How To Install FreePBX 15 On VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro

FreePBX is one the leading platforms in VOIP communications technology that is used by many organisations around the world. At its core FREEPBX is a GUI system that provides an easy and simplified way to control the asterisk voip system. Freepbx can be installed as a virtual machine or on hardware such as desktops, laptops and servers.  There is also a commercial version of freepbx called PBXACT which also comes preinstalled and sangoma pbx hardware appliances. The PBXACT phone system is designed for advanced deployments where the installation environment requires complex configuration and customization.  This tutorial provides a guide on how to install the FREEPBX 15 phone system as a virtual machine on VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro in about 10 – 15 minutes or less.

Requirements.

In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implementation action on this tutorial:
1) A desktop or laptop computer with Windows, MacOS or a Linux desktop distro installed.
2) VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro.
3) Freepbx 15 disk image file.
4) Internet connection (optional).

Overview.

1) Go to the freepbx.org download page and download the FREEPBX 15 disk image file.
2) Open VMware Workstation 15.5 and create a new CENTOS 7 virtual machine  with 1024MB of RAM and a 50GB virtual hard disk
3) Power on the virtual machine and install FREEPBX 15
4) Complete the FREEPBX 15 post installation setup tasks, set a static IP address and check for system updates.

Step One: Download The FREEPBX 15 Disk Image File.

1) To get started with setting up Freepbx 15 click HERE to download the installation disk image file (ISO). Please note that the ISO file is about 2GB in size.

Step Two: Create The Virtual Machine And Install FREEPBX 15.

2) Launch VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro and go to “FILE > NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE”. You can also use the “CNTRL + N” keyboard shortcut or click on the “CREATE NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE” button.

3) On the “NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE WIZARD” select the “TYPICAL (RECOMMENDED)” option and click on next. Choosing this option will make the virtual machine creation process through the use of the :”VMWARE EASY INSTALL” feature. 

On the “GUEST OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLATION” section choose the  “INSTALLER DISK IMAGE FILE” option, click on the “BROWSE” button and choose the FREEPBX 15 ISO file. VMware Workstation will automatically detect the operating system type of the FREEPBX  15 ISO file.

 

4) On the VIRTUAL MACHINE input box type in a descriptive name to identify the FREEPBX vm and choose a location to save virtual machine files on the LOCATION selection box. Click on NEXT to proceed.

 

5) Type the size of the virtual hard disk for the FREEPBX VM on the MAXIMUM DISK SIZE text box and choose the SPLIT VIRTUAL HARD DISK INTO MULTIPLE FILES option. Click on NEXT to proceed.

6) On the READY TO CREATE VIRTUAL MACHINE VIRTUAL MACHINE section if you wish to make any final adjustments to the virtual hardware settings click on the “CUSTOMIZE HARDWARE” button. If you don not have any changes to make click on the “POWER ON THIS VIRTUAL MACHINE AFTER CREATION” checkbox and click on “FINISH”

7) Once the FREEPBX 15 virtual machine powers on and boots up select the “FREEPBX 15 INSTALLATION (ASTERISK 16) – RECOMMENDED” and press enter.

On the next section choose the “GRAPHICAL INSTALLATION – OUTPUT TO VGA” option and press enter.

Press enter on the FREEPBX STANDARD option to proceed.

8) Here you can see a graphical output of the installation progress. Set a password for the root user account by click on the ROOT PASSWORD option.  The amount of time needed to complete the installation process depends on the perfomance of the virtual machine.

Once the installation process is complete click on the reboot button.

9) The next step is to find out the IP address that has been allocated to the FREEPBX 15 virtual machine. To check for this login to the freepbx console using the root account. Once you have logged in IP address information will be displayed.

Open up your favourite web browser and type in https://freepbxvmipaddress/ on the address bar.

10) When the FREEPBX 15 VM is restarted after first time installation the asterisk service may not startup automatically. You may see a “FAILED TO CONNECT TO ASTERISK” error message on the web gui. To resolve this problem and allow the asterisk service to startup automatically run the following commands:

– service asterisk start

– chkconfig asterisk on

11) On the INITIAL SETUP page type in a username and a password on the appropriate text input box’s. Under SYSTEM NOTIFICATIONS EMAIL type in an email address that you have access to were you will get important information such as system updates and errors.

Add a descriptive name on the SYSTEM IDENTIFIER input box and on the SYSTEM UPDATES section choose whether to ENABLE or EMAIL ONLY automatic module updates, module security updates and sending of security emails for unsigned modules.

On the CHECK FOR UPDATES EVERY drop down menu choose a day and time that works best for you and click on SETUP SYSTEM.

12) To proceed with the FREEPBX 15 setup start by activating the system. On the “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW PBX!” pop up message click on the “ACTIVATE” button. You will be prompted to enter an  email address, your address and region. Once the activation process complete a deployment ID will be assigned to the FREEPBX  15 vm.

13) To ensure that the FREEPBX stays secure, setup the SANGOMA SMART FIREWALL by clicking on the “CONTINUE” button.If you do not wish to use the Sangoma Smart Firewall, simply click “ABORT” on the next page.

Please enure that there is no other firewall intercepting traffic to FREEPBX. If you already have a firewall on your network you can create a DMZ so that the SANGOMA FIREWALL functions as designed.

– On the “Should the client you’re using be trusted?” section click on “YES”

– On the “Should your current network be trusted?” section click on “YES”

– On the “Enable Responsive Firewall?” section, click on the “YES” button.

– On the “Automatically configure Asterisk IP Settings?” section, click on “YES”

 

14) SIPStation is a SIP trunking service currently available in Canada and USA. On the last step of the FREEPBX 15 initial configuration there is an option to sign up for tje SIPSTATION SIP Trunking service so you can start making calls instantly.

This is a handy feature as you do not have to wait for traditional SIP providers to provision a SIP trunk for you. Click on SIGN UP if you are located in a supported region otherwise click on “NOT NOW” to proceed.

15) On the FREEPBX 15 dashboard go to “CONNECTIVITY > FIREWALL” and click on the “INTERFACES” tab. set the internet facing interface i.e ETH0 to “INTERNET (DEFAULT FIREWALL)” and click on “UPDATE INTERFACES” then click on the red “APPLY CONFIG” button at the top right corner of the dashboard.

16) In the event that the FREEPBX 15 activation process failed and a deployment ID was not assigned go to “ADMIN > SYSTEM ADMIN > ACTIVATION > ACTIVATE” to complete the system activation process.

It would be a good idea to set a static IP address for the FREEPBX 15 VM so as to have a perminent address for accessing the Web GUI and for extensions to be able to reliably connect to the PBX.

To set a static ip, click on “ADMIN > SYSTEM ADMIN > NETWORK SETTINGS”. Set “IP ASSIGNEMENT” to “STATIC” and type in a static IP address. subnet mask, gateway and set “START AUTOMATICALLY” to “YES”.

Click on “SAVE INTERFACE” then “SAVE AND APPLY”

 

Step Three: Check For Updates.

17) The next step is to check for module and system updates. To do this, go to “ADMIN > MODULE ADMIN > MODULE UPDATES” select the STANDARD, EXTENDED, COMMERCIAL options and click on “CHECK ONLINE”

Click on “DOWNLOAD ALL” and  “UPGRADE ALL” then click on “PROCESS”. A summary of all modules to be upgraded will be displayed click on “CONFIRM” to proceed. Do not refresh or close the page untill the process is complete.

To check for system updates simply click on the “SYSTEM UPDATE” tab and click on “CHECK ONLINE”. A table with available system updates will be displayed, simply click on “UPDATE SYSTEM” to install the updates.

18) AWESOME! You have successfully installed FreePBX 15 As a virtual machine on VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro