Setting up an Elastix (Asterisk) Test Network - For Beginners

I know that when I first setup an Asterisk PBX, I found the process quite difficult - whilst there's plenty of information available on the internet, most of it is aimed at an advanced level, making it very difficult for beginners or folks with a limited budget and no VOIP hardware to 'get started' - so I thought I'd write this short tutorial - for ease of use, the tutorial will use a GUI version of Asterisk, called 'Elastix'.

The 'Aim' of this tutorial is to take you from a complete asterisk novice to having a fully functional Asterisk / Elastix Test PABX -allowing you to make internal calls within your network in around 20 minutes.


An Elastix 'Test Network' for Beginners - Step by Step

This tutorial will cover the following:-

  1. How to install Elastix on a windows machine as a VMware VM (virtual machine) - meaning you'll be able to get started with asterisk using an existing PC, no additional investment required.
  2. A Beginners Guide to Installing Elastix - a step by step guide to installing elastix, and configuring the settings you'll require to set up a small, test elastix PBX and make internal calls - in 10 minutes or less.
  3. How to use a Mobile Phone as a Voip Phone (SIP client) - enabling any old android phone to act as a SIP extension - without having to buy a hardware based IP phone.
  4. How to Install a Softphone - a 'phone on your desktop' - another alternative to using a hardware IP phone. 
  5. How to Configure your Router to allow 'incoming calls' - make an 'internal call' from any android phone or softphone, from (almost) anywhere.
  6. A Beginners Guide to Securing Elastix (aka Basic Asterisk Security) - a breakdown of some of the easier security measures you can take to protect your Elastix PBX from hackers, and an outline of the security implications of a poorly secured Asterisk Box.

You can skip ahead at any time, but my suggestion is that you follow this tutorial through in order - and don't forget to read the 'beginners guide to securing elastix'.

I've deliberately designed this tutorial to produce a PBX that has no outgoing route (no SIP gateway or IP-PBX - no way to 'call an external phone number') to protect you from financial consequences if you're hacked - but from experience these 'proof of concept' networks have a habit of being taken into production. BE CAREFUL - hacking an asterisk box is suprisingly simple if it's not properly secured - and we know of folks that have found they've racked up 10's of thousands of dollars in fraudulent overseas calls after being hacked.

Start the clock - Let's get started on step 1 - How to install Elastix on Windows as a VM.