We promised, you voted and we delivered. After finishing off with our Asterisk Call Files tutorials, we consulted our ideascale profile to see what you guys had been voting for and as promised here we are with a tutorial on the topic with the most votes – the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI).
That means that over the course of the next few tutorials, we will be delving progressively deeper into the Asterisk AMI, starting of today with a theoretical introduction to the AMI.
What is the Asterisk Manager Interface?
The Asterisk AMI is a effectively a remote control for your Asterisk phone system. To be more technically accurate, the AMI allows a client application such as a dialler or CRM system to connect to your Asterisk IP PBX and then issue commands or read event data.
Why Use the AMI?
If you remember our Call Files tutorials and have already had a little play with them, you may have already noticed that using Call Files has some drawbacks. Firstly, Asterisk Call Files are “Fire & Forget”, meaning you are not able to control what actually happens in any great detail.
Next, with Call Files you need to copy the file into the spool directory. This means you need to ensure that you have either direct access or more likely by using ssh certificates in order to be able copy the files to the spool directory.
Lastly, when using Call Files you are not able to read some Asterisk states. That means you are not able to see what Asterisk is actually doing and therefore are not able to react in different ways to certain situations.
By using the Asterisk Manager Interface, it is possible to overcome these short comings. For example, the Asterisk AMI allows you to read and write every Asterisk event in realtime using an IP connection.
The downside of using the Asterisk Manager Interface is that it is possible to get an information overload. This is due to the fact that the AMI provides you read rights to every Asterisk event of which there are a lot.
Asterisk Manager Interface Considerations
Before starting with the Asterisk AMI, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, using the AMI is inherently insecure as it opens a new port which can be accessed externally. For this reason, the AMI is disabled per default in Asterisk phone systems.
It is possible to secure your AMI connections, but proper consideration should be paid to setting up stringent authentication protocols. In not doing so, you run the risk of opening your Asterisk system to external parties who will then be able to remotely control your PBX which can obviously lead to extremely undesirable consequences.
Next time around, we get more hands-on with the AMI and take a look at how to increase the security around your AMI connections as well as putting together a configuration example.
VoIP Guys on Ideascale
If you have an Asterisk phone system question and would like us to do a tutorial on it, then let us know on Ideascale:
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Until next time – Happy VoIPing!