Monday, July 18, 2011

Asterisk, the VoIP Server on DD-WRT

I'm a big fan of Asterisk on router -- imho, it's the perfect platform for anyone want to try Asterisk at home -- 24x7, fanless and even the cheapest router can handle at least 2-3 concurrent conversation. Before this WZR-HP-G300NH, I had Asterisk running on a WRT54G-TM for over a year with lots of fun.
Installing Asterisk on the router is easier now as current OpenWrt trunk build(the one we use) includes prebuilt Asterisk binaries. As always, since OpenWrt is designed to work with / not /opt, some adjustment is required to get Asterisk working properly.
  1. Install Asterisk 1.6
    Believe it or not, DD-WRT MEGA also has Asterisk included -- it's an old ver1.4 and some important files are missing -- I have no idea why DD-WRT decided to do so, too much flash ROM?

    Anyway, to install Asterisk 1.6 on our opkg enabled router, run:
    opkg install asterisk16
    You may also want to install some additional modules like:
    opkg install asterisk16-res-agi
    opkg install asterisk16-res-musiconhold

    To view a full list of Asterisk packages(lots of them!), run
    opkg list | grep asterisk16

  2. The configuration file: asterisk.conf
    With our installation, the asterisk.conf is in /opt/etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf.
    Change it to the contents below:
    [directories] ; remove the (!) to enable this
    astetcdir => /opt/etc/asterisk
    astmoddir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk/modules
    astvarlibdir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk
    astdbdir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk
    astkeydir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk
    astdatadir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk
    astagidir => /opt/usr/lib/asterisk/agi-bin
    astspooldir => /var/spool/asterisk
    astrundir => /var/run/asterisk
    astlogdir => /var/log/asterisk
  3. [compat] pbx_realtime=1.6 res_agi=1.6 app_set=1.6 As you can see, by modifying this file, we tell Asterisk to look for files at /opt/etc/asterisk and /opt/usr/lib/asterisk instead of default locations, which fits our installation. Now try to launch asterisk by running: asterisk -vvvvvc Exit by pressing ctrl+.
  4. Asterisk configuration
    By default, asterisk loads lots of modules, you can change the settings to fit your needs and reduce memory usage.

    Below is a sample of /opt/etc/asterisk/modules.conf with reduced modules:
    autoload=no                ; only load explicitly declared modules
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>
    load =>

    For SIP users, other important files including /opt/etc/asterisk/extensions.conf and /opt/etc/asterisk/sip.conf. These are not covered here, please refer to website about Asterisk like asteriskguru and

    Also, here is a must-read  ebook: Asterisk: The Future of Telephony Second Edition(download the PDF book)

  5. Run it as service
    Create file /opt/etc/init.d/asterisk with below(delete previous contents if its not empty)
    source /mnt/root/.profile
    mkdir -p /var/run/asterisk
    mkdir -p /var/spool/asterisk
    mkdir -p /var/log/asterisk/cdr-csv
    /opt/usr/sbin/asterisk -C /opt/etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf

    And run
    chmod a+x /opt/etc/init.d/asterisk
    ln -s /opt/etc/init.d/asterisk /opt/etc/init.d/S95asterisk
That's all. Enjoy Asterisk and happy VoIP!


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