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The J.E.B. Solutions Phone System

On this page we will detail the configuration of the J.E.B. Solutions Asterisk Phone system.

Graphical Overview of the Asterisk Configuration

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's the layout of our phone system.

Detailed Asterisk PBX Server Hardware Configuration

The J.E.B. Solutions Inc. office Asterisk PBX server runs on a generic PC with standard off the shelf components. The only thing fancy on the inside of the PC are the two Digium cards telephony cards.

If you don't want to hear about the nuts and bolts of all the parts we bought to get the system running then skip this section and jump right to the finished product

System Component Description/Commentary
Asus A7V8X-X Motherboard Asus A7V8X-X motherboardWe've used this motherboard a lot. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it is been a very reliable motherboard for us.
AMD Socket A 2600+ CPU AMD Athlon 2600+We don't really need a lot of CPU power for the phone system. The 2600+ is plenty. AMD chips are currently faster for less money than Intel chips. We are also using the Stock AMD CPU fan.
512 Megs DDR400 RAM Ram is cheap. There's no point buying less than 512 megs these days.
Antec 1088 AMG Full Tower Case with Antec True Power 480 Watt power Supply
Antec 1080 AMG Case
This is a nice case that is easy to work with. Gabor put the system together and he had the following commentary:

The 1088 is similar to the older 1080 case. However, wherever there was a change it is a definite improvement.

  • The outside of the case is fastened with big, easy to use, tool-less screws. You don't have to search for a screwdriver to remove the side panel from the case. This is a nice convenient factor when you are working on a machine.
  • The top front of the case no longer has a protruding lip. While this made it easier to carry the case, it made it a pain to get at any CDROM mounted at the top of the case.
Of course, like the 1080 the first thing we did was permanently remove the hinged door blocking the CDROM drive.
Linksys Integrated 2-Port KVM

Shared Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor

Configuration for the Asterisk phone system can be done entirely using the web configuration screens. For this reason it was decided to place the phone system near an existing computer and share the keyboard/video/mouse with it. This saves desk space, electricity, and sanity.

Everything on the Asterisk PBX system can be configured remotely through SSH or the nice friendly web interface. The KVM is just there as a security blanket.

40 Gig Maxtor IDE Hard Drive
Maxtor IDE Hard Drive
You have to be careful these days to be sure you get a drive with a three year warranty. Many hard drive vendors have reduced their warrantee period to only one year on many models!

We avoid Western Digital hard drives. Unfortunately, they seem to think that there should be a difference between "master" drive setting and "master" drive with a slave present. This doesn't sound like a big deal. Unless you are the one who has to mess around in a case and take out a properly configured drive and add a jumper, and then wire it all back up again when you add another drive to a system. It's very inconvenient and you aren't likely to forget the process and that other manufacturers don't force you to do this (unnecessary) step.

A basic Asterisk installation fits in less than three gigs. Forty gigs leave us with plenty of room to grow.

PowerColor Radeon 9200SE Video Card This is an inexpensive low end video card. Our phone system won't be running a graphical user interface -- all the configuration will be done over the web interface.

In reality we bought a slightly better card and then switched the better card for the 9200SE from another workstations. The workstation now performs better in 3 Dimensional productivity tools (Doom 3 and World of Warcraft) so support staff moral has also improved. :)

Panasonic Floppy Drive Is it just my imagination or is the price of a floppy drive three times what it was a few years ago? If it wasn't for my nagging doubt that I might one day need a floppy drive I'd have skipped this part.
APC 1000VA UPS APC 1000VA UPS An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) will pay for itself many times over in added computer reliability. Want fewer crashes, and less chance of bad power killing your precious computer hardware?

I have installed many UPS units for myself, friends, family, and clients across Ontario. It's a fact that no matter how good you think the power is in your area your UPS will probably kick in at least once a week.

With stats like these the question becomes not whether you need a UPS, but how good a UPS do you need?

The APC 1000VA unit is cheap. If the power goes out this baby will run a 17" CRT, the Asterisk phone system, the router, and VOIP adapters for over 20 minutes. It also prevents against over and under voltage conditions.

Samsung DVD-RW drive I've tried Samsung products before. But I haven't tried any of their DVD burners before. I wanted a burner so I could use it for backups. I really should have gotten a regular DVD reader as well.
Two Digium TDM22B Analog Telephone cards Each card is really a Digium TDM400P. Each TDM400P can hold four plug-in modules. Each module can handle either an incoming line (FXS) or a phone extension (FXO). A TDM22B is a TDM400P preloaded with 2 FXS and 2 FXO modules.

Why configure it like this? This gives me two identically configured cards. If one card dies I can still run two lines and two handsets on the remaining card.

Pictures of the Finished Asterisk PBX Server

J.E.B. Solutions Inc. - Asterisk Server, outside view J.E.B. Solutions Inc. - Asterisk Server, Inside View It took longer to set this system up than usual.

Mostly due to shuffling parts between existing systems. But it was worth it. Here's the fully constructed Asterisk small office Phone System.

Immediately after seeing the phone system Jonah asked me why the heck I didn't buy a smaller case or a rack mounted solution. That's a good question. The main reason was we have two almost identical systems. If there's ever a problem I could swipe parts out of any of the other two machines to get the phone system back up and running.

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