July 25th, 2015 by The Modulis Team
Asterisk 13 – Features, Updates and Reviews
Last month, the Asterisk development team announced their release of Asterisk 13.4.0. You can immediately download this release here. Before you download the new release, this article will provide you with information on some of the new updates the developers included in this new version. Several issues were resolved in this release as well, some of which will be explored below. The community spoke, and Asterisk listened. Many of the issue resolutions would have not been possible without feedback from users like you. Open the ChangeLog and view a complete list of the changes in the 13.4.0 release. It is notable that Asterisk 13.4.0 was built on the architecture developed under Asterisk 12.
Real-Time Monitoring – So, what’s new in this release? Plenty! End users can monitor their Asterisk system in real time since security events are now distributed through the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI). This feature is useful because you don’t have to pull security events from other sources.
Mailbox Control – Asterisk REST Interface (ARI) and AMI both allow the state of a mailbox to be controlled through external systems. External systems can trigger Message Waiting Indicators (MWI) on subscribed phones by using AMI actions or ARI resources. This is useful if you wish to build your own Voicemail app using ARI.
Improved Text Messages – Out-of-call text messages are now supported by any channel driver or protocol stack through the ARI. Out-of-call text messages are sent to users as JSON events over an ARI WebSocket connection, which can then send the text messages by way of an HTTP request.
Publish Mailbox States – You can now use the PJSIP stack as a way to distribute the state of a mailbox or device through PUBLISH requests to other Asterisk occurrences. Using the PJSIP stack to perform state distribution doesn’t rely on a daemon or server to do the work, unlike current clustering methods. Also, the PJSIP stack currently supports RFC 4662 Resource lists. This allows Asterisk to serve as a Resource List Server.
Users who are upgrading to Asterisk 13.4.0 from a previous version should understand and be aware of any architectural changes that were made. Some basic updates in version 13.4.0 include but are not limited to:
- The fix addresses some small incompatibilities because the per console verbose level in Asterisk 11 causes some performance issues when the new asterisk version is used.
- Compatibility options are removed from asterisk.conf. These options allowed some backward compatibility features in app_set and pbx_realtime.res_agi, which caused some similar behavior to Asterisk 1.4. Users who took advantage of those backward compatibility settings should consider updating dial plans to use ‘,’ rather than ‘|’ as a delimiter, and use the set dial plan application rather than the MSet dial plan application.
- Both the asterisk.conf internal_timing and –I command line options are removed. Of course, internal timing is enabled if users load any timing modules.
- It should also be noted that some of the new features in Asterisk 13.4.0 were released as point releases for Asterisk 12. Per the software configuration management policy in version 12, some new features were merged and released in that branch. The reason behind this was to help Asterisk users migrate to the new platform in preparation for the new release.
Since the release of Asterisk 13.4.0, a few users have posted questions on how to install and configure some of the updates. For example, Justin Hester posted some guidance on installing Asterisk 13.4.0 and PJSIP on CentOS 6. Review his post explaining some items to consider, step-by-step installation instructions, and user feedback.
On Asterisk’s support board, a recent post involved a “set_address_from_contact” error that a user experienced. The user was installing Asterisk 13.4.0 on a production Ubuntu 14.0.4 machine and the error occasionally popped up. The post received several replies from other users in the Asterisk community with suggestions on what could be causing the error.
Since the release of Asterisk 13.4.0 is still fairly new, there hasn’t been too much buzz about it yet. The upgrade has a laundry list of updates as explained in the beginning of this post. The ChangeLog lists all of the changes made in this release. The Asterisk wiki also provides a good overview of the updates and applications involved in the new release.
Overall, the Asterisk 13.4.0 release seems to have included some much-needed changes and improvements over previous versions. Some users are noticing minor errors depending on the machine and OS on which they are installing it. The Asterisk 13.4.0 updates and improvements continue to make Asterisk a great choice.