Any good guides for installing Asterisk on Embedded systems like Alix boards?

Home » Asterisk Users » Any good guides for installing Asterisk on Embedded systems like Alix boards?
Asterisk Users 12 Comments

Hi Everyone,

Knowing that running Asterisk on an embedded board like the Alix2d3 requires
some fine tuning. Do you know of any good guides out there that does this
from beginning to end? Looking to run this in a small office environment.


12 thoughts on - Any good guides for installing Asterisk on Embedded systems like Alix boards?

  • John,
    AstLinux seems promising. Have you used this flavor in
    production environment?

    So, don’t use the Yum repositoy?!

    And, are you sure that is the only thing needs to be done. I am thinking
    there is more tweaking need to be done. I am not looking to just install
    Asterisk but it should be production ready as well. Meaning solid, reliable


    On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Paul Belanger | IRC: pabelanger (Freenode) |

  • Usually not. If you don’t want to get your hand dirty managing the OS
    layer, try Askozia[1]. Most embedded solutions will use a modified
    Busybox installation, allowing for lightweight binaries. Most desktop
    distros are just too bloated for an embedded solution.


  • There is a network of telephone switch collectors, worldwide that uses
    Asterisk to interface the network with their switches, as well as
    members who have an interest in these old switches but don’t yet have
    one working.
    I have personally set up about 20 nodes with AstLinux on HP thin
    clients, 55xx and 57xx, mainly in the US. At least one has a single port
    T1card, the TE110, others use SIP phones and SIP ATA’s, others use Cisco
    3810’s with a SIP IOS. Several are running on old 55XX versions with
    only 128 Meg of Ram They all simply work. One I monitor closely has been
    up around 180 days now. Configure modules.conf to noload stuff you don’t
    AstLinux has a nice web interface for ease of configuration.
    The older HP thin clients USED to be available on eBay at bargain
    prices, though lately the MagicJack crowd seems to have run up the price
    a bit
    As long as you don’t want to do any thing fancy, AstLinux will do nicely

    John Novack

    Bruce B wrote:

  • Thanks for the input. I am looking to use it as a DHCP server as well. And I
    also I want it as a VPN server so that I can securely log in to it from time
    to time to monitor it’s state.

    The Alix board with pfSense can nicely do VPN and DHCP (no Asterisk).
    Wondering if those two service would play nice along with Asterisk.


  • Thanks. I think I would still need a firewall. Maybe a 1u rack
    double enclosure for two Alix boards – one as firewall – and one as PBX
    would do better.

    Anyhow, I don’t want to open the box if I don’t have to. Is there any way I
    can push the .gz file over console cable rather than putting the CF in a


    On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 1:06 PM, Darrick Hartman (lists) <

    href=””>> wrote:

  • Bruce B wrote:
    DO you mean once you have built the system?
    AstLinux has an upgrade facility built into the system, with the ability
    to revert to the previous version, all built into the web interface.
    To initially build the system, it seems to me you would need to put the
    first OS on the CF card to get the board alive.

    And if you have an Alix with 2 Ethernet ports, why a second one as a
    firewall? AstLinux has a built in firewall
    You did say a SMALL office, didn’t you?

    John Novack

  • Yes, it is a small office. I am familiar with pfSense. I am not sure if
    firewall on Astlinux is as versatile and flexible. But also, I am wondering
    if with all those attacks around now-a-days if the box will be able to
    handle 5 extensions, voicemail, IVR, firewall, DHCP, openvpn all together.


    On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:24 PM, John Novack

    href=””>> wrote:

  • I’ve benchmarked an Alix board with a 500MHz processor to 80 concurrent
    calls handling media.

    They’re the mainstay of my small office VoIp only PBX range right now
    where I limit them to 60 extensions. (the real limitation on number of
    calls is their broadband bandwidth). Storing voicemail and call recording
    won’t be an issue for you – but do get a fast CF card.

    What you need to do is learn Linux networking and iptables – then you
    won’t need pfsense, etc. Install a good text-only distribution and you’re
    done. e.g. Debian Lenny in text-only mode. To get he best from the
    hardware then you’ll need a custom kernel, but that’s no big deal.

    However the thing that will kill it is multiple VPN terminations – unless
    you can persuade the system to use the on-board AES crypto engine, but I
    regularly use ssh into my systems without any detriment, so you could use
    OpenVPN, etc.

    I am considering making my boxes into a router and handle PPPoE too, then
    they can do proper traffic shaping, etc. They’re more than capable.


  • Thanks for input. Great info. Good to know all this about the router. I see
    you use a 256MB CF card there. Do you use a USB key stick for storage?


    On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 4:09 AM, Gordon Henderson

  • No. Things that stick out of boxes in small offices get broken off. (ie.
    the type of places that do not have a server room) Everything is stored on
    the 256MB CF card – which is overkill, I only need 64MB for the OS, etc.,
    but it provides plenty of space for voicemail and additional sound
    prompts. I provide a 2GB card for people who want to store call

    I actually have my own cut-down version of Linux and a full-custom
    compiled kernel that I use in these things, but you’ll get a standard
    Debian in there if you go for a text-only install, but a 2GB CF cards
    isn’t a big hassle.

    I don’t think it will boot off USB though (but I’ve never tried) – there
    is a 44-pin header behind the CF socket, so maybe you can plug a suitable
    CD-ROM drive in that. When building, I boot them via PXE then use my
    booted image to write a copy of itself to the flash.

    The “bios” is very primitive and of-course there’s no video hardware

    They run at 5 watts which is nice too.