So what is PlugPBX anyways?
PlugPBX was started to provide the world with an easy way of getting FreePBX and Asterisk working on the SheevaPlug. A newer iteration of the platform, known as the GuruPlug is now working thanks to the hard work of some of its newer users online. Both devices offer low cost, low power platforms with no moving parts, and systems that users can alter and modify at will, unlike conventional embedded platforms that are ‘compiled’ and flash in a read-only boot-able static image – much like conventional home broadband routers.
So Why PlugPBX?
Small, green, and smart. We’re talking a server class phone system on a 3 watt computer the size of a drinking box, the software is free, all you have to do is flash it onto a SD memory card, insert, and power on your SheevaPlug once setup properly!
PlugPBX is based entirely on free and on open source software and as such is itself entirely open and free in every sense. We welcome all collaboration and making it better in every sense. Community is everything!
So what is a PBX?
If you know this term already, just skip ahead. If not, no worries. Ever wanted your house to screen callers, warn you a telemarketer was calling? Want your calls also to ring on your mobile phones during the weekend? Do you want to start paying single digit phone bills each month instead of double or triple? Do you want more for less? Voicemail as email? Cheap international calling? …the list goes on and on. That’s just a small part of what a PBX can do for you. Its not just for the big boys anymore…. Wikipedia can tell you much more.
Asterisk is an engine that processes and handles calls and messaging. Things like phone calls, voice mail, conferences, instant messaging and much more. Asterisk Is open source and you can learn more about it at www.Asterisk.org
FreePBX is a suite of software, scripts, services and SQL / Web interfaces that provide a rich user experience to setup, control and manage Asterisk, along with a comprehensive set of modules providing impressive features. FreePBX is open source, and you can learn more about FreePBX at www.FreePBX.org
This powerful combination provides an impressive system, with an excellent user interface. We didn’t want ease of use to stop at just the PBX part of the system, but also the underlying Linux host.
Added to the mix includes Webmin, which provides full web based system administration of the underlying Linux system powering your PlugPBX.
FreePBX – Rich Web Interface
Webmin – Making Linux easy to Administer
So what *is* the SheevaPlug?
The SheevaPlug is a low power (typically 3 watt) device with a small form factor, made by several manufacturers which is an ‘open’ platform to work on. Its typically available for around $99 USD online and considering its power savings verses a typical desktop computer for Asterisk Telephone systems, is a much greener and cheaper solution long term.
You can read more about the platform at www.plugcomputer.org
Not only is this system a capable phone system, but an out of box LAN network file server, webserver, SQL server – and can be easily extended using Debian’s apt-get system to install additional features almost effortlessly.
Install Bluetooth via USB so your phone system can track who’s home and decide where to forward calls based on your Cell Phones Bluetooth presence, add a USB web cam to watch the kids, plug in a USB hard drive to provide file server services to your house. The SheevaPlug is not just for phone systems too 😉
We waste too much space, and power with computers in our home. Turn your Desktop off, put it to sleep – Let your 3 watt computer(s) handle the server stuff. Save some green and be green. Win-win