Overly Complex


I finally got around to (re-)installing OpenWRT onto my LinkSys WRT54G. I didn’t pay close attention to what I was doing the last time around, so I took a little more care this time. I upgraded to the latest RC5 firmware, and easily configured the system to be a wireless bridge, connecting to my v5 WRT54G (the one that doesn’t work with OpenWRT firmware). So now I can place the OpenWRT system downstairs somewhere and connect wired-only systems into it to allow them to use the wireless network to get out through the DSL gateway upstairs. Rather a lot of run-around, but hey, it works!

I briefly considered installing Asterisk onto the WRT54G, but that seemed like a waste of a good router. So I’m currently installing Ubuntu Dapper onto my old laptop with the (tentative) intention of making it an Asterisk server.

I’ve been glancing over the various wikis and HOWTOs for this stuff, and I think I have a feel for how it’s all supposed to work, but I’m not entirely positive. I understand things correctly, I use Asterisk to speak IAX to FreeWorldDialup. I use IAX for this because it’s NAT friendly, using only a single port and requiring no jiggering of my router. I then use any SIP client to speak from a local endpoint to the Asterisk server. I do this because SIP is not particularly NAT-friendly.

So, I need to keep my Asterisk box inside my LAN, even though I have an unused static IP address which I had originally planned to allocate to the PBX. Because the client systems (IP phones or softphones like ekiga) generally speak SIP, having my PBX outside of my LAN wouldn’t benefit me much.

But then, what’s the point of the Asterisk server? It allows me to do things like place calls on hold (with optional on-hold music) as well as make menu systems through which people can navigate. Big whoop. I’m not interested in any of these features.

If my Asterisk server lives inside my LAN, then I can’t easily use it when I’m out and about with my laptop. I’d need to first tunnel into my LAN (OpenVPN, most likely), then connect the softphone to Asterisk, which would then go out to the internet at large… Is that right? Seems like a rather complicated setup for something I’m not expecting to use with any regularity.

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