This chapter will provide a basic understanding of how to install, configure and debug Yate. Please feel free to skip to the next chapter if your Yate installation is already up and running properly.


Where can I get more information?

Quick Installation

You may choose to install Yate from your operating system’s package repository, e.g. on Debian Linux:

# apt-get install yate

However, keep in mind that your OS may not include the latest Yate version, which can be problematic in regard to security and feature set. On the other hand, packages are easier to maintain.

Install from Source

  1. Download latest version from and unpack the archive as usual, e.g.

     $ cd /usr/local/src
     $ wget ## replace XXXXX with actual version number
     $ tar zxvf yate-XXXXX.tar.gz
     $ cd yate

    Note: If you are upgrading, be aware that the archive contains the directory yate/, which may already exist. –> cp yate yate-xxx first.

  2. Install dependencies, e.g. on Debian/Ubuntu:

     # apt-get install build-essential zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libgsm1-dev pkg-config speex
     # apt-get install libmysqlclient-dev ## for mysql support if needed
  3. Configure with flags, e.g. with custom install path, without Postgres support and with SSE2:

     $ ./configure --prefix=/home/poc/yate --without-libpq --enable-sse2

    Or simply run the default configure:

     $ ./configure

    Personally I like to keep this line and additional installation instructions and notes close to the actual installation in a file like ../COMPILE_YATE. This way I know exactly how to re-compile or upgrade the software several months later for this particular installation.

  4. Compile + Install

     $ make
     $ sudo make install

    Don’t worry. There is a working make uninstall, which deletes all but configuration files.

After installation, files can be found in the usual places. Assuming an installation prefix of /usr/local:

  • /usr/local/etc/yate: configuration files
  • /usr/local/bin/yate*: executable files
  • /usr/local/share/yate/*: support files: scripts, sounds, UI files
  • /usr/local/man/man8/yate*: manual pages
  • /usr/local/share/doc/yate-*: developer documentation
  • /usr/local/lib/yate/*: yate modules
  • /usr/local/lib/libyate*: shared libraries
  • /usr/local/include/yate: include files
  • depending on your configuration there may be other support files

Upgrade from Source

  1. Stop Yate, e.g. killall yate
  2. make uninstall in the old Yate source directory: This will remove version specific libraries
  3. make install in the new Yate source directory: This will install the new Yate version and not harm any existing configuration files.
  4. Update configuration if needed, e.g. new modules.
  5. Start Yate


Yate configuration files are like INI files with [sections] and key=value pairs. For syntax highlighting in VIM just type :setf dosini and :syntax on or extend your .vimrc like so:

" yate -> dosini syntax
au BufNewFile,BufRead */etc/yate/*.conf setf dosini

" syntax highlighting
syn on

Config files reside in /usr/local/etc/yate/ by default. Let’s start with yate.conf: It is a good idea only to load those modules actually needed for your setup. Otherwise it may lead to unwanted features or protocols being enabled, which in turn broadens the attack surface from a security point of view.

The following example shows a usable yate.conf restricted to load only a few modules on startup:

; modload: boolean: Should a module be loaded by default if there is no
;  reference to it in the [modules] section



I like to add all available modules commented out to the [modules] section to be able to toggle modules with minimal effort. Try the following command:

find /usr/local/lib/yate -name \*.yate |xargs -n 1 basename |xargs -n 1 -I '{}' echo ";{}=true"

As a rule: If you don’t know the module, best leave it commented out. See also the Yate docu Wiki for a list of modules.

Next step: Configure each module loaded on startup.


Yate can run as unprivileged system user. I fact, creating a dedicated user and group just for running Yate is a security recommendation. So:

# groupadd yate
# useradd -g yate yate
# mkdir /home/yate
# chown yate:yate /home/yate
# su - yate

There are several ways to start Yate:

  • For debugging right after compilation: There is a script in the source directory ./run to start and debug Yate on Linux systems.

  • For debugging and first setup after installation: Just type yate or yate -v or even yate -Do -vv (-Do means color output; -vv means 2x verbose).

    The following error may occur:

      yate: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    If so, try LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib yate or add the correct library path to your dynamic loader search path, e.g. /etc/ and run ldconfig. On MacOSX the dynamic linker uses the environment variable DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH.

    Also quite useful in this context is SCREEN or any other terminal multiplexer program.

  • For production: The source package comes with a few sample init scripts:


After successful startup you can see where Yate is listening for connections:

$ sudo netstat -lntup |grep yate

On my test VM the output looks like this:

tcp    0    0*       LISTEN     28833/yate
tcp    0    0*       LISTEN     28833/yate
tcp    0    0*       LISTEN     28833/yate
tcp    0    0*       LISTEN     28833/yate
udp    0    0*                  28833/yate
udp    0    0*                  28833/yate

Port 5060 is for SIP. Port 2061 is for SIPS (SIP over TLS). Port 4569 is IAX. Port 5038 is the rmanager and port 5039 is an extmodule listener.


Restarting Yate

  • Full restart: /etc/init.d/yate restart or equivalently Ctrl-C, Cursor-UP, RETURN.

  • Reload Yate: Send SIGQUIT to the Yate process:

      killall -SIGQUIT yate

    Or press Ctrl-\ on the running foreground process - however this may detach shell scripts if Yate was started using a custom startup script.

    Or press Ctrl-\ in rmanager.


The rmanager is a useful Yate console. A most common configuration is done like so in rmanager.conf:

; Each section creates a connection listener in the Remote Manager.
; An empty (all defaults) general section is assumed only in server mode if the
;  configuration file is missing.

; port: int: TCP Port to listen on, 0 to disable the listener

; addr: ipaddress: IP address to bind to

; color: bool: Enable colorization debug as soon as connecting
;  This setting is ignored if telnet negotiation is disabled

Then, connect using telnet or netcat:

$ telnet localhost 5038
Trying ::1...
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
eventphone YATE 4.3.0-1 on devvm.

Try help and status. For more debugging output, try this (for verbose SIP debugging):

debug on
debug level 10
debug sip level 10

Possible debug levels can be found in yateclass.h line 225++:

enum DebugLevel {
    DebugFail = 0,
    DebugTest = 1,
    DebugGoOn = 2,
    DebugConf = 3,
    DebugStub = 4,
    DebugWarn = 5,
    DebugMild = 6,
    DebugCall = 7,
    DebugNote = 8,
    DebugInfo = 9,
    DebugAll = 10

IP level SIP debugging

Usual candidates would be

# ngrep -l -W byline port 5060

# tcpdump -ln -i eth0 -A port 5060


Engine / Message Queue

The core of Yate - the engine - is a message queue. Each module can subscribe to a type of message and either process or reject the message. In addition, Yate modules can also observe the message queue without actually handling messages (watch), which is similar to a PubSub pattern.

When subscribing to a message type, the module must provide a priority. A message is then passed to each matching module in the order of subscribed priority.

Messages are human readable. Try this in rmanager:

machine on
Machine mode: on

The format is as follows:


The message dumped here is of type engine.timer and was sent from Engine to Application. There is no id. The message has not been processed by any module (processed=false). The return value is empty. At the end there are multiple key/value pairs, notably handlers=…, which lists all modules subscribed to this message type and their priority.

The complete message format documentation can be found here as well as in the source package under docs/extmodule.html.

A common message flow for a Call from a user to an IVR would look like this:

chan.rtp status=created
chan.rtp status=terminated

A list of standard messages can be found in the documentation. Custom modules may invent new message types and use the Yate engine to do IPC (inter-process communication).


Participating in the Yate engine’s message queue without writing another module in C++ (which would be simple enough) is done via the extmodule module. extmodule.conf:


[listener tcp5039]

This configuration opens a TCP socket on port 5039. It is also possible to call scripts, that communicate via stdio, like so: regexroute.conf:


This would execute the script /usr/local/share/yate/scripts/foo.tcl and interact using the extmodule protocol.

Note: Some examples in this document are written in Tcl using the YGI library to interface with Yate. Libraries in other languages - PHP, Python, Perl - are available as well. Yate also comes with its own JavaScript interpreter in its own module javascript.yate.

A simple use case for extmodule is YGI’s message printer dumpmsgs.tcl:

---------> new message: user.register  true 
|             number 3333
|            sip_uri sip:devvm
|         sip_callid 2088059556@devvm
|           username 3333
|              realm devvm
|       ip_transport TLS
|            newcall false
|             domain devvm
|             device YATE/4.0.1
|             driver sip
|               data sip/sip:3333@
|            ip_host
|            ip_port 62928
|            expires 600
|             sip_to sip:3333@
|      connection_id tls:
| connection_reliable true
|       route_params oconnection_id
|     oconnection_id tls:
|           handlers monitoring:1,register:50