What’s in a bowl of fruit – IPCortex RaspberryPi

bowl of fruit - click to see IPCortex RaspberryPiIt never ceases to amaze me what we can do with technology. The most generous Rob Pickering of IPCortex sent me a RaspberryPi microcomputer loaded with a cut down version of his PBX.

It was the work of minutes to set up a couple of Lincoln area code (01522) SIP trunks and then define some client devices with which to make phone calls. I then downloaded the 3CX SIP client for Android, free from the Google Play Store, stuck in some simple credentials (user name tref etc) and I was away.

The IPCortex bearing RaspberryPi is ipcortex on raspberrypi screenshot currently plugged in to an Ethernet port in our kitchen. Click on the photo to zoom in. I don’t think my wife has noticed yet but no doubt she will. At that point I will move it to the switch in the attic and leave it there for a general play.

The IPCortex lets me configure any SIPipcortex on raspberrypi - click to enlarge client for the RaspberryPi. In this case a softphone was used and we needed to generate some dummy mac addresses – shown in the photo as 0000001 etc. Ordinarily you would input the MAC address of your deskphone.

In one of the images you can see that there are three users set up – Tref, Joe and John. You might need to click on each image to enlarge for a better view. ย I took these screenshots lying in bed this morning. It’s just great what you can do from your phone. You can see the internal IP address of the IPCortex/server plus a glimpse at some of the features.

The 3CX is great for a play but I haven’t3CX SIP softclient running on Samsung Galxy S3 and hanging off the IPCortex on RaspberryPi figured out its ideal set up yet. It currently assumes it is the main phone you want to use when dialing out but I have a number of clients I play with on my handset and I don’t want it to be the main one. I have to switch the 3CX off for normal operation of other phones. It might just be a question of me needing to play with the Galaxy S3 more.

The call quality was great. I made WiFi to PSTN, PSTN to WiFi and WiFi to 3G.

I can see possibilities for home workers and consumers with this technology. You could envisage giving the kids an extension hanging off a local number – press 1 to talk to John etc or they could have their own DDI.

The time is not far off where people manage their own call routing – for example forwarding to their own mobile when not at home. If their package includes free calls to mobiles, or just to family mobiles then this would be a no brainer. This functionality could easily be embedded in a set top box along with a media server, which coincidentally (not) is what me next RaspberryPi project is going to be.

That’s all for now. I’ll report back as I get more to say on this subject.


PS no comments about the untidy cable. I couldn’t find a shorter one and my wife will have enough to say anyway when I get home.

PPS Thanks to Rik Wheeler for helping with the setup and being at the other end for the 3G demo calls.

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  1. Phil Veale

    Why did you choose the 3CX client? Have samsung removed the built-in android client from the S3’s firmware? Or do you just prefer it, features wise?

    1. Trefor Davies tref

      Absolutely no reason. Someone just mentioned it so I set it up. I’ll have play with the Samsung one seeing as you mentioned it.

  2. Phil Veale

    By the way, I’m far more impressed that you have flush mounted network sockets in your Kitchen than anyone could ever be unimpressed by the patch cable ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Impressed by the Ethernet in the kitchen too, think that I will show the pic to Mrs P who still complains about the aesthetics of all the Ethernet sockets I had installed in the lounge a few years ago.

    BTW you don’t need to manually create a fake MAC address for a softphone on the PBX. When you select “Softphone” from the type dropdown, it will auto-fill the MAC address field with a safe 02xx.. locally administered address if it is empty.

  4. Trefor Davies tref

    What is a real pain is that during some building work sometime a plumber must have drilled through the cable going to the TV room so that Ethernet socket doesn’t work. We have to use Solwise powerline sockets instead for the XBox and, in the fullness of time for the RaspberryPi media server that will be attached to the TV. More cables that Mrs Davies won’t necessarily see the point of ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Carl wright

    Awesome stuff Tref, got to love the ease of using Cortex!

    I don’t think our better halves will ever understand the need of a good cabled connection, hdmi, Ethernet or coax ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS Seems to be an issue when posting using twitter auth, errors asking for name and email address but on twitter auth they disappear so can’t enter. Sure you’ll solve that one ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Tref,

    Interesting to see the uses that people put the Raspberry’s to. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although – call forward to your mobile? How 1980’s! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m a big fan of real integration – the MNOs are really proving to the be the biggest problem here, but more and more the provider of dialtone to the end user are becoming less a full communications provider and more an access network. I recently saw a post from Mike Hughes asking whether a better model was to split the transmission networks from the end user service.

    What’s interesting is that we’re seeing a push from end users to get unified identitiy and communications – why call forward when my mobile is simply an extension of the network that you called in the first place. This is where I’d like to see things go – true integration with a transparency that means that we provide true single unified services – even across different delivery media.

    Anyway, nice kitchen – shame about the builders’ cockup. ๐Ÿ™


  7. pctech

    One of the things on my to do list is to install Ethernet throughout the house but unless the next freezer needs an internet connection I might not bother with the kitchen.

  8. Simon Marsden

    Oooh – I want one!!

    Just been to look at the IPCortex blog for the details. I wonder if I can make a case …

    Used Intertex kit for many years, but they seem to have largely withdrawn from the UK market – at least as far as end users are concerned. Now gone the Hosted route, but it’s a bit of a backward step in some ways. Not hosted by Timico, I hasten to add (well, not yet, anyway …!)

    The S3’s in-build SIP client works fine, by the way. Basic, but does what it sets out to do just fine.

    1. Trefor Davies tref

      I’ll ask them what their plans are.

  9. Simon Marsden

    This is what I was looking at when I said ‘I wonder if I can make a case โ€ฆ’

    Probably all gone now – that was a month ago. But it shows what can be done. Complete PBX in a box that makes a typical ATA look big.

  10. Rob Pickering Rob

    Not necessarily all gone Simon, punt your details into the form and we’ll see what we can do!

  11. Simon Marsden

    Ah – ok Rob. Form duly competed.

    I’d better get a Pi ordered too. I stood back from the first rush as I was short of spare time & didn’t have a particular project in mind. Now I have a project I’d better find some time!

  12. Rob Pickering Rob

    OK Simon, a package is going out to you today.

    If you haven’t already, wait till it arrives before you order a Pi.

  13. Simon Marsden

    Thanks Rob. In fact double thanks, having just seen Lauren’s email.

    We’d better let Tref have his blog back now! I’ll put anything further on yours.

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