This week I have been working on one of the first Atcom IP08s, an 8 port version of the popular IP04 Embedded Asterisk IP-PBX. The IP08 combines the BlackfinOne and two 4fx designs onto a single board the same size as the IP04.
- Dual port modules that are the same size as the regular single port modules. The guys at Atcom have used a clever layout so that single or dual port modules can be used and automatically detected and configured.
- Dual Ethernet ports.
- USB. This is pretty cool. I have some ideas about combining this with wireless USB keys to create a tiny, low power wireless VOIP PBX.
- MMC slot for up to 4GB storage. Thanks to Alex Tao, we can now run MMC cards and Zaptel hardware at the same time.
- 64MByte SDRAM.
- 256MByte Flash.
So far we have brought up most of the IP08 hardware. The 8 analog ports are working, as well as new features like USB and both Ethernet ports. Compared to earlier designs I have blogged on, the IP08 bring-up was kinda boring – the open hardware approach we are taking means that everything “just works”!
To make life more interesting I have been using the new Blackfin Asterisk Package System (baps). This is a package based system (like apt-get) for the Blackfin. So basically I flash a small kernel/root file system then boot the IP08. Then, to install Zaptel/Asterisk, telnet into the IP08 and:
ip08$ ipkg install zaptel-sport
ip08$ ipkg install asterisk
ip08$ /etc/init.d/zaptel start
ip08$ /etc/init.d/asterisk start
Baps is an itch I am scratching – I couldn’t help thinking there was a better way to develop and maintain embedded systems than the buildroot/uClinux-dist approach of building “one big uImage”. More on baps in another post.
Some work remains:
- Further optimisation of the wcfxs driver and Oslec echo canceller so the system can comfortably support 8 analog channels at the same time.
- Testing the dual Ethernet and USB ports in realistic scenarios, for example WAN/LAN QoS routing and maybe a USB wireless interface.
- Repeat of the load tests that were performed on the IP04 to give the system a good work out.
How much and when you all ask? The price of the IP08 is yet to be decided, however I am sure it will be competitive with other Asterisk Appliance type products out there. I would guess that the IP08 will be available for purchase around March 2008.
You can follow our IP08 progress by monitoring the IP08.txt task list file in IP04/IP08 SVN.
IP04 Open Hardware IP-PBX
Survey of Asterisk Appliance type products
IP04/IP08 Hardware SVN
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