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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Nortel Acquires Pingtel

According to some, like here, this is a really big deal. Frankly, I don’t see it.

As far as I can tell Pingtel is not a significant player in the open source VoIP community. Oh, they’re out there, but I have literally never had anyone talk to me about Pingtel with the kind of enthusiasm that I hear about other projects. In fact, I’ve never had anyone talk to me about Pingtel. Period. I suspect that they exist at some other level, perhaps in enterprise space.

Admittedly, my focus is very SOHO/SMB-centric. From my viewpoint the broader open source VoIP community revolves around OpenSER/OpenSIPS/Kamailio, Asterisk, and more recently Freeswitch. I hear a lot of enthusiam about Freeswitch lately.

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