2003 December

December 2003

During the Christmas holiday, code for AES encryption was added to the Asterisk cvs. It\’s not used yet, but speculations are already going on. Are we going to get Secure RTP? Secure IAX2? Or will it be used for something else? On some system, the new code generates errors. Just remove the extra ^M on the end of each line of the file, and it will compile all right. Or remove the aes* files from the Makefile – they\’re not used. Yet.

Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and policy unit, speaks on Enum in Seoul, Korea, december 2003:

ENUM takes numbers from the international public
telecommunication numbering plan (ITU-T Recommendation E.164) and incorporates
them into the Internet domain name system (DNS) for the purpose of identifying and
finding network resources; this includes the possibility of assignment of E.164 resources
to IP-based terminal devices. The development of a stable international framework for
ENUM deployment will require the assignment of authority over elements of the E.164
number space when mapped into the DNS, as well as the assignment of ongoing
management to one or more responsible authorities in each ITU Member State. The
fundamental premise of ITU’s activities is based on an explicit assumption that the existing
role and sovereignty of Member States with respect to the allocation and management of
their country code numbering resources, including the potential provisioning of those
resources in the DNS, will be respected.

One wonders what this means? Does he think that the state needs to control my ENUM data?

This year has been a year of learning new things for me. I\’ve spent a lot of time learning SIP, but is still far from being a SIPmaster. I\’ve spent a lot of time with the Asterisk and SIP Express Router projects, learning, installing, configuring… Getting desperate, hating, loving. You know, the way living with Open Source software works.

And it works, these two projects produce high quality VoIP solutions. I\’ve been calling over the Internet, and received calls from places I didn\’t know existed. I\’ve created VoIP solutions I couldn\’t dream of creating myself a year ago. And I could never afford doing it with non-Open Source solutions. It\’s magic. It\’s a new way of doing business. It\’s a way of meeting new friends and collegues all over the world. It\’s great.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you out there, from SIPnovices to SIPmasters! And to all of you that work with Asterisk and SIP Express Router! Open Source VoIP is changing the net forever. We\’re all part of the revolution.


Today the Asterisk CVS was really unstable for a few hours. What I mean is that if you downloaded source, it would not compile. That happens with work-in-progress code. As of know, Asterisk does not divide the source in a stable and a unstable release. This will happen at next release.
This will propably happen again, so be cautious with new source! From the Wiki page Rollout Tips:

Observe that the CVS tree is the production line for Asterisk. There\’s no guarantee that this code will work all the time, it\’s where developers submit their changes for testing by all of us in the user base. Don\’t use this code in production unless you know what you\’re doing. Please test it and report problems that you see in your environment. When you\’re settting up your production system, either freeze on a working CVS version or do it on a released, tested, version. Don\’t CVS update a production system if you\’re not sure of what you\’re doing. You will add new functionality, but it may also mean that you\’re adding bugs to a system your users are using to communicate.

Yesterday, the Free Phone Project launched. I don\’t know what will become of it, but rumours tell me that it will be similar to the tpc.int Remote Printing service.

Launched Sunday December 14, 2003, freephoneproject.com website will be dedicated to supplying a resource for free phone concepts including Voice Over Internet, Calling Cards, Dial-1 Long Distance and much more.

Voxilla writes about the \”war\” between IP telephony service providers in the US:

The feature wars between U.S.-based IP-to-phone VoIP providers is heating up again.

Last week, Vonage announced that it would soon release a proprietary \”softphone\” that will allow its subscribers to make and receive calls without the use of a telephone adaptor.

Not to be outdone, VoicePulse will be releasing its own softphone offering that allows its subscribers to use any software program, including the popular open-source Asterisk PBX, to make and receive calls.

The Asterisk Open Source PBX a while ago removed support for MySQL databases due to a change in license from MySQL AB. Now, thanks to development by Brian K West, Asterisk supports multiple databases including MySQL. Brian added support for UnixODBC, a general database abstraction layer. The first ODBC driver in Asterisk was billing support, the ability to store Call Data Records in any database supported by UnixODBC. Now, Brian keeps adding support for ODBC in various Asterisk applications, like the dbGET application, the voicemail application and maybe somewhere in the future even for user databases.

It should be noted that the UnixODBC CDR driver is not merely a new CDR database driver, it is also an upgrade. Brian adds database redundancy and other features that will save your CDR records elsewhere if your database gets off line.

The UnixODBC cdr driver called cdr_odbc is now within the Asterisk CVS. Try it!

From the ITU blog:

AustralianIT has an article about ENUM trials in Australia and how privacy and security issues are proving to be difficult issues to resolve.

Take time to read through and contemplate Jeff\’s testimony to the US FCC:

What you shouldn’t do is just dump legacy regulation on what is a fundamentally different technology. This is NOT traditional telecommunications. IP Communications has no bottlenecks.

I\’ve launched our beta of a new voip search engine. I\’m indexing the mail archives for Asterisk and SIP Express Router daily. Those two are the premium choices if you\’re looking into building a VOIP infrastructure.

The VOIP-info wiki is growing at marvellous speeds. New pages added daily and you\’ll find everything there is to know about Asterisk there. Also, a lot of information on SIP Express router. However, the IPtel.org manuals for SIP Express Router covers the software very good, so there\’s not as many holes to fill as in the case of Asterisk. That\’s the reason why there are not so many Wiki pages on SER.