Monitoring usage
        • Coding for A2Billing
      • Billing gotcha!
      • High call volumes
        • Other high-call-volume solutions
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Resilience and Stability
    • Increasing availability
    • Stability
      • Network
        • Cables
        • Switches and routers
      • Endpoints
      • Telephony switches and gateways
      • Server
      • Environment
    • Dealing with failure
      • Network resilience
      • Server
        • High availability
      • Telephony switches/gateways
        • Redfone foneBRIDGE2
        • Junghanns ISDNguard
        • Endpoints
      • Round robin DNS
      • Say hello to Rsync
        • Limiting the number of calls per server
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Localization and Practical Security
    • Tones
    • Time and date and localization
    • Changing the language of system prompts
    • Local telephony interfaces
      • Analog
      • Digital
    • Localizing caller ID signaling on Digium analog interfaces
    • Checklist
    • Practical security
      • Out of hours
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10: Integrating Asterisk with Wireless Technologies
    • Why integrate Asterisk with wireless technologies?
    • Wireless technology overview
      • Wi-Fi (only) phones
      • SIP desk phones with a wireless link
      • Dual-mode (GSM and SIP) phones and PDA/smart phones
      • SIP/DECT phones
    • Connecting Asterisk to mobile networks
      • Why connect to mobile networks?
      • The GSM gateway (box)
      • The GSM card
    • Configuring wireless devices
    • Configuring Asterisk to work with wireless technologies
    • Deployment choices
    • Neat money saving tricks
      • Calling a mobile phone
      • Avoiding those nasty roaming charges that arise from receiving calls
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11: Graphical User Interfaces
    • Reasons for going GUI
    • Good to GUI
      • Ease of administration
      • Access to enhanced features
      • Easier upgrade process
      • Standardized code
    • GUI, phooey!
      • Performance
      • Stability
      • Restricted functions
    • FreePBX
      • How it works
      • Installation
      • Configuration
        • Extensions
        • Inbound routes
        • Outbound routes
        • Trunks
        • Other records
    • Summary
  • Appendix A: Selling Your Solution
    • In the beginning ...
      • Drivers for changing phone systems
      • A word on cost
    • Generating interest
      • Alliances
      • Advertising
        • Search engines
        • Become an expert
      • Relationship marketing
        • Email as a marketing tool
    • Tracking prospects
    • Converting the prospect into a sale
      • Determining your customer's hardware requirements
        • Choosing the right phones
    • Remote support
      • Make it secure
    • Do's and don'ts
      • The do's
        • First impressions
        • Get brochures printed
        • Take notes
        • Send the quote in a timely manner
        • Follow up the quote
        • Target the decision makers, but don't ignore IT
      • The don'ts
        • You don't need a fancy office
        • Don't cut corners on the solution
        • Don't under price
        • Don't have a huge margin on handsets
        • Don't supply a PC as the phone server
    • Summary
  • Appendix B: Sample Email Content
    • What is VoIP?
    • Why should I consider VoIP?
      • Cost savings
        • Call costs
        • Line rental costs
        • Wiring costs
        • Reduced infrastructure costs
      • Centralized management
        • System integration
        • Unified messaging
      • Reliability
        • Closed and open systems
        • Superior sound
        • Fallback solutions
        • Broadcasting calls
        • A number for life
        • Number porting
        • Local numbers
    • About XYZ
      • Our philosophy
      • Our passion

Colman Carpenter

Colman Carpenter is the MD of Voicespan, a Kent-based company that offers Asterisk-based systems to the SME market across the UK. He is an IT professional of over 20 years standing, with experience in diverse areas such as IBM mid-range software development, Lotus Notes and Domino consultancy, Data Management, E-marketing consultancy, IT Management, Project Management, Wordpress Website Design, and lately, Asterisk consultancy. He is a qualified PRINCE2 practitioner.

Voicespan ( offers Asterisk-based systems as the cornerstone of a holistic VoIP-telephony service for SMEs. They offer companies a one-stop shop for implementing a VoIP-capable system, encompassing Asterisk-based systems, endpoints, trunks, telephony interfaces and network equipment, and the consultancy necessary to bring it all together into a coherent whole. This is his first book.

David Duffett

David Duffett delivers Asterisk training and consultancy around the world through his own company (TeleSpeak Limited,, in addition to designing and delivering training for a number of companies, including Digium, Inc.

A keen Asterisk enthusiast, David also enjoys podcasting, radio presenting, and teaching public-speaking skills. He is a Chartered Engineer with experience in fields including Air Traffic Control communications, Wireless Local Loop, Mobile Networks, VoIP, and Asterisk. David has been in the telecoms sector for nearly 20 years and has had a number of computer telephony, VoIP, and Asterisk articles published through various industry publications and web sites.

Ian Plain

Ian Plain has worked in the telecoms industry since 1981 and has designed some of the largest PBX networks in the UK. Since the late 1990s, he has been involved with VoIP initially for links between systems, and with IP PBX systems since 1999. Since 2003, he has been running a telecoms consultancy based near Bath in the UK, working primarily on high-availability Asterisk-based solutions for corporate customers.

Nik Middleton

Nik Middleton has been in wide-area communications since the mid-eighties. He spent most of the nineties working in the US, where he developed a shareware Microsoft mail to SMTP/POP3 connector that sold some 287,000 copies. He spent six years working for DuPont in VA, developing remote monitoring systems for their global Lycra business. In late 2000, he returned to the UK where he held various senior positions in British Telecom, LogicaCMG, and Computer Science Corp.

In 2005, tired of working in London, he set up his own company (Noble Solutions) providing VoIP solutions in rural Devon, where he now lives with his wife Georgina and three children, Mathew, Vicky, and Isabel. A keen amateur pilot, his favorite place when not in the office is flying over the beautiful Devon countryside.

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What you will learn from this book

  • Master advanced dial plans, call routing considerations, and speech technologies.
  • Learn all about AGI, AMI, ENUM, and DUNDi.
  • Discover how to build an enterprise-scale Asterisk-based solution for mission-critical applications.
  • Discover the DAHDI framework, and the way it replaces Zaptel.
  • Understand how to apply localization and customization techniques in different territories.
  • Learn how to interface Asterisk with analog and digital telephony systems, as well as wireless technologies.
  • Appreciate what you need to do as an Asterisk professional when assessing customer needs, Quality of Service, pitching for business, and customer support.
  • Understand best practices through example code and detailed commentary.

In Detail

Asterisk is the leading Open Source Telephony application and PBX software solution. It represents an effective, easy-to-administer, and accessible platform for running enterprise telephony requirements. The real world, however, offers numerous hurdles when running Asterisk in the commercial environment including call routing, resilience, or integrating Asterisk with other systems. This book will show you some of the ways to overcome these problems.

As the follow-up to Packt's highly successful 2005 title Building Telephony Systems with Asterisk, this book presents the collected wisdom of Asterisk Professionals in the commercial environment.

Aimed at Administrators and Asterisk Consultants who are comfortable with the basics of Asterisk operation and installation, this book covers numerous hands-on topics such as Call Routing, Network Considerations, Scalability, and Resilience – all the while providing practical solutions and suggestions. It also covers more business-related areas like Billing Solutions and a Winning Sales Technique. Even if your interest or experience with Asterisk is lower level, this book will provide a deeper understanding of how Asterisk operates in the real world.

Asterisk is deployed across countless enterprises globally. Running on Linux, it has constantly demonstrated its resilience, stability, and scalability and is now the advanced communication solution of choice to many organizations and consultants.

With a foreword from Mark Spencer, the man behind Asterisk, this book presents the accumulated wisdom of three leading Asterisk Consultants and shows the reader how to get the most out of Asterisk in the commercial environment. Over the course of eleven chapters, this book introduces the reader to topics as diverse as Advanced Dial Plans, Network Considerations, and Call Routing, through to Localization, DAHDI, Speech Technology, and Working with a GUI. The book also covers the more nebulous aspects of being an Asterisk professional such as evaluating customer requirements and pitching for contracts.

This book represents the wisdom and thoughts of front line consultants. The knowledge they impart will prove informative, thought provoking and be of lasting interest to Asterisk professionals.

Practical Wisdom, Advice and How-Tos from the Asterisk frontline.

This book has a foreword written by Mark Spencer, Chairman and CTO of Digium, the Asterisk company. Read the foreword in full here.


Employing a comprehensive handbook-style approach, this easy-to-follow book shows the reader various means of implementing the power of Asterisk in a commercial environment. In next to no time, the reader will gain a deeper understanding of many of the issues faced by Asterisk consultants and the solutions they believe work best.

Who this book is for

Primarily aimed at Asterisk Professionals, this book provides real-world insight for Asterisk Network Administrators and System Implementers in the commercial environment. This book is not for newcomers to Asterisk. Readers are expected to be experienced with installing and administering Asterisk systems.

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