Categories: Software, Asterisk Front ends, FreeSWITCH Front ends, Front ends, Soft phones
Ask your self the following question: Do I have documented my dial plan? Do I know which contexts are in use and which contexts which are included where?
Do you have a document describing your dial plan? Probably not. Most of the people managing Asterisk by hand never care to document the structure of their dial plan - after all - It's a text file - documenting a text file is stupid work!
If your dial plan becomes quite extensive after a while - or if you become in charge of an previous Asterisk installation - you really wish for some documentation of the structure of the dial plan.
Even with just a few contexts it can become a daunting task to change an existing dial plan. Even if you do not need to really amend your dial plan - just having a graph of how your dial plan is organized is really a good thing to have in your PBX documentation.
There is a tool that will help you getting the big picture of your dial plan: JUNG (Java Universal Network/Graph Framework). The tool will not work with the Asterisk dial plan "out of the box", but Martin Smith of the Asterisk-Java blog have done all the hard work.
Even if the tool that Martin Smith created in May 2008 is "old news", his solution is so simple that it borders to ingenuity - it's worth repeating for new and old Asterisk manager alike.
Read his full article and feed your dial plan into his tool at Visualizing your dialplan with a graph
I have never really bothered to dig into YATE. I have seen this project as a small niche product in the Open Source Telephony sphere. That said, YATE have quite a few nice features.
With the release of Freesentral I finally have a excellent reason for taking a look into YATE.
Even better, if you need a simple way to set up an IP based PBX I can really recommend the Freesentral GUI. The GUI is clear and simple - really uncluttered compared to other front ends.
Even if the project seems to be very young, the GUI is rock solid.
In my opinion, the only thing missing is a ready-to-play distribution.
If you are tired of FreePBX and it's cousins - and if you need something simple and easy to us, you should really check out Freesentral.
Back in August 2009 I did a guest appearance on the VoIP Users Conference speaking about VoIP clients for mobile telephones. I briefly touched on to a few offerings for the iPhone and iPod Touch (a.k.a. i-Devices). This inspired Randy a.k.a @voipusers to do a review of a few of the available offerings on i-Devices.
His article, along with my Fianceè buying herself an iPhone, prompted me to take a closer look at a few of the offerings available.
I have given SIP clients on the iPhone and iPod Touch a generic name: iVoIP Client(s). Likewise, an iDevice is a generic term for both the iPod Touch and the iPhone.
The following clients have been tested:
- iPico from MailVision Ltd
- iSIP from VNET Corporation
- WeePhone from Justin Bray
- Acrobits Softphone from Acrobits
- Media5-fone from Media5 Corporation
For completeness I have also taken a quick look at the SIP function in both Fring and Nimbuzz, two free (as in beer) offerings available for the iDevices.
After the initial feedback on lack of Asterisk support for FreePBX, the dust have now settled.
But let's take a step back in time - approximately 15 months. Back then, the Trixbox people decided to spawn off their own version of FreePBX. I then stated that I really hoped that the FreePBX developers would not loose faith over this decision.
Fast forward to the last days announcements regarding version 3.0 of FreePBX.
Granted - it does not yet have Asterisk support, but keep in mind that this is a developer release, this means the support will eventually be there. As I will show in this article, is really does not matter if there is no Asterisk support yet.
According to Todd Barr, FreePBX version 3 will not support Asterisk when released. The support will be added "at a later stage".
On the good side, FreePBX now support FreeSWITCH.
In sum this really is good news for the FreeSWITCH crowd - finally they are getting a GUI that is well known in the Open Source VoIP community.
I have not yet tried FreePBX on top of FreeSWITCH - but if it does indeed deliver what it has done so far on Asterisk, FreeSWITCH will be a easier beast to configure.
Currently FreeSWITCH is quite messy to configure if you come from an Asterisk background. Even if you do not come from an Asterisk background, configuring FreeSWITCH for the first time is a daunting task.
Even if I have not yet seen version 3 I am a bit reluctant to jump up in joy and happiness. In my experience, when software becomes agnostic, it loose edge. In reality we are now going to have a GUI with the common lowest denominator, instead of having a GUI that is tailored 110% for a given architecture.
For contenders to FreePBX, this is possible the best news this year - these contenders now get the chance to really excel in this market.
I really hope there are any takers our there - both commercial and Open Source.