[kwlug-disc] KWLUG and Voip

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Feb 11 11:36:55 EST 2011

On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 09:16:03AM -0500, John Van Ostrand wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> > Given how prominent VOIP is in the community, and it's general
> > reliance
> > on linux, does the group think my previous idea of the LUG promoting
> > VOIP publicly to be a good idea?

> I do think that VoIP is something that can be daunting to those new
> to it. There are lots of hardware configuration choices and software
> configuration choices.

The options here are: pick one approach and have people work through it
together, or show the different options and support a diversity of
people doing a diversity of things. 

As the most basic option, I have personally found that an ATA is the
easiest concrete project. But this requires an ATA, which is expensive
if you are dabbling. 

A cheaper alternative is to set up an Asterisk server on an old box
with some softphones. If you have an old computer you can do this (and
learn about system setup) basically for free while you see whether
VoIP is for you. 

I have found that getting to the point where you can get a phone to
ring has been a huge motivator for me. 

> I might participate if the time fit my schedule, but I'd prefer a
> week night.

Okay. Let's make this concrete: 

I think that some combination of hands-on workshop and introductory
presentation could work well. I propose the following two week format: 

- Session A: overview of the technology and options (ATA, plug-in
  cards, FreeSWITCH, Asterisk). We tell people what they need in order
  to participate in the next session, and make arrangements to
  rent/loan equipment as necessary. (Some of us have ATAs that could
  be used for a day). 

- Session B: People come by with the equipment they want (ITSP
  account, hardware they want to use, ...) and people work on getting
  "hands-on" systems working.

If this format is too much commitment then we could also do a
single-night event. But then the users will necessarily be less
prepared with equipment and ITSP accounts. 

I am open to having this happen at one of the Working Centre spaces.
St John's Kitchen might be a good candidate, but I would need to
figure out how to get SIP working reliably through our firewall(s). 
Uplink bandwidth with also be an issue -- SJK is using Bell. 
I also question whether we can have a lot of different VoIP setups
running off the same Internet connection simultaneously. 

We have other buildings that could work as well. We are using VoIP in
a building with a Yak connection, for example. 

Of course, other people have meeting spaces as well, and there is
nothing saying that we have to use a Working Centre space. But the
option is there. 

Wasn't there an Asterisk workshop a few years ago? How did that go?
Where was that held? 

Who is interested in helping present a topic? 

Who is interested in being a "workshop buddy" who can help individual
users get started? 

Who is interested in helping to organize this? 

- Paul


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