Archive for August, 2015

Goodbye *

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Ten years ago, with some encouragement from my friend and classmate Mark Vince, I looked into the open source asterisk project for VOIP telephony.  When we moved our office back into our house, there was only a single CAT-5 cable to use for telephone and internet.  If I had used three wire pairs for the two desk phones and the fax machine, I would have been left with only a 10BASE-T connection to other servers and the internet.

So instead, I decided to deploy asterisk as a phone system, including facsimile as I described earlier.  The system included an excess PC running linux, an ISA board supporting  four analog POTS lines, and some programming I wrote in asterisk’s scripting language to ring extensions and record voice mail.

Along the way I learned some things that you don’t actually need to know, including setting up a ring tone so my phone sounded like CTU in the 24 TV show.  I eventually hooked up our home phone into the system, and used an ATA [Analog Telephone Adapter] to ring DECT wireless handsets around the house.  One of the best features was voicemail to email, and I cherish the collection of messages left by Mom over the years she lived nearby at Sunrise Assisted Living.

Bue I also had the PC fail after a few years and had to scurry to replace it and rebuild the system (thanks to backup files). Fearing the inevitable hardware failure (even though the second system had uptime of nearly 1000 days, and that only due to an extended power outage), it was time to migrate.  I selected the Nextiva VOIP service in the cloud, choosing them mostly because they would support my ancient Polycom Soundpoint IP 501 handsets.  The migration went well, and I gained a dedicated conference bridge.

Finally, today I installed a new Panasonic DECT answering system and shutdown asterisk.  Next stop, eBay.