IP04 at Burning Man

This is very cool.

A friend of mine from California set up an IP04 at Burning Man, offering free calls to people from the middle of the Nevada desert. A satellite link was used for the IP backhaul.

The IP04 was connected to 3 Linksys SIP phones and a DirecWay satellite dish, all powered by generator. Asterisk was configured to allow 5 min outbound calls for free, and also had 1 more phone with unlimited access and a DID that could be called from outside. The special phone was inside the RV and the other ones were on a table outside the RV.

The SIP phone’s internal g729 codec was used initially but g711 actually worked better (the problem was latency, not bandwidth) with the RTP packet size set to the minimum. The IP04 worked wonders because the calls sounded much better when the SIP phones were registered to Asterisk in the IP04 rather than to the remote PSTN gateway.

As you can see from the photo, the setup braved winds of up to 80km/h (50mph) while working just fine. No, they didn’t set the IP04 on fire at the end, however they needed lots of compressed air to clean up when they got home!