The Future of Telephony

Jim Van Meggelen, Jared Smith, Leif Madsen

Publisher: O'Reilly, 2005, 382 pages

ISBN: 0-596-00962-3

Keywords: Programming, Networks

Last modified: April 6, 2021, 8:15 a.m.

Discover the open source application that has traditional telephony providers running scared! Asterisk: The Future of Telephony shows you how to put Asterisk®, the open source PBX, to work for you. You'll save money on equipment and support, and you'll finally be in control of your telephone system.

If you've worked with telephony in the past, you're familiar with the problem: expensive and inflexible systems that are tuned to the vendor's needs, not yours. Asterisk isn't just a candle in the darkness; it's a whole fireworks show.

Asterisk allows you to implement flexible dialplans that support just about any telephony application you want; you can configure it to use traditional analog phones and trunks, in addition to VoIP phones from any vendor and VoIP services from any standards-compliant VoIP service provider. Asterisk supports just about every important network protocol used in the telephony world (and a few of its own, too).

Because it is so powerful, configuring Asterisk can seem tricky and difficult. This book will walk you through the process of configuring your first Asterisk system. Along the way, you'll learn how to:

  • Prepare a system for Asterisk, and install it
  • Configure Asterisk to use analog phones and trunks
  • Configure Asterisk to use the SIP and IAX VoIP protocols
  • Write dialplans, from the simple to the complex
  • Set up applications, from find-me-follow-me to Music on Hold
  • Set up features such as speech synthesis and voice recognition
  • Script Asterisk, using the Asterisk Gateway Interface (AGI)
  • Manage Asterisk installations
  • Use DUNDi to create a dynamic, redundant, distributed VoIP network

Asterisk is revolutionizing the telecom industry, due in large part to the way it gets along with other network applications. While other BPXs are fighting their inevitable absorption into the network, Asterisk embraces it. If you need to take control of your telephony systems - especially if you're considering a move to VoIP - it's time to embrace the future. Move to Asterisk, and see what the future of telecommunications looks like.

  1. A Telephony Revolution
    • VoIP: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Telephony and Network Telephony
    • Massive Change Requires Flexible Technology
    • Asterisk: The Hacker's PBX
    • Asterisk: The Professional's PBX
    • The Asterisk Community
    • The Business Case
    • This Book
  2. Preparing a System for Asterisk
    • Server Hardware Selection
    • Environment
    • Telephony Hardware
    • Types of Phone
    • Linux Considerations
    • Conclusion
  3. Installing Asterisk
    • What Packages Do I Need?
    • Obtaining the Source Code
    • Compiling Zaptel
    • Compiling libpri
    • Compiling Asterisk
    • Installing Additional Prompts
    • Updating Your Source Code
    • Common Compiling Issues
    • Loading Zaptel Modules
    • Loading libpri
    • Loading Asterisk
    • Directories Used by Asterisk
    • Conclusion
  4. Initial Configuration of Asterisk
    • What Do I Really Need?
    • Working with Interface Configuration Files
    • FXO and FXS Channels
    • Configuring an FXO Channel
    • Configuring an FXS Channel
    • Configuring SIP
    • Configuring Inbound IAX Connections
    • Configuring Outbound IAX Connections
    • Debugging
    • Conclusion
  5. Dialplan Basics
    • Dialplan Syntax
    • A Simple Dialplan
    • Adding Logic to the Dialplan
    • Conclusion
  6. More Dialplan Concepts
    • Expressions and Variable Manipulation
    • Dialplan Functions
    • Conditional Branching
    • Voicemail
    • Macros
    • Using the Asterisk Database (AstDB)
    • Handy Asterisk Features
    • Conclusion
  7. Understanding Telephony
    • Analog Telephony
    • Digital Telephony
    • The Digital Circuit-Switched Telephone Network
    • Packet-Switched Networks
    • Conclusion
  8. Protocols for VoIP
    • The Need for VoIP Protocols
    • VoIP Protocols
    • Codecs
    • Quality of Service
    • Echo
    • Asterisk and VoIP
    • Conclusion
  9. The Asterisk Gateway Interface (AGI)
    • Fundamentals of AGI Communication
    • Writing AGI Scripts in Perl
    • Creating AGI Scripts in PHP
    • Writing AGI Scripts in Python
    • Debugging in AGI
    • Conclusion
  10. Asterisk for the Über-Geek
    • Festival
    • Call Detail Recording
    • Customizing System Prompts
    • Manager
    • Call Files
    • DUNDi
    • Conclusion
  11. Asterisk: The Future of Telephony
    • The Problems with Traditional Telephony
    • Paradigm Shift
    • The Promise of Open Source Telephony
    • The Future of Asterisk
  1. VoIP Channels
  2. Application Reference
  3. AGI Reference
  4. Configuration Files
  5. Asterisk Command-Line Interface Reference



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: Aug. 15, 2009, 12:44 a.m.

As an introduction to the world of PBXes and Asterisk in particular, it is interesting, but assumes a bit much PBX knowledge or understanding of terms.

On the other hand, it is one of few readable books on PBX handling, and the only book that exists on Asterisk!

I am a bit disappointed, but it could have been worse, so I assume it is at least OK.


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