This afternoon I attended Asterisk Inside and Out by Brian Capouch. His presentation is available here while all of the Asterisk configuration files can be obtained here. The tutorial was based on his forthcoming book, Asterisk Inside and Out: Do-it-yourself Open Source Telephony, from Addison-Wesley.
Following the slides, Brian performed several demos which displayed the power of Asterisk. He started with a simple ‘Hello World’ example where the caller was played a short message. Next he demonstrated the server calling you back (and playing a pre-recorded message). Then he called an inside extension, an outside of the system (on to the PSTN via the FXO), and called an inside extension from outside (via the PSTN and FXO). After that he showed a ‘road warrior’ who ran a local instance of Asterisk on their laptop which registered with the home office and then called the office number of the ‘road warrior’ and the call was automatically redirected to the laptop. Following that, he configured the laptop as a remote office and dialed an extension at the ‘remote office’ from the ‘local office’, which was properly routed through the system. Finally, he demonstrated an intra-office transfer of an incoming POTS call.
Asterisk appears to be an amazing application and there is quite a bit more that I need to learn about it. It seems like it would be a fun project to setup at home (if my wife will agree to it – which is doubtful).