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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Asterisk dialer with Outlook 2010

It would be convenient if we just merely point and click a contact in our Outlook address book and our Asterisk PBX would make the call.  This article outlines the steps taken to enable an Asterisk dialer in Outlook 2010.
 
Environment
These steps are tested under below environment.
Microsoft Outlook 2010
Windows 7 (32-bit)
Asterisk 1.6.2.10
Elastix 2.0.0-36
 
The office extensions are managed by Elastix/Asterisk.  They are configured as sip peers and physically vary from IP Phones, analogue phones via ATA and Xlite softphones. 
 
Concept
In essence, we need a windows TAPI driver that can talk with Asterisk via Asterisk Manager Interface(AMI).  When we click to dial an Outlook contact, the TAPI driver sends an Originate command to our Asterisk PBX which performs the dialing.  It dials to our phone extension first and then to the contact, bridging both parties in a conversation.
 

TAPI Driver

An open source TAPI drvier is selected.  It is available from  http://sourceforge.net/projects/activa/files.  The version we tested is v.1.6.4

 

Steps

1.    In the first place, we need to enable AMI and define an AMI account in the Asterisk box.

AMI is configured in /etc/asterisk/manager.conf.

;The general section below enables Asterisk to listen for AMI connection in port 5038.

[general]

enabled=yes

port=5038

bindaddr=0.0.0.0

 

;It defines an AMI account – astdialer – to be used by the TAPI driver

;It is advisable to only permit connections from internal ip, as accomplished by the 'deny and permit'

[astdialer]

secret=xxxxxxxx

read = system,call,log,verbose,command,agent,user,originate

write = system,call,log,verbose,command,agent,user,originate

deny = 0.0.0.0/0.0.0.0

permit = 192.168.0.1/255.255.255.0

 

To make the changes effective, we can reload manager module by:

asterisk –rx 'manager reload'

 

2.    Next, we install the TAPI driver in our PC.

The installation process will present a screen to capture a) our phone extension and b) AMI connection parameters.

Line DN    :    It refers to our phone extension;  it becomes the 1st leg SIP/<Line DN> in the Originate command

Line Prefix    :    What input here would be stripped when sending to Asterisk as the dial string.

Context    :    It refers to the dialplan context in Asterisk for incoming and outgoing calls

Host IP    :    It refers to the ip/dns of our Asterisk PBX

Port    :    refer to the AMI above

User    :    refer to the AMI above; in our example, we should input 'astdialer'

Password    :refer to the AMI above

 

3.    We also need to add a key in Windows 7 registry for TAPI support (ref to

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959625/ )

 

The registry subkey required is:

KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Call Integration

with a DWORD value:

TAPIOVERRIDE    1

 

With the above done, we should see a 'call' icon on right clicking an Outlook contact.

 

Go

Asterisk will firstly ring our extension and, upon connected, dial the other number.  The callee would have seen incoming call from us (or what configured as the proper caller id to present) as if we manually dialed the number.

 

 

 

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