Sunday, April 29, 2007

VoIP wonders

The last couple month have been very happy months.
I got my beloved macbook pro and got a wonderful gift from Kristian Kielhofner (founder of astlinux distribution): a small thin client (a.k.a the box) and a small phone/ethernet converter box (a.k.a the black box).
Now, those small boxes are just great. During the fisl 8.0, Kris gave me a not-so-short class about asterisk and how to work on those two boxes. Since I've been so busy, I had not had the time to have fun with them but this weekend I decided to make them work.
It took me no longer then 3 hours to have the box plugged to the cable modem, the wireless router plugged to the box working as a hub and both the black box and my desktop plugged to the router. Meaning that my whole network was running behind the box.
So far, nothing great about this right?
The great part starts now. With some help from Kris, I logged on the box and set it up to recognize the laptop's softphone, the desktop's one, my mom's laptop's phone and my home phone. Meaning that I can now, make or transfer calls from any of those to any of those. Sounds useless at home I agree. But just think about what this can do if you have a small/medium business and can't afford a PBX company (since those are REALLY expensive). You could have your whole internal communication running over your ethernet network. Let's agree on a couple things here: less cables == less pain/troubles. And the best part, this can work if you are not all the time at your office. As long as you have an internet connection, you can receive your incoming calls and people will never know you are not there. This really owns!
Following those ideas, thing about how much it would cost you to call someone in another country. The answer is simple, the local phone call from an asterisk server in that country to the phone you are calling. This is exactly what I paid to chat with Kris for about 20 minutes this afternoon as a test for the system. Except maybe that I paid nothing, more likely, Kris did. But again, this could be changed. The fact is, people could easily call my home number and dial a couple of extension to make phone calls to their beloved ones that have a good internet connection paying just a local phone call. Just imagine how great this is. It just means we are crossing another line. Years ago, the phone system was getting fans all over the world because people could speak to other people all over the world just like if they were 10 feet away. This was indeed wonderfull but it also turned out very expensive. What we are reaching now, is a cheap simple way to get all those people connected to each other.

This just amazes me. I am now for sure a fan and will become as soon as I can, a good user and maybe even a developer for those open source solutions. And once I get all my system set up, I will post a few other details and maybe I could get my config files somewhere to help anyone that wishes to try it out.

No comments: