New Asterisk Build

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Hello Asterisk,

Back in 2009 I built a small Intel Atom based computer running
CentOS 5 for my asterisk system. 5 phones, 2 people 1 POTs
line and six or so SIP numbers. So basically no load. I’m
feeling like it’s time to build another machine. It’s probably
silly, but it’s been six years and I can’t upgrade the OS
which is falling behind. I’d likely just put it on a Raspberry
Pi or something like that, but I need the one POTS line and
all I have for that at the moment is a Digium card for a PCI

Are there any current thoughts on this?

— Ira

8 thoughts on - New Asterisk Build

  • Find a HPT5720 with expansion chassis on eBay for under $50, load AstLinux ( instructions at ) Move your Digium card and your confs , fix up any differences from your older version of Asterisk to the fairly current version 11 currently available with AstLinux. Use the GUI to edit and mage the system, as AstLinux has a somewhat different directory structure than you may be familiar with You should be up and running in a couple of hours, have a low power < 20 watts, fanless flash based system that will just work in a real case. The Pi is OK for a playtoy and some testing, but I much prefer the HP thin clients for a robust installation. I assume you are not doing any fancy call center or heavy database work. For a home or home office it is a really good solution. AstLinux is also used with other embedded installations on computers with multiple Ethernet ports, acting as router and firewall in addition. I prefer the component solution personally, which makes the HP thin clients the way to go. John Novack I have built more than 30 of these systems on various HP Thin Clients, used off of eBay with no failures Ira wrote:

  • If you are really wanting to build something on Raspberry Pi or similar ARM
    platform, you could also take a look at Elastix for ARM. Elastix is a fully integrated platform, and includes the majority of necessary components in one installation.

    The new Raspberry Pi 2 platform may be perfect for your needs in this respect, although based on your load, the B+ board may be more available at this time, and slightly cheaper.

    The Pi 2 is about double the core processing speed.



    *Glenn Geller*


  • Hello John,

    Friday, March 6, 2015, 12:34:42 PM, you wrote:

    But given that means buying an old computer, why change at all?
    I already have a very low power one that works fine. Is AstLinux better than CentOS 5 running Asterisk 13?

    — Ira

  • Ira wrote:
    Depends on how you define “better”

    Since you haven’t revealed what you are currently using, really hard to say, but running a box without a spinning hard drive and fans to die, certainly is “better”
    An OS that fits in < 1Gig might very well be "better than a bloated CentOS 5, 6 or what have you If what you have works for you, then why even ask? If it works, leave it alone. You will certainly find 1000 opinions on the list, if any decide to take the bait JN

  • Iran

    For the kind of loads and low cost you are talking with 2 FXO, 2FXS and SIP the Grandstream UMC6102 is low power feature rich and easy to maintain. Check it out – tions/ucm61xx If you do choose to use the UMC61xx the grandstream phones auto-provision with it well, but it works with any complaint SIP phone.

    If you do want to go with an asterisk home brew. You could use a Grandstream GXW4104 (4 FXO) for your POTS line. It is a FXO gateway that would register as a SIP endpoint. (You could look at the HT503 which has one FXO port, but I find them to be less reliable then the GXW4104). The nice thing about using gateways is there are no drivers to load on your asterisk build as the gateway is just a SIP endpoint.

    I have built asterisk test systems on raspberry pi Rev B and have not been happy with their performance even in light loads. The new version 2 B looks like it might be better, In ether case the Gateways would be a good way to go to connect your lines. Watch your SD card speeds slow cards really gave me a lot of issues. Especially when you had someone leaving a voicemail and someone else was trying to listing to an IVR prompt, multiple users reading and writing at the same time just really have not worked well. We hooked up a SSD via USB and put our prompts and voicemail on it and it was a bit better still limited to USB2 speeds, but that increased the cost.

    The UMC6102 is the best value as buy the time you purchase a gateway, system and spend time loading it is hard to beat the price point and you can get support on it from Grandstream or a reseller.

    (To be open I am a Grandstream reseller, I am offering these recommending as they are good options. There are several other low cost asterisk like PBX’s out there as well, Allo and several others, but I know the GS options work)

    Good Luck and I hope this info helps.


    Bryant Zimmerman (Grand Dial Communications, a ZK Tech Inc.)

    P.S. Glen’s post also offers some good points as well.

  • John

    I will have to get one of these and give this a try. Thanks for sharing.


    Bryant Zimmerman (Grand Dial Communications, a ZK Tech Inc.)
    616-855-1030 Ext. 2003


  • Very few ARM boards have anything close to PCI.

    Some of them:

    * nitrogen6x – A good board, well supported[1] but on the expensive
    range (~250$ (?)). Has a PCI-express slot.
    * Mira-box – has an internal mini-PCI slot. Not sure if it’s good for
    you. Cheaper than the above, but still 150$ or so.

    If you look for a low-power ARM board, would you consider giving up the requirement of a PCI slot?

    Also note that many ARM boards don’t have SATA. If you want to write to SD or to USB, please test performance of writing to see that Asterisk works well with it. Though quite a few (even of the cheaper ones) have SATA.

    [1] Raspbian uses those boards for their build servers.