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March 15th, 2012 by The Modulis Team

Integrating LDAP with Asterisk

Many enterprises use a technology called LDAP to centralize the administration and management of users on their computer networks. LDAP is the lightweight directory administration protocol and was designed to make it easy for companies to handle large
numbers of employees, control their access to network computing resources and to this all from one centralized location.

The most common implementations found on corporate networks are Microsoft’s Active Directory and OpenLDAP. Both of these LDAP solutions can be integrated with your local or cloud-hosted Asterisk servers to provide the additional capability of managing
telephone users and access to your PBX system in one place along with access to other computing resources.

Asterisk can be integrated with your directory servers by making some changes to your configuration files. Specifically what needs to be done is to use the LDAPget command to retrieve the desired information from the servers and return it back to Asterisk
for further use. You must load the LDAPget application into your Asterisk system after installing the openldap client libraries and development header files. You can do this from your Asterisk console. The LDAPget command can be used in your dialplan anytime you need to retrieve information from the directory server about a network user.

Some of the benefits of using LDAP on your network and integrating it with your PBX is improved security, simplification of user and resources management, easy on network resources, and a single directory with which you can manage access to email services,
web resources, telephone resources, and others.

You can also do things such as set an extension’s callerID display name based on the name that’s stored in LDAP for that user and integrate voicemail accounts with your email accounts using the directory information. LDAP integration allows you to use
advanced features that before you would need a larger, more expensive system from Cisco or Avaya to obtain for additional cost beyond the time to set it up.

Think of LDAP like a phone book that contains information such as a person’s name, telephone extension, office location, email address, and other key information. LDAP integration can be of particular use when you need to integrate your IVR and directories
for performing extension lookups, routing calls by scheduled work hours, etc. Another benefit is the ability to authenticate PBX users against the directory instead of requiring them to learn and remember new login credential for their telephone system.

Integrating LDAP with Asterisk can be a daunting process if you’re not familiar with the protocols and terminology involved. Users of Microsoft’s Active Directory in particular may find it difficult to achieve their desired level of integration and should
consult professionals who have experience dealing with some of the inconveniences of the AD system. Modulis has a team of LDAP experts who can either perform the integration with your LDAP servers or can guide you as you integrate the systems yourself.