There are so many Asterisk appliances around these days. Even so, some of us have DIY tendencies. I still stand by my recycled T5700 thin client as a host platform, but I accept that I couldn’t sell that to a corporate or even SMB user looking for an Asterisk solution. Then this morning I read about Koolu and specifically their W.E. Appliance. This looks like a great little host for Asterisk!
The appliance specs out as follows:
- Processor (AMD Geode(TM) LX 800)
- 512 MB of PC 3200 RAM
- 80 GB Hard Disk (optional)
- VGA port with up to 1920 x 1440 display resolution
- 4 USB ports with printer, keyboard, mouse, and storage support
- Full 16-bit audio with stereo; Microphone-in, and Audio-out/Headphone
- Case (H x W x D: 1.4″ (35 mm) x 5.5″ (140 mm) x 5.1″ (130 mm))
- Power Supply
- Typically uses less than 10 watts, but this may vary according to options installed.
- Price = $299 (with hard drive)
It comes in versions with and without a hard drive. The drive is supported by an internal IDE connector. It could easily be used to boot Astlinux from a memory card or 2.5″ HD.
It doesn’t have PCI expansion capability so no TDM cards. I don’t need these, and I expect that many people could get by without them or use external gateway devices. There are enough USB 2.0 ports to support the use of a Xorcom device. The on-board audio capability could be very useful in an Asterisk host.
From a price perspective it certainly compares favorably with the all-VOIP Asterisk appliances. It’s a bit little more than an ALIX board, but more polished in its appearance. Although, with multiple LAN ports the ALIX board is a better candidate for use as a router.
To be clear, I think that this is a neat box that can easily be co-oped into Asterisk applications. The Pika, VDEX-40 or Digium appliances (amongst others) are built to a task and may have considerable advantages.
That said, the lesser of those should be looking over-their-shoulder for things such as Koolu that could eat their lunch in the low-end.