A Raspberry Pi, Asterisk and Ekiga a Skype Alternative?

The previous post on the Raspberry Pi as a GSM gateway has made me think of what other uses such a setup could have. A bit of a thorn in my privacy and open source loving heart is Skype. Closed source and controlled by Microsoft is about as far away from privacy and open source as one could imagine. But it works and I use it quite often and especially with its video calling option I didn't see real alternatives. That is until now…

Perhaps the following setup should do the trick:

  • A Raspberry Pi hosted at home
  • Asterisk on the Pi, 25 Mbit/s down and 5 Mbit/s offers ample capacity for voice calls
  • Ekiga for SIP telephony between two PCs. According to the Ekiga page, HD voice and HD video streaming are supported.

So on paper this looks pretty cool as it would cover my application of making video calls between two PCs, one usually in my home network and the other somewhere on the Internet. With the SIP telephony server running in my own network and the voice and video stream running peer to peer it's about as private and open source as it gets. But how well does it work in practice? There are lots of unknowns beginning on the PCs and how well Ekiga runs on them down to the network layer and how Ekiga can handle the NATs in between. With a spare RasPi available I wonder how long I can resist giving it a try!? 🙂