D.I.Y. Asterisk Appliances: A Question Of Scale

Selecting hardware appropriate for a particular Asterisk installation has been a topic of discussion ever since the emergence of Asterisk. This typically centers around choosing hardware to handle n users or x concurrent calls. Often the focus is on how to scale up to the greatest number of users for a given server. However, there can be different but related considerations as we consider ever smaller applications.

In various circles I’ve lately witnessed a minor spike in interest in small form factor Asterisk systems. I have found it curious to survey the various hardware platforms that people are considering when creating their own DIY Asterisk Appliances. To establish some perspective on this I recently posted my own history of using Asterisk my own little Asterisk retrospective.

There are quite a range of small computing platforms available to the enthusiast seeking to tinker with Asterisk. It seemed to me that an overview of such hardware and related resources would be helpful.


For my purposes I’ll only consider generic platforms suitable for a DIY project , not the commercially offered embedded Asterisk devices, of which there are many. These small host platforms tend to be in the $50-$300 range which makes them approachable for hobbyists, home users and some small businesses.

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FLOSS Weekly #126 Features Askozia PBX

It’s always great when a FOSS project starts to get broad recognition. Earlier this week Michael Iedema of AskoziaPBX was the featured guest on FLOSS Weekly with Randal Schwartz and Aaron Newcomb.

AskoziaPBX is one of the most interesting embedded Asterisk distributions. I’ve followed it from its earliest days, having tried it myself on various small hardware platforms.

I believe that Randall got wind of AskoziaPBX when Michael appeared on a recent VUC call. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project. The attention is well deserved.

AskoziaPBX v2.0 Released

You just know that I’m a sucker for embedded Asterisk distributions. It’s true. Combine this with my long time use of m0n0wall and pfsense and you’ll see that I can help but be drawn to AskoziaPBX.

AskoziaPBX combines the web user interface framework from Manuel Kasper’s m0n0wall with Asterisk, in a package that’s intended for use on small format hardware.

By “small form factor” I mean genuine appliances! Not some big hulking server all dressed up in pretty metalwork and just calling itself an appliance, like a WWE refugee in a skirt!

How about a diskless, fanless, low-power consumption, low heat output, box small enough to literally get lost in your desk drawer? Yep, just plug-me-in-take-a-breath-and-I’m-ready-for-ya voipy goodness.

But I digress. Sorry. Can’t help myself. Ah, glorious open source!

Michael Idema the project leader just this afternoon announced the release of the long awaited AskoziaPBX v2.0. There’s a whole lot of new and shiny in this release, so get yourself over there and check it out!.