[Techtalk] Asterisk PBX hardware

jennyw jennyw at dangerousideas.com
Sat Jul 30 16:07:28 EST 2005

Hi, Carla,

Sorry to be writing this from OE, but my Linux boxes are really screwed up 
right now ...

A client wants to get a PBX and I told them about Asterisk. I suggested 
hiring a company to put it in, but when they looked at the estimate they 
asked if I could try installing it first and seeing if we could get the cost 
down. That's not as scary as it sounds, since it's for a 3.5 person office 
and we'll have the chance to back out if it looks hairy. Of course, I'm so 
busy now I'm going to be looking for help on this (and potentially some 
other Asterisk systems), so if someone in the Bay Area wants a temp. job 
helping me poke around Asterisk, look for my job posting to the LinuxChix 
job board soon ...

I haven't gotten too far in my Asterisk quest yet ... I've been reading a 
bunch about Asterisk online and also in "Switching to VoIP" from O'Reilly. 
Here's what I've found so far ...

From: "Carla Schroder" <carla at bratgrrl.com>
> I want to test Asterisk, but I'm a bit confused as to what hardware is
> required. It looks like I need a PCI interface on the Asterisk server, 
> like
> Digium's TE cards
> http://www.digium.com/index.php?menu=product_category&category=hardware
> Then I need a channel bank/multiplexer to interface between the actual 
> phones
> and the Asterisk server, right?

If you want to do VoIP only (both incoming lines and also phone sets), you 
can skip the interface cards. You can even get this running on a Linksys 
router using OpenWRT:


If you use softphones, that's certainly the cheapest way to play with 
Asterisk. I haven't tried it yet, and I probably won't since it looks like 
we'll be dealing with POTS lines. If that's what you need to do, too, then 
you'll want to get an interface card, as you mentioned. Apparently, you can 
still get the discontinued Digium X100P from various online vendors for 
around $30 and maybe even less. Pretty cheap!  Since I'm working with a few 
lines, I'll probably look at the TDM400P instead.

The TDM400P can actually support both POTS lines (Plain Old Telephone System 
lines connected to the phone company) and analog phones.  It's a four-port 
card, and you can install an FXO or FXS module for each port (POTS and 
phones, respectively). If you want to use a few analog phones, this might be 
a way to go. In my case, I'm going to be using VoIP phones, which won't need 
an additional interface card (the TDM400P card will only be used for 
incoming calls). I've found VoIP phones for about $80 that should work with 
the system. Of course, you can also use soft phones.

They even have Wi-Fi phones -- I've been asked to get one of those for a 
different upcoming Asterisk installation. This Asterisk thingy sure is 
popping up a lot lately!


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