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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Urgently Needed: Asterisk Linux Servers & Phone Lines in Pakistan/India

For the past 72 hours we have been trying to establish Taran Rampersad's ARC (Alert Retrieval Cache) model that was used in the tsunami crisis for setting up a real-time communications network into affected areas of Pakistan and Inda. Taran and a couple of volunteers from MobileActive.org are still trying to locate an Asterisk server whereby we can set up sms lines for people on the ground to send text messages to the system which are then posted to a wiki/blog interface as well as a mailing list to which USAR teams, NGOs and other stakeholders in relief operations are subscribed to.

Last month, about 50 hours into Katrina we had a skype-powered help line with in/out lines and sms capabilities. Unfortunately, when we tried to follow the same skype mock-up 18 hours after the quake in S.Asia, a member of Skype Journal informed us that skype didn't have any metro lines in the region and that wouldn't be possible. Therefore we had to switch over to the tsunami ARC model whereby a local line is needed either in India or Pakistan - preferably both and is capable of receiving sms and posting to a mailing list (sms2email).

We have coders all set to implement in under a couple of hours a working system whereby user on ground will send an sms to local Indian/Pak number which will forward message to a mailing list and relayed to a section on our wiki set up to post in emergency relief format and blog, When someone wants to contact person on ground, we will be dedicating our Katrinahelp skypeOut line to sending sms back to person on ground. Basically - the system is all automated and works like this: sms2web - web2sms

We are looking at achieving transparent disaster relief communications with direct contact to victims, relief workers and those who can assist them in an open source manner.

We are desperate to get this communication infrastructure set up. We have the know-how and people standing by to come plug it up... we even have 2 linux servers ready for this - Amsterdam & Michigan.. what we don't have is an asterisk server and the local phone line.

From Nathan 'dorjee' who's one of the volunteers with MobileActive:

What we really need to get started is:

1) Access to a Linux server in the India, Pakistan area. Preferrably root. We don't need anything that special or powerful.
2) A GSM mobile phone that can be connected to this server via a USB/Serial cable.
3) Digium/Asterisks hardware to connect actual phone lines would be the next.

Any help locating these resources would be highly appreciated.

Anyone who has the above (Asterisk Server and few phone lines), please let us know by email.
12 Comments Post a Comment
Blogger natdefreitas said :

I'm one of the volunteers with MobileActive. What we really need to get started is:

1) Access to a Linux server in the India, Pakistan area. Preferrably root. We don't need anything that special or powerful.

2) A GSM mobile phone that can be connected to this server via a USB/Serial cable.

Digium/Asterisks hardware to connect actual phone lines would be the next.

Any help locating these resources would be highly appreciated.

October 13, 2005 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Taran said :

Err, well, the ARC isn't mine - it never was, and never will be. But it is something that I work on as I have time.

It's late in the disaster now, but there are some benefits that could be derived from such a system - and it will require NGOs and perhaps even government to use it.

October 13, 2005 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Wasim Baig said :

hi, we've been deploying asterisk solutions in Pk and are geared to help out in this effort ...

we can provide the hardware, links and manpower

lets get cracking

my email is wasim@convergence.com.pk
by phone +92(300)8508070

October 13, 2005 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Faraz Khan said :

I copy on Wasim. We too have deployed Asterisk solutions and have a live asterisk server running with ample bandwidth which you can use. We currently dont have a GSM phone connected to it.

We also have good connections with the ministory of IT in islamabad and can help setup co-ordinating/clustered servers there as well if need be. You need to fully explain what you want to accomplish with the system.

We might also be able to get dedicated bandwidth so that voice connections might be possible.

However, if all you want to do is send SMS why cant you use the web2SMS gateways local mobile providers already offer? I agree communicating BACK might be an issue.

my contact: faraz.khan@emergen.biz
phone: (work) +92.21.279.2158 - 2160
(mobile) +92.300.824-3479

October 13, 2005 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Navnit said :

We can provide the asterisk boxes with the mobile phone here in Hyderabad in India.
Please let us know how to proceed
I have already replied to Bala Pitchandi's mail.
Regards
Navnit
Ph: +91-9866999733
email: navnit.chachan@tanlasolutions.com

October 13, 2005 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Junaid Saeed Uppal said :

I can give bandwidth + asterisk server and hardware too , beep me

Junaid Saeed Uppal
Cell : +92-(0)300-8636664
uppal@linux.net.pk

October 14, 2005 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Faraz Khan said :

We are in the process of procuring a Siemens C35 which will let us make a SMS gateway out of asterisk. We would respond shortly with what we find.

Do you have a corresponding Asterisk server which we will relay the SMS to (using cmd SMS) or do you want us to host the wiki/website also?

Thanks.

October 14, 2005 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

Dear Nathan,

Please email me on rehan@rehan.com with what you wish to achive after the gateway has been arranged.

I belive the people in the post have alraedy offered you the gateway did and the asterisk box, to interface over ip to reach you, now what is the information that u want to serve on it is what i want to know.

I wish for you to go ahead and use pakistancare.org as your database source which has been setup just for the purpose i think u are trying to achive.

Sms gateway in anypart of the world can be used to start up this service and database integration and later any other number can be interfaced to the same service.

Please use www.pakistancare.org/tiki as your discussion and requirement headquaters.

As it will be advertised nation wide on all channels as soon as it is up and running 100%

October 14, 2005 8:45 AM  
Blogger Rehan Ahmed AllahWala said :

Dear Nathan,

Please email me on rehan@rehan.com with what you wish to achive after the gateway has been arranged.

I belive the people in the post have alraedy offered you the gateway did and the asterisk box, to interface over ip to reach you, now what is the information that u want to serve on it is what i want to know.

I wish for you to go ahead and use pakistancare.org as your database source which has been setup just for the purpose i think u are trying to achive.

Sms gateway in anypart of the world can be used to start up this service and database integration and later any other number can be interfaced to the same service.

Please use www.pakistancare.org/tiki as your discussion and requirement headquaters.

As it will be advertised nation wide on all channels as soon as it is up and running 100%

October 14, 2005 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

Please contact Junaid Uppal at 300-8636664. He has the hardware (Linux
servers with Asterisk, Digium hardware for PSTN connectivity, etc) and
the technical expertise. His email address is uppal@linux.net.pk, and he
resides in Islamabad.

Courtesy: GOF

October 15, 2005 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Adnan Siddiqi said :

What are updates in this regard?did u try to approach any SMS aggregatorin this regard,you will then not need any hardware setup at your end,

October 21, 2005 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Pakistan networks said :

Also you can setup an opensrouce SMS gateway using nokia 1110, 3310 or any phone. I don’t say all phones are supported but i can say 90% of phone supported by opensource gammu. Personally i configured nokia 3310 phone beside a many others model with serial cable using Gammu and setup a few php script with mysql to view them on the web. Now i can send recieve SMS’s from the web. I’m not gonna show you my personal URL because you will use my cell phone balance :)
I can provide you GSM mobile phone SMS gateway setup. Or you can do it easy by yourself.
However you can find HERE
the way, How to connect nokia 3310 or any phone to your Linux machine and how to setup a SMS gateway. It's really cheapest and secure way to setup SMS gate way.

As for as Asterisk concerned hhmm... all i can do is help and i'll be glad to help with any Asterisk component, i'd not be able to provide anything else :) my current job won't allow me that.

October 06, 2006 5:42 PM