Chapter 5: Dialplan Basics

The dialplan is truly the heart of any Asterisk system, as it defines how Asterisk handles inbound and outbound calls. In a nutshell, it consists of a list of instructions or steps that Asterisk will follow. Unlike traditional phone systems, Asterisk's dialplan is fully customizable. To successfully set up your own Asterisk system, you will need to understand the dialplan.

If writing a dialplan sounds overwhelming, don't worry. This chapter explains how dialplans work in a step-by-step manner and teaches the skills necessary to create your own. The examples have been designed to build upon one another, so feel free to go back and re-read a section if something doesn't quite make sense. Please also note that this chapter is by no means an exhaustive survey of all the possible things dialplans can do; our aim is to cover just the fundamentals. We'll cover more advanced dialplan topics in later chapters.

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