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Rewriting a URL that exists to a 404 page with a 404 response?
Hi all,

I’m trying to figure out a way to rewrite a URI such that it displays the
ErrorDocument 404 _and_ gives a 404 response. Suppose that someone is
fetching URIs on a site but they’re using multiple slashes, e.g. they’re


…instead of:


Apache thoughtfully handles this automatically, and displays the correct

However, suppose that I have a reason that I’d like this person to get
404’d instead of seeing the correct page. What I’d like to do is have any
request containing // to be rewritten to the ErrorDocument 404, and
generate a 404 response. Redirecting isn’t a problem, but getting the
correct header seems to be. Right now, I have:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [R,L]

This successfully redirects requests for any URL containing // to
404.php, but it generates a 302 header in the process. Browsers (and
search engines) follow the 302 redirect, and send a request for /404.php,
which in turn generates a 200 header, because it was found. (404.php
attempts to send a 404 header that never hits the wire in this

I tried using:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [R=404,L]

…but, as expected, Apache rejects 404 as a response code for the
redirect flag. I also tried:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [G=404,L]

…but apparently the gone flag does not accept custom response codes.

Finally I tried:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$

…but the forbidden flag doesn’t honor a response code either.

How can I rewrite URIs containing // to my ErrorDocument 404, _and_ send
a 404 response instead of a 302/200? This is under Apache 1.3.34.

Thanks for any insight!

Guinness Stout
To email: s/works/werks/
Guinness Stout [ So, 13 November 2005 11:34 ] [ ID #1055690 ]
Re: Rewriting a URL that exists to a 404 page with a 404 response?
Guinness Stout wrote:
> I’m trying to figure out a way to rewrite a URI such that it displays the
> ErrorDocument 404 _and_ gives a 404 response. Suppose that someone is
> fetching URIs on a site but they’re using multiple slashes
> Redirecting isn’t a problem, but getting the
> correct header seems to be. Right now, I have:
> ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
> RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$
> RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [R,L]

Just rewrite to a nonexistent file:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*//.*$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /nonexistent [L]

BTW: Forward slashes needn’t be to escaped.

Robert Ionescu [ So, 13 November 2005 11:52 ] [ ID #1055691 ]
Re: Rewriting a URL that exists to a 404 page with a 404 response?
“Guinness Stout” schreef in bericht
news:Xns970D2EAC0DEC5guinnessdrunkwerks [at]…
> … What I’d like to do is have any
> request containing // to be rewritten to the ErrorDocument 404, and
> generate a 404 response. Redirecting isn’t a problem, but getting the
> correct header seems to be. Right now, I have:
> ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
> RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*\/\/.*$
> RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [R,L]
You DO NOT want to tell the _client_ to look elswhere, so keep the rewrite
internal to the server:
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [L]
will most likely do, otherwise try
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /404.php [L]

> This successfully redirects requests for any URL containing // to
> 404.php, but it generates a 302 header in the process. Browsers (and
> search engines) follow the 302 redirect, and send a request for /404.php,
> which in turn generates a 200 header, because it was found. (404.php
> attempts to send a 404 header that never hits the wire in this
> situation.)
Renaming to nph-404.php will allow _your_ headers to pass through.
However, you will have to generate _all_ headers yourself ….

HansH [ So, 13 November 2005 15:11 ] [ ID #1055693 ]
Webserver » alt.apache.configuration » Rewriting a URL that exists to a 404 page with a 404 response?

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Useful HTML Meta Tags

These are the HTML Meta Tags that I find useful or interesting. I am not intending to document all possible Meta Tags here. Check the references for more detail and other Meta Tags.
Meta Tags References
HTTP 1.1 RFC 2068
Vancouver Webpages on Meta Tags
Workshop Report on Spidering
Caching Tutorial for Web Authors and Webmasters
Remove a Site from Google
Logo for XenCraft

Web and Globalization Services

I18nGuy Home Page

Useful META TAGS Table of Contents
Pragma No-Cache

Note the keywords “HTTP-EQUIV”, “Name” and “Content” are case-insensitive. Their values are also case-insensitive.
Tag Name Example(s) Description
Author The author’s name.
cache-control HTTP 1.1. Allowed values = PUBLIC | PRIVATE | NO-CACHE | NO-STORE.
Public – may be cached in public shared caches
Private – may only be cached in private cache
no-Cache – may not be cached
no-Store – may be cached but not archived

The directive CACHE-CONTROL:NO-CACHE indicates cached information should not be used and instead requests should be forwarded to the origin server. This directive has the same semantics as the PRAGMA:NO-CACHE.
Clients SHOULD include both PRAGMA:NO-CACHE and CACHE-CONTROL:NO-CACHE when a no-cache request is sent to a server not known to be HTTP/1.1 compliant.
Also see EXPIRES.
Note: It may be better to specify cache commands in HTTP than in META statements, where they can influence more than the browser, but proxies and other intermediaries that may cache information.
Content-Language Declares the primary natural language(s) of the document. May be used by search engines to categorize by language.
CONTENT-TYPE The HTTP content type may be extended to give the character set. It is recommended to always use this tag and to specify the charset.
Copyright A copyright statement.
DESCRIPTION The text can be used when printing a summary of the document. The text should not contain any formatting information. Used by some search engines to describe your document. Particularly important if your document has very little text, is a frameset, or has extensive scripts at the top.
EXPIRES The date and time after which the document should be considered expired. An illegal EXPIRES date, e.g. “0”, is interpreted as “now”. Setting EXPIRES to 0 may thus be used to force a modification check at each visit.
Web robots may delete expired documents from a search engine, or schedule a revisit.

HTTP 1.1 (RFC 2068) specifies that all HTTP date/time stamps MUST be generated in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and in RFC 1123 format.
RFC 1123 format = wkday “,” SP date SP time SP “GMT”

wkday = (Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun)
date = 2DIGIT SP month SP 4DIGIT ; day month year (e.g., 02 Jun 1982)
time = 2DIGIT “:” 2DIGIT “:” 2DIGIT ; 00:00:00 – 23:59:59
month = (Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec)
Keywords The keywords are used by some search engines to index your document in addition to words from the title and document body. Typically used for synonyms and alternates of title words. Consider adding frequent misspellings. e.g. heirarchy, hierarchy.
PRAGMA NO-CACHE This directive indicates cached information should not be used and instead requests should be forwarded to the origin server. This directive has the same semantics as the CACHE-CONTROL:NO-CACHE directive and is provided for backwards compatibility with HTTP/1.0.
Clients SHOULD include both PRAGMA:NO-CACHE and CACHE-CONTROL:NO-CACHE when a no-cache request is sent to a server not known to be HTTP/1.1 compliant.
HTTP/1.1 clients SHOULD NOT send the PRAGMA request-header. HTTP/1.1 caches SHOULD treat “PRAGMA:NO-CACHE” as if the client had sent “CACHE-CONTROL:NO-CACHE”.
Also see EXPIRES.
Refresh Specifies a delay in seconds before the browser automatically reloads the document. Optionally, specifies an alternative URL to load, making this command useful for redirecting browsers to other pages.

default = empty = “ALL”

The CONTENT field is a comma separated list:
INDEX: search engine robots should include this page.
FOLLOW: robots should follow links from this page to other pages.
NOINDEX: links can be explored, although the page is not indexed.
NOFOLLOW: the page can be indexed, but no links are explored.
NONE: robots can ignore the page.
NOARCHIVE: Google uses this to prevent archiving of the page. See http://www.google.com/bot.html
GOOGLEBOT In addition to the ROBOTS META Command above, Google supports a GOOGLEBOT command. With it, you can tell Google that you do not want the page archived, but allow other search engines to do so. If you specify this command, Google will not save the page and the page will be unavailable via its cache.
See Google’s FAQ.


Info PR: ? I: ? L: ? Cached: ? I: ? L: ? LD: ? I: ? Rank: ? Age: ? IP: whois source Robo: ? Sitemap: ? Rank: ? Price: ? C: ? apps4rent main page Links: 30|3 Density

Internet Marketing Glossary
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Internet Marketing Glossary

In its short history, Internet marketing industry has created a large number of technical terms. Here I am sharing definitions on some of these most commonly used terms to help business owners and beginning online entrepreneurs to quickly cut through the technical mumbo jumbo created by the wordy Internet marketing community.

Anchor, anchor link – a link which points to a specific element on the web page.

Backlink, back-link – a link which points to the website from outside sources (other websites)

Broken link – a link which does not point to the destination it targets

Cloaking – presenting one version of a web page to a search engine and another to a website visitor through the use of a specially design “sniffing” script or a program. This script is able to recognize the source from which request to view a page is generated. If script determines that it is a search engine spider, then version A is displayed, all others will see a version B. Cloaking considered to be a non-valid SEM technique and if detected, can result in penalties and even website being banned from search engine altogether.

Contextual marketing – targeted promotion of products or services based on consumers’ interest. Internet provides advertisers with information on circle of interests of internet users. Contextual marketing online has become one of the major driving sources behind internet marketing. Example, Google’s Gmail where email recipients see advertisement based on the keywords containing in the body and subject of the email.

Conversion ratio – Number of closed online sales divided by the number of hits or website (landing page) visits. Conversion ratio could be applied to subscriptions, email address harvesting or other online business goals.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheet – a document which communicates to the web browser how to display web page elements, it also may affect element behavior. Most effective use of cascading styling is creating external style sheets and linking them to related web pages.

Domain Name – website name – Domain name is or URL (Universal Resource Locator) is a unique name containing alphanumeric characters and attached to a certain IP address. While IP addresses are represented in numbers, domain names allow people to use words for more convenient identification of the websites. All domain names must be unique.

Duplicate Content – indicates identical or even similar content on different websites and results in penalties from search engines.

Email marketing – business promotion through the use of email broadcasts. Email marketing takes many forms and has become one of the preferred methods of unscrupulous online marketers resulting in spam. There are laws to protect consumers from spam abuse.

External links – links pointing to a website from outside sources

High quality links – links from highly ranked relevant websites

Hit – a single visit of the web page generated by the human or search engine spider or automated program

Host / webhost / hosting server – a computer on which your website content resides allowing online visitors to visit your web pages.

Impression – a single view of the web page or an advertisement by the Internet user. The term “impression” is used to calculate paid marketing fees as well as estimate internet traffic.

Internal links – links within a single website

Internet Marketing – a broad term, refers to business promotion online through the use of all or selected internet technologies.

Internet Traffic – A number of URL requests during specific timeline in defined Internet networks.

IP address – Internet Protocol is a unique numeric address identifying any device connected to the Internet. IP address allows creation of a unique domain name for every website.

IP delivery – This process is similar to some forms of what is known cloaking. IP delivery is a system of fetching content to users based on their IP address. If you live in San Diego and you type in a keyword “coffee” you will be surprised to see results for local coffee houses. How does Google know where you are? IP address. Every time you request to view a web page, first you send some information from your computer and this information carries your IP address which indicates your geographical location. This method is being used not only by Google but by many internet marketers.

Keyword – a word used to define search criteria utilizing search engines.

Keyword Phrase – a combination of words of which a particular search query consists.

Keyword stuffing – excessive use of keywords in the content of the web document which commonly results in penalties by the search engines.

Landing Page – a web page which is designed to sell products,ervices or subscriptions. Landing pages are specifically design for paid online marketing such as PPC.

LCI – Latent Semantic Indexing – use of related words or expressions to determine text relevancy through the use of advanced logarithms. Currently used by the search engines to determine the value of published content.

Link bait – strategies to acquire incoming links to the website.

Link building – a part of SEO process where website visibility and ranking is positively affected through combination of strategies of internal and external link building. Gathering links from other websites.

Link juice – expression refers to overall quality or “weight” of the incoming link to your website. All outside links pointing to a certain page of your site affect your page score in the eyes of the search engines. High quality links considered to have more “link juice”.

Long tail keyword – aka, keyword phrase, where several words are used to specify the search query

Low quality link – links from low-ranked or irrelevant websites

Market analysis – In terms of e-commerce, a process through which one identifies online market value, competition and marketing strategies

Market value – in Internet commerce this expression refers to a number indicating monetary volume of total goods sold in a particular market segment in a defined time span. For example, market value of baby clothes sold in one year equals $1.3 billion.

Meta tag – information enveloped in the HEAD portion of an HTML document (a web page) providing instructions to a search engine on how to better catalog this document.

Nofollow link – link which will not help targeted website in rankings. Such links are present in many social media sites, prohibiting posters to boost their website rankings by simply pasting links to their websites.

Off-page SEO – Entire website search engine optimization techniques which includes interlinking, site structure aka “content silo development” as well as development of back links.

On-page SEO – Search engine optimization techniques applied towards a specific web page which includes optimization of title tag, description, keyword strategies, links, images and alt tags, text emphasis and other web page elements.

Organic Search Results – Also known as natural search results, entrees or SERPs appearing on the left side of the search engine page results. These entrees achieved through SEO techniques and do not involve paid advertising. Positioning is based on relevance which is calculated by the search engines and depends on a vareity of factors.

Page Rank – a hypothetical value of a web page. In theory, page rank reflects the Google score of how valuable the information on the page is. In reality, page rank is not a true reflection of the page value. Google describes its page rank as for “entertainment purposes only”.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click – Paid online marketing option where advertiser pays for every click received on the ad or banner. Most popular PPC option is AdWords by Google.

Redirecting – an instruction telling a search engine to go into another page. This is a viable technique because search engines cash or save certain information about your website. If you remove the page or make changes to your website, since last time search engine indexed your pages, it is a good policy to instruct a search engine to go to another related page. This process can be compared to updating geographical maps to provide accurate directions.

RSS – referred to as Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. This allows subscribers to get laters updates from a specific website.

Search Engine – a computer or a network of computers which catalogs information accessible through Internet and displays that information to internet users at the time of a search query. Search engines “decide” what information to display using sophisticated protected logarithms. The big three search engines are: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Search Engine Marketing – SEM – A part of the Internet Marketing dealing with business promotion through search engines. SEM deals with “organic” website positioning through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of the website and with paid online advertisement also known as PPC (Pay Per Click) formula and contextual advertising.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO – a process which includes multiple tasks helping a website to increase its visibility online and bring targeted traffic of visitors to the website.

Search Engine Spider – A computer program deployed by the search engines to collect data from the internet.

Search engine submission – online request to a search engine to catalog your website or a web page.

Search term – or search query, a single word or a selection of words used during a search query.

SERP – A Search Engine Result Page or a list of entrees returned by the search engine in response to a search query.

Social media marketing – a specific online marketing strategy based on utilization of online social media sites i.e. Twitter, Digg, YouTube, StumbleUpon, etc.

Web Analytics – Analysis of the website or marketing campaign performance through use of Internet technologies.

Website Traffic – A number of visitors to a specific website or a page during defined period of time

Website Usability or web page usability – Refers to functionality and user friendly enviroment of the page or a website.
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Full List of Services

Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing San Diego

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Market Analysis

Keyword Research

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SEO for Small Business

Internet Marketing Glossary

Web Analytics for Small Business

Affiliate Marketing

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Internet Marketing Facts

Internet industry introduces more new technical expressions, acronyms and slang than any other industry or a branch of science.

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Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Not to be confused with Microsoft SharePoint Server.
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This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Please see the talk page for more information. (September 2010)

Microsoft SharePoint is a family of software products developed by Microsoft for collaboration, file sharing and web publishing. This family of products includes: Microsoft SharePoint Server,[1] Microsoft SharePoint Foundation, Microsoft Search Server, Microsoft SharePoint Designer and Microsoft SharePoint Workspace.[2]

* 1 Microsoft SharePoint Server
* 2 Microsoft Search Server
* 3 Microsoft SharePoint Foundation
* 4 Microsoft SharePoint Designer
* 5 Reception
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links

[edit] Microsoft SharePoint Server
Main article: Microsoft SharePoint Server

Microsoft SharePoint Server is composed of three major tiers:

* Web Front End role which processes HTTP requests to the Server;
* An application layer which provides such features as Search and Excel Services;
* A dedicated Microsoft SQL Server data storage.

Microsoft says it does not intend SharePoint to replace a full file server or to function as a single-use solution. Instead, it positions the product to play various roles in a business environment. While SharePoint users can access SharePoint functionality through multiple methods, the primary user interface is a web-based application accessed through a browser. The majority of SharePoint’s functionality is supported across all major desktop web browsers – however, some minor features are restricted to the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 8. Notably, Internet Explorer 6 is not supported.[3]

SharePoint can also be accessed through: a Windows-based synchronised desktop client, Windows 7 Federated Search, WebDAV “Internet folders” (i.e. via Windows Explorer), Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office 2010, and other third party applications. Corporate directory security restrictions may be applied at a granular level, enabling SharePoint sites to be internet-facing, intranet-facing, or both.

SharePoint sites are, functionally, ASP.NET 2.0 web applications that are served using IIS and a SQL Server database as a data storage back end. All site content data, such as items in document libraries and lists, are stored within an SQL database named by default as “WSS_Content_[ID]”.
[edit] Microsoft Search Server
Main article: Microsoft Search Server

Microsoft Search Server, an enterprise search platform, builds on the search capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint Server.[4] MSS shares its architectural underpinnings with the Windows Search platform for both the querying engine and the indexer. MOSS search provides the ability to search metadata attached to documents. Microsoft made Search Server available as Search Server 2008 in March 2008. A free version, Search Server 2008 Express, is also available. The Express edition features the same feature-set as the commercial edition, including no limitation on the number of files indexed. However, the free version is limited to a stand-alone installation and cannot be scaled out to a cluster.[5] Various plugins can index third-party files, like Adobe’s pdf files.
[edit] Microsoft SharePoint Foundation
Main article: Microsoft SharePoint Foundation
[edit] Microsoft SharePoint Designer
Main article: Microsoft SharePoint Designer

Microsoft SharePoint Designer is a specialized web page editor for designing SharePoint sites and end-user workflows for SharePoint Server and SharePoint Foundation sites. SharePoint Designer also allows developers to manipulate data from SharePoint or external sources (such as Microsoft SQL Server) without coding directly against the .NET Framework. SharePoint Designer 2010 is the successor to Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, although the two versions are not compatible.
[edit] Reception

Evaluations of SharePoint by industry analysts have varied. In late 2008, the Gartner Group put SharePoint in the “leaders” quadrant in three of its Magic Quadrants (for Search, Portals, and enterprise content management).[6] Commentators have criticized SharePoint for its lack of well-integrated tools for developers, and for its complex customized software architecture that differs significantly from those of other ASP.NET-based web applications.[7][8][9] In response, Microsoft announced in 2009 that the upcoming version of Microsoft Visual Studio would improve the developer experience.[10]


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Assign permissions per page or set
Send email alerts to collaborators to request their feedback
Simple feedback management with group viewing, private or public URLs
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QueueMetrics – Call center monitoring solution for the Asterisk PBX
QueueMetrics is a comprehensive monitoring software for call centers based on the Asterisk PBX.

As an old adage goes, “If you can measure it, you can improve it”. With over 150 quantitative metrics available your call center runs smoothly and problems are easily pointed out. You can measure budget targets, SLA targets, agent activity and more, with a level of details that goes down to listening to any call on any queue – and right from your browser.

What will QueueMetrics do for me?

Operations managers…

* See a very detailed report of call center activity, down to each call on each queue.
* Run reports by single queues, or by user-created queue groups, both on inbound and outbound traffic.
* Listen to recorded calls.
* See activity statistics and duration by call stage, with daily, hourly (or shorter), weekly breakdowns.
* Can track calls processed on multiple queues.
* Measure business targets and conversion rates on a number of industry-standard metrics.
* Measure agent activity during the day, both on ACD and non-ACD time, with billable and non-billable work times.
* Excellent configurable security and privacy, on a queue-by-queue basis. All actions can be assigned or revoked on an user-by-user basis.
* QueueMetrics can be easily setup to support a virtual or multi-tenant call-center.

Team leaders…

* Very detailed real time call and agent reporting, can be broken down by queue, agent group or location.
* See agent status and real-time activity.
* Remotely listen to live calls as they are handled.
* Watch agent screens remotely through a VNC client.
* Real-time wallboard mode using a video projector.
* Restricted “Visitor” mode to allow real-time access to external stakeholders, with optional live call or VNC monitoring.


* Agents can see the calls they’re handling and integrate with external CRM apps, optionally passing data gathered from IVR menus or Caller-ID.
* Set call status codes (e.g. Sale, Contact?) for all inbound and outbound traffic through the GUI
* Log-on, log-off, go on pause and set pause reason codes.

IT Managers…

* Proven, heavy-duty industrial solutions deployed in hundreds of locations worldwide, from 5 to 500 agents – ask for references.
* Highly scalable – supports Asterisk clusters and can be installed on separate servers.
* Supports database and flat-file storage.
* Minimal or no Asterisk interaction to minimize the load on the Asterisk server.
* No need to patch or modify an existing Asterisk installation.
* Works with Asterisk’s or third-party call recording and storage components.
* Easily scriptable through its XML-RPC interface.
* Auto-configuration from standard Asterisk configuration files.
* Easy to install and upgrade using the yum package manager.

Want to know more about QueueMetrics?

* You can test a live QueueMetrics installation: see Demo system
* You can download a free demo version of QueueMetrics.
* If you need to test QueueMetrics in a larger installation, we will give you a temporary licence so you can test QueueMetrics in your own environment and see for yourself the benefits of using QueueMetrics in your real-world scenario.
* If you have any question, technical or commercial, do not hesitate to contact us.

A comprehensive and freely downloadable 150-page manual will show you how to use QueueMetrics and make the best out of it.

You can request a temporary licence here.
The current version of QueueMetrics is, released on Oct 15, 2010. If you run an earlier version it is time to update it.

– QueueMetrics 1.6.2 released
– QueueMetrics 1.6.1 released
– QueueMetrics released
– QueueMetrics 1.6.0 released
– Winter holidays
Taken calls
Answered calls

Taken calls
Single call detail

Taken calls
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Taken calls
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Twitter Updates

* We have experienced a temporary outage on the QueueMetrics forums – now all should be OK. Pls resend queries to the Support Portal. 5 days ago
* Our offices will be closed on Monday Nov 1st 2010 for a local holiday. 6 days ago
* #QueueMetrics version 1.6.2 for #Asterisk has just been released. See http://tinyurl.com/2uuv6eo 19 days ago

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Telephony Hardware

Prev Chapter 2. Preparing a System for Asterisk Next

Telephony Hardware

If you are going to connect Asterisk to any traditional telecommunications equipment, you will need the correct hardware. The hardware you require will be determined by what it is you want to achieve.

Connecting to the PSTN

Asterisk allows you to seamlessly bridge circuit-switched telecommunications networks[25] with packet-switched data networks.[26] Because of Asterisk’s open architecture (and open source code), it is ultimately possible to connect any standards-compliant interface hardware. The selection of open source telephony interface boards is currently limited, but as interest in Asterisk grows, that will rapidly change.[27] At the moment, one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to connect to the PSTN is to use the interface cards that evolved from the work of the Zapata Telephony Project (http://www.zapatatelephony.org).

Analog interface cards

Unless you need a lot of channels (or a have lot of money to spend each month on telecommunications facilities), chances are that your PSTN interface will consist of one or more analog circuits, each of which will require a Foreign eXchange Office (FXO) port.

Digium, the company that sponsors Asterisk development, produces analog interface cards for Asterisk. Check out its web site for its extensive line of analog cards, including the venerable TDM400P, the latest TDM800P, and the high-density TDM2400P. As an example, the TDM800P is an eight-port base card that allows for the insertion of up to two daughter cards, which each deliver either four FXO or four FXS ports.[28] The TDM800P can be purchased with these modules preinstalled, and a hardware echo-canceller can be added as well. Check out Digium’s web site (http://www.digium.com) for more information about these cards.

Other companies that produce Asterisk-compatible analog cards include:


Rhino (http://www.channelbanks.com)


Sangoma (http://www.sangoma.com)


Voicetronix (http://www.voicetronix.com)


Pika Technologies (http://www.pikatechnologies.com)

These are all well-established companies that produce excellent products.

Digital interface cards

If you require more than 10 circuits, or require digital connectivity, chances are you’re going to be in the market for a T1 or E1 card.[29] Bear in mind, though, that the monthly charges for a digital PSTN circuit vary widely. In some places, as few as five circuits can justify a digital circuit; in others, the technology may never be cost-justifiable. The more competition there is in your area, the better chance you have of finding a good deal. Be sure to shop around.

The Zapata Telephony Project originally produced a T1 card, the Tormenta, that is the ancestor of most Asterisk-compatible T1 cards. The original Tormenta cards are now considered obsolete, but they do still work with Asterisk.

Digium makes several different digital circuit interface cards. The features on the cards are the same; the primary differences are whether they provide T1 or E1 interfaces, and how many spans each card provides. Digium has been producing Zaptel cards for Linux longer than anyone else, as they were deeply involved with the development of Zaptel on Linux, and have been the driving force behind Zaptel development over the years.

Sangoma, which has been producing open source WAN cards for many years, added Asterisk support for its T1/E1 cards a few years ago.[30] Rhino has had T1 hardware for Asterisk for a while now, and there are many other companies that offer digital interface cards for Asterisk as well.

Channel banks

A channel bank is loosely defined as a device that allows a digital circuit to be de-multiplexed into several analog circuits (and vice versa). More specifically, a channel bank lets you connect analog telephones and lines into a system across a T1 line. Figure 2.2, “One way you might connect a channel bank” shows how a channel bank fits into a typical office phone system.

Figure 2.2. One way you might connect a channel bank

One way you might connect a channel bank

Although they can be expensive to purchase, many people feel very strongly that the only proper way to integrate analog circuits and devices into Asterisk is through a channel bank. Whether that is true or not depends on a lot of factors, but if you have the budget, they can be very useful.[31] You can often pick up used channel banks on eBay. Look for units from Adtran and Carrier Access Corp. (Rhino makes great channel banks, and they are very competitively priced, but they may be hard to find used on eBay.) Don’t forget that you will need a T1 card in order to connect a channel bank to Asterisk.

Other types of PSTN interfaces

Many VoIP gateways exist that can be configured to provide access to PSTN circuits. Generally speaking, these will be of most use in a smaller system (one or two lines). They can also be very complicated to configure, as grasping the interaction between the various networks and devices requires a solid understanding of both telephony and VoIP fundamentals. For that reason, we will not discuss these devices in detail in this book. They are worth looking into, however; popular units are made by Sipura, Grandstream, Digium, and many other companies.

Another way to connect to the PSTN is through the use of Basic Rate Interface (BRI) ISDN circuits. BRI is a digital telecom standard that specifies a two-channel circuit that can carry up to 144 Kbps of traffic. It is very rarely used in North America, but in Europe it is very widely deployed. Due to the variety of different ways this technology has been implemented, and a lack of testing equipment, we will not be discussing BRI in very much detail in this book. Please note, however, that BRI is very popular in Europe, and Digium has produced the B410P card to address this need.

Connecting Exclusively to a Packet-Based Telephone Network

If you do not need to connect to the PSTN, Asterisk requires no hardware other than a server with a Network Interface Card (NIC).

However, if you are going to be providing music on hold[32] or conferencing and you have no physical timing source, you will need the ztdummy Linux kernel module. ztdummy is a clocking mechanism designed to provide a timing source to a system where no hardware timing source exists. Think of it as a kind of metronome to allow the system to mix multiple audio streams in a properly synchronized manner.

Echo Cancellation

One of the issues that can arise if you use analog interfaces on a VoIP system is echo. Echo is simply what you say being reflected back to you a short time later. The echo is caused by the far end, but you are the one that hears it. It is a little known fact that echo would be a massive problem in the PSTN were it not for the fact that the carriers employ complex (and expensive) strategies to eliminate it. We will talk about echo a bit more later on, but with respect to hardware we would suggest that you consider adding echo-cancellation hardware to any card you purchase for use as a PSTN interface. While Asterisk can do some work with echo in software, it does not provide nearly enough power to deal with the problem. Also, echo cancellation in software imposes a load on the processor; hardware echo cancellers built into the PSTN card take this burden away from the CPU.

Hardware echo cancellation can add several hundred dollars to your equipment cost, but if you are serious about having a quality system, invest the extra money now instead of suffering later. Echo problems are not pleasant at all, and your users will hate the system if they experience it.

As of this writing, several software echo cancellers have become available. We have not had a chance to evaluate any of them, but we know that they employ the same algorythems the hardware echo cancellers do. If you have a recently purchased Digium analog card, you can call Digium sales for a keycode to allow its latest software echo canceller to work with your system.[33] There are other software options available for other types of cards, but you will have to look into whether you have to purchase a license to use them.[34] Keep in mind that there is a performance cost to using software echo cancellers. They will place a measureable load on the CPU that needs to be taken into account when you design a system using these technologies.

[25] Often referred to as TDM networks, due to the Time Division Multiplexing used to carry traffic through the PSTN.

[26] Popularly called VoIP networks, although Voice over IP is not the only method of transmitting voice over packet networks (Voice over Frame Relay was very popular in the late 1990s).

[27] The evolution of inexpensive, commodity-based telephony hardware is only slightly behind the telephony software revolution. New companies spring up on a weekly basis, each one bringing new and inexpensive standards-based devices into the market.

[28] FXS and FXO refer to the opposing ends of an analog circuit. Which one you need will be determined by what you want to connect to. Chapter 7, Understanding Telephony discusses these in more detail.

[29] T1 and E1 are digital telephony circuits. We’ll discuss them further in Chapter 7, Understanding Telephony.

[30] It should be noted that a Sangoma Frame Relay card played a role in the original development of Asterisk (see http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT8678310302.html); Sangoma has a long history of supporting open source WAN interfaces with Linux.

[31] We use channel banks to simulate a central office. One 24-port channel bank off an Asterisk system can provide up to 24 analog lines—perfect for a classroom or lab.

[32] Technically, no timing source is needed for music on hold, but it generally works better with one.

[33] This software is not part of a normal Asterisk download because Digium has to pay to license it separately. Nevertheless, it has grandfathered it into all of its cards, so it is available for free to anyone who has a Digium analog card that is still under warranty. If you are running a non-Digium analog card, you can purchase a keycode for this software echo canceller from Digium’s web site.

[34] Sangoma also offers free software echo cancellation on their analog cards (up to six channels).

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You are reading Asterisk: The Future of Telephony (2nd Edition for Asterisk 1.4), by Jim van Meggelen, Jared Smith, and Leif Madsen.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works License v3.0.

To submit comments, corrections, or other contributions to the text, please visit http://www.oreilly.com/.

What is Asterisk?

Asterisk, the world’s most popular open source communications project, is free, open source software that converts an ordinary computer into a feature-rich voice communications server. Asterisk makes it simple to create and deploy a wide range of telephony applications and services, including IP PBXs, VoIP gateways, call center ACDs and IVR systems.

Asterisk is released as open source under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and it is available for download free of charge. Asterisk® is the leading open source telephony project and the Asterisk community has been ranked as a key factor in the growth of VoIP.
What Does Asterisk Do?

Asterisk is like an erector set or a box of Legos for people who want to create communications applications. That’s why we refer to it as a “tool-kit” or “development platform”. Asterisk includes all the building blocks needed to create a PBX system, an IVR system or virtually any other kind of communications solution. The “blocks” in the kit include:

* Drivers for various VoIP protocols.
* Drivers for PSTN interface cards and devices.
* Routing and call handling for incoming calls.
* Outbound call generation and routing.
* Media management functions (record, play, generate tone, etc.).
* Call detail recording for accounting and billing.
* Transcoding (conversion from one media format to another).
* Protocol conversion (conversion from one protocol to another).
* Database integration for accessing information on relational databases.
* Web services integration for accessing data using standard internet protocols.
* LDAP integration for accessing corporate directory systems.
* Single and mult-party call bridging.
* Call recording and monitoring functions.
* Integrated “Dialplan” scripting language for call processing.
* External call management in any programming or scripting language through Asterisk Gateway Interface (AGI)
* Event notification and CTI integration via the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI).
* Speech synthesis (aka “text-to-speech”) in various languages and dialects using third party engines.
* Speech recognition in various languages using third party recognition engines.

This combination of components allows an integrator or developer to quickly create voice-enabled applications. The open nature of Asterisk means that there is no fixed limit on what it can be made to do. Asterisk integrators have built everything from very small IP PBX systems to massive carrier media servers.

Asterisk As A PBX

Asterisk can be configured as the core of an IP or hybrid PBX, switching calls, managing routes, enabling features, and connecting callers with the outside world over IP, analog (POTS), and digital (T1/E1) connections.

Asterisk runs on a wide variety of operating systems including Linux, Mac OS X, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Sun Solaris and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX including many advanced features that are often associated with high end (and high cost) proprietary PBXs. Asterisk’s architecture is designed for maximum flexibility and supports Voice over IP in many protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware.
Asterisk As A Gateway

It can also be built out as the heart of a media gateway, bridging the legacy PSTN to the expanding world of IP telephony. Asterisk’s modular architecture allows it to convert between a wide range of communications protocols and media codecs. Asterisk as a feature/media server.

Need an IVR? Asterisk’s got you covered. How about a conference bridge? Yep. It’s in there. What about an automated attendant? Asterisk does that too. How about a replacement for your aging legacy voicemail system? Can do. Unified messaging? No problem. Need a telephony interface for your web site? Ok.
Asterisk In The Call Center

Asterisk has been adopted by call centers around the world based on its flexibility. Call center and contact center developers have built complete ACD systems based on Asterisk. Asterisk has also added new life to existing call center solutions by adding remote IP agent capabilities, advanced skills-based routing, predictive and bulk dialing, and more.
Asterisk In The Public Network

Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs), competitive local exchange carriers (CLECS) and even first-tier incumbents have discovered the power of open source communications with Asterisk. Feature servers, hosted services clusters, voicemail systems, pre-paid calling solutions, all based on Asterisk have helped reduce costs and enabled flexibility.
Asterisk Everywhere

Asterisk has become the basis for thousands of communications solutions. If you need to communicate, Asterisk is your answer.
Supported Platforms

Asterisk® is primarily developed on GNU/Linux for x/86 and runs on GNU/Linux for PPC along with OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X. Other platforms and standards-based UNIX-like operating systems should be reasonably easy to port for anyone with the time and requisite skill to do so.

Asterisk® is available in Debian Stable and is maintained by the Debian VoIP Team.
Supported hardware

Asterisk® needs no additional hardware for Voice over IP. For interconnection with digital and analog telephony equipment, Asterisk® supports a number of hardware devices, most notably all of the hardware manufactured by Digium®, the creator of Asterisk®.

Asterisk-based telephony solutions offer a rich and flexible feature set. Asterisk® offers both classical PBX functionality and advanced features which interoperates with traditional standards-based telephony systems and Voice over IP systems.

Supported protocols

Asterisk® supports a wide range of protocols for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces including H.323, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), and Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP).

Using the Inter-Asterisk eXchange (IAX™) Voice over IP protocol Asterisk® merges voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. The use of Packet Voice allows Asterisk® to send data such as URL information and images in-line with voice traffic, allowing advanced integration of information.

Asterisk® provides a central switching core, with four APIs for modular loading of telephony applications, hardware interfaces, file format handling, and codecs. It allows for transparent switching between all supported interfaces, allowing it to tie together a diverse mixture of telephony systems into a single switching network.

See the Asterisk glossary for a list of terms.