Top reasons why VoIP calls drop

VoIP based phone systems bring many benefits, but they also bring some problems. Not least is the annoying tendency for some calls to drop mid-way through your conversation for no obvious reason. In this article I will identify the most common reasons why a VoIP call might suddenly drop mid-way through an established call and explain … Read more…

Pika µFirewall SIP firewall review

A new way to secure your IP-PBX Recently introduced by the well-established Canadian telecoms manufacturer Pika Technologies, the Pika µFirewall offers a novel way to make your Asterisk (or any other SIP-based PBX) more secure. The best way to describe it is as a “SIP Firewall”, but unlike conventional network firewalls, installation is very simple … Read more…

OpenSIPS vs Asterisk

OpenSIPS and Asterisk are both open source projects and both are used for Voice over IP. However, they perform quite different roles, have different capabilities and different strengths and weaknesses. This article reviews how they are so different and considers what role each product can play in the infrastructure of an Internet Telephony Service Provider … Read more…

Setting up shared voicemail on Asterisk – part 2

Part 1 laid the foundations for creating and accessing a shared voicemail box. In this, part 2, I explain how the lamp on the BLF key is switched on and off to show there are messages waiting in the shared box. Note that this is separate from any existing MWI lamp used for personal voicemail. … Read more…

Setting up shared voicemail on Asterisk – part 1

It’s a requirement that people often seem to ask for – a single voicemail box, taking messages for a department, that can be easily monitored and accessed by several different users. A typical application would be to record out-of-hours messages which are then checked in the morning by any of a number of users, perhaps just depending who … Read more…

Using Custom Device States to control BLF lamps

Do you want to know how to use a custom device state to control the lamp on a programmable key of an IP phone? In this article I explain how to set up the hints and make any number of IP phones subscribe to a custom device state and how to switch the custom status from within the Asterisk dial plan. … Read more…

When friendly-scanner gets aggressive

Not so friendly after all In my October 2010 articles about Asterisk IP-PBX security (linked here), I described how port scanning probes from the so-called “friendly-scanner” could be seen several times a day on a typical SIP server exposed to the Internet. Since then, I – or at least one of my clients – had the displeasure … Read more…

How secure is your Asterisk PBX? – part 3

Getting more advanced In part 2, we looked at several ways in which an Asterisk system administrator can help to make their system more secure, with special emphasis on avoidance of toll fraud. In this, the third and final article in the series, I will pick up on a topic that was left unfinished at the … Read more…

How secure is your Asterisk PBX? – part 2

Protecting your Asterisk server In part 1, we examined the techniques that are used to probe for vulnerabilities in a SIP server and reviewed the types of exploitation a would-be hacker hopes to use. In this second part, I look at the ways you can protect your Asterisk or other SIP server and guard against weaknesses that could … Read more…

How secure is your Asterisk PBX? – part 1

A growing problem Like a slice of Victoria sponge cake on a summers day attracts wasps, so new technologies seem to attract the attention of cyber-criminals. The more widely used the technology, the greater the interest. It was inevitable, and widely predicted, that VoIP would become a favorite target for hackers as its popularity and uptake increased … Read more…