Advice on Asterisk Conference

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We’re looking into using Asterisk to do our conferencing. Currently we do all our conferencing using Cisco, we have a router with PVDM modules so we can offload the hardware resources.

I’m looking for some best practices on how to set it up.

1. DO I need a separate server for the conference server?
2. Do I need to offload the actual conference to a router with PVDM modules.
3. Does anyone have experience with transitioning from Cisco conferencing to Asterisk?
4. How many participants can participate in a conference?

Thanks,

Mitch

3 thoughts on - Advice on Asterisk Conference

  • Hi Mitch,

    Firstly, I am not a conferencing guru; I just hope this helps.

    This depends on a few factors:
    (a) You won’t be able to run MySQL alongside Asterisk with conferencing
    and get good results. If you plan to use a single Asterisk server to do
    conferencing and other voice functions (for example voicemail) then I
    wouldn’t expect any major issues. It depends on the usage of each voice
    function of the system.

    (b) How many conference participants will you have and will they all be
    bi-directional audio or will it be more oriented towards having a single
    person addressing multiple channels which are only listening?

    (c) Are you planning on connecting SIP endpoints directly to Asterisk
    and perhaps passing some of the callers through other trunks (SIP or ISDN)?

    Got no idea, sorry. Haven’t worked with Cisco voice equipment personally.

    A couple of my clients have wanted integration with other systems
    (Nortel / Avaya) and you will be best using the cheapest option of ISDN
    cross-over cabling (if you already have spare T1/E1 ports) or SIP
    trunks. The Cisco (or Asterisk server) can be programmed in such a way
    that the conference participants (or voicemail users etc) don’t know
    which system they are interacting with.

    Depending on 1b and your processor specification, you can host quite
    large conferences with only “marked users” speaking and many end points
    listening. You would likely have to get a testing budget and figure it
    out for your own system if no one else can provide you more detailed
    information.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind Regards
    Stuart

  • I don’t think there was enough information in the OP’s post to support the
    statement that running MySQL and Asterisk on the same box will not yield
    good results.

    I prefer to run them on separate boxes. Database servers and ‘telco’
    servers have different resource requirements and seem to need different
    administration styles but they are not fundamentally incompatible.

    Aside from the OP asking ‘how many participants’ (which leads me to assume
    he wants ‘a lot’) we have no clue to his requirements.

    If the OP wants ‘lots of participants’ and is doing ‘a lot’ of database
    activity then separate servers are justified.

    Otherwise, a dozen or so participants and the database on the same box
    would not concern me from a ‘can do’ perspective. I’d still vote for
    separate boxes if the budget can support it.

    Hey OP, better details yield better suggestions 🙂

  • One of the amusing things about Oracle’s XE ‘free’ database was that it was limited to a single core and 1Gb RAM.
    This made it perfect to run on the same box as asterisk. On a 4 core 4Gb machine you were pretty much certain that
    Asterisk was going to get 3 Cores and enough memory to itself, irrespective of what the DB users did 🙂

    Tim.

    Tim Panton – Web/VoIP consultant and implementor
    http://www.westhawk.co.uk