My workplace was disposing several Wyse thin clients and it got me thinking, besides a terminal what else could they be used for? Perhaps a low power, fanless PBX or NAS. I started researching and soon found this particular Wyse VX0 has a VIA Eden 800Mhz CPU, 64Mb memory and 128MB of flash storage. I also noticed it had a DDR and SD card slot. I had a spare 512MB DDR stick so in it went.
I’ve been successfully running AsteriskNOW with FreePBX at home as a virtual machine for some time. AsteriskNOW runs CentOS 5 as a base operating system, after some testing on the wyse i experienced stability issues and determined the wyse is not suitable for such an operating system. Some googling revealed Askozia an “embedded” version of Asterisk with a Web GUI based on Monowall which is based on a cut down version of FreeBSD.
Pressing “DEL” on boot will get you into the wyse BIOS, the default password is “Fireport”. I noticed the BIOS is very much like a normal PC, you can adjust boot order, enabled/disable components etc. I adjusted the boot order so the unit could boot from a USB CDROM.
I followed this guide to install the Askozia image onto the internal flash storage.
I setup Asterisk via the web GUI and i was away! I am very very impressed with what this thing can do, transcoding 1 telephone call with G711 the system was at ~1-2% CPU and ~27MB RAM. I suspect moving to a codec like g729a will increase this load, however this machine is clearly capable of running many simultaneous calls.
I also measured the power consumption of this device, my meter indicated 12W while on the phone. In my area electricity at peak rates currently costs 22c per kwh, so this device will cost me less then $2 per month to run.