PBX is short fro Private Branch Exchange. It is a private telephone system used within an organization and customized to suit the needs of a particular organization. PBX users from an organization can communicate internally amongst themselves and also externally with the outside world. External communication is facilitated by channels such as VoIP (Voice over IP), ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) or analog.

The advantages of using PBX phone systems are that you can get more phones than the physical lines, free calls between users and massive features such as call queues, Digital receptionist, call forwarding, voicemail and call recording among others. Some examples of PBX phone systems include FreeSwitch, 3cx, Elastix, FreePBX and Asterisk.

In this guide, we are going to look at how to install FreeSwitch PBX on Ubuntu 20.04/18.04

What is FreeSwitch PBX?

FreeSwitch is a free open-source communication platform. It enables real time communication, video and Voice over IP and WebRTC. It runs on Windows, MacOS, Linux and FreeBSD. It is used in building a PBX system with functionalities such as web conferencing with chats and screen sharing, IVR, Session Border Controller, wholesale least-cost routing among others.

What are some of the features of FreeSwitch PBX system?

  • Runs on Windows, Linux and FreeBSD
  • WebRTC support
  • Call recording (In Stereo caller/callee left/right)
  • High Performance Multi-Threaded Core engine
  • Parallel Hunting
  • Serial Hunting
  • Automated Attendant
  • Basic IP/PBX features
  • Custom Ring Back Tones (Early Media)

Install FreeSwitch PBX on Ubuntu 20.04/18.04

First update your system packages

sudo apt -y update

Next, install dependencies required for running FreeSwitch PBX on Ubuntu 20.04/18.04

sudo apt install -y git subversion build-essential autoconf automake libtool libncurses5 libncurses5-dev make libjpeg-dev libtool libtool-bin libsqlite3-dev libpcre3-dev libspeexdsp-dev libldns-dev libedit-dev yasm liblua5.2-dev libopus-dev cmake

The following packages are optional but we can install them.

sudo apt install -y libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev libgnutls28-dev libtiff5-dev libx11-dev unixodbc-dev libssl-dev python-dev zlib1g-dev libasound2-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev libperl-dev libgdbm-dev libdb-dev uuid-dev libsndfile1-dev

Install libks and signal wire

sudo apt install -y cmake
cd /usr/src
sudo git clone https://github.com/signalwire/libks.git
cd libks
sudo cmake .
sudo make
sudo make install

cd /usr/src
git clone https://github.com/signalwire/signalwire-c.git
cd signalwire-c
sudo cmake .
sudo make
sudo make install

Next, get the latest FreeSwitch version from releases page using wget:

cd /usr/src
sudo wget https://files.freeswitch.org/freeswitch-releases/freeswitch-1.10.3.-release.zip
sudo apt -y install unzip
sudo unzip freeswitch-1.10.3.-release.zip
cd freeswitch-1.10.3.-release/

Note that if you do not have unzip installed, install it by running apt -y install unzip

sudo apt -y install unzip

Now run standard installation process

sudo ./configure -C
sudo make

If you encounter errors during compilation, you can comment out any module throwing the error or install the missing dependencies. In my case, I had initially commented out languages/mod_lua and applications/mod_signalwire but you can comment out more depending on the errors you get. After which you restart the compilation as shown below:

sudo ./configure && sudo make clean && sudo make

For a successful compilation, you will see an output as below:

How to install FreeSwitch on Ubuntu 20 1

Next, install freeswitch:

sudo make install


How to Install FreeSwitch on Ubuntu 20 01 1

Now compile sounds

sudo make all cd-sounds-install cd-moh-install

Create simlinks to use services easily.

sudo ln -s /usr/local/freeswitch/bin/freeswitch /usr/bin/
sudo ln -s /usr/local/freeswitch/bin/fs_cli /usr/bin

Add new group and user with less privileges to run FreeSWITCH service.

cd /usr/local
sudo groupadd freeswitch
sudo adduser --disabled-password  --quiet --system --home /usr/local/freeswitch --gecos "FreeSWITCH Voice Platform" --ingroup freeswitch freeswitch
sudo chown -R freeswitch:freeswitch /usr/local/freeswitch/
sudo chmod -R ug=rwX,o= /usr/local/freeswitch/
sudo chmod -R u=rwx,g=rx /usr/local/freeswitch/bin/

We need to add FreeSwitch as a systemd unit file. Open new file /etc/systemd/system/freeswitch.service using your favorite editor paste the below content:

sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/freeswitch.service

Paste the following content

Requires=syslog.socket network.target local-fs.target
After=syslog.socket network.target network-online.target local-fs.target

ExecStartPre=/bin/chown -R freeswitch:freeswitch /usr/local/freeswitch
ExecStart=/usr/bin/freeswitch -u freeswitch -g freeswitch -ncwait $DAEMON_OPTS



Start FreeSwitch service and enable it on boot

sudo chmod ugo+x freeswitch.service
sudo systemctl start freeswitch.service
sudo systemctl enable freeswitch.service

Now check status of FreeSWITCH service

sudo systemctl status freeswitch.service

If freeswitch is properly installed and running the output should be as shown

How to configure Freeswitch as systemd and check status 1

Now you can connect to FreeSWITCH using client as below

# fs_cli -r

You will see an output as below:

How to connect to freeswitch pbx using client 1

PBX related courses.

This has been a guide on how to install FreeSwitch PBX on Ubuntu 20.04/18.04. Check more guides below!

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