Digium Phones and Asterisk

By Malcolm Davenport

So you’ve gotten a Digium phone (or a bunch of them!) from one of Digium’s Select Resellers during the early adopter period and you want to use it with Asterisk. Now what?

First, Digium phones are SIP phones, so you can simply plug them in, input your SIP account details for your Asterisk server, and start using them. Or, if you’d like something a little fancier, and something that Digium recommends as the best environment for Digium phones, you can take advantage of the Digium Phone Module for Asterisk, aka DPMA. The DPMA is a free, binary Asterisk module that provides Asterisk with a secure (thank you, OpenSSL) means of provisioning and controlling Digium phones and also provides the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) used by the Digium phone’s applications to access and control features in Asterisk.

What can you do with the DPMA and a Digium phone? A number of things, of course, including visual access to your voicemail account (with a unified INBOX view combining your Asterisk NEW and OLD folders), one-touch Call Parking with an application to view and retrieve calls from parking lots, customizable user (not just device) presence, the world’s simplest phone provisioning, and more. While the Digium website is being prepped for the full launch of the phones later, for you early adopters we’ve got a Users’ Guide (Beta) to the DPMA available in the Resources subsection of the Phones section of the Digium website – http://www.digium.com/phones.

The DPMA is designed to be used with, and is only compatible with, a new branch of Asterisk just made available today, the 1.8-digiumphones branch, currently in a beta state. Why the new branch? Why not port the DPMA to all existing branches of Asterisk? It’s all about following the rules. The rules of Asterisk state that once a release branch is made, e.g. 1.4, 1.6.2, 1.8, 10, etc. new features aren’t added. Bug fixes are made, security vulnerabilities are addressed. But, new features aren’t added. This helps mitigate risk, by not adding lots of new code, ensuring that applications written to a branch don’t face a changing API, and easing users’ upgrades.

So, when faced with the reality that Digium phones required some Asterisk changes – new code, new applications, new APIs – and knowing that we’ll need to make continual changes as we add new phone features, a new branch was the best, safest, and least intrusive way to go. Thus, 1.8-digiumphones. The 1.8 “phones” branch of Asterisk tracks the regular 1.8 branch with bug and security fixes and is on the same release schedule. Think of it as 1.8 with some extra goodies; aside from those extra capabilities, it’s just like 1.8. There’s no “-digiumphones” branch of Asterisk 10 available yet, but there will be.

And, to make things as easy as possible for world plus dog, we’ve wrapped the DPMA together with the 1.8-digiumphones branch into a new release of AsteriskNOW, version 2.0 (2.0.1-beta1 to be pedantic). If you’re wanting to quickly start using Digium phones, head over to the Asterisk.org website and download it. It also includes FreePBX 2.10 (RC) as well as a FreePBX admin module for managing Digium phones. To further assist, there’s also a Quick Start Guide for AsteriskNOW 2.0 on the Asterisk.org website that includes the steps necessary for getting Digium phones configured and working.

With these beta releases complete, we now settle in for the march towards general availability. Thank you, and enjoy your new Digium phone(s)!

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There Are 5 Comments

  • secesh says:

    I seem to recall reading the features of the digium phones. they are SIP. as in they’re not IAX; it’s not even an option.

    seems like a heckuvan oversight for digium phones not to support IAX. what gives?

  • Howdy,

    The blog post itself indicates that they’re SIP phones.

    It’s not an oversight. Supporting SIP on the phones, as opposed to IAX, is a business decision. Certainly, we could have built them to support IAX instead of SIP, MGCP, H.323, or some other protocol – or even a combination of protocols. Market research indicated that supporting SIP is the way to go.

    Cheers

  • Dennis says:

    “The DPMA is a free, binary Asterisk module”

    Does this mean its not open source?

  • Dennis, correct, we’re giving the Digium Phone Module for Asterisk away for free, but, just like the G.729, Fax, HPEC, and the old Skype for Asterisk modules for Asterisk, the DPMA is proprietary.

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About the Author

Malcolm Davenport

Digium lifer, celebrator of 17 Digium birthdays, and Digium employee #4. "I like telephony and I cannot lie. You other vendors can't deny; When a call comes in with MOS so you can't hear and some echo in your ear you get angry!" - Sir Mix-a-Malcolm

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