I downloaded the Skype For Asterisk beta today from Digium. I think tomorrow (7/8/09) is the last day to sign up for the beta but the license you receive is valid until 31/8/09.
So far I’ve just been testing inbound calls, that is calls from a Skype user in to an Asterisk system
Please, give it a go yourself – my Skype user ID is *** and the call goes to an IVR
It was pretty easy to install the software, there are detailed instructions that come with it.
If you use FreePBX and put the Skype calls through to the correct context you can create inbound routes based on the Skype user ID and route the calls as you would normally.
Once the calls are fed into Asterisk they can be treated just as any other incoming call.
My test system routes the calls through to a FreePBX IVR with 4 options –
Press 1 for the Skype For Asterisk test conference
Press 2 for music on hold
Press 3 for echo test
Press 4 for the speaking clock
You need to make the dial pad visible in Skype so the you can select the options –
The first option is a conference room and the Skype for Asterisk beta license allows up to 10 concurrent calls so if you’ve got some friends on Skype please give it a go and let me know in the comments below how it works!
The Asterisk server is running on a VPS based in the UK so the quality may vary depending where you are calling from.
If you’re using FreePBX or one of the distributions that use it such as Trixbox, Elastix, PBX-in-a-Flash and are having a problem with IVRs being slow to respond it it is worth checking that you do not have “Enable Direct Dial” enabled for the IVR.
This option allows a customer to dial an extension number rather than an IVR menu option but this means that FreePBX has to wait to see if an extension number is being dialled, which can introduce a delay.
If you don’t need callers to be able to dial extensions from an IVR then you can turn this option off.
Please note that if using Asterisk 1.6 or later the pipe (|) symbols below need changing to commas (,)
There are several reasons you may want to integrate FreePBX and A2Billing. Whether you’re just using FreePBX to setup trunks for your a2billing calling card system or you use FreePBX and want to route the outbound calls via a2billing to do least cost routing.
There are 2 things you need to do to integrate the two. The first is to add the following to extensions_custom.conf
EDIT – these test numbers are no longer functional
As a quick demonstration of what you can achieve with Trixbox in a couple of hours I have put together a demonstration phone system.
Trixbox uses Asterisk and FreePBX to provide a richly featured phone system that you can do lots of interesting things with.
For the demonstration I created a phone system with DDI numbers in the London and New York. These phone numbers are provided by future-nine.com.
If you would like do give it a go you can call the system using the following regular telephone numbers –
The system comprises an automated voice menu with the following options –
Press 1 – for some music.
Press 2 – for a speaking clock that reads the time in the UK.
Press 3 – for an echo test. This will echo back everything you say to it, giving you an idea of the delay on the line.
Press 4 – to leave a voicemail. This will then be e-mailed to me as an e-mail attachment.
Press 5 – for some current news. This is produced by downloading the latest rss news feed from Yahoo and then converting it to speech using software from Cepstral. It’s certainly not perfect but gives an idea of what is possible. The audio is updated automatically every hour. The main IVR menu speech was also created using Cepstral.
The whole process from ordering the phone numbers from future-nine, to having a functioning phone system, took only a couple of hours and the only part that is not possible to perform via the web gui was downloading and converting the news feed.
As FreePBX forms the basis of most of the Asterisk distributions is just as easy to do the same with Trixbox, Elastix or PBX in a Flash.
Please give it a go and add a comment below to let me know how you get on.
If you’d like more information about virtual PBXs from Sysadminman then click here
Setting up an IVR (or auto attendant, digital receptionist) is great idea for small businesses. You can have a single external number for your customers to call but then direct the call to the right department via a simple menu.
First we need some extensions to put the calls through to, then we need to record the menu the caller will hear and finally setup the actual IVR.
Configuring the extensions
Follow the instructions in part 2 to create the extensions that you need. I have created extensions for Sales, Support and Billing